cover image Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails

Martin Huxley. St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-312-15612-1

Pseudonymous rock biographer Huxley (Aerosmith, AC/DC) seems to have limited the research for this complacent look at what's behind the curtain of relentless, yet oddly tuneful synthetic beats, scratchy guitars and doom-laden vocals, to major music magazines. Most of the milestones, scandals and anecdotes of singer-songwriter-producer Trent Reznor's rise to (relative) fame and fortune will be familiar to even the most casual readers of Rolling Stone or watchers of MTV. The well-publicized feud between Reznor and rock widow-turned-actress Courtney Love is here, as are brief descriptions of Reznor's rural Pennsylvania childhood (""Reznor recalls his first childhood role model being Steve Austin, TV's Six Million Dollar Man"") and uneventful college years. However, aside from the limited discussion of the band's genuinely compelling videos, the book's most engaging passages for rock aficionados--in which Reznor describes his innovative recording techniques--will probably bore the adolescent reader for whom the rest of the book seems to have been written. If the short, uninspired biography has become an unofficial, necessary prelude to rock canonization, Reznor should take hope from this defiantly complacent look. (July)