In pop culture

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The term "Nine Inch Nails" has been used in various cultural references, and as an otherwise unlikely phrase is often assumed to be in reference or tribute to the band. Examples include musicians such as Tori Amos, video games such as Quake, movies such as Man on Fire, and literature such as The Dark Tower.


see also: Related bands and artists
  • Singer Tori Amos has alluded to Nine Inch Nails in her lyrics: "Precious Things" mentions "demigods with their nine-inch nails" and "Caught a Lite Sneeze" finds her "{making her} own Pretty Hate Machine." Trent Reznor sang back-up vocals on Amos' "Past the Mission." Amos sometimes included the opening line of "Hurt" in live improvisations, sometimes with silly alternative lyrics such as "I hurt myself today/to find a jellybean." The term "Starfucker" was used in Amos' 1996 song "Professional Widow" on the album Boys for Pele. Many believe that Amos and Reznor were more than friends, and Reznor has confessed that Courtney Love meddled in their friendship, causing them to drift apart. Some believe Amos's song, "She's Your Cocaine" is about the two of them.
  • Eminem's "My Name Is" from his 1999 album The Slim Shady LP includes the line "Wanna see me stick Nine Inch Nails through each one of my eyelids?" in the first verse, commonly seen as a nod to the band.
  • Progressive metal band Dream Theater has performed a live medley called "Caught in Alice's New Nine-Inch Millennium Tool Garden." It used the lyrics of their earlier release "Caught in a Web," but with new music which was a combination of the styles of Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Soundgarden, all of which were prominent rock bands during the 90s. The band later wrote new lyrics to the song and released it as "New Millennium" on the album Falling into Infinity.
  • Nine Inch Nails is referenced in the Phi Life Cypher remix of Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood:" "Now rearrangin' your whole skeletal structure then I find some nine inch nails to perform some acupuncture."
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has paid tribute to NIN more than once: "Closer" is parodied in the "Alternative Polka" from Bad Hair Day, and "Germs," on the album Running with Scissors, sounds like a cross between "Terrible Lie" and "Closer" with some elements from "Mr. Self Destruct."
  • Following the feud with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, in their 2000 song "Hot Dog" returned the lyrics of "Closer," stating "You wanna fuck me like an animal/You'd like to burn from the inside." The use of the lyrics was actually meant as a tribute to Trent Reznor, whom Durst admires, though it is often misinterpreted as an attempt at "bashing" him. Reznor cleared the use of his lyrics with no trouble, and received credit in the liner notes for the song. "Hot Dog" also mentioned "A nine inch nail/ get knocked the fuck out" and two NIN song-titles: "A Perfect Drug" and "Closer."
  • In Crazy Town's 1999 album The Gift of Game, the song "Darkside" contains the lyric "Devil's eyes and nine inch nails."
  • The MC Lars song "Signing Emo" contains the line "Industrial comes back/The pres. needs a NIN." MC Lars has stated he is a fan, but live often replaces NIN with Tool, a sign of the current relevance of Tool to the industrial scene.
  • In the song "In My Backyard" by Dead Celebrity Status, the band references Nine Inch Nails in the line "Like a Nine Inch Nail being pushed in by Trent Reznor," this track also references many other bands.
  • Nine Inch Nails are referenced in the song "Overcome" by Within Temptation. The last two lines of the fifth verse are "Sorry do my nine inch nails/Slash your soul?"
  • In the video for Good Charlotte's "Keep Your Hands Off My Girl," a NIN sticker can be seen on a band member's guitar.

