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KISS

As a kid growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Reznor was attracted to the band's theatrics and sense of bombast, which he later developed into the larger-than-life leather/S&M approach of his own dynamic live performances.

DAVID BOWIE

Feeling alienated from the jock-and-cheerleader mentality of his hometown, Reznor was drawn to Bowie's chameleon-like ability to change personae and his androgynous flirting with gender roles. Trent eventually returned the favor by opening for his idol during a '95 tour, shows marked by Nine Inch Nails fans streaming out after Reznor and the band's performance.

AL JOURGENSON

Leader of both the Revolting Cocks and Ministry, this early Midwestern industrial pioneer made a huge impression on a young Trent Reznor, who gradually harshened his early rock/disco sound after moving to Cleveland and forming the original lineup of Nine Inch Nails with drummer Chris Vrenna. Reznor's Nine Inch Nails joined the Revolting Cocks for one of their earliest tours.

CAN/KRAFTWERK/EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN

A trio of German techno-rockers from '60s, '70s, and '80s who were the forerunners for the harsh, industrial soundscapes Rezner began constructing in '89 with Nine Inch Nails. Can's approach was more abstract and progressive, Kraftwerk brought a post-modern chill, while Einsturzende tossed in a post-punk sturm und angst.

SUICIDE/JIM "FOETUS" THIRWELL

A pair of unsung U.S. progenitors of no-wave industrial caterwaul, these techno-pioneers presaged Reznor's pointed, post-apocalyptic electronica. Suicide was a duo featuring Alan Vega as a demented Elvis Presley-by-way-of-Iggy Pop doomsday prophet sneering over keyboardist Martin Rev's squawking vox box. Thirwell launched a series of collaborations, like Foetus Scraping the Wheel, with partners such as Lydia Lunch in a harsh, atonal morass of keyboard feedback and grunge guitars.

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Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
This article is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously located at SUS.