List of Nine Inch Nails band members
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Nine Inch Nails performing at 2009's Virgin Festival Toronto Background information Origin Cleveland, Ohio, United States Genres Industrial rock, industrial metal, alternative rock, dark ambient Years active 1988–present Labels The Null Corporation, Interscope, Nothing, TVT, Atlantic, Bicycle, Island, Rykodisc Associated acts Marilyn Manson, Tapeworm, Exotic Birds, Pigface, How to Destroy Angels Website Members Trent Reznor
Josh Eustis Past members See below
Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock act, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. Nine Inch Nails live performances contrast with its in-studio counterpart: although Reznor is in complete creative control of Nine Inch Nails in-studio, he typically assembles groups of backing musicians to interpret songs for tours and other live performances. In 2009 Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails was done touring, but that he would continue to create music under the name.
The live band lineup changed consistently throughout the band's history, with Reznor remaining the only constant on vocals, guitar, and synthesizers. Notable musicians who have contributed to live performances include Richard Patrick, Chris Vrenna, Jeordie White, Robin Finck, Josh Freese, Aaron North, Alessandro Cortini, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Jerome Dillon, Charlie Clouser, Danny Lohner, Jeff Ward, and James Woolley.
The configuration of Nine Inch Nails as a live band evolved consistently from the first tours in 1988 until the final tour in 2009. Early incarnations of the band featured three people playing guitar, drums, keyboards, and samplers. Later incarnations replaced the keyboards and samplers with an additional guitarist, and further incarnations added a bass guitarist. The live component of Nine Inch Nails later settled on a five-piece band between the Self Destruct Tour in 1994 and Lights in the Sky tour in 2008. In September 2007, Reznor expressed his interest in moving away from the "rock band configuration" to explore "other ways [to] present the material in concert", and by 2009, the live band was once again pared down to four positions.
Between major tours, live band members have on occasion contributed instrumental performances to official Nine Inch Nails releases, though creative control and direction has always been the responsibility of Reznor. Nine Inch Nails has released one album and four videos featuring the live band: Closure (1997), a double-VHS set featuring live performances from the Self-Destruct tour; And All That Could Have Been (2000), released in CD and double-DVD formats featuring performances from the Fragility tour; Beside You in Time (2007), released in high-definition and DVD formats featuring performances from the Live: With Teeth tour; and Another Version of the Truth (2009), an officially sanctioned fan-made release in high-definition and triple-DVD sets featuring performances from the Lights in the Sky tour.
 Current members Trent Reznor Active: 1988–present Instruments: lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, programming, drums Release contributions: all Nine Inch Nails releases As the sole official member of Nine Inch Nails in-studio, Reznor has performed with the live-band since its inception in 1988 and he has been the only constant member of the live-band since then. Eric Avery Active: 2013–present Instruments: bass Release contributions: none Avery joined the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours. Adrian Belew Active: 2013–present Instruments: guitar Studio-release contributions (as guest): The Downward Spiral (1994), The Fragile (1999), Ghosts I–IV (2008) Belew joined the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours. Josh Eustis Active: 2013–present Instruments: Unknown Release contributions: Remix of the song 'Where Is Everybody?' on the Things Falling Apart release. Eustis joined the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours. Alessandro Cortini Active: 2004–2008, 2013–present Instruments: keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, bass guitar Live-release contributions: Beside You in Time (2007), Another Version of the Truth (2009) Studio-release contributions: Year Zero Remixed (2007) (as Modwheelmood), Ghosts I–IV (2008), "Discipline" (2008), The Slip (2008) Prior to the Live: With Teeth tour in 2005, Reznor held open auditions to replace live-band members who had left the group during the five years between tours. Alessandro Cortini reportedly fit in immediately, and was part of the live-band for 4 years. Between tours, Cortini contributed to some of the Nine Inch Nails studio-material, gaining co-writing credits on Ghosts I–IV (2008) and a performance credit on The Slip (2008). At the conclusion of the Lights In The Sky Over North/South America tour in late 2008 Cortini announced his departure from the band to pursue other music projects. No replacement was hired for him, and the 2009 incarnation of the live band was a 4-piece group, with the role of keyboard player shared between the 4 band members. Cortini returned to the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours. Ilan Rubin Active: 2009, 2013–present Instruments: drums Release contributions: none Ilan Rubin was named as the drummer to succeed Freese. Rubin played with the band for the 2009 Wave Goodbye tour. He returned to the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours.
