Enigmatic Ad Campaign To Introduce World To Next NIN LP
Upcoming release by industrial-rock band so far teased in clip during MTV Video Music Awards and similar print ad.
Nine Inch Nails fans, tempted by enigmatic advertisements used to
promote the industrial rock act's first album in more than four years, will
be able to watch the unusual ad campaign take shape over the next few
months like a slowly developing puzzle.
The first pieces have already been laid out for viewing.
On the heels of a brief and alluring television commercial that ran in September during the MTV Video
Music Awards broadcast, there is now a print version of the ad -- which teases the release of the new
NIN recording -- in the pop-culture magazine Gear. However, the ad offers little more than a few odd
"It will all begin to make more sense over time," explained NIN spokeswoman
Sioux Zimmerman. "There will be a little bit here, a bit there. It will all build up [to
the album's release]."
The print ad, like the televised clip which gave the first clues of a release,
features the word "ninetynine" in orange with the band's trademark backwards
"n"s in the same font used on the cover of NIN's 1992 EP Broken. It also
includes the logo of bandleader Trent Reznor's label, Nothing Records, and a
Gear West Coast Sales Manager Heather Schliewen offered a "no comment" on
"I'm extremely excited about the hype, even if it's in low profile at the moment,"
said Evan Moore, the 18-year-old webmaster of the unofficial Nothing Records
fan site "Seemslikesalvation." Moore predicted that the ads were just the
beginning and that he thought 1999 would be "the year of Nine Inch Nails."
While little is known about how much material the deeply cloistered Reznor has recorded for the album,
Zimmerman confirmed that modern-rock super-producer Alan Moulder is working closely with Reznor on
the album. Moulder has worked as an engineer, mixer or producer with everyone from Brit-poppers the
Boo Radleys, Elastica and Lush to Reznor, Reznor-protégé Marilyn Manson and post-grunge
art-rockers Smashing Pumpkins, whose 1995 smash album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, he
Zimmerman would not confirm in what capacity Moulder was working with Reznor, who is said to have
allowed greater contributions from his bandmates than on previous efforts. Also contributing to the
album, according to Zimmerman, are Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton, who spent a single day in the
studio with NIN, and former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew, who previously lent a hand on NIN's
1994 album, The Downward Spiral.
Other confirmed guests include Ministry drummer William Rieflin, former Chic/Power Station drummer
Tony Thompson and keyboardist Mike Garson (who recently toured with Smashing Pumpkins).
Producer Steve Albini (Page & Plant, Nirvana) has assisted in an undisclosed capacity. Zimmerman
said rumors of recently hired Marilyn Manson guitarist John5 (born John Lowery) lending a hand are
NIN keyboardist/drummer Charlie Clouser previously said that this album is turning out to be a more
collaborative follow-up to The Downward Spiral. Although past efforts from the pioneering group have
been governed entirely by Reznor's tortured vision, Clouser said that he and guitarist Danny Lohner are
being given more opportunities to offer ideas on the new record.
Clouser and Lohner are currently the only full-time bandmembers working with Reznor. Former
programmer/producer Chris Vrenna left the group more than a year ago.
"As always, Trent is charting the course and has a clear vision of how he wants things to sound,"
Clouser said. "But I've been able to contribute a fair amount, and some of the songs we're working on
have grown out of sessions with all of us fiddling around in the studio. So it does seem like a more
collaborative process than before." Zimmerman had no comment on word that the new effort will be a
The new album will be NIN's third studio LP of all-new material since the band's formation in 1987. In
addition to its 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine, which featured the alt-rock hit "Head Like a Hole"
(RealAudio excerpt), the band has released The Downward Spiral and a number of remix projects,
including the Broken and Fixed EPs and 1995's Further Down the Spiral.
The album plans first went public via the spare, eye-catching 30-second television commercial that
debuted during the MTV Video Music Awards.
It consisted of a black-and-white, pulsing NIN logo and snippets of several songs expected to appear on
the collection, which as yet has no release date. Zimmerman said Nothing/Interscope was shooting for
a late winter/early spring release.
The commercial, designed by former Raygun rock-magazine designer Robert Hayles, opened with a
subtle piano track. The slowly flickering NIN logo, which looked at first as if it were part of an ancient
silent-film strip, shone brighter as the clip went on. It finally whited out while Reznor's multi-tracked,
agitated voice sang the phrase "Trying to save myself but myself keeps slipping" over a pounding
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.