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Trent Reznor Says David Bowie Helped Pull Him Out of Addiction

Trent Reznor David Bowie
Theo Wargo / Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

In a new interview, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor — who in years past has struggled with drug and alcohol problems — reveals he once exorcised some internal demons with the help of someone you might not suspect: David Bowie.

“I was in the throes of that when we toured with Bowie [in 1995], and this was the Bowie that had come out the other side and was happily married,” Reznor told The Guardian. “I was nearing the peak of my addiction, and his role to me was kind of mentor, big brother, friend, and also he’d give me kind of shamanish advice.”

Reznor also said how much he admired Bowie’s unwillingness to rest on his considerable laurels.

“He was playing everything from his ‘Outside’ album and he said, ‘You guys are going to destroy us on stage because we’re not playing anything anybody wants to hear. Nobody really wants to hear this new album. What they want to hear is “The Jean Genie” and all the hits but I don’t have it in me to do that now,'” Trent recalled the rock icon saying.

“I thought that’s kind of dumb on one hand, then I thought, to build something, a persona or a sound, and it’s not broken and worn out, and then throw it out and try something new … man, it takes balls to do that,” Reznor marveled. “Would I ever have the courage to do that, or would I do careers and expectations and fitting in?”

In the years since, Bowie, now 66, continued to evolve, culminating in the release this year of the critically-acclaimed ‘The Next Day.’ But now, maybe something else motivates his quixotic nature.

“You can reinvent yourself over and over, but Death, the Great Uninventor, will catch up,” New York Times music critic Simon Reynolds wrote in his review of the new album. “The naked torment of that apprehension has fueled Mr. Bowie’s twilight masterpiece.”

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