Trent Reznor founded the '90s rock group Nine Inch Nails; with Chris Vrenna at the drums, Reznor did all of the writing, performing and producing himself. Other musicians were brought in only on tour or if a desperate need arose.
Born May 17, 1965, in Mercer, Pennsylvania, Trent Reznor began his musical career at five years old studying piano, later teaching himself tuba and saxophone. His parents divorced in 1970, and he was raised by his maternal grandparents. After studying computer engineering at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, he moved to Cleveland in 1987, performing with several different bands. While with the band Problems, he achieved minor fame when their song "True Love Ways" was played by Joan Jett in the Michael J. Fox film Light of Day. He left that band in 1988 to form his own band, Nine Inch Nails. He wanted to explore more than just rock & roll and included techno and dance music in the group's repertoire. Reznor became a one-man band, writing, producing and performing all the group's songs. They earned a reputation in 1990 with their second album, Pretty Hate Machine. The album stayed on the Billboard charts for more than two years with the hit "Head Like a Hole." (Their first album, Industrial Nation, was never released.)
In 1992, Reznor and his manager, John Malm, formed their own record label, Nothing Records, after a legal battle with then-current record label TVT. The two signed several artists, including Pop Will Eat Itself and Marilyn Manson. Reznor released the EP Broken in 1992, which earned him his first Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song "Wish." He won another Grammy in 1996 for Best Metal Performance for his song "Happiness in Slavery."
The Downward Spiral album, released in the spring of 1994, traced the singer's life from his underground songs to his pop mainstream songs, and proved to be his major breakthrough in terms of popularity. t was also in 1994 that he recorded "Past the Mission" with Tori Amos. After his fame grew, he produced the soundtrack for Oliver Stone's film Natural Born Killers, which included Nine Inch Nails' "Something I Can Never Have" and "Burn." David Bowie also took an interest in the group, and they toured together in 1995.