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« Reply #90 on: April 10, 2005, 12:41:49 PM »
I didn't realize he hit rock bottom again after The Fragile. When it first came out, I remember he was saying all the same things he's saying in this interview, about moving on to a happier place and such. There was a Rolling Stone interview that talked about his love for jet skis, and how he felt he might be ready to settle down and raise a family.


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« Reply #91 on: April 10, 2005, 01:22:27 PM »
Trent Reznor appearance on the Gonzo Show

Transcribed by Tallulidal on #ets

Zane Lowe of MTV2 Gonzo Show

ZL: Ah yea man, check it out, guess who’s sitting on the couch right now - the recognisable face of Mr. Trent Reznor. Ah, of course, representing Nine Inch Nails on the brown couch today, and sir, may I shake your hand?

TR: You may.

ZL: Good to see you!

TR: Good to see you too.

ZL: Right on man. You’re back with us, with this band of yours. You’ve got a few new players hanging out with you, doing some shows, and more importantly you’ve got this album now, you’ve got ‘With Teeth’, which you’re playing live and you’re representing, and obviously you’re very proud of otherwise you wouldn’t have attached your name to it and put it on the shelf. How does it feel now thinking about the record, you know, getting close for people to interpret it and listen to it?

TR: It feels pretty good. I mean, this whole, the whole setup, really from when I started working on this, ‘til up to this exact moment, everything is really falling into place. It feels strange. It feels right for a change, you know. And who know what will happen as far as public response, but um, and that moment is coming - judgement day – but it feels good. I feel like I’ve put my best foot forward and I’m proud of what’s there, and that’s all I can do.

ZL: You mentioned before that, you know, for once it feels like things have actually fallen into place. I mean, was there a time in your life that you were like ‘God, I think I’m actually born with this dysfunction surrounding my creative pursuit’?

TR: Pretty much all of my life, yea *laughs* I’ve had a lot of that... feeling, but things at the moment…

ZL: Rollin’!

TR: I’ve got very little to bitch about.

ZL: Things are rockin’ man. You’re looking well as well.

TR: Thank you.

ZL: We’re getting a lot of questions from the planet, We’ve got a veritable bible here from people who want to ask you, and a lot of them focus on the fact that you’re looking pretty buff. I think a lot of people want to know what you’re bench-pressing at the moment actually, cause you’re looking in shape!

TR: Yea, I don’t put a number... I don’t attach a number to things like that.

ZL: *laughs* right, but you look like you’re definitely having maximum weight and minimum repetition cause you’ve got some muscles going on there!

TR: Well.., you know, it’s a long tour ahead of us, I'm afraid I’m going to have to kick some ass, and hey if I’m going to talk shit about people, I’m going to have to defend myself. *laughs*

ZL: *laughs* we wondered whether those days were gone, but you know, we pray that they haven’t. We pray that there’s still a little bile in the system.

TR: *laugh* don’t worry, don’t worry.

ZL: *laugh* Let’s get straight into it right now, with one of these questions. Tea or coffee? Let’s start with a nice simple one from Miss Morbid Desire. Do you drink tea or coffee or both?

TR: Coffee.

ZL: Right, and how do you have it?

TR: *pauses*

ZL: Straight black?

TR: I could make a smart quip right now, but I’ll just say ‘black’.

ZL: Yea I know, all coffee gags have been done a billion times before...

TR: That’s true.

ZL: ...and they’ve been out-ruled on this show. What music is kind of inspiring you at the moment? Now your album is done, I guess you’re in a position to listen to a lot more records without feeling torn between your own creative pursuit and kinda listening to what other people are doing, other ideas. It must be kind of nice.

TR: Um, it is... I mean... yea... I have paid attention to kinda what’s going on, and occasionally a thing comes up that I think is pretty inspiring. I like, I like DFA productions... have stood out to me.

ZL: Well you’ve asked them, you’ve got them to remix, to have a crack at ‘The Hand That Feeds’.

TR: We did... yea, I really liked the LCD Soundsystem record. Just the occasional thing that pops up that I think is pretty good.

ZL: Right, okay. Well, there you go, that’s the first couple of questions from the planet out of the way. We’re going to come back after this and we’re going to talk in detail about the making of ‘With Teeth’ with Trent Reznor.

ZL: Ah, Trent Reznor is hanging out with us today on the brown couch. Comfy, ain’t she?

TR: It’s nice.

ZL: Eh, makes you feel good! Right on! Back with a new album called ‘With Teeth’. A whole bunch of songs that feature together in one consistent listen, and is that difficult for you to achieve? You know, when your making a record, just think how it’s going – the first song is so important when people hear that first track, and then you know, track three tends to be the single, if you’re looking throughout history...

TR: Right.

ZL: ...and do you look on it on those terms?

TR: Well, this record started off as more of a... I started off doing it kind of like I did ‘The Downward Spiral’. I had an idea for kind of an arc of the story and a concept, and a title and a number of song titles, and a starting point, an ending point, a resolution and all the trimmings. And when I started actually writing the songs to fill in the blanks, I found that for a number of reasons, maybe just being in a clear head space, maybe having more confidence as I started writing – I realised what I was doing was good, it could have been the way I wrote the record – I started with words, and did it, did demos on a piano, instead of writing in the studio. There wasn’t any real reason I chose to do it that way, other than that it felt like the right thing to do, but as I was working on the record, the songs started to stand on their own, and I thought they were… I allowed myself to think that they are good on their own and trying to jam them into this vehicle, this kinda construct of a story, felt, felt like I was forcing the issue. It started to feel a little pretentious.

ZL: It must have been a relief to be able let go of that in a way – to be able to say ‘You know what, this is... that’s served its purpose’, got that experience...

TR: Yea, a lot of rules I’ll come up with serve their purpose to get things going. I know they might change, but sometimes having regulations and restrictions help me focus on what needs to get done.

