A Perfect Circle Guitarist Reveals Why He Feared Trent Reznor Would Fire Him


A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel discussed being Trent Reznor’s guitar tech on The Downward Spiral tour in a new Premiere Guitar Rig Rundown. Alternative Nation transcribed Howerdel’s quote. You can view photos of the guitar Howerdel is referring to below the quote, and watch video of Howerdel discussing the guitar.

“So I was a guitar tech for many years, I worked for Nine Inch Nails, [they were] one of the bands. This is the first guitar I got in my hands to work on of Trent’s. I laid it down, and I think one of the instructions that came down the pike that day was he wanted to trade out a pick up. So I was soldering, and I laid the soldering iron down, and it just slipped, and I did that.

It hit the finish, I was like, oh my god, I thought like I’m fired, right? The tech next to me was working on stuff, and it’s almost like going into war. He just goes, ‘Dude, that’s the least of your concerns. That is not a big deal [compared to] what’s going to happen tonight.’ You can see over the years what had happened.”

“This was The Downward Spiral tour in 94 and 94, and this thing got launched into the truss within minutes. This guitar actually got the headstock ripped off it, within the first probably couple of weeks working on it, maybe even the first week. So it went missing, this got put in the crowd, someone ripped the headstock off, it went missing, and I got another guitar of this exact color that came in. I fashioned this thing on there poorly, it’s at the wrong angle, it went on a couple different times. I don’t know if you guys can see, if that angle translates, but it’s not the right pitch at all.”

He added, “I don’t want anything changed about it. I’ve actually talked with Gibson about doing a signature model, and this is one of the key things, is reducing that pitch to that, because this is my favorite guitar.”

“That [Nine Inch Nails] tour, I went through 137 Les Pauls when I did the final count, this was the number one of all of them. So at the end of the tour Trent just says, ‘Take two or three guitars with you, whatever you want.’ So of course I grabbed this.”