The Nine Inch Nails frontman sat down with Molly Lambert:
I was doing press with somebody in the mid-90s, and they made an argument that stayed with me: that I have influence, and that it’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out, because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it. And I think about that today, because it seemed like it was a lot easier to just keep your mouth shut and let it go back then. You don’t hear a lot from the Taylor Swifts of the world, and top-tier, needle-moving cultural youth, because they are concerned about their brand, their demographic and their success and career and whatnot.
Also loved this exchange:
You grew up in Mercer, Pa. Was that a part of the state with the “weirdo culture” the Midwest is famous for?
One could make an argument. There weren’t a lot of things to distract you, so you’d end up turning inward. I can’t help but think about that lack of access. The side effect was that when you could get something, whether it be an album or a magazine that looked like a portal into a new world, you pored over it, because it wasn’t one Google search away all the time. I think I turned out the way I did because I was so bored.
What were your most cherished objects?
I was a member of the Columbia Record Club — the unbelievable promise of 13 albums for a dollar, with the catch of, if you don’t send that card back in, you’re going to keep getting more albums at retail price. And a few showed up because I forgot to do that, and then I owned Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Hits” — O.K., I own it. I paid a price for it. I’m going to listen the [expletive] out of this thing.
The concept of removing distraction causing you to turn inward isn’t new. But with each passing year, it feels more and more true
. And what if that’s causing us to miss out on some amazing creativity? I think it’s a totally fair question.
As is the notion of perhaps exploring something – even Barry Manilow
– simply because that’s all there is. A foreign idea in our current age of abundance
As a fellow Midwestern Columbia House kid, I approve this message.