TR: I don’t have a band that sounds a certain way. I don’t have… I’m not being dictated to by others what I need to be like, so I’ll start with kind of general rules, and sometimes they change, but I think, as I’ve had some time to think about how this record has progressed, and had to look back at it, the main thing that seems different is I’ve had an unusual confidence that would allow me to throw those rules out, or allow me to say at some point, ‘You know, it doesn’t need all this crap on it. I think it’s good the way it is.’ And that also happened when it came time to arrange the songs from taking it from demo to final version. I went from Los Angeles, where I now live, to New Orleans where my studio is, and the plan was to flesh them out, and fill all the cracks with lots of stuff, little secrets and backwards this and that and you know, there’s the obligatory satanic messages that have to go in. Part of my deal with Satan is to put those in.

ZL: Of course, of course. Represent!

TR: Hey I got eternal youth out of the deal so, you know…

ZL: Right, that’s fine!

TR: *laughs* but as I started trying to do it, I realised that it didn’t really need that stuff. It might be confidence, or it could be laziness, you know, but if felt like I was okay letting some things go, and that even carried through to, say a song like ‘The Hand That Feeds’ or the last track on the record ‘Right Where It Belongs’ – both of those, when I was writing them, the first voice that pops up in my head says, ‘I can’t do this – too accessible, too pop, too catchy, too...’. That was, you know it would be safe for me to make a 14 minute art epic, because I’ve kind of done it, and no one’s going to make fun of you for doing that.

ZL: And you’ve got the fans in place who will appreciate it and buy it.

TR: Maybe, but I wrote some songs that felt like ‘Well these are pretty catchy!’ I didn’t write them to buy a new pool, you know, I wrote them because they just, they sounded good to me, and at the end of the day, I felt like it’s a strong, it’s a strong song. Like a track like ‘The Hand That Feeds’ kind of jumps out of the speakers after first listen.

ZL: It sounds like classic Nine Inch Nails to me, and I mean I know you’ve said this before about how accessible that song is, and absolutely there are hooks all over that track, and it’s great – it sounds great on the radio, the video looks great on MTV, you know, but it’s certainly not overly accessible – it sounds like you’ve made a pop song, it sounds like a Nine Inch Nails hit.

TR: Well, looking at the collection of things, I think it’s on one end of the spectrum, and that always brings up a ‘uh-oh’, and really that ‘uh-oh’ feeling is me worried about what people will think, and that’s not really being honest with myself.

ZL: I mean this, obviously, with utmost respect, that as well as the world has changed, so perhaps your platform isn’t as vast anymore to be able to say, ‘I’m going to really push the boat out. I’m going to challenge people as much as I could.’ But ultimately, with this record, maybe you need to be more direct. You need to remind people that this is exactly what I do and this is who I am and this is how *bleep* straight ahead I can be.

TR: I know what you’re saying there, and I’m not taking offence to it, but it really wasn’t why this came out the way it did – this record. I think that the record as a whole is more accessible, certainly than The Fragile. It wasn’t... it really wasn’t ‘uh-oh, I’ve been away being an addict somewhere. I’ve got to put out a record and I’ve got to…’ You know, career has always come second to trying to make the best record I can make, you know, and it’s... it might sound pretentious to say, but I feel good about everything I’ve put out I really believe in, and I think I’ve done the best I can do at the time, and been as honest with myself as I can be, and I sleep good at night knowing that, you know, and when this record was being written, it was kind of under the assumption, you know I got into this story with you elsewhere, but getting clean and getting your life in order, which is where I’ve been in the last several years, teaches you humility, and a humble nature that I’ve never really known before, and in the context of all that, the idea of still having a career was something that would be nice, but it could be gone, and if it is gone it’s okay, you know, I can still try to make the best music that I can, and this record came out the way it did and then it’s interesting and it’s kind of exciting to see that it is being received as well as it is, so far. But that’s a by-product of the record, not so much the plan to get that by making a record like that, and it wasn’t... I didn’t make this record to be the opposite of ‘The Fragile’, it just, when I started to work on it, this is what felt good to me, felt like the right way to do it.

TR: I sat down to write this record with a new set of tools and abilities than I had when I did ‘The Fragile’. ‘The Fragile’ – I was… I can see now clearly I was on a slippery slope headed to disaster, and I couldn’t think and I was terrified, and I couldn’t think clearly enough to write lyrics really, and I didn’t have great lyrical concepts, but I could improvise in the studio indefinitely, and that record grew into this big blob of what it is, because that’s what I could do at that time, that’s the best thing I could do. I listen to it now – ‘The Fragile’ – and I feel that um...

ZL: Yea, how do you feel…

TR: I’m proud of that record, but it feels really weird to be, because it’s like… I know I’m about to walk off a cliff after I finished that record, and I can now hear insights…

ZL: Can you take yourself out of that and hear that within the music as well, and hear…

TR: I can hear what’s coming, but I couldn’t see at the time, you know when I did ‘The Downward Spiral’, I thought I was writing a kind of amplification or projection of me. I didn’t know that I was predicting the future, you know, I didn’t know I was writing a script that I was about to then execute.

ZL: And why would you? You know, when you listen to ‘The Downward Spiral’, you think ‘God, it can’t get much worse than this’, you know ‘I’ve been through the worst of it surely at this point’.

TR: Yea but it did, and it does *laughs*, you know.

ZL: What freaks me out, and I tried to touch on this before when we spoke, but what really freaks me out is when you talk about this era of your life, and I met you for 45 minutes once and had a proper sit-down one-on-one with you about ‘The Fragile’ in the time you were doing all the press and promo… it really didn’t strike me that you were in that state. Now, most people who are in bands, who are struggling with drugs, or with whatever – addictions, it could be addictions to drama, anything – it’s a lot more obvious with them and if anything, they use it to promote their records or they use it to sort of say ‘Hey I’m a *bleep* out of control here’, you know, they make the most of that time in their life, and then they let it go. It seems like you kept this very much within.

TR: Well, because you were seeing me at a phase where you missed the part where I was bragging about it. I’d already learned that’s big trouble, now I’ve got to pretend everything’s okay, and that’s the time you caught me, at that phase, and, yea I don’t even like thinking about that time, so thanks for bringing that up, man…

ZL: Yea, you’re welcome man.

