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...And just in time to log in to last night's Spiral chat with my friend's username and bring you a couple of highlights!

God. I hope no one sqwaks about it. I mean, is that so wrong? Jesus, I love how people get so bent out of shape when SPIRAL EXCLUSIVES seep out onto the internets like (to go all Rob "Fratboy" Sheridan on all ur assses) so much anal leakage from the butt of an Olestra consumer, which is a way more apt comparison for both The Spiral, and my interest in it, than I'm really comfortable admitting, but WHATEVS!

Basically, it was another wacky night at Camp NIN, with the other three stooges "nuck, nuck, nucking" like mad, just like always. I guess they know their audience over there. It wasn't without its charms, though. For instance, we did get some clarification on the important topic of the nature of Sparklepants's sparklepants:

Question> Trent, are the pants leather or laminated jeans?!? I have been trying to figure this out since last Fall!

trent_reznor>  Those are not leather.  I have a bunch of pairs of jeans that have been treated with a rubbery material.  It fucks them up, makes them waterproof and HOT (as in fucking hot to wear).

I'll say! But, good to know Trent's leaving it up to us to say what's HOT. Additionally, someone finally asked Trent the question we all want an answer to. Sadly, he declined to go there:

Question> I love the shaved looked Trent ;-) Does the razor get used anywhere else?

trent_reznor> Finally, the question I've been waiting for!

Trent, for the love of sweet baby Jesus in heaven, please quit fucking around and tell us that the answer to that vital question is FUCK NO.

Meanwhile, Maise, you will be glad to know the following information about your little Italian love monkey:

Question> do you watch anime porn?

a_cortini> i devour it.

Dude, he's all yours.

I know that I'm always wondering if Trent's been reading anything good! The answer, for the record, is a big NO:

Question> Trent, read any interesting books lately?

trent_reznor> I enjoy trashy horror and SF novels from time to time.  I'm currently re-reading one of my all-time faves...  the Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigneur.  Look it up on Amazon.

Not that I've read that, but yes: I am a snob.

Aaron North let us in on his lack of proper hygiene several times over the course of the chat -- apparently, he only has one pair of ripped up black jeans and one red hanky, and he never washes either one of them, because hygiene is for pussies -- but this was my favorite answer on that particular topic:

Question> hey aaron, how often do you shower?  I saw you at Sasquatch and you were pretty skanky.

trent_reznor> Not nearLY often enough

He's a sly dog, that Trent.

Perhaps the most interesting, albeit vaguely disquieting, moments in the chat concerned questions about the future of NIN. I didn't get the exact words on this one, but Trent says that the music for the new album is feeling mostly finished to him, and that he's working on words during this leg of the tour. Good news, no? About the new lithos that we love so much, notre amour had this to say:

Question> There's been a lot of discussion, to say the least, about the new tour lithos. Reason for choosing TDR and changing the look of the lithos?

trent_reznor> Lots of things are going to change.  I am deep into the new record and some of these things reflect future directions.  I am not about to defend the decision to not repeat ourselves.

Which is to say: NOTHING. Trent, sweetheart, no one is asking you to defend the decision not to repeat yourself, unless if, by "repeating yourself" you mean by NOT HAVING ARTWORK THAT SUCKS. Honestly, where does he get this shit? Has he ever repeated himself? How can he imagine that those of us with BRAINS are actually clamoring for repetition? Whatevs. He followed that little nugget of misplaced invective with this bit of condescension a bit later:

Question> Trent, the artwork is shifting, the setlist is not so focused on new material, does this mean the With Teeth era is coming to an end?

trent_reznor> Very observant. Gold star.

Fair enough. He is talking to the denizens of The Spiral, I guess. As for me, I'm totally ready for this chapter to be over, even if those lame military posters make me a bit apprehensive about the possibility that a bunch of half-baked political statements are in the pipes. It's weird, isn't it? The way a favorite artist's work can make you uniquely nervous?

