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2009.02.XX - Interview with Robin in Time Out Sidney

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:27 pm

Nine Inch Nails

Robin Finck is looking forward to playing on Nine Inch Nails’ Australian tour. Just don’t ask about his former boss.

By Andrew P Street

Last time Nine Inch Nails were here it seemed like the band were finished. Trent Reznor notoriously encouraged the Luna Park audience to pirate his records during an on-stage rant, much to the displeasure of his then-record company Universal, and the tour ended with him sacking the entire band.

"Oh, is that right?" laughs guitarist Robin Finck. He wasn’t part of that line-up, but he has been in NIN more often than just about anyone, having toured with them on and off from the mid-90s and playing on last year’s The Slip. That’s not all: he toured with (and met his acrobat wife through) Cirque du Soleil, as guitarist for their show Quidam. He was also part of Guns n’ Roses, co-writing and playing on much of Chinese Democracy – although he’s loathe to even mention the fact. He’s sounding chipper about his current job, though.

"It’s still exciting. I still get a charge from stepping into these songs and playing in front of these audiences and playing with the guys in the band," he begins. "We’re just about to start making noise with these songs, the four of us. We’re gonna flesh out these songs and see what we come up with. We’re already excited about doing it - we’ve been talking about it, but we haven’t gotten in the room and hammered them out."

Those who saw the band last time around should take note: this time around the band will be a lean, rockin’, guitar-based quartet. “We’re going out as a four piece, as opposed to five, and we’re really gonna strip these songs down and build them back up in a way that’s exciting and fresh and feels alive for the four of us.”

Finck has enjoyed a remarkable – arguably unique – degree of creative input in his recent projects, considering he’s been working with people regarded as highly idiosyncratic creative mavericks. “Oh sure. I’m fortunate to have been involved in the… teams that I’ve been playing with,” he says, carefully. “I’m certainly grateful.”

And he’s worked with some people who are notoriously, shall we say, challenging to work with…

"Sure, they’re terribly different people," he says hesitantly, accurately predicting where this line of questioning is headed. "Trent is really forthright with the vision, whether it’s a song or the stage or the presentation or the concepts or the sound design, or just getting a song together – but he also has an ear for others’ input. And he always shows up and really has a love and a care for what he’s doing with these songs and really with everything in Nine Inch Nails. And that’s inspiring and refreshing, you know? We put in long hours when we’re working on this stuff and it’s very satisfying."

As opposed to, say, working with… certain other people?

"Look, I’m not really here to talk about the Guns n’ Roses guys," he counters, with the sort of diplomacy one might use when discussing a notoriously litigious former employer who likes to start feuds at the drop of a hat. "I certainly wish them the best, though."

Alright, fine. So how does one go from being lead guitarist with a couple of the biggest rock bands on the planet to playing fiddly classical guitar for a circus?

"That was kind of a trip," he laughs. "I jumped two feet over the fence and I don’t know where I landed - I landed in some crazy place. It was wonderful and it was very romantic and charming and I met some lifelong friends through that experience, and I married one of ‘em. And it was quite an inspiration too, just to step away from the rock world, specifically the touring life of a rock band at that time for me in my life. Really, the music: that was all second to the lifestyle that I was seeking. I was looking for something to turn my world around, first and foremost, and playing music was really secondary."

Any desire to go back to something like that?

"I’m always open to things. I mean, right now I’m chest-deep in Nine Inch Nails - there’s a lot for me to be excited about and to apply myself towards - but eventually I see myself singing my own record. But right now I’m leaning into Nine Inch Nails with everything I’ve got. And there’s a lot to lean into."
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