ZL: Right, this from Jay Hybrid, how did you discover the visual artist or graphic designer to do the artwork for your record? How do you go about making that decision? It’s got a uniformity to it?

TR: On this record? This time around, Rob Sheridan is the guy that’s done all the graphics for us, and I found him before ‘The Fragile’ came out, and he just had a fan website, and we hired him to do a website for us, and kind of go on the road with us and document what was going on and, his work led to the ‘And All That Could Have Been’ DVD – he filmed that, and we just immediately hit it off and have the same sensibilities, so when things came around this time, the typical procedure would be to find a fine artist and collaborate with them, and have another art director that puts it together, and Rob’s ideas are really good, and we just said ‘Let’s just do this thing,’ and he also directed ‘The Hand That Feeds’ video, and…

ZL: Which is good, a good solid performance video, I think, that one.

TR: I thought so too. You know, to me it was like, being in a band and it’s time to do videos - and I don’t do videos myself - you kind of get thrust into this position of, you know, if you’re an arty cool band, pick from one of five directors and you can think off the top of your head who they are, you know, and hope they come up with a clever idea that gets you on MTV and everyone is happy ever after, but it doesn’t feel sincere to me, it feels… you know, I think Spike Jones is a great director…

ZL: Michel Gondry’s a great director...

TR: Michel Gondry yea, Chris Cunningham, Romanek, you know, down the line, you know the ??? ones because they always have the best videos. So you end up either taking a chance on somebody that’s unknown, that you’re... that has it’s own set of problems, or you’re playing it as safe as you can be by hiring one of the few guys to hopefully make something that attaches itself to your song…

ZL: Well it certainly did that, you know…

TR: This time around it just felt like it’s not the right thing to do. Let’s just - the song is good, I think the band is good - let’s just have the band play the song and hopefully do it in a way that’s not too…

ZL: Corny or?

TR: That’s not boring, you know...

ZL: Yea, exactly. It’s also nice at the end, I mean obviously you’ve got like the instruments at the ground, the rock feedback and stuff, which takes you back to ‘March of the Pigs’ and stuff like that. I can’t remember, was ‘March of the Pigs’ actually, was that recorded live music as well?

TR: ‘March of the Pigs’ was everything live.

ZL: That’s what I thought.

TR: We played, literally played the song 15 times and whatever one was the least shitty was the one we ended up using.

ZL: Did you think about doing that with ‘The Hand That Feeds’ as well?

TR: We were going to do it, and then I got beat down by a number of reasons why you weren’t supposed to do that, and I conceded…

ZL: Right, fair enough. Do you have to do that very often nowadays, or are you still in a position to pretty much control your own?

TR: I can do what I wanna do, but often when it’s presented to me in a way that ‘Here’s the upside and the downside’, I weigh it out and then it’s my call as to what I think is right.

ZL: Sure, so you just take it on as advice effectively.

TR: *pauses* It’s advice, no one tells me what to do…

ZL: NO ONE tells Trent what to do!

TR: That’s... remember that.

ZL: We’re running out of time here, we’ve only got a couple more minutes, so I’m going to race through some questions from for our very special guest, Trent. High-fives man, I’m enjoying myself today!

TR: Me too!

ZL: Alright um…

TR: If it was all this easy…

ZL: There you go. Well, you know what, I’m open! I’m ready to go! Take me out on the road. I’ll do all your press. Different territories, I’ll get a linguist, linguistic coach!

TR: *laughs*

ZL: Your recent concerts are both physically and mentally demanding, obviously - here we go - obviously you’ve prepared yourself physically for the rigours involved – everyone’s noticing the physique, you’re looking good! How do you prepare yourself mentally? Wigglebutt wants to know. I mean, are there little rituals you do, without giving too much away, before shows, you know…

TR: Uhh, not really. There used to be a ritual that was, involved copious amounts of Tequila *laughs*

ZL: Those days are done!

TR: No, really right now, it’s just about… often I’ll get really nervous before a show, even now, and so it’s just a matter of me reassuring myself everything’s okay, as kind of stupid as that sounds…

ZL: Yea in 2 hours it’s gonna be done and yea…

TR: As soon as I walk onstage, I’m fine, but it’s that half hour before of… panic. Not really panic, but a mild sense of ‘something’s not right’.

ZL: Without crossing the line of journalistic professionalism, where do you stand in terms of what you entitle yourself to do and don’t do on the road – obviously drugs are out of the question – do you still entitle yourself to have a drink? Do you… are you allowed to have a drink now?

TR: No I don’t drink or do anything like that.

ZL: Right, so you’re pretty much completely clean now?

TR: I am *pauses* 100 percent clean.

ZL: Well you’re looking better for it. Has it been hard though, to find things to replace that aspect of your life though? ‘Cause that’s what people say, is it’s kind of a replacement factor to a certain extent.

TR: Well, one of the reasons that I didn’t jump right back into doing a record and touring immediately after getting clean was I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin before I went into a situation that had prior, previously got me into trouble, you know, and it wasn’t touring that got me into trouble, you know, it was just the fact that *pauses* I’m an addict, and I happen to be in a lifestyle that maybe accelerated it a bit, but it’s not why it happened. So, you know, I enter into this phase of touring and even doing the record with a pretty good, safe ground base of knowing who I am and what I am and feeling good about things. I don’t, I’m not in a white knuckly situation and I’m not uncomfortable with what’s around me and…

ZL: Good. Got a juicer?

TR: I do have a juicer.

ZL: Yea, yea yea, I’m big into juicers right now.

TR: Yea, what’s your flavour?

ZL: Carrot, beetroot and apple mix I think goes down very well.

TR: A little ginger in there? Spice it up?

ZL: That’s what I’m talking about right there! But then after you have the beetroot juice, if then you have a bowel movement and you find it’s slightly… don’t panic!

TR: I thought I lost a kidney once, but… till I learned what was happening.

ZL: It’s the power of the root man, it’s the power of the root!

TR: *laughs*

ZL: It’s good to see you dude.

TR: Good to see you too.