 Former live members Chris Vrenna Active: 1988–1991, 1994–1997 Instruments: keyboards, samplers (1988), drums Live-release contributions: Closure (1997) Studio-release contributions: Pretty Hate Machine (1989), Broken (1992), Fixed (1992), The Downward Spiral (1994) Alongside Trent Reznor and Ron Musarra, Chris Vrenna was a member of the original three-piece band formed in 1988 to support Skinny Puppy on tour. After Nine Inch Nails was dismissed from the tour, Vrenna replaced Musarra on drums, and subsequently played with the band until 1991, when he had a brief fall out with Reznor. Vrenna and Reznor later reconciled, and Vrenna rejoined the band in 1994 for the Self-Destruct tour. The pair had a final falling out in 1997. Ron Musarra Active: 1988 Instruments: drums, samplers Release contributions: none Ron Musarra was the drummer of the 1980s band Slam Bamboo, which Trent Reznor was also the keyboardist of. After leaving the band, Reznor and Musarra — along with Chris Vrenna — were members of the original three-piece band formed in 1988 to support Skinny Puppy on tour. Nine Inch Nails were reportedly poorly received, however, and were asked to leave the tour after 10 dates. For subsequent live performances and tours, Chris Vrenna, originally contributing on keyboards, replaced Musarra on drums. Musarra was thanked in the liner notes of Pretty Hate Machine. Richard Patrick Active: 1989–1993, 1996 (one performance) Instruments: guitar Release contributions: Pretty Hate Machine (1989) Following the live-band's first performances in support of Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails was asked to provide support for Jesus and Mary Chain on their Automatic tour in early 1990. Expanding from a three-piece to a four-piece band, Richard Patrick was added on guitar. Patrick played with the band through the conclusion of the Pretty Hate Machine tour in 1991, including a performance at Lollapalooza. After touring briefly in support of Guns N' Roses, Patrick left the live-band to form Filter. Patrick was briefly reunited with Nine Inch Nails in 1996 during the Nights of Nothing showcase tour, as he contributed guitar to a performance of "Head Like a Hole" during Nine Inch Nails' set on the last of three dates. Gary Talpas Active: 1989 Instruments: keyboards Release contributions: none Gary Talpas briefly replaced Chris Vrenna on keyboards, so that Vrenna can move to drums. He was only present during the Pretty Hate Machine promotional tour. Its unknown whether he was actually playing; however, Talpas was NIN's art director for a number of years, including creating the widely-known NIN logo. Nick Rushe Active: 1989-1990 Instruments: keyboards Release contributions: none Following the live-band's first performances in support of Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails was asked to provide support for Jesus and Mary Chain on their Automatic tour in early 1990. Nick Rushe was added to the live-band on keyboards, since Gary Talpas wasn't meant to be an on-stage member. Rushe was only part of the live-band for the Automatic tour, some 34 performances over three months, and was later replaced by David Haymes for subsequent tour in support of Peter Murphy. David Haymes Active: 1990 Instruments: keyboards Release contributions: none Following Nine Inch Nails' tour in support of Jesus and Mary Chain in 1990, the live-band again toured in support of Peter Murphy on the Deep tour. David Haymes took over keyboards and played with NIN briefly before being replaced by Lee Mars. Lee Mars Active: 1990–1991 Instruments: keyboards Release contributions: none Lee Mars contributed briefly to the live-band as their keyboardist, replacing David Haymes. He stayed with the band until 1991 when James Woolley was brought in. Mars performed with Nine Inch Nails for less than a year, but in that time played with the band during their first tours as headlining act. James Woolley Active: 1991–1994 Instruments: synthesizers Release contributions: Closure (1997) James Woolley replaced Lee Mars on keyboards in 1991. Woolley's tenure with the band included their 1991 Lollapalooza performance through the beginning of the subsequent Self-Destruct tour in 1994. Jeff Ward Active: 1991 Instruments: drums Release contributions: none Jeff Ward briefly replaced Chris Vrenna as drummer for Nine Inch Nails when Vrenna left the band mid-tour due to a fall out with Reznor. Ward's brief tenure with the band included their 1991 Lollapalooza performance and as a supporting act on tour with Guns N' Roses. Between tours, Ward committed suicide in 1993, and Vrenna returned to the band taking Ward's place. Robin Finck Active: 1994–2000, 2008–2009 Instruments: guitar, synthesizers, vocals Live-release contributions: Closure (1997), And All That Could Have Been (2002), Another Version of the Truth (2009) Studio-release contributions: "Discipline" (2008), The Slip (2008) Robin Finck replaced Richard Patrick, the live band's original guitarist, for the Self-Destruct tour in 1994. Between tours, Finck performed briefly with Cirque du Soleil and then with Guns N' Roses. Following a four-year touring hiatus, the Nine Inch Nails live-band reformed in 1999 for the Fragility tour, again featuring Finck contributing on guitar. At the conclusion of the Fragility tour in 2000, Finck returned to Guns N' Roses, and was replaced by Aaron North for Live: With Teeth in 2005. There are various reports that suggest there was anamosity between Finck and Reznor during the Fragility tours, which may have led to Finck declining the invite to the following tours. In 2008, Finck rejoined Nine Inch Nails, playing on The Slip and joining the live band for the Lights in the Sky tour and the following Wave Goodbye tour. Finck has contributed on the most tours of all the past live members, playing for the Self Destruct, Fragility, Lights In The Sky and Wave Goodbye tours. Danny Lohner Active: 1994–2000, 2009 (1 performance) Instruments: bass guitar, guitar, and synthesizers Live-release contributions: Closure (1997), And All That Could Have Been (2002) Studio-release contributions: The Downward Spiral (1994), The Fragile (1999), Things Falling Apart (2000) For the Self-Destruct tour in 1994, the Nine Inch Nails live-band