Trent Reznor has long held negative feelings about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and he’s never been shy about it. “The worst would be if we did [get inducted],” he said just last year, “and then what? We’d have to fuckin’ show up and jam? I can’t even imagine what that would be.” Well, it seems his imagination has become a bit more vivid since inducting The Cure into the Hall earlier this year, as he’s had a change of heart about the institution.
In a new interview with Forbes, Reznor discussed NIN being one of the 2020 RRHOF finalistst. Apparently, his first-hand experience at the 2019 ceremony softened his opinion to the point where he now thinks it’d be “nice” to get the honor. And it all leads back to being asked to give a speech for The Cure.
“I wanted them to be inducted properly,” he said. “I thought I could do a good job, went there. As I was in the audience, sitting there, it felt kind of cool in the audience. So I’m sitting at a table with the Radiohead guys, super nice, and I think we all kind of looked at it like, ‘This could be bulls**t.'”
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Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Reznor continued,
“As we’re there it kind of wasn’t bulls**t. We’re watching Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music get inducted, who I love, and then play. And I see a whole arena full of people into it. I walk backstage cause The Cure’s gonna come up. I go out and do my thing and I’m not sure if The Cure is gonna resonate with the audience, the audience I see sitting on the floor there is mostly old industry people.
Then I walk out to do the induction, it’s loud applause for them and it seems real. They come up and I can see that Robert Smith is happy and the other guys in the band are all kind of freaked out. It felt validating. I wanted to see them respected someplace I feel they deserve. It ended up being a pretty cool experience and I thought, ‘Alright, it doesn’t feel as bulls**t as I kind of snarkily dismissed it as.’ I don’t have any problem admitting I’ve changed my opinion about something.”
While Reznor is a big enough person to reconsider his stance, he remains humble in the face of his own induction. “… I can look on that ballot this year, Todd Rundgren, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk. And it’s hard for me to make an argument why I should get in before they do,” he said. “Those guys, all of them, have been incredibly integral to me even having a band.”
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Still, if Nine Inch Nails does indeed get the nod in 2020, it’d be extra meaningful; the ceremony is being held in Cleveland, the city where Reznor began his musical career. For that to happen, he’ll have to beat out other nominees including The Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, Motörhead, Whitney Houston, Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, and MC5. Should NIN get in, Reznor will be the sole member enshrined in accordance with the Hall of Fame’s policy.
The 2020 induction ceremony is set for May at Cleveland’s Public Hall. HBO will then broadcast the event later in the year.
Below, watch Reznor welcome The Cure into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.