ZL: Thanks for coming in and hanging out. Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails, of course the album ‘With Teeth’ is coming your way, and you’ll get plenty of chances to see them play live, we’ll keep them on the road for as long as we can.


screenshots from the gonzo show (including that new horrible gorillaz video)


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« Reply #92 on: April 10, 2005, 02:46:44 PM »
5 track With Teeth Sampler here:
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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« Reply #93 on: April 11, 2005, 01:00:36 PM »
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has this not leaked yet?  I'm surprised


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« Reply #94 on: April 11, 2005, 03:02:52 PM »
Why didn't the Fragile do so well?

I got into them about 2001 or so, so I sort of missed the release date... but the Fragile is one of my favorite albums by Reznor.  He is a perfect case of a musician getting better with age.  I haven't heard anything off of With Teeth yet, but I assume it's going to be badass...

Pretty Hate Machine was good, but with his albums and remixes, Reznor seemed to get more of a command over what he was aiming to get across as a message, musically.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye


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« Reply #95 on: April 11, 2005, 04:08:44 PM »
Quote from: Walrus
Why didn't the Fragile do so well?

The album wasn't radio friendly.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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« Reply #96 on: April 11, 2005, 05:05:52 PM »
And somehow the Downward Spiral was with "Closer" being it's hit?
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye


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« Reply #97 on: April 11, 2005, 05:12:56 PM »
also, it wasn't nearly as good as the Downward Spiral.

so it cost more, had more filler, and was a disapointment.

Closer was a huge hit and had a great video, then he did Fragile which pretty much had shit videos.


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« Reply #98 on: April 11, 2005, 05:39:27 PM »
Quote from: RegularKarate
also, it wasn't nearly as good as the Downward Spiral.


then he did Fragile which pretty much had shit videos.  

I guess that's true too, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was a bad album.  It wasn't too single worthy, but as a whole, it was pretty awesome, and I figure most NIN fans would want more than a single and more of a great album, but maybe I overestimated them.
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« Reply #99 on: April 11, 2005, 10:15:57 PM »
well that was the trouble.  all the NIN fans went out and bought The Fragile the first week and it debuted in the top 5 but then the following week it took a huge nosedive because radio wasnt supporting it so nobody else went to buy it.

i dont believe its leaked yet.

interesting in that interview, how the interviewer points out that when he spoke to trent when fragile came out he seemed to be in such a happy place.  because i distinctly remember that from all the interviews i read from that period, the well-adjustedness, the short hair, so different.  so to know he was about to hit his lowest, is weird.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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« Reply #100 on: April 14, 2005, 11:01:46 AM »
It's been nearly six years since Trent Reznor released a Nine Inch Nails album, but with a new album out next month and a series of sold out gigs at the London Astoria behind him and a week of shows at Brixton Academy yet to come, it seems the whole world's dusted off their leather trousers and splashed on the spooky nail varnish, and folks you didn't realise knew the words to 'Closer' are suddenly Halo completists. Has the whole world suddenly gone Nine Inch Nails mad, or were they just all quietly biding their time before coming out of the woodwork? In the midst of a whirlwhind European press tour, a very calm Trent Reznor ushers PlayLouder's resident techie into his hotel room. There are no slavering groupies and only a small touch of black paint in the room, and it all seemed a bit too sedate and civilized frankly. That is, until he gets on to the subject of his record company's marketing department.

So Trent, the new album, 'With Teeth', sounds really guitar driven following the sequencers and computers taking prominence on the last album 'The Fragile'. Was that a conscious decision?

"Probably to some degree, yeah. The way I approached this record was totally different in terms of writing though that doesn't mean that it turned out radically different. Before I started writing the framework of it, I wanted it to be more performance oriented, less layered, and more stripped down. Not having a band in the studio means that sometimes I need some rules to push me in the right direction.

"I've been thinking a lot about this - it seems like since everyone has computers now, everyone can make perfect sounding records. Turn the radio on, and there's no shortage of that. I like using technology but I wanted to treat everything on this record more as a performance. We kept the synths and guitar riffs as a whole and I just played it like it's taped in one whole performance and kept it that way on the album."

So you recorded it live?

Yeah, a lot more like that. A lot of the stuff that sounds like guitars is actually synths. It's on an old patch synth keyboard - I'd set it to plug everything in, then start swapping bits and mixing. I would sometimes play a long, improvisational thing over parts of the track and while it's playing I'd change the sound and you can't ever get the original back once it's been altered. The idea wasn't just to make busywork for ourselves, it was more to make a record where the over all tone of the lyrics was one that was flawed, that wasn't perfect, wasn't glossy, and the working framework supported that idea. It became much more performance oriented. It's also the idea of having live drums, which changed the sound a lot - the idea of having someone actually playing something in the context of recording is interesting. It's inspiring."

With all the live performances, do you still write your own sequences or do you use ready made software like Pro Tools or Cubase on your studio computers?

"This time around I did everything on Pro Tools on the Macs. I got a guy to be a programmer so I can free up my brain for other things. Atticus Ross, who's my right-hand man on this whole record, helped a lot in this. The process this time was that I was working on demos myself, and then Atticus and I kinda fleshed them out in a real studio, maybe fined tuned some parts, but the thing that was interesting in this process was that there were demos at all. The last two records - The Downward Spiral and The Fragile - were written in a studio. It wasn't a conscious decision as much as thinking 'Well, I have a studio wherever I am and everything I need is right around me and if I'm going to work on demos I might as well be in the studio.' And pretty soon, songwriting and production and arranging all became the same thing. It eliminated having a demo because the demo was the real version.

"When it came around time to work on this album, I wanted to get back to having a demo, I wanted to focus only on the opposite side of things - all these songs started with lyrics and vocal line and basic chord changes. So I set up a room that only had a piano and a drum machine and a small computer to record into, and I would do about two songs every ten days. It didn't allow me enough time to go off on a tangent and do what I'd rather do, which was tinkering around with the sound. But when it came time later to flesh out the songs a bit and arrange them, I found that they didn't need a lot of extra shit - I started trying to layer things up and redo the vocals, and a lot of times the one I did really quickly was the best one. The demos had a spirit to them that an expensive mic and doing it 300 times just couldn't top."