was expanded into a five-piece band, adding Danny Lohner on bass guitar. Lohner played with the live-band through the Self-Destruct tour in 1994 and 1995 and the Fragility tour in 1999 and 2000. During his tenure with the band, Lohner contributed to a number of releases, including studio-albums The Downward Spiral (1994) and The Fragile (1999) Lohner was also a founding-member of the Nine Inch Nails side-project Tapeworm. Charlie Clouser Active: 1994–2000 Instruments: keyboards, synthesizers, theremin, occasional drums Live-release contributions: Closure (1997), And All That Could Have Been (2002) Studio-release contributions: The Downward Spiral (1994), Further Down the Spiral (1995), "The Perfect Drug", "The Day the World Went Away" (1999), The Fragile (1999), "Into the Void" (1999), "Starfuckers, Inc." (1999), Things Falling Apart (2000) Charlie Clouser joined the Nine Inch Nails live-band in late 1994, replacing James Woolley on keyboards midway though the Self-Destruct tour. Clouser played with the live band through the remainder of the Self-Destruct tour, and the subsequent Fragility tour in 1999 and 2000. While a member of the live-band, Clouser contributed to numerous studio-releases, including The Downward Spiral (1994) and The Fragile (1999). Clouser was also a founding-member of the Nine Inch Nails side-project Tapeworm. Jerome Dillon Active: 1999–2005 Instruments: drums, guitar Live-release contributions: And All That Could Have Been (2002), Beside You in Time (2007) (Live rehearsal footage) Studio-release contributions: The Fragile (1999), Things Falling Apart (2000), Still (2002), With Teeth (2005) To replace long-time member Chris Vrenna for the Fragility Tour in 1999, Reznor held open auditions to find a new drummer, eventually picking then-unknown Jerome Dillon. Dillon performed with the live band through the entirety of the Fragility tour, and was again featured in the band in 2005 at the start of the Live: With Teeth tour. However, during the band's first arena date, Dillon was forced to stop midway through a show and was subsequently hospitalized. His condition was later diagnosed as a non-life threatening cardiac disorder, a consequence of his thyroid medication. Dillon was initially replaced by Josh Freese, then Alex Carapetis, followed by Freese again on a more permanent basis. During Dillon's tenure, he contributed to several Nine Inch Nails releases, including studio albums The Fragile (1999), Still (2002) and With Teeth (2005), and live-releases And All That Could Have Been (2002) and Beside You In Time (2007); the latter of which was released after his split with the band. Jeordie White Active: 2005–2007 Instruments: bass guitar, guitar, and synthesizers Release contributions: Beside You In Time (2007) Prior to the Live: With Teeth tour in 2005, Reznor held open auditions to replace live-band members who had left the group during the five years between tours. Jeordie White was auditioned and chose to replace Danny Lohner on bass guitar. White played with the group through the Live: With Teeth tour and the following Performance 2007 tour. Before joining Nine Inch Nails, White had been a part of Marilyn Manson (then playing under the pseudonym of "Twiggy Ramirez") while they acted as supporting band for Nine Inch Nails during the Self-Destruct tour in 1994. Aaron North Active: 2005–2007 Instruments: guitar Release contributions: Beside You In Time (2007) Prior to the Live: With Teeth tour in 2005, Reznor held open auditions to replace live-band members who had left the group during the five years between tours. Reznor reportedly had trouble finding a guitarist to replace Robin Finck until auditioning Aaron North. North played with the group through the Live: With Teeth and the following Performance 2007 tour. Josh Freese Active: 2005, 2005–2008 Instruments: drums Live-release contributions: Beside You in Time (2007), Another Version of the Truth (2009) Studio-release contributions: Year Zero (2007), "Capital G" (2007), The Slip (2008) During the Live: With Teeth tour, drummer Jerome Dillon was forced to stop midway through a show and was subsequently hospitalized. Josh Freese initially replaced Dillon for two shows before Alex Carapetis joined the band for the remainder of the arena tour. Freese eventually replaced Carapetis and joined the band on a more permanent basis. Freese played with the band through the remainder of the Live: With Teeth tour, the following Performance 2007 tour, and the subsequent Lights in the Sky tour. Between tours, Freese contributed instrumental performances to a number of Nine Inch Nails studio-releases, including Year Zero (2007) and The Slip (2008). Before joining Nine Inch Nails, Freese had been a part of A Perfect Circle while they acted as the supporting act for Nine Inch Nails during the Fragility 2.0 tour in 2000. He announced his departure from the band in late 2008 and was replaced by Ilan Rubin. Alex Carapetis Active: 2005 Instruments: drums Release contributions: none During the Live: With Teeth tour, Jerome Dillon was forced to stop midway through a show and was subsequently hospitalized. Josh Freese initially replaced Dillon on drums for two shows before Alex Carapetis joined the band for the remainder of the arena tour. Freese eventually replaced Carapetis and joined the band on a more permanent basis. Rich Fownes Active: 2008 (see below) Instruments: bass guitar Release contributions: none The Nine Inch Nails official website originally announced in 2008 that Rich Fownes would be joining the live-band for the Lights in the Sky tour on bass guitar. Before any scheduled performances, however, it was revealed that Justin Meldal-Johnsen would instead be contributing on bass guitar. The circumstances of the replacement were not made public. Justin Meldal-Johnsen Active: 2008–2009 Instruments: bass guitar Release contributions: The Slip (2009) (Live rehearsal footage on the DVD of the CD/DVD release), Another Version of the Truth (2009) Prior to the Lights in the Sky tour, it was originally announced that Rich Fownes would be joining the live-band on bass guitar. However, before any scheduled performances it was revealed that Justin Meldal-Johnsen would instead be contributing on bass guitar.
