As part of Rolling Stone's upcoming tribute package to David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor recalls touring with Bowie in the mid-90's, and how the musical legend helped him overcome his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
After detailing the experience of touring with his idol as part of the Outside tour, Reznor describes how his newfound fame pushed him to addiction. "On that tour, I was a mess, quite honestly," Reznor says. "This was the peak of Nine Inch Nails' newfound rocket ship of fame. It distorted my personality and became overwhelming: to deal with having everyone treat you different, to going from not being able to afford a gas bill to show up to arenas full of people, who kind of think they know you. … I wasn't fully aware of how bad it was getting, but I knew, in my heart, that I was on an unsustainable, reckless, self-destructive path."
Reznor continues, "When I met David, he had been through that. And he was content. He was at peace with himself, with an incredible wife, clearly in love. There were a number of times where the two of us were alone, and he said some things that weren't scolding, but pieces of wisdom that stuck with me: 'You know, there is a better way here, and it doesn't have to end in despair or in death, in the bottom.'"
Eventually, Reznor got clean, and when he saw Bowie a few years later in Los Angeles, he wanted to thank him for his help. "I started to say, 'Hey listen, I've been clean for …' I don't even think I finished the sentence; I got a big hug. And he said, 'I knew. I knew you'd do that. I knew you'd come out of that.' I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it. It was another very important moment in my life."