Trent Reznor Reaction To Johnny Cash “Hurt” Cover Shocked Nine Inch Nails Bandmate


Former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna discussed Trent Reznor’s reaction to Johnny Cash covering “Hurt” in a new AL interview.

I read you played the sparse drums on the original Nine Inch Nails version of “Hurt.” What did you think of Johnny Cash’s cover of that song?

I loved it, and then I read that I guess Trent didn’t like it at the time or something and I was really shocked by that. I thought it was brilliant. It made me cry. Who doesn’t love Johnny Cash?

What do you think it was about Nine Inch Nails’ music that fans connected with?

Lyrically it was interesting. A lot of people could relate. We were young and angsty and people were interested because they hadn’t heard sounds like what they were hearing. And one thing Trent was really good at was taking bands like Skinny Puppy and Coil and Ministry and what that (industrial) genre was doing and made it more digestible for the more average music listener. And it worked.

By the end of the ’80s we were making fun of bands like Flock of Seagulls with the funny hair and it was also wimpy. All those synth-pop bands Erasure, Thompson Twins, New Order, their songs were structured like pop songs. They’re very light in the sound of the synthesizer. On the other hand, you had metal: Ozzy (Osbourne), Sabbath, Iron Maiden, (Judas) Priest. So, what if you took the power, energy, angst and distortion of your heavy metal, but you applied that aesthetic to the pop and the synths and the drum machines of all these bands over here and you merge them together. And that’s what industrial is.