Film & Video Games

  • Class of 1999 (1990): During the scene featuring a phone conversation between Cody and Hector, "Head Like A Hole" plays on the radio in Razorhead's headquarter.
  • Prayer of the Rollerboys (1991): "Head Like a Hole" can be heard playing at a party.
  • The Crow (1994): Cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" from their album Still, played as Eric Draven runs across rooftops.
  • Natural Born Killers (1994): "Something I Can Never Have" (edited and extended), "Burn" and "A Warm Place" are used in the film and appear on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, which Reznor produced.
  • Clueless (1995): Travis Birkenstock says, "so how I feel about The Rolling Stones, is how my kids are going to feel about Nine Inch Nails."
  • The Doom Generation (1995): The film opens in a nightclub playing "Heresy."
  • Se7en (1995): The opening sequence features the "Closer" remix "Closer (Precursor)".
  • The Fan (1996): A clip of "The Art Of Self Destruction, Part One."
  • Lost Highway (1997): Reznor wrote "The Perfect Drug" specifically for this film, with limited production time. He was also the producer for the film's soundtrack, and wrote/performed "Driver Down" and "Videodrones; Questions" along with Peter Christopherson.
  • Small Soldiers (1998): Just as one of the soldiers is about to fire the nail gun, he shouts, "Hey kid, don't you like Nine Inch Nails?".
  • Tuesdays with Morrie (1999): The opening sequence featured a voice saying "Morrie would dance to anything... Name a band. He'd do the twist to Nine Inch Nails".
  • Requiem for a Dream (2000): Trent Reznor and Nothing Records are credited in the "Special Thanks" section of the film's end credits. Composer Clint Mansell said Reznor served as a music consultant for the film's soundtrack.
  • Final Destination (2000): When Carter tries to run over Billy shortly before Terry's death, "Into The Void" can be heard pumping from his car. A fan made this connection to something Trent had purportedly said:
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  • Several excerpts of various Nine Inch Nails songs have been used on episodes of the television shows CSI, Cold Case, The Sopranos, Homicide: Life on the Street, Criminal Minds, Millennium, and Brotherhood [2], as well as Top Gear.
  • An episode of Muppets Tonight contained a performance by "Nine Inch Snails," an unpunctual musical group of snails dressed in "goth" apparel.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homerpalooza," Homer Simpson bemoans current bands by pointing to posters in a music store and uttering, "Now here are some of your no-name bands: Sonic Youth? Nine Inch Nails?"
  • In an episode of Clarissa Explains It All the title character says she has an opinion for everything, like "how loud to play the new Nine Inch Nails album."
  • In the first episode of Gossip Girl, the main character's mother was caught having sex with Trent by the main character's love interest's father. When the mother tells the father "in your dreams," he replies with "Well you are in my dreams, Lily. One in particular that recurs involves finding you in the back of a Nine Inch Nails bus with your shoes, and your earrings, and… Trent Reznor. Oh! That happened."
  • A promo for the 2009–10 season of Fringe contains a new version of "Zero-Sum" as well as dialogue read by Reznor. Running the audio through a spectrograph reveals an image of a butterfly.
    • Also on Fringe, during the episode "Midnight", the song Discipline can be heard.
  • Beavis and Butthead "reviewed" the videos for both March Of The Pigs[3] and Wish[4].

Literature and Comics

  • American author Stephen King quotes the chorus of "Hurt" in the opening pages of the final book of his Dark Tower series, The Dark Tower (2004). In an interview with The NIN Hotline, he said, "I've always been a TrentRez fan—and Nails. "Hurt" says all you need to know about what life takes away. What it ALWAYS takes away in the end. A song like that is a treasure because it vocalizes what we all feel but somehow can't say. Of course the Cash video blew me away, but that song (and the Bad Company lyric) have been in my head for a couple of years now."[5]
  • In book #12 of Animorphs, Cassie tells Rachel that she told her mom that NIN stood for "Nice is Neat".
  • In Marisha Pessl's "Special Topics In Calamity Physics" one of the protagonists (Milton) wears a Nine Inch Nails shirt ("He had rolled up the long sleeves of his Nine-Inch-Nails-shirt[...]).
  • In the graphic novel Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez, the band "Nine Inch Heels" is referenced several times. The logo is very similar to that of Nine Inch Nails.
  • Trent and Nine Inch Nails are mentioned several times in the novel Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. Protagonist Victor Ward makes reference to "Hurt" specifically.
  • In the webcomic JACK, many of the story arcs have lines or names that reference Nine Inch Nails as well as other bands that the author, David Hopkins, has an affinity for (such as Pink Floyd). Some of the references are the stories "The Mark Has Been Made" and "Twist" as well as the arc "Hell Is That Noise" which is acknowledged as a "Tribute to NIN" and includes song titles and lyrics taken from The Fragile in order to form a story about a soldier during "The Great Trench War" (a fictional equivalent to WWI) who commits suicide after finding out his wife had hung herself while he was away after the deaths of her three newborn children; his journey through Hell to find her; and his outright refusal of the truth when he finds it.
  • A young soldier in the comic strip Doonesbury lost most of his hearing due to listening to too much Nine Inch Nails music before he was severely injured in Iraq. His hearing loss was "worth it!"

Video Games

  • The fortress boss in Super Mario World is called Reznor.[6]
  • Episode 4 mission 1 of Ultimate Doom contains a hidden NIИ logo[7].
  • Being a huge fan of the game Doom, Reznor worked with id Software to create the soundtrack for Quake. In the game, ammunition crates for the nail gun have the NIN logo on them. Reznor later composed music and sound effects for id's Doom 3. although ultimately his efforts were replaced by other artists. The sound effects portion of Reznor's effort is available on the internet due to an earlier leak of the incomplete game.
  • "Getting Smaller" appears in Tony Hawk's Project 8.[8]
  • "The Hand That Feeds" is featured on the Rock Band video game. In March 2008 an expansion pack was released featuring three more songs: "March Of The Pigs," "The Collector," and "The Perfect Drug." Further releases added "Last" and "Burn" as well.
  • The videos section of the Alternate Reality Game website "Project Abraham," for the video game "Resistance 2" uses portions of songs from "Ghosts I-IV" as well as "Corona Radiata". The Project Abraham Alternate Reality Game is rumoured to be created by 42 Entertainment, who also created the Year Zero Experience.

External Links

  • IMDB profile for all Film and Television featuring Reznor's work.