It sounds like you're describing the sound on 'Still' [a bonus mini-album with limited copies of 'And All That Could've Been' that revisited old songs in a stripped-down style]. Do you think you'll ever go back and release these demos or redo some more old songs in that way?


So no rarities compilation then?

"No, there's not many rarities because everything's come out!"

Yeah, but only out as bonus tracks in Japan, it's not fair!


There's a distinct lack of instrumentals on the new album, after 'The Fragile' was full of them. Was there any sort of reason for that?

"I started writing this album in January 2004, but prior to that I had the general flow, concept, title, and vague theme and I was going to make it more of a conceptual piece. But when I started writing the songs to fit into the concept, I discovered that they were coming out as strong songs in their own right and didn't really need to be part of this epic thing."

Is this when it was still called 'Bleedthrough'?

"That was when I was changing it from 'Bleedthrough' to what it became, yes. It seemed like I was really trying to force it into something kinda pretentious and stupid. And I thought maybe this was just a record that's 10 or 15 songs that are friends with each other. I'm not saying it's out of laziness, it's just an editorial call to make a song based record for a change. And there wasn't room for an instrumental in there that made sense. I had four more songs I had to cut that I really loved, but I didn't want a long album, I wanted something that was digestible."

Do you think you'll release those four songs online somewhere?

"My plan right now is that I'm actively writing again and I would hope that by the end of this tour, in a year's time, there's another record ready to go. It feels that good to me. So, we'll see what happens."

So we won't have to wait five years for the next album like we have in the past?

(laughs) I hope to god not!

You've previously said that CD packaging 'feels cheap' and it's not as useful as it once was with vinyl. I've always felt that you've done really innovative packaging, from the tri-fold digipack of 'Broken' to the screen printed fabric cover on the live album 'And All That Could've Been'. Does that mean we're not going to get any bonus for buying the cd version this time as opposed to downloading it legally?

"Well, I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and you may not like the answer I've come up with! Two months ago Interscope told me [puts on marketing drone voice] 'Come up with the most elaborate package in the world because everyone's doing deluxe editions - you can make a bound book, you can make it anything you want, go nuts!'

"I thought about it and I came up with a package that I felt was a nice, tasteful package. It had two discs in it - one was the surround mixes that I sat and did myself and the other disc was in high resolution stereo as a regular CD. But about two weeks ago as the deadline for production approached Interscope came back again and said [same marketing drone voice] 'Hey, listen - no more deluxe packages since nobody's buying them so we want different copies for each store. We need video content because that's what-' And I said, 'Look. First of all, in my heart, those deluxe packages are shit anyway, because they're not really deluxe, they're not really anything more.

I'd personally rather have the 5.1 mixes than fancy packaging any day...

"So would I! But when you're talking to a marketing guy at the record label who says [back comes the marketing voice] 'Kids want video! Kids want this and that-' You know what? Fuck what the kids want. Maybe Jay-Z never heard his 5.1 mix because he doesn't give a fuck, but I sat in the room and did the thing and it's great. And that does have merit. What I'm not going to do is shit out some half hour video montage of us fucking around in the studio because it needs 'video content'. If you look at those deluxe packages, you're just getting some demystifying piece of shit. It's junk, and it further marginalises the art of the music.

"The end result of all that is that we're going to have a PDF of the packaging that I intended that you can download. So, download it, steal it, do whatever the fuck you want with it. If you want the artwork, get it online. The bought packaging is very simple, but I've been in denial ever since CDs came out. CD packages suck. They can unfold 15 times, but they're still shitty little pamphlets. It's not a sleeve, there's no real estate, and there's no room for art. It's in a shitty, plastic, exploding jewel box. They're shit. So let's treat it for what it is - it's just a means of getting electronic information. To me that's bolder than trying to pretend that this is some fancy, great package. But we do have a trick up our sleeves but I can't tell you what it is yet. But you'll see that it makes sense..."

Do you think that someone who buys just the regular cd version of 'With Teeth' (as opposed to buying the 5.1 surround sound version) is missing out on what you intended the album to be?

"I like the idea of a new format and I've found that it lends itself to what I do. I think the [remastered 5.1] 'Downward Spiral' turned out great, but it's not for everybody and I also realise that because I like it, it doesn't mean that everybody's set up with a 5.1 system in their house, let alone set it up right, so that it sounds right. I think to those that have done it right it's a really cool thing. I like it but it's tough to get in that argument with the marketing guy - I'm not a 16-year-old kid who buys records. I don't know what they listen to, whether it's in in 5.1 or not, and I don't know if having shit video content is more important than a good quality 5.1 mix. I don't know if anybody cares, but I like it."

Does it bother you that people can buy the album in an even lesser quality than the regular CD version on places like iTunes?

"Yeah, it does bother me. But can I do anything about it? No. Do I think most people that are ferocious about stealing music care if the bitrate is a little bit lower? Probably not. But most people listen to music in their car or on their shitty iPod headphones. Do they care? Not really. It's depressing in that sense but it's a fight I'm not sure how to win right now."

It's good people are listening at all...

"It's better than not listening to it, definitely."


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nine inch nails
« Reply #101 on: April 14, 2005, 11:22:14 AM »
Nine Inch Nails: Not So Fragile Now
Victoria Durham of Rock Sound

"Think Trent Reznor's an untouchable enigma? Think again. rock sound candidly gets under the skin of a living legend to discuss love, death, personal demons and David Bowie. It turns out even idols have idols - get reading..."

When Trent Reznor presented 'The Fragile' to the world in '99, he felt certain of a new beginning. It was evident in the interviews he gave at the time, where he spoke about being able to look at himself in the mirror every morning without disgust, confident the self-loathing that had pervaded '94's 'The Downward Spiral' was on his way out. Over five years on, he reveals he couldn't have been more wrong. If the journey from 'The Downward Spiral' to 'The Fragile' involved battling external demons - the passing of the grandmother who raised him, or the recovery from destructive relationships with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love - then the journey from 'The Fragile' to new album 'With Teeth' saw Reznor once again turn the focus in on himself.

