Everybody's A Music Critic
Suite101.com December 1999

Without much fanfare the members of Nine Inch Nails flew back into the airport last Wednesday night, had their stuff loaded into a limo and headed back to New Orleans--the Garden District and whatever other locations they call home. Presumably they will be taking some holiday time off before resuming their tour schedule.

Critics have hailed the new album mostly as another Reznor masterpiece, and fans bought enough tickets during the european leg of their new tour to sell out all the gigs. But there are music critics everywhere apparently. Even at the airport I discovered.

I happened to be standing at the baggage claim area myself Thursday night, waiting impatiently for my lone suitcase, when I tuned in to a conversation that a very nice, but overly talkative older gentleman who was a porter at MSY was having with an attractive young woman holding a large bouquet of flowers.

Lots of interesting people come through there he was telling her. Why...just last night he had helped Nine Inch Nails with their bags. Naturally my ears perked up at the mention. Mainly because this guy definitely did not appear to be in the age range of people who would be familiar with NINís music. You know...he continued...that Trent Reznor guy seemed like a nice guy...but "Iíve heard some of his music, and, you know...he canít hit a high note to save his soul!"

A smile of amusement quirked my lips at that naive but genuinely felt evaluation. Which broadened into a grin when he added for effect..."he was wearing these pants with holes in them." So...not only canít Trent hit a high note to this guyís liking, but he apparently didnít dress to a standard of sartorial excellence to please him either. What more could there be to comment on I wondered? The thought had barely formed when I had to stifle a laugh because the next thing out of his mouth to the now somewhat fascinated female was...

"Heís got this big bump right in the middle of his nose too...needs to get something done about that. It looks like itís been broken!"

"Uh...better watch it," I teased, unfolding the magazine I was carrying so that he could see the cover of that monthís Spin with Reznor on it. "Iím a big Nine Inch Nails fan," I teased, "So you better watch what you say!" I smiled to soften the mock chastisement.
"Well whadya know...thatís him! Right on the cover! Can you beat that? Hey...he seems like a real nice guy though," he repeated as the girl leaned in to take a look. "Oh...is that him?" she asked with a spark of interest. Obviously not a Nine Inch Nails fans since she apparently had never seen Reznor before. "Well..." she concluded, peering intently at the nose. "He wouldnít want to have anything done to his nose...that would be about like Barbra Streisand having something done to hers wouldnít it?" "Exactly," I agreed. "Exactly..."

Absently I wondered who the beautiful bouquet of flowers she was holding was for. And wondered whether there were any small gestures like that waiting for the NIN band members when they got off their plane the previous night other than the limo that spirited them and their gear away. Probably not I concluded. Otherwise, Trent might have worn nicer pants without any holes in them.

- Carolyn Hillard