19 Things You Might Not Know About Birthday Boy Trent Reznor

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On May 17th, 1965, Trent Reznor was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania. We all know Reznor made a name for himself in Nine Inch Nails, but here are 19 things you might not know about the rocker:

1. Trent is actually his middle name. His real first name is Michael.

2. Trent is related to George Reznor, who in 1888, founded the heating and air conditioning manufacturing business, The Reznor Company. 

3. Reznor’s first instrument was the piano, which he started to play at age five.

4. While in junior and senior high school in Western Pennsylvania, Trent learned to play the tenor sax and the tuba and was a member of the jazz band and the marching band. His band director once described him as “very upbeat and friendly”

5. Trent was an actor in high school, playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. He was so good that his classmates voted him Best in Drama.

6. Reznor’s first band was called Option 30 and he played three shows a week with them while in high school.

7. Trent studied computer engineering at Allegheny College in the early ‘80s.

8. After a year of college, Trent dropped out, moved to Cleveland and joined a cover band called Urge.

9. Reznor’s next professional gig was in 1985 as a keyboardist in a group called The Innocent. They released an album called Livin’ in the Street.

10. After three months in The Innocent, Trent joined the group Exotic Birds, who appear in the 1987 Michael J. Fox film Light of Day as a band called The Problems.

11. While in Cleveland, Trent worked as an assistant engineer and janitor at Right Track Studio.

12. The owner of Right Track Studio let Reznor record demos for free during unused studio time. Trent played all the instruments on the songs he did, which would become some of Nine Inch Nails’ earliest pieces. Nine tracks he did in the studio unofficially came out in 1988 as Purest Feeling and many went on to appear in revised forms on NIN’s 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine.

13. Coincidentally, in the five years following the 1994 release of Nine Inch Nails’ second album, The Downward Spiral, Trent suffered from depression and social anxiety disorder and turned to drugs and alcohol, leading to an overdose that nearly killed him.

14. Trent likes to record in unique places, including the house where the 1969 Manson Family murders took place. He also converted a New Orleans funeral home into a studio.

15. Among the soundtracks Trent produced are the ones for Oliver Stone’s 1994 film Natural Born Killers, and David Lynch’s 1997 flick Lost Highway.

16. In 2006, Trent played his first-ever solo show, performing stripped-down versions of NIN songs backed by a four-piece string section at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit.

17. Trent provided a score for the 2001 Robin Williams film One Hour Photo, but the music didn’t work for the movie and wasn’t used.

18. Trent is an Apple employee. He was brought on to head Beats Electronics’ music subscription service and became their Chief Creative Officer. Then, when Beats was bought by Apple, he stayed on, helping with the launch of Apple Music.

19. One of Trent’s favorite albums is David Bowie’s 1977 LP Low.

Happy birthday, Trent!

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