"Since I got a record deal in '89 I've been chasing after whatever career goal, making a better record or touring forever, and I didn't really know who I was anymore," he explains, sitting in a brightly-lit Los Angeles photo studio, sipping black coffee."Me, the person, was just what happened when I wasn't on stage or sitting in the recording studio. My recollection of things is that I was pretty miserable, then I got a record deal and I thought that would fix everything. Fifteen years later, I was still miserable. Money and fame didn't help. Making good music felt better for a while, but it didn't fix everything. I felt like something was wrong with me, not the situation."

Consequently, Reznor decided he should get to know the "human being" he'd neglected since first signing a record contract. But not before he hit rock bottom one last time.

"With 'The Downward Spiral' and then the Manson 'Antichrist...' record, it was pretty apparent something wasn't right," he laughs softly. "That's when I acknowledged that my life was spinning out of control. But I thought I knew everything, so I said, 'I'm just not going to do this or that,' and that was the climate for 'The Fragile' being recorded. I thought when I was writing 'The Fragile' that I was dealing with stuff, but I really wasn't doing it the right way. Then I went into a touring enviroment in a terrible state and did a terrible tour in terms of my mindset," he sighs. As the Fragility Tour ended, Reznor once again found himself battling self-hatred, his perception furthered by drugs and alcohol. "I really just hated myself," he remembers,"I got to a point where whatever shred of liking I had for myself was lost. I was on a fast path to death. There was no other way around that. It was time to make a decision, 'Which way do you want to go?' He concludes: "I can't really tell the story of this record, why it took so long and where my head's at, without pretty much saying that I'm a terrible addict and alcoholic, who had to finally almost die to get his shit together."

When he did finally make the decision to save himself, it was in tragic circumstances. Reznor's best friend from New Orleans, a man he says he would have trusted with his life, was shot dead. Somehow it gave Reznor the jolt he needed to get himself in order.

"He was a black guy who was a product of the projects in New Orleans, and the projects there are the worst I've ever seen," he recalls."His sister died of AIDS, and he didn't know who his dad was, the typical story. This guy was hired at the studio and somehow over the years we became friends. I think it was a project of mine to save him somehow. Then his mother called me one day, worried he hadn't come home. I just happened to be in the studio and the news was on. My friend and his cousin had been shot in the face, found dead in the projects. Somehow that just cut through. I felt like I should have been the one who was killed. Shortly after, I had time to figure out the mess, and I think at first it was just for him. It didn't matter to me. I culd kill myself and it really didn't matter at that point.

Then, as Trent puts it, things turned around. Yet it was the struggle to get to that point, to find the courage to deal with his addictions, that caused him to be absent from our lives for so long.

"I think the secret is just knowing that you've had enough and it took a lot of thinking before I really really really got to the point where I never ever wanted to be that guy again."

It also took a humiliating spell in rehab to separate Trent the person from Trent the personality.

"I did the full deal," he details,"I did a week in the psych ward, detox, it was full on. It wasn't glamorous this time. I can kind of laugh about it now. But the door that closes and doesn't open back up, and you realise there are no handles on it - it's hard to feel glamourous in that situation when you're vomiting on yourself. I was taught humility." He breaks into a smile, anticipating the inevitable question. "There was no master plan in taking this long between records. This was really about survival."

Now completely clean of drugs and alcohol, you can't help but share his conviction that he's got himself on a more stable path once and for all.

"I don't feel like I'm wrapped in blankets and more," he stresses,"I've felt like I had cotton in my head, and what do you do when you feel like 'Fuck, I can't think?' You might as well get more fucked up. I operated from that method for a great while, and it didn't work. I feel more equipped for geting my vision out now"

But what about the man behind that vision - not the internal struggles that have for so long been the focus of his music and media coverage - but as Trent stressed, the person? Today,on a sunny Monday morning,LA seems the least likely place to meet Trent Reznor. It's whole culture is at odds with what he represents. Indeed, Reznor is the living, breathing antithesis of a town that prozes fame and fortune over artistic integrity, and where the pursuit of perfection overrides honesty and openness every time. The airbrushed models that compete for your attention from the numerous billboardsare a million miles removed from Reznor's visible awkwardness when places in front of a camera. However, after 10 years of hiding himself away in New Orleans, where he was able to create his own reality in the house and studios he'd always wanted, Reznor has relocated to LA. He truly believes he can find a place for himself and his soul-baring art in the Land of the Fake. Not least because, after an acromonious parting of ways with his manager and close friend of 15 years, it was time to move on.

"The whole process was weird, leaving behind the studios," he says. "That was the greatest place in the world to me, except it's tough not to walk through there and think 'Okay, this is where we did the Manson record. This is where we did 'The Fragile'. A big chunk of my life has happened in that building. But that chapter's over."

While it's true that you'd be lucky to find a more open, accommodating and witty interviewee than Trent Reznor (his personal life proves the exception to this), it's unsurprising that someone who's made his life's work about analysing his personal demons should be able to discuss them so eloquently; inner turmoil is just one of the cliches that surrounds Nine Inch Nails, cliches that Reznor is very much aware of. Ask him when he last had time off, for example, and he responds with a suitable helping of mock horrir. Nonetheless, cliches exist for a reason, and the quest to find out more about Trent Reznor, the person, sometimes means starting with the obvious. And so we come to preconception number one, Trent Reznor as the recluse who spends all his time locked away in the studio.

"That part's pretty true," Trent smiles. "The routine over the past few months has really been that I get up at the crack of dawn and spend some time exercising, then I'm writing and making phone calls and afternoons and evenings are usually rehearsals."

So what nomral things do you like to do when you're not working?

"I hang out with my dog, I like mountain biking, I like being outside and I appreciate being around nature and having time to think. I normally try to get away in the winter to go skiing somewhere - somewhere I can just disappear. I'd never skied until a few years ago and I'm shitty at it, but I like snow."

Are you the solitary person people perceive you to be?

"For a long while I couldn't be by myself. I couldn't stand it. I was always around people, a band, studio people or whatever. Now I've learnt to really enjoy having my own time. I used to feel like I had a swarm of bees in my head. If I had the chance, I didn't want to sit down and realise I couldn't focus on anything."