 See also
 References Zahlaway, Jon (2005-05-16). "Live Review: Nine Inch Nails in Boston". LiveDaily. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-02-10. "Those who know Nine Inch Nails only from their studio recordings--industrial-rock affairs heavy on synthesized sounds--might assume that the group's material wouldn't translate well in a live setting. They'd be sorely mistaken, as evidenced by the band's Friday night (5/13) performance at Boston's Orpheum Theatre." Busby, Brent (2007-03-23). "DVD Review: Nine Inch Nails Live". Western Courier. Retrieved 2007-04-08. "In theory, Nine Inch Nails shouldn't be a great live band. Reznor's music sometimes consists of non-organic instruments thrown straight onto a computer, at times being twisted to the point of not even sounding like the original source." ^ a b c d e f Getting Down in It. Alternative Press. March 1990. ^ a b c d Sympathy for the Devil. Spin. March 1996. ^ a b c Chun, Gary (2007-09-14). "Reznor's edge cuts NIN's bleak outlook". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-09-18. Reznor, Trent (2005-01-22). "access". Nine Inch Nails. Archived from the original on 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2008-02-01. Cohan, Jillian (2006-05-24). "Two tryouts nailed down band spot: Alessandro Cortini is touring with industrial-strength rock act Nine Inch Nails, coming to Wichita on Monday". Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2008-03-29. "Alessandro Cortini to leave NIN". The NIN Hotline. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2008-12-16. "Welcome, Ilan!". Nine Inch Nails. 2008-11-15. Retrieved 2008-11-21. "Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails". Rhythm. March 1997. Moss, Coret (2001-09-18). "Vrenna Leaves NIN Behind To Explore What's Uncertain". MTV. Retrieved 2008-02-08. Ramirez, Mike (February 2001). Nothing is Temporary 2 (1). Blue Divide Magazine. "Ron Musarra". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-31. Kaye, Don (September 1996). Nailed! Trent's Posse Pound New York. Kerrang!. "Photo of Talpas 1989". NINWiki. 1989. Retrieved 2012-08-23. Martin, Steve (1990). "Nine Inch Nails". Thrasher. ^ a b Sanner, Stacey (July 1990). Portrait of a Nine Inch Nail. Alternative Press. "Jeff Ward – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-31. "Robin Finck – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-31. Mehle, Michael (1995-10-17). "Nine Inch Nails gives Bowie boost" (fee required). Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-03-29. Straight, Harry (2000-05-12). "Nine Inch Nails lives up to its name" (fee required). Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-29. An Interview With Charlie Clouser. Scene. September 1996. Rashidii, Waleed. "Jerome Dillon – New With NIN". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 2008-02-09. ^ a b c Harris, Chris (2005-09-30). "Nine Inch Nails Postpone Show Due To Drummer's Heart Trouble". MTV. Retrieved 2007-02-10. Reznor, Trent (2005-01-22). "access". Nine Inch Nails. Archived from the original on 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2008-02-01. ^ a b Harris, Chris. "Nine Inch Nails Recruit Replacement Drummer". MTV. Retrieved 2007-02-10. ^ a b "Robin Finck Is Back". The NIN Hotline. 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-05-03. ^ a b Reuters; Billboard (2008-06-06). "Nine Inch Nails replaces bassist ahead of tour". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
 External links
Nine Inch Nails, an industrial rock band fronted by Trent Reznor, did various live performances throughout the world, including tours in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and China. While Reznor controls the creative and musical direction of Nine Inch Nails in-studio, the touring band performs different arrangements of the songs in live settings. In addition to regular concerts, the band has performed in both supporting and headlining roles at festivals such as Woodstock '94, Lollapalooza 1991 and 2008, as well as many other one-off performances including the MTV Video Music Awards. There are 938 gigs of the band overall, when counted.
