Nine Inch Nails Singer Reveals Reaction To Seeing Deceased Rock Icon Dressed As Woman

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor discussed his respect for David Bowie in a new New York Times article, including how he saw the late singer as ‘fearless’ for always changing his style, including dressing as a woman in the “Boys Keep Swinging” music video.

Videos like “Ashes to Ashes,” in which Bowie wore the harlequin outfit by Natasha Korniloff, owned the medium, Mr. Reznor said, “breaking down the expectation of what it meant to be in it.” He said he watched the clip for “Boys Keep Swinging,” in which Bowie appeared dressed as women, walking a catwalk, “countless times” trying to discern “Where is he coming from?”

“What he’s done for me as an artist, or just as a fan, is expand my perception of what the rules are — remind me that, oh, yeah, you can do anything you want,” Mr. Reznor said. Bowie “just felt fearless. It really became very apparent to me, how much courage it does take to say ‘I’m not going to do that anymore, I’m going to do this.’ I didn’t love every move he made, but I appreciated every move he made.”

“This is that bravery that I’ve been reading about and watching over the years — I’m witnessing it right in front of me,” Mr. Reznor recalled thinking while on tour with Bowie in 1995. “Having toured an infinite amount of times around the world, that was one of the most fun little sprees that we had,” he added. “Plus I got to go out and watch him every night — take a quick shower, and watch the last half of his show.”

Bowie approached it with the same rigor he had early in his career: working closely with the set designer, envisioning lighting changes, sketching costumes.

“He didn’t need to be touring at all,” Mr. Reznor said. “He didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. And to go out and deliver a show in an environment like that — there was no laziness involved. What he instilled in me was, he cared every bit as much as I did about every detail that I could witness.”