One of the reasons Nine Inch Nails' music is so powerful is it's ability to tap into those same emotions in the listener as Reznor experiences in his songs. Few artists can claim to have had such a profound effect on their listeners as Reznor has with songs like 'Hurt', music that resonates so strongly with basic human emotion and reaches a place so deeply hidden that it's won him a following of cult-like intensity. As he explains, creating that intimate relationship with his fans was always part of the plan.

"I know as a music fan myself, when I hear a song and it seems like, 'That person knows exactly how I'm fucking feeling right now', it makes me feel better. It feels really nice as an artist to think that you can take something that's very intimate to you, very truthful and honest, and then some stranger hears it and it somehow connects to something in their life. I'm sounding corny, but that was my goal. If I could just make music that did the same thing that happened to me, that felt so powerful that when you're 15 you listen to it and think 'I'm not the only person that feels this way' that's a pretty cool thing.

Do you get emotional when making your own music?

"I've become desensitised to my own stuff because I've heard it about 400 times in the last month. But usually it comes in the form of goosebumps. I've got that listening back to 'The Fragile' recently. That's my equivalent of crying."

How aware are you of the effect your music has had on people's lives?

"I've had my fair share of experiences first hand of people that have come to me, written a letter or whatever. That makes it seem pretty sincere, that the music I sent out clicked on some level and helped them through bad times or was something they could relate to in a period of, I would say happiness, but usually it's distress of some kind," he laughs, acknowledging yet another cliche.

Somewhat ironically, another reason Nine Inch Nails remains such a prominent name both in and beyond alternative music is that new material is excruciatingly rare. In a 15 year career, aside from remixes and live releases, Trent Reznor has made just four albums proper - roughly one every five years. That means each release is anticipated and then treasured to the highest degree. And while Reznor insists the delay is never deliberate, thre's no escaping the fact that he feels none of the same pressures to deliver as your average commercial artist, and isn't scared to keep us guessing. So is it Trent himself that constructs the mystery that surrounds him, or is the enigma of Nine Inch Nails something other than people have created?

"Part of it is that I'd rather have you fill in the blanks than have everything pointed out and dictated to you," he explains. "Part of it is privacy. Part of it is that I'm insecure. My face isn't on the album covers ever and won't be because I don't want to be on there with a bad haircut that'll look dumb in a couple of years. So I'm not actively trying to calculate an image that isn't true, but I'm also not out to let you behind the curtain too much. I try to think back to the ancient days before music videos. The good thing about it was as a listener you filled in a lot of those blanks. It's about using the music so you want to find out more but you can't."

Do you think people would be surprised in some cases to discover your just a normal guy?

"Who said that?" He laughs. "For a long time (before this record) I became invisible again. It was pleasant at first. It's nice to be able to pick your nose when you're out and scratch your ass and nobody's interested. It's something you need to do!"

You must admit you're on a pedestay to a lot of people?

"I think I know who I am better than I ever did and I understand the role of media perception," he allows. "There are people I've always respected and they're larger than life to me. Hanging out with David Bowie, it's like 'Jesus Christ, I can't believe I'm with him.' He takes a shit like everyone else, but I don't need to know that. I like to think he doesn't," he smiles. "But that's okay, and I think there's room for that in music. People need something to latch on to; I wouldn't say heroes but icons of some sort. I do it myself."

Part of Reznor's reluctance to become caught-up in the cult of celebrity is, of course, a direct result of his being an artist in the true sense of the word. His work ethic has always been awe inspiring, if not a little unhealthy. Where does an attitude like that stem from?

"It began as a very calculated experiment. I was smart in school, but I don't think I ever studied for tests. It left me feeling that I'd never really seen what I was capable of doing," he considers. "I wanted to see what would happen if I stopped all the bullshit in my life and put my mind to it. What happened was the first album ('Pretty Hate Machine'). These songs were coming out, and I thought, 'I want to make the best record anyone's ever heard of in the whole world and I'm going to put every ounce of energy I have into this.' That's how it got started. Then, obviously everyone I come across isn't going to put as much effort into my thing as I am, so I thought 'I'll do it myself' and that's how the pressure got established. I think people get that perception though..." he trails. "I worked with a different engineer on this record briefly. We sat down and it was this real meticulous process, like all day to get a sound. I was like 'What in the fuck are you doing?' He's going, 'Well, I know it takes you forever to do your record, I thought this was how you worked.' I'm like 'Just plug the fucking thing in! We do a whole song in a day!' It might take me a while to get my life in order enough to go into the studio, but when I do, it's much more accidental than that!"

Here we arrive at the final cliche - Reznor the emotional train wrect, the man whose struggle to maintain a healthy relationship was a driving force behind 'Pretty Hate Machine' and, on the new album, could be suggested in songs like 'Only'.

"I had neglected it (my love life), but I've been paying more attention to it," he says coyly. "It feels like I'm more equipped to function in that situation, and minus being fucked up all the time I can actually be honest with myself and another human being. What it had really been was an extension of that 23 year old kid who said 'I want to stop everything in my life to do this'. I didn't want a girlfriend or marriage or a kid to get in the way of that opportunity. What that leads to eventually is one day saying 'Okay, I've sold this many records and played this big place...I'm lonely.' Then 'Wow, I'm older than everyone else. How did that happen?' Plus with drugs involved, time just flies off the calender. So now I'm going to be an old dad instead of a young dad."

Can you see yourself as a husband and father?

"I can see that some day, yeah," he ponders. "The day better come pretty soon though, because I'm getting older."

Do you worry about growing old alone?

"I'm 39 right now, and I'm wondering whether I should have started lying about my age because quite honestly, in that last couple of years, I've asked myself, 'How the fuck did that happen?' Friends I grew up with I don't recognise - they're old people. The career having been top priority for so long, plus being an addict, your maturity stops at some point and that takes over. So I feel like I jumped from 28 to 36. But there's nothing you can do about it," he shrugs.

