• Trent Reznor, SPIN, May 2005

    The Shadow of Death: SPIN's 2005 Nine Inch Nails Cover Story

    This story originally appeared as the cover story to the May 2005 issue of SPIN magazine. Read SPIN's September 2013 cover story, Trent Reznor's Upward Spiral.For a decade, he's been "that guy in there," behind the cement walls and black-tinted windows of this sprawling property on busy Magazine Street in New Orleans' French Quarter. Outside, mutts and garrulous families play on peeling front porches. Tourists browse the mini-malls set in 200-year-old store-fronts. Today, much of the city is enjoying the Bacchus Parade during Mardi Gras, tailgating as cotton-candy vendors and colorful floats of angels, devils, snakes, and sirens roll by.The French Quarter is always full of this kind of life. But inside this building, a former funeral parlor turned live-in recording studio, there has been all kinds of death.

  • Life to the Pixies

    Life to the Pixies

    This feature originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of SPIN magazine.In Heaven and in the Pixies' dressing room at Paris' Parc des Princes stadium, everything is fine. Last night, at the city's Zenith club, guitarist Joey Santiago totaled his cherished Gibson Gold Top Les Paul reissue during a freak-out solo on "Vamos." But as the sun sets over the 50,000 fans, the 39-year-old is looking ahead — arrangements are already being made to buy an original — and bopping around the plush white space, blasting Donovan's dippy "I Love My Shirt" from the stereo. "Play some Rod Stewart!" barefoot bassist Kim Deal, 43, shouts from the couch, where she's thumbing through a copy of Cat Fancy. Moments later, Deal changes out of her pajama bottoms and does vocal warm-ups: singing the alphabet and blasting her lungs open with an inhaler.

  • 110304-mr-show.png

    Mr. Show: The Oral History

    Fifteen years ago, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and a close-knit gang of frustrated young comics and struggling actors from Los Angeles' alternative stand-up scene found themselves alone and barely watched on late-night cable TV. HBO's Mr. Show With Bob and David, their violent, byzantine, ultraprofane showcase for absurdist sketches and short films, was America's answer to England's Monty Python's Flying Circus and Canada's SCTV.

  • 2-tone.jpg

    The Oral History of 2 Tone

    There's a scene in Alex Cox's 1986 film Sid & Nancy that foreshadows the end for the star-crossed punk lovers: One of their cohorts shows up in a trilby hat, shiny tonic suit, and skinny tie, having ditched his safety pins and leather. "I don't wanna be a punk anymore," he explains. "I wanna be a rude boy, like my dad." Seeing no future, the new rude boys and girls sought to reinvent the past as a place where black kids and white kids could look sharp in vintage clothes and skank in harmony to a ska-punk hybrid. 2 Tone, the indie label founded by Jerry Dammers, keyboardist and chief songwriter for the Specials, was its cornerstone.

  • john-hughes.jpg

    John Hughes and the Soundtracks to Our Lives

    John Hughes, who passed away on Thursday at age 59, graduated Glenbrook North High School in suburban Illinois in the spring of 1968.I graduated high school in 1988.He should not have known what it was really like for people like me to walk those tricky halls and hang out in those polarized parking lots two decades and half a country away from his "Shermer" (really, Northbrook), Illinois. But he knew. The same way he knew what it would probably be like for the kids who graduated in 2008. Truth is timeless, and the three movies he either wrote or produced and directed in the mid 80s (call it his "High School Trilogy," or more simply, his "Molly period,") had real truth in them. John Hughes movies weren't about teens wanting to have sex like, well, just about every other teen movie of the '80s, both great (Risky Business), and not so much (Porky's 1-3).

  • martin-gore.jpg

    The Inquisition: Tough Questions for Martin Gore

    Dave Gahan may be the voice and snaky hips in front, but it's Martin Gore, with his choirboy vocals, perverse stage getups, and hyper-emotional songwriting, who provides Depeche Mode with its dark heartbeat. Nearly 30 years after Gore, 47, and his bandmates first plugged in their synths, the Mode remain one of modern music's most successful groups, selling 75 million albums and inspiring countless sensitive teens to turn their diary entries into dance music. On the eve of releasing their 12th album, Sounds of the Universe, Gore called from his Santa Barbara, California home to talk about the '80s, parenthood, and God. The new album is almost gleefully retro Mode. Was that deliberate? I started getting back into buying old analog gear while we were recording. Lots of old drum machines and synths. It wasn't a conscious thing.

  • The Year in Music: Jukebox Jury

    With slow natural-disaster response and potential treason at the highest level of government, 2005 dragged us back to our nation's dark ages. However, a few of the year's singles had us recalling a golden age of pop music. Which regression are you going to dwell on, sad sack? We asked bassist Carlos D. of Interpol (who this year toured all over with their sophomore album, Antics) and Saturday Night Live godsend Fred Armisen (whose early band, Trenchmouth, is so obscure we can't even pretend we were into them before you) to weigh in on 2005's hits and misses. Here are some selections that just missed the cut in the Jukebox Jury piece in Spin's January issue. For the full story, check out the mag. Oasis, "Lyla"The Gallagher brothers get back to basics.Spin: It's basically "Street Fighting Man" by the Stones. Carlos D.: Yeah I was just thinking that.

  • Band of the Year: The Killers

    By: Marc Spitz A cold wind is blowing across the Great South Bay and the kids have added a layer to their late-summer outfits. The Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theater in suburban Wantagh, Long Island, seats about 14,000 of them. It's the kind of outdoor venue your Jimmy Buffetts and James Taylors safely rock during the peak months of July and August. Occasionally, an alternative band will headline here, and then only once they're either legendary (as the Pixies, who performed this past summer, certainly are) or massive (as the Killers, who are headlining this September evening, have become). "I've got you under my skinnnn / I've got you...deep in the heart of me." Singer Brandon Flowers is warming up backstage.

  • Prowling Las Vegas with the Killers

    Come along for the wicked ride as the Killers try to commit the Seven Deadly Sins in - where else? - Sin City. The Killers never received the Bono Talk, that rite-of-passage sit-down in which rock's king of sunglasses sincerity imparts his hard-won wisdom to young bands in the dizzying flush of first success. Over the years Nirvana, Hole, Radiohead, and the Strokes have been offered the Bono Talk, but when the Killers met the U2 frontman backstage after their sold-out show at Dublin's Olympia Theatre last November, Bono was too lit to lead. "He was pretty drunk," singer Brandon Flowers says.Adds drummer Ronnie Vannucci. "He did drape his arm around me and say, 'Spare us the interesting second record.'" Since Spin named them one of 2004's Next Big Things, the Killers have actually gotten very big (this does not always happen).

  • The Next Big Things Issue: The Killers

    The Killers never received the Bono Talk, that rite-of-passage sit-down in which rock's king of sunglasses sincerity imparts his hard-won wisdom to young bands in the dizzying flush of first success. Over the years, Nirvana, Hole, Radiohead, and the Strokes have been offered the Bono Talk, but when the Killers met the U2 frontman backstage after their sold-out show at Dublin's Olympia Theatre last November, Bono was too lit to lead. "He was pretty drunk," singer Brandon Flowers says. Adds drummer Ronnie Vannucci, "He did drape his arm around me and say, 'Spare us the interesting second record.'" Since SPIN named them one of 2004's Next Big Things, the Killers have actually gotten very big (this does not always happen). Their debut album, Hot Fuss, has at press time sold more than 600,000, and in December the band scored three Grammy nominations, including one for Best Rock Album.

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