I guess the bottom line is that I am a lot more interested in seeing what dear old Trent actually does do than I am in his fullfilling any perscription of mine, and honestly, the whole notion of his making an effort to BE ALL POLITICAL is pretty interesting in light of prior record of self-absorbed angst. I also think it's arguable that he's always been fairly political in some back-handed way.

What I do know, unequivocally, is that he's always kicked my ass in the most delicious way possible in the past, and I'm sure he will do it again. I totally trust him. So, I guess what I really mean to say is this: BRING IT ON, Trentsky. I'm totally looking forward to it.

I also found this question, about the fate of the "Everyday Is Exactly the Same" video to be fairly interesting:

Question> Trent: What was so awful about the Everyday video? Was the picture we saw of you supposedly in ice a real snapshot for the set?

trent_reznor> There's a good chance I will never do a "traditional" video again after that.  The artform is pretty much dead and I'm not playing the game anymore.  We will utilize the web and completely forego MTV and traditional outlets, as well as record company involvement/permission.

I like it!

I'll leave you with Trent's closing salutation, because really, it says it all:

trent_reznor> Stay gay.


Posted by Dierdre ~ in inside_dierdre | Permalink


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So if I fall asleep fairly early in an evening and then wind up wide awake at 4 a.m., does that make me an insomniac or an early riser?

Dammit, I wish I had known that there was going to be a Spiral chat! I wanted to do a little "talk to Alessandro" lesson for all the people dying to ask him about spaghetti. Maybe it will still be timely, since they're now on tour. Something to think about for the scads of spare time that I don't have.

Thanks so much for risking Spiral ire and posting the highlights! Some commentary:

--Why on earth would Trent want to do that to his jeans? Wait a minute...if he's all PETA-ized these days, does that mean that he's forswearing leather? If so, NOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

--Well, here's one way you can talk to Alessandro. When you want to dump him after discovering him masturbating to some disturbing hentai, you can say. "Alessandro, mi dispiace. E' finito. Non e' ti, e' mi." Or something. When you only have a minor in Italian from like seven years ago, you might not be up on all the hip idioms.

--I have always wanted someone to ask Trent what he was reading. Now I'm kind of sorry that it was asked. Not like I expect him to be hauling around all the volumes of Remembrance of Things Past on the tour bus, but the least he could do is at least name-drop a little Philip K. Dick. I looked his Christ Clone Trilogy. You know, maybe Trent's a little more like Gabriel than anyone ever realized. Oh, and nice plug for Amazon. Sell-out. Just kidding! Just kidding!!!

We should do a call-and-response for Trent as to what books he should list when he wants to get into the panties of former English majors.

--Hmmm, bitchy, defensive response about the new lithos. Either we're not alone, or [Trent_Really_Does_Read]. Well, Trent, mein Schatzi, if you're going to show me some upside-down tank, there had better be some significance to it. I'm just saying. And there are no circumstances under which I could ever condone that font, but to avoid beating a dead horse...

--Meanwhile, I swear to God, Trent would be a really effective White House Press Secretary. Way to answer the question about the scrapped video without dishing any dirt of any interest. Enough of the revolutionary rhetoric, Che Reznor! Was it the "storyline?" Did you get food poisoning on the set? Did they put you in tighty whities? To quote Fred Willard, wha' happened?

--I'm so happy he's been working so hard on the new album. Keep it up, Trent! Oh, and lay off the shaving for just a while. In most places. ;) (Although as a friendly piece of advice, it should be pointed out that now is NOT the time for any sort of facial hair.)

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 2:40:48 AM

I think it makes you an early riser, Maise, and I am in the exact same boat.

My main thoughts on this chat: Trent is way less thoughtful than some people I know would like to believe.

I'm off to go look up how awful those books are.

Posted by: Jane | Jun 3, 2006 3:02:53 AM

...and I'm back to say that I think we should add them to the book club list. You know, just for kicks?

Come on, Dierdre. You can read a little CRAP every once in awhile, can't you?

