We like to think that the musicians we love shot right out of the womb laying down the distinctive sounds that would one day make them famous. But as we've proven time and time again, the package that some of history's most beloved artists were wrapped in when they first entered our collective consciousness is often the product of several aborted attempts to get their shtick down perfect. For example ...
5 Trent Reznor Was in a Peppy New Wave Band
The Artist You Know
Trent Reznor, the frontman and sole creative force behind the legendary 1990s band Nine Inch Nails, is a gloomy guy who makes gloomy music. He recorded his band's most famous album, The Downward Spiral, at the mansion where the Manson Family murdered Sharon Tate. He set up a makeshift studio around the house that he tastefully dubbed "Le Pig" after the word scrawled in blood at that famous crime scene. Even with all of the music equipment present in the picture below, it still looks like the kind of place where something unspeakably terrifying must have happened:
But even knowing that, you're still going to listen to "Closer" the next time you have sex.
His battles with depression and social anxiety are so legendary that, during NIN's prime, Reznor was reduced to being a relative shut-in, putting out albums at a career-halting pace of one every five years or so. Johnny Cash covered a Nine Inch Nails song as a roundabout means of informing his fans that he was about to die. That is the kind of music that a guy like Trent Reznor makes.
The Artist You Don't Know
Trent Reznor pictured with his New Kids on the Block tribute band, Step by Step.
Trent Reznor used to be the keyboard player in an early '80s new wave cover band. That's him on the far right in the above picture, pretending he doesn't hear the cameraman telling everyone to look needlessly serious. At the time, he was a fresh-faced 18-year-old student of computer engineering at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. The band was called Option 30, and his duties included lead vocals, keyboards, and (we're assuming) keytar.
Awesomely, the only known recordings from Reznor's foray into walking on sunshine consist of a bunch of covers of songs by bands like Icehouse, the Thompson Twins, and Falco. We know what you're thinking right now, and the answer is yes, we do have a clip of Trent Reznor singing Falco's "Der Kommissar."
If you can't get enough of the new wave stylings of teenage keyboardist Trent Reznor and his sweet band, there's plenty of this stuff online. Just don't let yourself get too happy when you find it. That's not how Trent Reznor would want you to feel.