These days somewhat mellowed instead of somewhat damaged, the Trent Reznor of '05 is clearly a different man to the one you would have encountered a decade ago. ("I probably would have had some air about me," he admits). Can we assume then, that Trent Reznor is - dare we say it - happy?

"I'm not saying I wake up and rose petals fly in my window," he contenses. "I'm just saying I'm much more equipped to deal with life than I have ever been. I feel like I've got a second lease of life right now, and if this record takes a shit and nobody likes it, it's not the end of the world. I like it and you're just fucking stupid!" he laughs, leaving rock sound a little bemused. "Well, I say that now," he reconsiders, "but ask me in a couple of months when the record takes a shit and they find my swinging corpse in the fucking closet."

That's more like it.



Written: January '04 to summer '04
Recorded: Autumn '04
Where: Nothing Studios, New Orleans and Sound City Studios, Los Angeles.
Produced by: Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder
Who's on it? Trent Reznor with help from Dave Grohl and Jerome Dillon on drums.
Who's playing it live? Alessandro Cortini (keyboards), Jerome Dillon (drums), Aaron North (ex-Icarus Line, guitar), Jeordie White (ex-Marilyn Manson/APC, bass)
Says Reznor: "I've always thought I could think my way out of situations, bend the rules. The big thing I've learned (this time) is that I really don't know anything. That popped up in the lyrics of the album."
Release date: May '05

An unexpected beginning. Mournful piano and drum 'n' bass style beats build into a screaming cyclone of noise.

Kick-starts the action good and proper. An obvious successor to songs like 'Starfuckers, Inc." and "Mr. Self Destruct".

An understated number where Reznor's vocals take center stage. Has the feel of 'Pretty Hate Machine' era NIN being reworked for '05.

The first single and a phenonomenal comeback statement. Think 'Head like a Hole' with a brand, spanking new relevance.

A dark and difficult track that wouldn't be out of place on 'The Downward Spiral'. Shows Reznor is still allowing the listener room to grown into his work.

Epic but powerful. Recalls Reznor's talent for creating subtly lethal beauty in his music while still punching out a hypnotic rhythm.

Appears to update the lyrics of 'Sanctified'. A swirling tortured backdrop gives way to tranquil piano before exploding into a wall of sound. Unpredictable.

A future hit, make no mistake. Funky 80's electro-pop leads into spoken word vocals reminiscent of 'Down in It'.

A straight-up rock song that makes an unashamed shot at accessibility. Killer stuff.

Another demanding one. Music is stripped down to drums and piano as Reznor wrangles with that ever-troublesome female presence.

And so begins the descent. Reznor fazes in and out like a paranoid schizophrenic: "Is there somebody on top of me? I don't know, I don't know."

A modest pop song that never quite reaches an obvious peak. Oddly reminiscent of the Foo Fighters' "Walking After You".

Reznor saves the best until last. If you thought "Hurt' could never be matched, this song says otherwise.


Release: "Pretty Hate Machine"
Date: '89
What is it? The album that started it all, as Reznor began what he calls his "quest for the impossible".
Says Reznor: "It wasn't until then that I had the courage to sit down and start working on my own stuff." Aged 23, this marked him out as a musical genius in the making.
Must Hear Tracks: "Head like a Hole", "Sin"

Release: "Broken"
Date: '92
What is it? The eight-song EP that introduced "Wish" and "Suck". It's songs were then remixed on a second EP "Fixed". Confusing stuff.

Release: "The Downward Spiral"
Date: '94
What is it? Reznor's second album explores self-loathing and emotional dysfunction. As he was hailed the most vital artist in modern music, this showed that behind the scenes the story was far less optimistic.
Must Hear Tracks: "Hurt" "Closer" "Mr. Self Destruct" "March of the Pigs"

Release: "Further Down the Spiral"
Date: '95
What is it? Reznor indulges his passion for remixes with reworked songs from the album he's released a year earlier.

Release: "Closure"
Date: '97
What is it? A double video release combining live footage from the Self Destruct tour ('94-'98) and promotional videos. Includes the "Happiness in Slavery" clip, which was banned, due to graphic content.

Release: "The Fragile"
Date: '99
What is it? Reznor's epic double vision - a double CD album that echanged outright rage for longer, introspective creations. Song lengths were stretched and lyrics were often left out altogether. For many, this is his greatest accomplishment.
Must Hear Tracks: "We're In This Together"

Release: "Things Falling Apart"
Date: '00
What is it? The trend continues as, once again, Reznor remixes songs from the album he released the previous year, including three versions of "Starfuckers, Inc."

Release: "And All That Could Have Been"
Date: '02
What is it? A live album and DVD. Both captured performances recorded on the tour surrounding "The Fragile". Accompanied by the "Still" EP, a collection of brilliant stripped-down versions.

Release: "Hurt"
Date: Appears on '02's "American IV: The Man Comes Around"
What is it? Shortly before his death, music legend Johnny Cash covered this NIN classic.
Says Reznor: "When I saw the video, I cried. It was a little reaffirment that music is magic."

Release: "The Downward Spiral (Deluxe Edition)"
Date: February '05
What is it? A remastered, remixed version of the '94 album in 5.1 surround sound, to celebrate it's 10th anniversary. Original songs reach a new potential. A bonus disc contains previously unreleased tracks and demos.



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nine inch nails
« Reply #102 on: April 14, 2005, 10:25:34 PM »
Quote from: RegularKarate
has this not leaked yet?  I'm surprised

leak here:
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Two Lane Blacktop

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« Reply #103 on: April 14, 2005, 10:31:39 PM »
Quote from: mogwai
Nine Inch Nails: Not So Fragile Now

AWESOME article, mogwai...  thank you.

I'm not sure what a happy Trent Reznor will have to offer to the world, but it'd be selfish to hope he didn't find it.  I wish him luck, and look forward to the new one.

Was I the only one who seriously loved The Fragile?  I don't know all the personal shit that it meant to him, but I really loved that album.  All you ever read about it is how it sank like a brick, sales-wise.  

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« Reply #104 on: April 14, 2005, 10:51:19 PM »
I will join you, TwoLaneBlacktop!
I like to hug dogs


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