In the olden days, when there was no Internet and wooly mammoths roamed the earth, musicians could do all kinds of silly things without fear of repercussion since no one was going to see it anyway, and certainly not in perpetuity.
So reasoned Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails when they agreed to lip-sync and fake-play their track “Down In It” on dodgy 80s-era cable TV show Dance Party U.S.A., a clip of which has just surfaced as these thing do now that we live in the era of the webiverse.
According to Blabbermouth (citing the Pulse of Radio citing Stereogum… ugh), the footage - presumably gathered around the time of the Pretty Hate Machine album in 1989 - was discovered on a video cassette purchased for $100 by a Nine Inch Nails fan. (Wiki Trivia: Kelly Ripa was apparently a dancer on the Dance Party U.S.A.).
As might be expected, Reznor took it all in stride. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he wrote, "Many years ago, a young and naive Nine Inch Nails were asked what TV shows they'd be interested in appearing on. As a joke (and likely drunk), they thought of the most absurd choice they could come up with at the time. They were then informed their bluff had been called and were actually booked on said show.
"They hopped in their Honda Civic touring vehicle (hatchback) and traveled many miles to (I think) NJ for the big show. They had a laugh making fun of the people, their fashion choices and hairstyles. Life was good. Years later, the internet is discovered . . . there's a moral in there somewhere. Come to think of it, Skrillex may indeed owe me some publishing on that hairdo."
Kudos to Reznor for having a laugh. And really, compared to other celebrity video that’s surfaced over the years (David Hasselhoff’s drunken cheeseburger rant, Ashlee Simpson’s SNL jig, Madonna loathing hydrangeas, anything Paula Abdul) this is positively quaint, though Skrillex does have some 'splaining to do.