Posted by: Jane | Jun 3, 2006 3:07:50 AM

Fuck yeah, we should add them to the book club list? How could it be more NIN-related than to read something recommended by The Big Giant Head himself?

Also, since Trent's all into animals and ecology, I'd like to propose for a future installment Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See. It's one of his lesser-known books, and it's nonfiction. It's all about Douglas Adams traveling around the world, looking for the most endangered animals in the world, and dealing with all the human bureaucracy and bullshit along the way. It's hilarious and poignant and non-preachy, but it will really make you care about all the animals he talks about, especially the wacky Australian kakapo. When I saw Douglas Adams at a reading a year or two before his death, he said that this was his favorite out the books he had written, and I think it's my favorite too. This is a book that a lurking Trent (if he's out there) would LOVE, and maybe he could help out with Save the Rhino International, which was one of Douglas Adams' favorite charities. Okay, end of plug.

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 8:16:30 AM

What do you think of this, Dierdre?

Posted by: No, you don't | Jun 3, 2006 8:32:42 AM

OMFG, I love that song! Oh, and all hail YouTube!

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 8:38:32 AM

I don't like his hairless neck/head combo -- it reminds me of this great-uncle of mine who was always a little gross and was a Shriner with some very weird religious proclivities -- and, I prefer the version of this song that is rendered on boom box and piano, and sometimes I wonder: why can't he just sing it quietly? Does he gotta holler like that ALL THE TIME? But, I love that song (the all-time most played song EVER in my iPod, FYI), and I love that man, so yeah.

I love that.

Posted by: Dierdre | Jun 3, 2006 8:56:14 AM

Oh my god, the tambourine!!!

That made my morning.

Posted by: Nicole | Jun 3, 2006 9:55:18 AM

God, I love the man with his tambourine.

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 10:36:47 AM

Have all y'all noticed Trent's new t-shirt look, with the red seargeant's stripes on the sleeve? That guy is going ALL THE WAY.

I just wish I knew where.

Posted by: Jane | Jun 3, 2006 1:26:13 PM

Uhhh, is he trying to say something about...about the war? Maybe?

Congratulations on the promotion, Sergeant Reznor!

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 2:43:01 PM

Profiteering With Sergeant Obvious
A Haiku cycle in Trent's Voice on the subject of The War, by Jane

You know what I hate?
The War. Also, I think that our
president is fuct.

Maybe, if I shill
enough of these posters
I can stop him from

continuing to
send the USA to hell.
Plus, I'll make a buck.

And, you know what, bitch?
This t-shirt makes me look buff
like everything else.

The American
way is bitchin', dudes. Don't be
all wierd about it.

Posted by: Jane | Jun 3, 2006 2:54:27 PM

Ouch! a haiku by maise
Jane is so brutal.
I can't say she doesn't have
a point, but goddamn!

Look, all I want is for Trent's ironic military stance to be more plausible in execution than Michael Stipe's spoken lyrics in "Orange Crush."

Meanwhile, I skimmed through a transcript of the Spiral chat. Goddamn, it's exhausting. No wonder why Trent comes off as kind of cranky at times.

And goddamnit, they did it again!!!

dmchilln: Al: can you speak REAL Italian?
a_cortini> certo, ma lo parlo raramente.

That's it...this week I'm devoting some company time to "Speak to Alessandro!"

Posted by: maise | Jun 3, 2006 7:36:11 PM

I don’t understand the fascination with Alessandro being Italian. I mean big whoop-de-do. Sure it makes for a great accent but why do people continually need to ask him if he really speaks Italian or if he likes pasta? Do people ask Trent if he still really loves reese’s peanut butter cups? Or ask Jeordie if he speaks Wookie?

I’ve been completely smitten with Alessandro since first hearing him sing in that high pitched voice of his. It seriously filled me with giggles. It’s like “awe look at him, he’s in this badass rock band but then on his side band he sings like woman”. My husband can’t stand some of the music I listen to. For the longest time he thought Amanda Palmer was a man and when he listened to the MWM album he thought it was a woman singing. Too many gender confusing personas for his taste.