Nine Inch Nails' live performances contrast with its in-studio counterpart.
Reznor writes and performs nearly all Nine Inch Nails studio material, with occasional instrumental and vocal contributions from others artists. However, Reznor has typically assembled groups of backing musicians to interpret songs for tours and other live performances. Keyboardist Alessandro Cortini said that "if you see the show and you're used to the CDs it's pretty clear that the studio entity is different from the live entity".
The only constant member of the live band is Reznor, who cites the long periods of time between major tours as one reason for the ever-changing live lineup. Live Nine Inch Nails performances are typically accompanied by lighting, stage, and video projection effects. Since 1999, the visual design components of live shows have been curated by Reznor with Rob Sheridan. Three tours have been chronicled on live albums and tour documentaries.
Critical and commercial response to Nine Inch Nails live performances has generally been positive. Critics have pointed to the concerts' aggressive on-stage dynamic and visual designs as high points. Reznor decided in 2008 to cease touring with the band after a 2009 farewell tour.
Pretty Hate Machine Tour Series (1988–1991).
Reznor assembled the first live line-up in 1988 to support the Canadian industrial music band Skinny Puppy on tour. The three-piece band consisted of Reznor on guitars and lead vocals, Ron Musarra on drums, and Chris Vrenna on keyboards. The band was poorly received, however, and they were asked to leave the tour after 10 dates. After the Skinny Puppy tour the band was rearranged and expanded to include a fourth member; Vrenna was moved to drums, Nick Rushe and later David Hymes contributed on keyboards, while Richard Patrick was added as guitarist.
Nine Inch Nails toured North America as an opening act for The Jesus and Mary Chain in 1990, and later for Peter Murphy. During these tours, Reznor began to smash equipment while on stage, and "Rockbeat" interviewer Mike Gitter attributed the band's early success to this aggressive attitude. In 1991, the band undertook a world tour that continued through the first Lollapalooza festival, where, according to biographer Martin Huxley, they "stole the show". Nine Inch Nails was then invited to open for Guns N' Roses on their European Tour, though they were reportedly poorly received yet again. Before the Lollapalooza date, Chris Vrenna left the band due to a fall out with Reznor, and was replaced for the remainder of the tour by drummer Jeff Ward. Vrenna would rejoin the band for the Self-Destruct tour in 1994. At the conclusion of the Pretty Hate Machine tour, Richard Patrick left the group to form his own band, Filter.
After the 1994 release of "The Downward Spiral", the live band embarked on the Self-Destruct tour in support of the album. Vrenna and Woolley returned on drums and keyboards respectively. Robin Finck replaced Patrick on guitar, while bassist Danny Lohner was added to the line-up. The tour included a mud-drenched performance at Woodstock '94, which was broadcast on Pay-per-view and seen in as many as 24 million homes. Nine Inch Nails received considerable mainstream success thereafter, performing with significantly higher production values and the addition of various theatrical visual elements. The band's performance of "Happiness in Slavery" from the Woodstock concert earned the group a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1995. "Entertainment Weekly" described the band's Woodstock '94 performance by saying "Reznor unstrings rock to its horrifying, melodramatic core--an experience as draining as it is exhilarating". "New Musical Express" had a similar sentiment after the band's Lollapalooza performance in 1991, describing the show as "genuinely frightening", and asking the reader to "decide for yourself if it's choreographed chaos or unbridled grievous bodily harm".
The main leg of the tour featured Marilyn Manson as the supporting act, who Reznor had recently signed to his Nothing Records label. At the time, Marilyn Manson featured bassist Jeordie White (then playing under the pseudonym "Twiggy Ramirez"), who would later play bass with Nine Inch Nails from 2005 to 2007. After another tour leg supporting the remix album "Further Down the Spiral", Nine Inch Nails contributed to the Alternative Nation Festival in Australia. Following the three-date alternative music festival, Nine Inch Nails embarked on the Dissonance Tour, which included 26 separate performances with co-headliner David Bowie. This tour observed a format placing Nine Inch Nails as the opening act, transitioning into Bowie's set with joint performances of both bands' songs. However, the crowds reportedly did not respond positively to the combination.
The tour concluded with a three-night Nothing Records showcase called Nights of Nothing which included performances from Nothing bands Marilyn Manson, Prick, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Pop Will Eat Itself, and concluded with an 80-minute set from Nine Inch Nails. "Kerrang!" described the Nine Inch Nails set during the Nights of Nothing showcase as "tight, brash and dramatic", but was disappointed at the lack of new material. On the second of the three nights, Richard Patrick was briefly reunited with the band, as he contributed guitar to a performance of "Head Like a Hole". After the Self-Destruct tour, Chris Vrenna, member of the live band since 1988 and frequent contributor to Nine Inch Nails studio recordings, left the band permanently to pursue a career in producing and to form the band Tweaker.
