Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 aired tonight on HBO and Nine Inch Nails were among this year’s showcases. Before Trent Reznor’s award-winning speech, the band was honored with an introductory speech from Iggy Pop, where the icon compared Reznor and the band with Bob Dylan, Nirvana, George Clinton, and French novelist Michel Houellebecq. Read the full keynote below and watch the full ceremony on HBO Max.
After Iggy Pop’s introductory speech, a packed video detailing the history and influence of Nine Inch Nails is played. It includes interviews with colleagues and the artists with whom they influence. “Nine Inch Nails has always been outside of music,” said Rick Rubin. “The rest of the culture is moving and changing in a certain way, and they̵7;re always outside of it.”
In addition to talking about their iconic Woodstock ’94 performance and two chorus “Head Like a Hole”, St. Vincent also discussed the influence of Nine Inch Nails on popular culture. “Nine Inch Nails came out of the industrial scene of the 80’s and made heavy, corrosive industrial music widespread and made it something that suburban kids wore t-shirts. ”
Saul Williams also shares a similar feeling. “It has a huge impact on a generation of children in need of direction,” he said. “I could be funny about that and say, ‘Yes, he helped a lot of suburban white kids understand their lives,’ you know? But in a great way, though! In a great way. “
“They are a testament to you can make music with pervasive power that you don’t understand enough,” says Miley Cyrus. She was interviewed in part of a video package that notes the sample “Old Street” and interpolates her “Head as a hole” in Black mirror. “You really start to have a deep appreciation for tunes, and when you have a great tune, it can fit into any genre. I think that’s how a song became classic. “
The Rock & Roll’s 2020 Hall of Fame also includes Notorious BIG, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston, T. Rex and Doobie Brothers. Jon Landau and Irving Azoff receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award. The broadcast recorded before tonight, with no musical performances, will take place a planned live show that has been eliminated due to the pandemic. The show featured a memo segment that included a special tribute to Eddie Van Halen.
Read all Pitchfork’s coverage of the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony.
Speech to introduce Nine Inch Nails by Iggy Pop
When I first heard about Nine Inch Nails and heard a bit of their music, I thought, “So who is this guy?” So I looked, and I saw a 15th century Spanish face. I think Trent might have played Zorro. If he was alive at the right time, I think he could have been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably hang in Prado today.
Listening to the music of Nine Inch Nails, commonly known as industrial, I really hear a lot of interesting things. Just listen to “Closer” and the background could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton. But above all, it is a focused and relentless emotional destruction process that paints portraits of pain, pressure, and discontent. It was the soundtrack of the dark and lonely party that started playing in America at that time, so I would call it not industrial, but the sound of digital, industrial ambitions.
I went to the Nine Inch Nails show at the Los Angeles Forum – a show with David Bowie – and Trent held the center of that room with just a kind of dark spot hidden behind the microphone. I saw the same thing done in different ways by T. Rex at Wembley, Nirvana at Pyramid Club and Bob Dylan in ’65. This is the hallmark of the master artist – just for connection.
The talented and controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq, when asked his secret to success, said: “It’s easy, just tell the truth.” Listening to Nine Inch Nails feels like hearing the truth, so it helps you draw a little closer to God. I am honored to assist in bringing Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.