Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has spoken out against his former protégé Marilyn Manson, calling the shock rocker "a dopey clown" in a new interview with Mojo. According to Spinner, Reznor had some harsh words for the Antichrist Superstar, saying, "He is a malicious guy and will step on anybody's face to succeed and cross any line of decency. Seeing him now, drugs and alcohol now rule his life and he's become a dopey clown."
Reznor indicates tension between the pair began during NIN's The Downward Spiral tour in 1994. "During the Spiral tour we propped them up to get our audience turned on to them and at that time a lot of the people in my circle were pretty far down the road as alcoholics. Not Manson," Reznor told Mojo. "His drive for success and self-preservation was so high, he pretended to be fucked up a lot when he wasn't."
"Starfuckers, Inc.," the scathing, celebrity-bashing track on 1999's The Fragile, was rumored to be partially about Manson, but their friendship seemed to be rekindled when Manson himself appeared in the video — even though Reznor is seen throwing Manson's Mechanical Animals album in the toilet. "Things got shitty between us and I'm not blameless. The majority of it though was coming from a resentment guy who finally got out from under the master's umbrella and was able to stab him in the back," Reznor said.
The Manson critique is one of several Reznor has lodged in the past few months. Earlier this year, Reznor engaged in a Twitter battle with Chris Cornell after offering a less-than-enthusiastic review of Cornell's album Scream. Prince and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo were also recent targets of Trent's criticism. Reznor's comments toward Manson were perhaps spurred on by the release of The High End of Low, which received a two-and-a-half star review from Rolling Stone. "He used to be the smartest guy in the room. And as a fan of his talents, I hope he gets his shit together," Reznor said.