By Scott T. Sterling

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has opened up about kicking a drug habit and how it affected his music.

Related: Trent Reznor Scores Ken Burns Vietnam Documentary

“I had romanticized the idea of what drugs and alcohol’s role in my life was,” Reznor revealed in an interview with Kerrang (via NME). “I’m not saying it didn’t provide great moments of great escape and relief, and easing of pain, but it wound up creating chaos and destroying things – destroying creativity in my case.”

“There was an awkward adjustment of learning how to live without that, without those things, those people, those crutches and habits,” he continued. “Once I got on stable ground and started to understand how my brain worked without all that, musically at least, I can do more because I can remember what I did. I can think deeper about things.”

Reznor went to explain that he’s gotten to a point where he can still channel the darker side of his creativity even without the aid of chemical substances.

“I’m inspired by how I feel, and I attempt to be as honest as I can be about those feelings,” he said. “‘Not The Actual Events’, for example, was I think one of the ugliest records I’ve written in a long time, certainly sober. I’m allowed to go down some dark holes that I realised, in sobriety I hadn’t allowed myself to. I don’t mean I’m using drugs, but I was allowing myself to think deeply about things I’ve felt, and things part of me still feel.”

Reznor recalled time spent with David Bowie, and how the rock legend helped him towards sobriety.

“It reminds me, when I was in the throes of that [addiction] was when we toured with Bowie, and this was the Bowie that had come out the other side and was happily married. I was nearing the peak of my addiction, and his role to me was kind of mentor, big brother, friend, and also he’d give me kind of shamanish advice.”


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