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Better Late Than Never
Alternative Press - 01.99
By Robert Cherry

Working album title: The Fragile

Projected release date: early 1999, on nothing/interscope

What's taking so long?

According to Trent Reznor, the reason for the delay is simple: he didn't know if he wanted to continue. "I had to rediscover my passion for wanting to make music," he says. "A lot of the other shit started to take the shine off it--the celebrity aspect, the constant competitive backbiting. I've seen that with close friends. For a while it just didn't seem as appealing to get back in that arena. Not from an 'I'm afraid to do it' point of view but more from an 'it's not as fun as it used to be' [perspective]. But I think I've got my head turned back around."

What's it sound like now?

The double album Reznor plans to release picks up thematically from "Hurt," the sliver of optimism that closes 1994's The Downward Spiral. According to Reznor, that song was about "a sense of remorse and awakening, and looking back feeling that it's not all to blame on other--growing up a little bit about things."

Musically, the maturation process included a lot of trial and error. "I tried to write the new record from a different perspective, trying to write things that are simpler--maybe you could play it on a piano and sing it--which i've never tried to do. And I tried and failed. Everything started to sound like a Billy Joel song and shit that made me want to kill myself and make sure all the tapes were well destroyed before I offed myself," he says, laughing.

Instead of snuffing himself, Reznor worked at recapturing the "spirit of reinvention" he felt while making The Downward Spiral. Now that the spirit's moving him again, he's getting back to what he does best: being different. "I don't think any artist wants to look at their own life or career and think, 'well, I really can only do this one thing good, so fuck it, I'll just do that.' I'm sure people actually do that, but I don't want to think I'm one of those people. I aspire to be a David Bowie, some sort of enigma that isn't a one-trick pony."