I do love that he’s becoming a bit snarky but I think it’s because of present company. That shit Aaron pulled with the album sneak peek “Alessandro Cortini is a homosexual” (just under the NIN tour dates) was slightly funny, but it was drop out of your chair funny when Alessandro turned the stunt around on Aaron when MWM played in LA last month changing up the lyrics in “Ode To My Family” to “Is Aaron North gay-ay-ay?” I’ve got a clip someone recorded but can’t figure out how to share.

Posted by: Iris | Jun 4, 2006 1:53:12 AM

Yeah, Jane has a point, but I've been reading ETS again, and all that bitching that's going on over there leaves me with only this to say: Trent can do whatever the FUCK he wants, and I am in. I, like Jane, hope that if Trent's got a point with all this military shit that he would MAKE IT already, but his effort to change is not going to be snarked at by me, DIERDRE KEATING.

It's like I said above: anticipating a favorite artist's new work is especially nerve-wracking. I remember when I was waiting 5 years for The Fragile to come out, and every time it's release was delayed AGAIN, I was happy, because if Trent thought he needed more time, I was delighted to hear that he was taking it, and also, I was afraid to hear it. I was right to be afraid, too, because that was some scary shit.

I don't think we ever have a reason to fear that Trent won't be 100% committed to whatever he's doing, and I don't think we're going to find out that he's off the wagon, and spiraling downward into hell, or some shit. Good enough. The only thing that's nerve-wracking now it the question of whether or not his execution of his ideas will be successful.

Like Jane, I'm not sure his posters and t-shirts are really saying much of anything, and I think we're all used to having everything he does as an artist be resonant in a way that this stuff weirdly isn't. I think that's because in starting from ideas and expressing his feelings about them, rather than starting with his feelings and allowing ideas to coagulate within them, he is doing something that is elementally different from what he's ever done before.

That's courageous, and I wish him luck.

PS. I want to hear MWM! I had no idea Alessandro sang like a girl. How sweet.

Posted by: Dierdre | Jun 4, 2006 2:14:49 AM

Now you can’t tell me this this face doesn’t just melt your heart. He’s so fucking adorable!

Posted by: Iris | Jun 4, 2006 3:21:28 AM

Whoops...should only be one "this" in that last one.

Posted by: Iris | Jun 4, 2006 3:22:44 AM

More evidence that Trent, as The Bard once put it, is "the idol of idiot-worshippers."

No wonder none of you ever learn.

Posted by: Dom | Jun 4, 2006 12:06:17 PM

Dom! We've missed you, sweet pea!

Meanwhile, did you guys see the pic of The Sarge on nin.com from 06_04? It's grrrrrrrreat!

Posted by: maise | Jun 4, 2006 6:14:09 PM

.... he looks like he is contemplating eating my soul in that picture.

which may or may not be a bad proposition.

if he did something to sweeten the deal, let's say, then we could talk.

Posted by: Jane C. | Jun 4, 2006 6:49:43 PM

That's the first pic I've seen of him with his new new 'do that I've really liked. Also, a nice close-up of the chevron sleeve. Can anyone tell by looking what rank he'd be?

Actually, when I first saw that pic, I thought it'd make D. pretty happy because it showcases two of her favorite features of his. Y'know, the ones she most often waxes poetic about.

Posted by: emerald527 | Jun 4, 2006 7:21:09 PM

Looks like he's maybe letting the hair grow back a bit. Which, you know, not to criticize, but THANK GOD if that's the case.

I'm pretty sure that it's Sergeant Reznor these days.

I guess, then, that Gabriel would have to call him "Chaplain?"

Posted by: maise | Jun 4, 2006 7:40:21 PM

Em, do you mean his scrumptious hairy arms and his pornographic teeth? Because, yeah. HOTT. I also love it when he has that totally committed look on his face. That shit is delicious.

However! I, like Maise, look forward to the day when his hair stops looking like that. I'll be honest ladies: I DON'T LIKE IT.

