Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and Filter’s Richard Patrick have had a long and complicated relationship over the years.
Patrick was famously a member of Nine Inch Nails pre-Filter – he actually left in 1993 during the recording of The Downward Spiral.
In an interview with the Stop! Drop & Talk podcast, Patrick explained what caused him to step away from the creative powerhouse:
“The final straw [of leaving Nine Inch Nails] was Trent goes, ‘Hey, listen, Rich, I know you need some extra cash. Listen. Down at the end of [the street], there’s a little pizzeria, and they need drivers. So maybe you can go make some extra cash over there. And I’m, like, ‘Wow!’
This was when I had ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ written, and I had five record companies ready to sign me. And I was, like, ‘Hey, dude, I hate to tell you this now, but I quit. And I’m so sorry. But I fucking quit. I’m not gonna sell pizzas and I’m not gonna drive for a [pizzeria].”
Things were so tense between the two that Patrick believed that the classic Nine Inch Nails song, “Piggy,” was written about him, and not as a compliment.
He once explained in an interview that Piggy was his alter ego when performing and hanging out with Trent:
“Well, Nine Inch Nails is Trent’s band. Trent’s trying to make his music the best way he can think of. What am I doing in it? I’m not that great of a guitar player, I’m a great performer. Piggy was a great character, he was this crazy skinny guy on stage, I made him laugh.
Trent, I used to make that fucker laugh 24 hours a day and just be his sidekick, his piggy, his goofy “come here piggy, what do you think about this? Ehh fuck it” you know? And I would go out of my way to be his, the extension of his chaos. I would be his right-hand man and he wouldn’t wanna get himself in trouble but I would do it and he would go “Piggy, what do you think about that?”
So, Patrick naturally took umbrage with the song when it was released, saying:
“When a guy writes a song called ‘Piggy’ about you, there’s obviously tension or some leftover shit. My nickname was Piggy. He’s [Trent] writing songs about me … you know, I wish it hadn’t been so complicated and so weird. I wish it would have been a little more fun. Maybe one of these days we’ll talk and it’ll be OK, but it doesn’t feel like it’s a friendship, that’s for sure.”
Thankfully, Reznor and Patrick are on way better footing these days.
When Nine Inch Nails were finally able to celebrate their 2020 Rock Hall Induction, they did it in spectacular fashion with old members Chris Vrenna, Donny Lohner, Charlie Clouser, and Richard Patrick joining them for a ripping set in Cleveland. Since they were together with Patrick, it seemed only proper that they cover the Filter classic, ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’. And cover it they did: