Industrial legends Nine Inch Nails began their “Cold and Black and Infinite,” tour with a surprise song “Happiness in Slavery,” off their 1992 EP Broken, which marked the first performance of the song in over 23 years. The group opened up their show in Phoenix, Arizona’s Comerica Theatre by playing every song off the eight-track EP.
“Happiness in Slavery,” was notorious for its controversial music video, which was banned from rotation on every media outlet upon its release. Broken, was the follow up to Nine Inch Nail’s 1989 debut album Pretty Hate Machine, and was praised for pushing the project into a heavier territory.
Despite the censorship surrounding the five music videos released for the Broken EP. the project was still able to achieve success with “Wish,” winning Best Metal Performance at the 1993 Grammy’s. In addition, the live version of “Happiness In Slavery,” which was performed at Woodstock ’94 won the same Grammy in 1996.
Broken was also followed by a film which served as a compilation of all of the music videos off the EP however, it was never officially released. Despite this, the film made its way through unofficial VHS tapes, which were pirated from a limited number of copies that were distributed to Reznor’s friends.
Eventually higher quality versions of the movie were released via peer-to-peer networks in the following decades. Nine Inch Nails attempted to upload the video on Vimeo a couple of times since 2013, however it was removed from the platform every time it was uploaded. According to Reznor the film made “‘Happiness In Slavery’ look like a Disney movie,”by comparison.
Trent Reznor, who serves as the band’s front-man, was the only official member of Nine Inch Nails until 2016 when he was joined by musician Atticus Ross. While these are the only two official members, the group has had a rotating touring line-up throughout the years with Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin serving as current members on this tour.
Nine Inch Nails released their ninth studio album Bad Witch in June of this year that saw the band include jazz elements into their music. This project was supposed to be the third EP in a trilogy of EPs which began with Not The Actual Events in 2016 however, Reznor decided to promote the project as a full album.
According to the band, these elements were partially inspired by David Bowie’s final album Black Star. Bowie once claimed that “Trent’s music, built as it is on the history of industrial and mechanical sound experiments, contains a beauty that attracts and repels in equal measure: Nietzsche’s “God is dead” to a nightclubbing beat,” in his essay regarding Nine Inch Nails inclusion in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Nine Inch Nails are currently set to create the soundtrack for the upcoming Jonah Hill film Mid90s. The group has made movie soundtracks before, with their work being the basis for the scores of critically acclaimed films such as The Social Network and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat