February 23, 2000
The Skinny On The Tour Dates

What's the number one thing on the minds of Americans right now? No, not the Presidential race, you idiot. It's "Where the fuck are the U.S. tour dates?" The truth is, no one knows when they'll be released. However, most people are unaware of how the process of making tour dates works, which makes it harder to understand why it's taking so long. In this week's edition of the Meathead Perspective, I hope to shed some light onto the subject.

by Meathead

Most people think that Nine Inch Nails' tour dates are made in the United States. This is not true. The tour dates actually come from high in the mountains of Colombia, in South America, where they are carefully grown and harvested using a lengthy, painstaking process.

The tour date process begins in the nursery, where thousands of carefully selected tour date seeds are planted. The seeds are sown close together and covered with rich, fertile soil.

About eight weeks later, the seeds germinate and roots develop. The healthiest tour dates are selected and transplanted in the nursery and carefully nurtured for six months. When the tour datelings grow to about two feet in height, they are transplanted to the plantation where they are carefully cultivated.

When the tour dates are a rich, red color, they are ready for harvesting. Only then are the tour dates picked individually. After the farmer picks all the tour dates from the tree, they are put into bags and loaded on mules or donkeys.

The tour dates are then soaked in cold mountain water for 24 hours. The soaking starts a slight fermentation which is of vital importance to the aroma of the tour dates. After soaking, the tour dates are washed in long concrete troughs. Any twigs, debris or poor quality tour dates are discarded.
When the washing is over, the tour dates must be dried. They are scooped up and put into large straw baskets. They are then spread out on great open-air terraces, where they are turned again and again until the wind and sun have dried them completely. It is necessary to cover the tour dates at night and when it rains.
The tour dates are now brought to the mill where they are fed into machines which remove the tough parchment husk and silvery skin that surrounds each tour date. The tour dates pass through different screening processes, where they are freed from impurities and sorted by size, weight and shape. Now they are ready to be poured into bags and are sealed for export.

It is only after this long process that Trent Reznor will give his stamp of approval. However, before the bags are sealed, another tour date sample is taken which is graded and weighed. This tour date is roasted, ground, liquified and tasted. Trent gives marks for aroma, acidity and uniformity. If he is not satisfied with the quality of a particular lot, the tour dates are refused.

So now you know how tour dates are made. There may be other reasons why they are taking so long to be released (rumor has it that they're rehearsing some classic Option 30 songs as a special treat for the American fans), but the delays are largely due to the fact that the tour date-making process just takes a while. Keep your pants on.

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