Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor was knocked out and bleeding temporarily after an accident at a 90’s concert, according to A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel on the Everyone Loves Guitar podcast, as seen below.
“Fast forward to 1994 — I’m teching for Nine Inch Nails. I came on right before they did the Woodstock — the big, famous Woodstock show. ‘The Downward Spiral’ tour was like none other, and I throw exaggerations out like anybody else, I’m sure.
“But I can’t imagine anything before or after that to compete with the chaos and the danger of that show. It was crazy. There was destruction all the time.
“One particular night, when I was Trent’s tech, the screen came down for a middle part of the show. I think everyone got even more loose on stage at that point. And they did, and the stage was destroyed.
“Trent was laying on the ground, I think he was bleeding. Definitely got the wind knocked out of him or something. He was just laying there, not moving. On the side of the stage we had a digital clock with a countdown as to how much time before the next song started. And this one had a little mini-movie in the middle of the set that you had a two or three minute break for.”
Howerdel added, “And so we got down the last few seconds, and I’m sitting there with a guitar ready to go, but he’s still laying on the ground. I probably should have been calling the doctors over, but I said, ‘Come on, let’s go!’ Show starting, you know, 30 seconds, 20 seconds, now we’re down to eight seconds, and I’m like, ‘Do you want me to play this or what?’ And he said, weakly ‘Yes.’
“Luckily, I knew how to play all the parts because I did Trent’s sound checks a lot while he was out doing press. It was a way for me to take the pressure off. And the production manager asked me to learn everything too, because prior to that, Robin Finck had broken or sprained his finger, so we almost had to cancel shows.
“I think Jeordie from Marilyn Manson played guitar, augmenting what he couldn’t play. So I literally step into the overhead spotlight and start playing ‘Eraser.’ And, you know, it was as tricky for me as it was for anyone on that stage, or the crew looking at me like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ It was surreal.
“And yeah, that’s the first time I ever played in front of anyone, really. I mean, I had a high school cover band that played a cover set of like 20 minutes. But yeah, that was definitely a trip.
“But it’s like anything else, I was nervous, but once you know what you’re doing, you’re less nervous. If you get out there and somebody goes, ‘Hey, play that song.’ You have to figure it out on the fly.
“That’s the most terrifying nightmare of all time, right? If you know what you’re doing, it is fun. I was just worried that the production manager would tackle me and think I had gone crazy, getting off the stage thinking that I had knocked Trent out. I had all these kinds of thoughts going on in my head.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed Billy’s comments.