In support of Nine Inch Nails' third full-length studio album, "The Fragile", the live-band reformed for the Fragility tour. The lineup remained largely the same from the Self-Destruct tour, featuring Finck, Clouser, and Lohner. To replace long-time member Vrenna, Reznor held open auditions to find a new drummer, eventually picking then-unknown Jerome Dillon. Dillon would remain a member of the live band until 2005.
Nine Inch Nails' record label at the time, Interscope Records, reportedly refused to fund the promotional tour following "The Fragiles lukewarm sales. Reznor instead committed himself to fund the entire tour out of his own pocket, concluding that "The reality is, I’m broke at the end of the tour," but also adding "I will never present a show that isn’t fantastic."
The Fragility tour began in late 1999, running until mid-2000, and was broken into two major legs, Fragility 1.0 and Fragility 2.0 respectively. Destinations included Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and North America. Before the first Fragility performance date in Spain, Nine Inch Nails opened their final rehearsal in London to 100 fans. Kick-starting the tour was a performance of the title track from "The Fragile" at the MTV Video Music Awards. Atari Teenage Riot opened for Nine Inch Nails during Fragility 1.0, and A Perfect Circle for Fragility 2.0. At the time, A Perfect Circle featured Josh Freese on drums, who would later replace Dillon and play drums for Nine Inch Nails from 2005 to 2007. The tour featured increasingly large production values, including a triptych video display created by contemporary video artist Bill Viola. "Rolling Stone" magazine named the Fragility the best tour of 2000.
In 2002, the tour documentary "And All That Could Have Been" was released featuring a collection of performances from the Fragility 2.0 tour. While making the DVD, Reznor commented on the tour in retrospect by saying "I thought the show was really, really good when we were doing it", but later admitted that he "can't watch [the DVD] at all. I was sick for most of that tour and I really don't think it was Nine Inch Nails at its best".
Live: With Teeth (2005–2006).
Following the release of "With Teeth" in 2005, the live band was reassembled for the Live: With Teeth tour. Since the previous tour five years earlier, much of band had moved on in their careers, and only drummer Jerome Dillon rejoined. To find replacements, Reznor held auditions during December 2004. He stated that keyboardist Alessandro Cortini "fit in immediately", though he had trouble finding a guitarist to replace Robin Finck until auditioning Aaron North.
The tour began with a series of small-club performances early in 2005. The band told journalists they were "pleasantly surprised by the interest" of fans despite their lengthy absence. This initial leg of the tour also included a headlining performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The band followed with a North American arena tour in autumn 2005, supported by Queens of the Stone Age, Death From Above 1979, Autolux, and Saul Williams. Williams performed on stage with Nine Inch Nails at the Voodoo Music Experience festival during a headlining appearance in hurricane-stricken New Orleans, Reznor's former home. To conclude the "With Teeth" era of the band, Nine Inch Nails completed a tour of North American amphitheaters in the summer of 2006, joined by Bauhaus, TV on the Radio, and Peaches. The 2007 release "Beside You in Time" features performances from the North American arena tour, the North American amphitheater tour, and a number of studio rehearsals.
Nine Inch Nails were scheduled to perform at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, but dropped themselves from the show due to a disagreement with the network over the use of an unaltered image of George W. Bush as a backdrop to the band's performance of "The Hand that Feeds". Soon afterwards, Reznor wrote on the official Nine Inch Nails website: "apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me". MTV replied by saying they respected Reznor's point of view, but were "uncomfortable" with the performance being "built around partisan political statements". A performance by the Foo Fighters replaced Nine Inch Nails' time slot on the show.
During the first arena performance in 2005, Dillon was forced to stop midway through the show and was subsequently hospitalized. His condition was later diagnosed as a non-life threatening cardiac disorder, a consequence of his thyroid medication. Dillon later remarked that when he was ready to return he encountered "complete apathy and no sympathy" from Reznor and Nine Inch Nails management. Reznor in turn wrote that Dillon's "recollection of the events leading to his departure from the band is once again inaccurate". Josh Freese initially replaced Dillon for two shows before Alex Carapetis joined the band for the remainder of the arena tour. Freese eventually replaced Carapetis and joined the band on a permanent basis.
Performance 2007 (2007).
Having taken a break from touring to complete work on "Year Zero", Nine Inch Nails began a world tour in 2007, including their first ever performance in China. Reznor continued to tour with the same band he concluded the Live: With Teeth tour, which was composed of North, White, Freese, and Cortini. Supporting acts included Ladytron, Unkle, The Dandy Warhols, Alec Empire, and Serena Maneesh.
The "Year Zero" project included an alternate reality game of the same name, with much of the game revolving around various live shows.
