Home > Red Spiral Notebook > [December, 1994] The Story of Trent Reznor’s Guitar Pick

[December, 1994] The Story of Trent Reznor’s Guitar Pick


[Taped into notebook]

My actual concert ticket from the Nine Inch Nails show.

NIN (set lists)
mr. self-destruct
march of the pigs
gave up
happiness in slavery
the downward spiral
the only time
down in it
head like a hole
dead souls
i do not want this (12/9)
something I can never have 

There are no words or phrases that could even begin to vaguely describe the feelings tonight. That’s why there are no quotes here. I’ll say one thing then I’ll talk about the concert. I have Trent Reznor’s guitar pick (one of them). It is now my prized possession but the story how I got it is really stupid so I won’t even bother. It’s red.

“pinion” began it but he opened with “mr. self-destruct” after it. I was so utterly impressed by the amount of non-typical-concert songs he did (“eraser,” “gave up” and “hurt.” “hurt”!!!). More importantly (sort of) they didn’t close with “head like a hole,” but “something I can never have.” All that I’m going to say is that seeing U2 (whenever they tour again) will really leave me emotional. That’s all goodnight.

Although Claudia and I didn’t get to sneak our way into the General Admission area and get trampled in the mosh pit, we did try. Since our tickets were torn from the previous night but still being honored due to the rescheduled show, they were punched with two holes at the entrance. Except for the General Admission tickets, which were punched with four holes. When Claudia and I noticed this, we tried to make two additional holes in our tickets in the hopes that a less-than-vigilant security guy would wave us through. No such luck. We wandered around a downstairs area of Madison Square Garden we had no business being in, and were finally shooed away, returning to our seats in defeat.

Trent Reznor performing during the Self Destruct tour (not sure which city).

Not that it mattered. After Marilyn Manson opened up for them (barely known at the time and booed a lot during their set) I barely sat down during the entire show. I thrashed my way through every song, a most pit of one, except for the ballads, which made me cry (espeically “something i can never have”). I like to think the tears mixed artfully with the eyeliner, adding to the false trails I drew on my face, but I probably looked more like The Crow after getting caught in a monsoon.

As for the story of how I got that guitar pick, it’s not the story that’s stupid as much as the girl who paid a guy $30 for a tiny piece of plastic he claimed Trent Reznor threw out into the crowd. Mind you, I had no way of proving it was really Trent’s, and the pick didn’t even have an NIN logo on it, but I believed the guy. He initially tried to sell Claudia and me backstage passes for $30 each, but we only had money for one, and even though Claudia suggested I get one and go in alone, I was too intimidated. But the backstage passes were real (they were identical to patch-like stickers worn by other folks being waved through by security), so I figured the guitar pick must be as well. I took the guy at his word and paid what was a lot of money for me back then to own what I believed had been used to make music by one of my musical idols.

I think I still have that guitar pick; I know I must still have it. I quickly searched the file cabinet where I found the concert ticket pictured above, and while I didn’t see it in there, I know somewhere is a piece of paper with a red guitar pick taped to it, with block letters beneath it saying,


It’s here, somewhere.


  1. Liz
    September 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Great story! I was late to discover NIN and first heard of them because my 8th/9th grade crush “C” had a NIN patch on his backpack. Probably the last cool thing he ever did in high school 😛 I got a *different* boy to give me the Spin Doctors tape for my 13th bday because C liked them. 😉
    On a slightly different note, you were only at the concert with one person right? In which case, you forgot to change her name in just one sentence. I’m not trying to be cute, just to give you a head’s up since you have been pretty careful about changing names in all your other entries. 🙂

    • Liz
      September 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      P.S. I apologize for the emoticons…resisted using them in the earlier days of the internet, but they just convey tone sometimes when, in real life, I totally would have been making a stupid face myself. 😉

      • September 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm

        I resisted emoticons back in the day, too, but I’m way past it now. It’s just an easy way to convey friendliness and joking around.

    • September 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks for pointing out the name typo, I just fixed it (and I really appreciate you pointing that out to me!).

  1. March 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm
  2. March 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm
  3. January 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm

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