“Listening to Nine Inch Nails’ music — which is so often called ‘industrial’ — I actually hear a lot of funk,” Pop said in his induction speech. “Just listen to ‘Closer,’ and the foundation could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton, but on top of that is a focused and relentless process of emotional destruction which paints a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction.”
Pop continued, “It’s the soundtrack to the dark and lonely party that was beginning to play out in America at that period.” Pop, a magnetic frontman in his own right, also compared Reznor to Marc Bolan, Kurt Cobain, and Bob Dylan, each of whom had the ability “simply to connect” with their audience.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony was virtual, with Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G., and T. Rex inducted during an HBO special on November 7th.
In addition to Pop, Luke Bryan, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Miley Cyrus, Billy Gibbons, Dave Grohl, Don Henley, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Idol, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Chris Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brad Paisley, Bruce Springsteen, St. Vincent, Ringo Starr, Gwen Stefani, Charlize Theron, and Nancy Wilson all took part in this year’s Rock Hall ceremony.
Read Iggy Pop’s Nine Inch Nails induction speech in its entirety below:
When I first heard about Nine Inch Nails and I heard a little of their music, I thought, “Well, who is this guy?” So I took look and I saw a face straight out of 15th century Spain. I think Trent could have played Zorro. If he’d been alive at the right time, I think he could have been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably be painting in the Prado today.
Listening to Nine Inch Nails’ music — which is so often called “industrial” — I actually hear a lot of funk. Just listen to “Closer,” and the foundation could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton, but on top of that is a focused and relentless process of emotional destruction which paints a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction.
It’s the soundtrack to the dark and lonely party that was beginning to play out in America at that period, so I would call it, not industrial, but the sound of industrial and digital ambition.
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I went to the Nine Inch Nails show at the Forum in Los Angeles, the one together with David Bowie, and Trent held the center of that room just by being a kind of dark spot, hunched behind the mic. I’ve seen the same thing accomplished in different ways by T. Rex at Wembley, Nirvana at the Pyramid Club, and Bob Dylan in ’65. This is the mark of the master artist, simply to connect.
The controversial and brilliant French novelist Michel Houellebecq, when asked the secret of his success, said, “It’s easy: Just tell the truth.” Listening to Nine Inch Nails feels like hearing the truth, so it get you a little bit closer to God. It is my honor to assist in inducting Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.