Howard Stern Reveals Why He Preferred ‘Creepy’ Trent Reznor


Howard Stern discussed Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor in an interview with Jimmy Iovine on Monday. Alternative Nation transcribed parts of their conversation.

Stern said, “I love your whole story with Nine Inch Nails. So here you own Interscope, and I think Trent Reznor is unbelievable. In fact, Trent Reznor says it in your movie, he says, ‘To me, it was so great in the old days because rock stars were hidden away. You only got to see them once in awhile.’ Trent Reznor, I thought this guy was living in a dungeon or something. But Trent Reznor was signed to some shitty little label, independent label [TVT].”

“So he was signed to a little label, and you wanted Trent Reznor really bad, you wanted Nine Inch Nails.”

Iovine responded, “I knew that combined with Dre would define Interscope.”

Stern said, “So you got, again you were a nudge, you just pursued Trent Reznor’s record company and somehow made a deal with them.”

Iovine added, “To the point of psychosis. I really feel I aged a lot in that particular moment. I think that’s the most I ever aged in my career.”

Stern said, “But what a move man. I remember going to see him in concert when Nine Inch Nails was the thing. Oh my god, the greatest live show, the guy is a true genius.”

“I don’t like knowing him now. Now he’s too normal. I liked him when he was all creepy, and maggots, and decaying flesh.”

“He’s something. I love the guy.”

“You were smart, you said to him, ‘I’m not going to bother you. You’re now on my record label.’ He wanted two things, he wanted his own recorded label within your Interscope label, and you said, ‘Sure, I’ll give you one.’ You seemed to know what’s going on, and you gave him complete autonomy on his album, right?”

Iovine responded, “When I meet people like that, my job is to block for them. Keep the corporations away, keep everything away, keep the budget away, just let them go and something great is going to happen.

Stern said, “Even the videos, this is so different from what was going on.”

“He came to you and said now for the first artist I’m going to sign to my own label within Interscope, I’m going to sign Marilyn Manson. I don’t think many people would have understood Marilyn Manson at that point, and you were willing to go with him.”

“You know what else I liked? When Trent hooked up with Bowie, and they kind of reworked his whole thing? Trent is awesome.”