During a Nine Inch Nails concert in Lisbon, Portugal, a USB flash drive was found in a bathroom stall containing a high-quality MP3 of the track "My Violent Heart", a song from the then-unreleased album. A second USB drive was found after a concert in Barcelona, containing the track "Me, I'm Not". Following the release of "Year Zero" the focus of the tour shifted towards debuting and promoting tracks from the new album. While some of these songs were performed by all 5 band members as conventional guitar-driven rock songs, two of them ("Me, I'm Not" and "The Great Destroyer") were played by Reznor, guitarist North and keyboard player Cortini as a 3 piece, using a combination of live guitars and pre-programmed samples triggered onstage with computers and manipulated in real time using Ableton software.
In April 2007, Nine Inch Nails fans received in-game telephone-calls in which they were invited to a "resistance meeting" in Los Angeles. At the meeting, fans attended a fictional Art is Resistance meeting, and were later rewarded by an unannounced performance by Nine Inch Nails. The concert was cut short as the meeting was raided by a fictional SWAT team and the audience was rushed out of the building.
Later that year, the "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" reported that the September 18 show in Honolulu would be the last performance of the current incarnation of the Nine Inch Nails live band. Reznor told the newspaper "at this point, I want to switch things around a bit. Nine Inch Nails as a rock band configuration, we've done it and we've done it again. I see other ways I can present the material in concert, more challenging, something new. I don't want it to go stale". In the same article, Reznor also admitted that "the idea of five guys playing loud music [for] two hours... has got to change once finances come into play, especially performing in markets outside of the mainland U.S. I want to whittle things down".
Lights in the Sky (2008).
The seventh and eighth major Nine Inch Nails studio-releases, "Ghosts I–IV" and "The Slip", were released in March and May 2008 respectively. Both albums feature contributions from live-band member Alessandro Cortini. Since the release of "Ghosts I–IV", a 25-date tour was announced in several North American cities. Cortini and Freese returned as members from the previous tour, while Robin Finck rejoined the band. The lineup was initially to include Rich Fownes, but before any scheduled performances it was revealed that Justin Meldal-Johnsen would instead be contributing on bass guitar.
Supporting acts for the tour include Deerhunter, Crystal Castles, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Ghostland Observatory, A Place to Bury Strangers, and White Williams. In early June, a tour EP was released for free on the Nine Inch Nails website featuring four songs from the supporting artists and one from Nine Inch Nails. The files are DRM-free MP3s that are fully tagged, and included with the download are desktop wallpapers and a printable tour poster.
The band headlined the 2008 Lollapalooza festival, the 2008 Virgin Festival, and the first Pemberton Festival.
In May 2008, Nine Inch Nails announced that premium seating for all the upcoming 2008 tour shows would be offered in a pre-sale for fans who registered at the official Nine Inch Nails website. In an effort to combat ticket scalpers, each concert ticket will list the purchaser's legal name. The ticketing process was previously used for smaller pre-sales and was available exclusively to fan club members.
On July 26, Reznor introduced an "unplugged" portion into the live show in which the band steps to the front of the stage about an hour into the show, with Reznor on vibraphone and bassist Meldal-Johnsen playing an upright bass. The 20-minute jazzy, acoustic set is taken mostly from "Ghosts I - IV". The stage show also featured mesh LED curtains that projected various visuals, ranging from falling rain to static to a ruined city, and made the band appear to be playing on "a stage that appeared to be constructed entirely out of lights." Nine Inch Nails later confirmed that the tour was to extend to South America and it was thought this would be the last Americas set of dates but soon after Reznor announced yet more North American dates including two dates in tourist capital Florida.
On October 8, 2008, after finishing up their last show in South America, Reznor posted on the official Nine Inch Nails website blog that Josh Freese would be leaving the band following the completion of the current tour. Shortly after, it was announced that Alessandro Cortini would also be leaving the band. On November 15, 2008, Reznor announced via the official Nine Inch Nails website that Ilan Rubin of Lostprophets would be replacing Freese after his departure at the end of 2008. No replacement was announced for Cortini, and the band subsequently toured as a 4-piece without a full time keyboard player.
NIN|JA / Wave Goodbye (2009).
In 2008, Reznor decided to put Nine Inch Nails on indefinite hiatus. He later clarified that "NIN as a touring live band or live band that's on the road all the time [would be] stopping" after a comprehensive tour, but that he would continue to produce music thereafter.
After a set of shows in Australia and New Zealand, Nine Inch Nails embarked on a North American tour of amphitheatres with Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper Social Club dubbed "NIN/JA 2009". Concerts in Europe and Asia were also announced before Reznor added a series of smaller-venue shows in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The final show was on September 10, 2009.
Visual elements employed during Nine Inch Nails concerts have often included numerous lighting, stage and projection effects employed to accompany and augment presentation. Prior to the Fragility tour in 2000, Reznor reflected that "I’ve adopted a philosophy of the way to present Nine Inch Nails live that incorporates a theatrical element. I want it to be drama. I want my rock stars to be larger than life, you know? The Kurt Cobains of the world, I’m sick of that shit. I don’t want a gas station attendant being my hero. I grew up with Gene Simmons. I grew up with Ziggy Stardust."
