Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
Piggy (And All That Could Have Been)
"Piggy" is the second track from the 1994 album The Downward Spiral. It is one of the many songs to include the phrase "Nothing Can Stop Me Now." The drum solo featured in the last half of the song is actually performed by Trent Reznor himself. Initially, it was a drum test being used as a placeholder in the song, but he liked it too much to replace it.
According to the Filter biography on their official website, former live guitarist Richard Patrick reportedly received the nickname "Piggy" while in Nine Inch Nails. According to Patrick's Filter bandmate Brian Liesegang, Reznor was very upset when Patrick left the band and wrote the song "Piggy" about it shortly thereafter. Patrick gave the story behind his nickname in a 2013 interview:
One evening the day before some studio time with Trent I took a girlfriend to a Skinny Puppy gig. I was watching the sound check and Ogre was on the mic shouting "WHITE PIGGY" over and over, I found it really funny. When I got back to the studio and we were setting up, I keep doing an impersonation of Ogre and after a few minutes Trent shouted to me "Hey Piggy, shut up and play some chords man!", and the name stuck after that.
As well, "Piggies" is a song on The Beatles' 1968 self-titled (or 'white') album, a noted influence on Charles Manson, who scrawled the word "pig" in blood on the front door of the Sharon Tate mansion wherein he and his 'Family' killed Tate and several others on August 8, 1969. The mansion was also where Reznor recorded The Downward Spiral in 1993-4 and Reznor kept the Tate door when he moved to Nothing Studios in New Orleans. However, Reznor debunked rumors of song connections to the Tate murders in an interview:
I had "Piggy" written long before it was ever known that I would be in that house. "March of the Pigs" has nothing to do with the Tate murders or anything like that, I’m not going to say what it is about, but it’s not about that. Yeah, the name of the studio being "Pig", that was a definite bad taste joke. It was written on the front door at one time, I’ll admit to that.
Characterized by its very simplistic structure and quasi-jazz style, "Piggy" contains a simple set of drum and other percussion loops with only bass and organ accompaniment, joined by piano and noise loops in the latter half. Though heavily debated, the album version of "Piggy" is the first of several songs on The Downward Spiral to incorporate the famous "Downward Spiral Motif." While this version of the motif does not contain the final "five note measure" found on other songs such as "Closer" and "The Downward Spiral", the structure remains relatively the same. Played by the organs on the second verse, the notes to this short variation of the motif are as follows:
The chaotic, extended drum solo/outro was happenstance. Reznor explained more in a 1994 interview with Keyboard Magazine:
For that part, I had a rigid, weird sixteenth-note pattern going. A kit was set up in the dining room, and I was playing along, fuckin' around, testing out the drums. I'd go in the other room, start the machine, run back in, put the headphones on, and play along. I couldn't hear it very good and I was way out of meter. So I just played as insanely as I could so I could hear how the drums were going to sound on tape. When I listened back, I thought, "Hey, that's pretty cool. Someday I'll come back and fix it." And of course, I never did. That was it. That was the final take. A lot of what I do is accidental. I luck into things. I think that due to laziness---not coming back and fixing things---they end up becoming more interesting. My instinct is to repair, edit. "I'll get to it later". But then I'll get so used to hearing it, I'll end up leaving it alone.
Running Time: 4:30
Released by Reznor through his remix.nin.com account, this is a vocalless, unmastered version of the album recording. Its ending is also extended by several repetitions of noise loops and the bass riff after the loud drums have faded out.
Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
Running Time: 4:02
"Piggy" was remixed by Rick Rubin for the 1995 remix album Further Down The Spiral. It features Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction on guitar and samples "Put Your Love in My Tender Care" by the Fatback Band. This remix was also featured on 2004's 2nd CD of the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of The Downward Spiral. Featured first on the Dissonance tour, it is one of the only remixes ever played live, and was revived for the NIN|JA 2009 tour.
- Produced by Rick Rubin
- Engineered by David Sardy & David Schiffman
- Guitar: Dave Navarro
- Beats: Kim Bullard
Recorded in bootleg-like quality, this live performance video is featured on the first disc of Closure.
Piggy (And All That Could Have Been)
A professionally recorded live version appears in video and audio on And All That Could Have Been. Reznor gives the microphone away to audience members to sing the "nothing can stop me now" refrain in the latter half of the song, and his ending piano solo segues directly into the performance of "The Frail."
"Piggy" has become a popular song in Nine Inch Nails live shows, played seemingly on a nearly regular basis since its debut on August 27, 1994. During live shows Reznor will frequently venture into the crowd during this song with a microphone and invite fans to sing along. Starting on the Fragility tour, Reznor began singing "hey motherfucking pig" before the line "there's a lot of things that I hoped you could help me understand".
Reznor performed a new version of "Piggy" on piano with a string quartet at Neil Young's 2006 Bridge School Benefit concert. This was most likely the inspiration for the "Ghosts Piggy" arrangement that was used in 2008's Lights In The Sky Tour. It features Justin Meldal-Johnsen on upright bass and Reznor on shaker and marimba, usually segueing directly from "19 Ghosts III" via Reznor's shaker playing as it slows from the quicker tempo to match that of "Ghosts Piggy." Its title is sourced from tour setlists.
Hey pig Yeah you Hey pig piggy pig pig pig All of my fears came true Black and blue and broken bones you left me here I'm all alone My little piggy needed something new Nothing can stop me now I don't care anymore Nothing can stop me now I just don't care Hey pig Nothing's turning out the way I planned Hey pig there's a lot of things I hoped you could help me understand What am I supposed to do I lost my shit because of you Nothing can stop me now I don't care anymore Nothing can stop me now I just don't care Nothing can stop me now You don't need me anymore
The last line of the song is not sung in the final album cut.
- Official Filter biography, which mentions Patrick's nickname