Posted by: Dierdre | Jun 4, 2006 11:17:51 PM

Well, he has certain facial features that do, in my opinion, call for some hair on the top of his head. Did he scratch up his knuckle or something in that pic? Looks bloody.

To get back to Jane and Dierdre's debate...

I dunno about the whole super-military theme. Maybe it will all make sense at the concert, or maybe I'll say, "Well, that rocked, but damned if I know why he's got that shirt on." Or maybe it will all make sense with the next album. I really do need him to clarify what's going on at some point. Real soldiers are being blown up left and right. Real Iraqis are being blown up at 10x that rate, at least. And I would say that the majority of people in the U.S. feel bad about it all but are afraid to speak up.

So Trent's speaking up, which is very courageous, and I'm very proud to throw my (albeit a bit obsessive) support behind him for that reason, especially as it is a complete 180 from his former apolitical and lazily nihilistic stance. People tend to get all pissy when successful artists express their opinions, as if only lawyers and politicians and economists and people who show up on Very Serious Talk Shows are allowed to have opinions. So I'm thrilled that Trent's looking outward, that he cares, that he's upset, that he wants to help make things better. It makes me love him as an artist even more, if that were even possible.

But at this point, he's kind of militarizing these really random aspects of the whole NIN package without any sort of explanation. It would be like if I suddenly started wearing camouflage all over the place. Probably most people who know me know that I think that this war is the worst kind of tragic bullshit, and I've felt that it was a horrible idea from the start. "But what's with the camouflage pants, Maise?" What would I be trying to say? Wouldn't people be expecting some sort of statement of purpose? Is it an expression of solidarity with the troops? Ridiculing military culture? Protesting the President? Rumsfeld? What???

If Trent wants to say something, he should say it. He's not exactly being subtle, and I don't think he means to be ambiguous. What he needs to do is elaborate.

Posted by: maise | Jun 5, 2006 12:17:07 AM

Maise, that last paragraph of yours is exactly the point.

I think Trent is being careful not to be too explicit. I think he wants his political commentary to feel organic to what he is doing and intends to do as an artist. I think he is being careful not to become a billboard that presents nothing so much as a bunch of sloganeering. I applaud those instincts, because nothing would look worse on him, not even that hairstyle.

However: what he is doing now says nothing whatsoever. It's like, he's got a slogan, but it's garbled, or he's screaming it in such a way that we cannot hear the actual words. I think that the thing that's hard for me about this whole angle is that, in the past, he has been in perfect harmony with the content of his work. In fact, it never felt like consciously constructed "content" in any discreet way, even though it obviously was.

For me, the content of The Downward Spiral has ENORMOUS political extention. In fact, my own need to incorporate the truth of what he said on that record was one of the key things that deepened and clarified the nature of much of my committment to progressive social and political thinking, and is probably responsible for killing the last vestiges of my religious and very conservative upbringing in favor of wanting to truly sort out, in my own mind, the origins of the fucked up relationships between power and powerlessness that hold all of us in their dirty paws. It made me think that compassion, truth, and real understanding were infinitely more important than my own comfort, and made me more willing to be the sort who bites the hands that feed me.

But, here's the thing: He never said any of that. He said "I am oppressed and oppressive" in a million different, totally organic ways, and I had to think about it. There were no slogans, and Trent EMBODIED the problem.

Now, I am not hoping for any repetition of that time, or anything he did in it, and I also think that he does embody many of the things he is talking about now, but I have NO IDEA what this vaguely paramilitary posturing says. As you say: we know he hates the war, and we know he hates the direction of our government. Good! Me too! But, that is just way too big a topic, and nothing about it is addressed by his t-shirt, or the fact that he is selling posters with soldiers and explosions on them.

At best, it's mute, directionless propaganda, and at worst, it's exploitative profiteering, and in bad taste. I think fairly well of Trent, really, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that it's merely the former, but yeah: HE NEEDS TO FUCKING SAY IT.

Posted by: Jane | Jun 5, 2006 2:42:50 AM

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