Many songs are typically accompanied with specially designed visual aids, including synchronized lighting effects and projected stock-footage montages. Early performances of the song "Hurt", for example, were accompanied by a projected montage of clouds, charred bodies, mushroom clouds, maggots, and war refugees, a performance of which is featured in the song's music video. Recent performances of the song, however, have featured less lighting effects.
Since 1999, the visual presentation of Nine Inch Nails live shows have been directed by Rob Sheridan, while Bill Viola designed a large triptych display for the Fragility tour. The images displayed on the triptych focused on storm and water imagery. "And All That Could Have Been" features an audio commentary track by Viola describing the display and his inspirations for it.
For the Live: With Teeth tour, Roy Bennett and Martin Phillips were responsible for the lighting design and stage design respectively. Bennett explained in a 2005 interview that much of the lighting was done using a series of LED lights arranged in "stalactites or stalagmites [formations] to tie in to the album artwork". DLP projectors were also used to project images onto a gauze screen in front of the stage.
Using the gauze projection-screen, Phillips, Reznor, and Sheridan devised a "gag" where they projected "a sheet of glass shattering onto a downstage kabuki scrim that would drop as the glass shatters fell.... We settled on Trent swinging his guitar at the gauze [and] shattering it, but with all the pieces falling up as the [screen] flew out". This technique can be seen in the tour documentary "Beside You in Time". In contrast to the lighting of previous tours, Performance 2007 featured minimal lighting that was designed to shadow Reznor and the band.
The visual elements of the live shows has been subject to much commentary. "The Boston Globe" described the Fragility tour as "one of the most outstanding light shows in memory". A reviewer from the "Contra Costa Times" described a Live: With Teeth performance as being "heightened by just the right amount of dark purple or blue spotlights, with up-lighting from the stage front, giving the band a horror-flick feel".
Nine Inch Nails has released one album and three videos featuring the live band. "Closure", a double VHS set released in 1997, features live performances from the Self-Destruct Tour, including a performance of "Hurt" with David Bowie during the Dissonance Tour. The video has been out of print since its initial release, and all attempts to re-release the video on DVD have failed. A deluxe two-disc DVD version of "Closure" was delivered to Interscope Records in 2004 and indefinitely delayed from being released. However, both discs appeared on BitTorrent networks in December 2006. "And All That Could Have Been", which features performances from the Fragility 2.0 tour, was released in 2002 as a live CD and double DVD. An easter egg in the DVD version features a performance with Marilyn Manson at Madison Square Garden of the songs "Starfuckers, Inc." and Manson's "The Beautiful People". In 2007, Nine Inch Nails released "Beside You in Time", featuring performances from the Live: With Teeth tour. The DVD also features rehearsal footage, music videos, and still photographs from the tour.
Live band members.
The configuration of the band has evolved since first touring in 1988. Early incarnations of the band had three people playing guitars, drums, keyboards, and samplers. Later incarnations replaced the keyboards and samplers with an additional guitarist, and incarnations after that added a multi-instrumentalist whose main role was as a bassist but also played guitars and keyboards on a number of songs. Finally, the live component of Nine Inch Nails has settled as a five-piece band since the "Self Destruct" tour from 1994. On the Performance 2007 tour, some songs from the "Year Zero" album were performed as a 3 piece band, featuring Reznor, keyboard player Alessandro Cortini and guitarist Aaron North, using a combination of live guitars and triggered loops. In September 2007, Reznor expressed his interest in moving away from the "rock band configuration" to explore "other ways [to] present the material in concert", though once again the 2008 incarnation consisted of five positions, but adding a variety of instruments not normally used in Nine Inch Nails such as double bass, various percussion instruments, steel guitar, vibraphone and other acoustic instruments as well as sampled sounds triggered from a variety of electronic instruments. No replacement was hired for keyboard player Alessandro Cortini after he left the band in late 2008, and the 2009 live band is a four-piece, with the role of keyboard player being shared between all members.
Describing the selection process, early contributor Chris Vrenna told "Gannett News" "coming from the same emotional background, I feel, is more important than how well you can play your instrument. That's one reason that makes our shows more intense when we're up there... We found people that understood that. It makes us stronger". Reznor described his selection of the earliest incarnations of the live band by saying "I'm not in the position to offer somebody a thousand dollars a week to rehearse... So I took some young guys who were malleable, who would basically do what I want them to do but expand on it. The only context I've worked with them in so far is, 'Here are the songs, here are your parts, learn them.' "
Between major tours, live band members have on occasion contributed instrumental performances to official Nine Inch Nails releases, though creative control and direction has always been the responsibility of Reznor. Live-band members who have contributed to major Nine Inch Nails studio releases are denoted by a "#" below. Most members provide backing vocals during live performances.