Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral – Analog!

For me, my first experience with Nine Inch Nails came completely by accident. I was in a mall record store, back when there were still record stores in the mall, and heard it playing as I was flipping through the records. I immediately loved it. I bought a copy of “Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine” on cassette, specifically to play in my car. It was the start of something amazing.

I was working in a factory and things seemed kind of bleak all the time. This guy got me. He knew me. He was as mad and dissatisfied as I was with where I was in life and as I struggled to change it all, he was there struggling too.

He screamed the things I wanted to scream in my head and listening to this in my headphones became a balm of sorts. Listening to my tape of “Pretty Hate Machine” with the windows rolled down a little bit driving in the rain was a religious experience. You know when you sing and scream so much that you become hoarse and then are even more mad that you can’t BE any louder. Yeah, that.

Dalton was on board too with NIN. So we naturally exchanged whatever we could find around the internet and there would almost always be a NIN cut on all of out mix tapes. He permeated our existence deeply.

I thought that Trent would burn out on all that anger and weirdness, but to my pleasant surprise he has evolved over time, just as I have, and remains still one of my favorite artists.

At this point if you haven’t heard “How To Destroy Angels” you should check it out. This was a side project he did with his wife on vocals, which sounded to me like it was going to be some Yoko Ono crap, but when I actually listened (Dalton turned me on to it) I found it to be amazing. See for yourself…

I digress…

As of today, I have 2 vinyl copies of “Pretty Hate Machine” and a few others, as well as tons of CD’s and digital bootlegs of all kinds. The cassette though ended up getting eaten in my car’s tape deck eventually, and though I missed it, by that time I was into CD’s and had it digitally anyway, so the cassette was never replaced. Since that one particular tape, I can honestly say that I have never even seen any Nine Inch Nails on cassette.

Until this weekend.

I was at Half Price Books selling some culled items from my record collection and was perusing the record bins and had made it all the way through Z and was considering how bad I wanted to crouch down and look through the 8-tracks which they seemed to have some of. I ended up sitting on the floor and though they had an Alan Parson’s 8-track (ironically of one of the albums I was selling) nothing else was even remotely interesting. I started looking over the cassette spines. There were some good ones, but I am desperately trying to temper my purchases with reality lately. I did find 2 Van Morrison tapes which I grabbed, but wasn’t finding anything else. There was one cassette with just a design and no name on the spine and I passed it by, but as my brain worked on recognizing the design I thought maybe it looked like the tape of John Lee Hooker’s “The Healer” which I have and love, but it wasn’t quite right, though it looked familiar. So, I had to pull it out. To my astonishment, it was “Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral”!

and, the price was $1.99. I also realized why that pattern on the spine was so familiar to me. This cover is exactly like the sticker that Dalton gave me years and years ago that I have taped up in the music room.

That explains why it was tripping my brain. Though it doesn’t match the cover of “The Downward Spiral” vinyl album.

However, it turns out that this tape used to come in a slip cover.

So, my copy is just missing that part. Still, for $1.99 I can live with it. The inner part, the J-card is intact and it was rewound and not sitting with tape exposed, so there is hope that the tape is audibly sound.

Right now I don’t even have a tape player set up, so I guess you could call this a nostalgia buy, but come on, this is cool. This may rank up there with me buying the 8-tracks for “Rush – Archives” but I literally could not pass up the opportunity to own yet a 4th format of this classic album: MP3, Cassette, Vinyl and CD.

I don’t THINK it was ever released on 8-track…

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