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© JIM YOUNG/Reuters/Corbis
Guitar-wise, you’re a real Gibson guy. What are you using these days?
“The same guitar I’ve always used: a 1960 Les Paul Classic reissue. I’ve got Tom Anderson pickups in that. I also use a 175 – I believe it’s the Steve Howe model. I’m not big on knowing all of my vintage specs.”
Some guitar tech.
[Laughs] “Yeah, right. I was more into the effects and MIDI – that’s always been my specialty. I could work on whatever guitars were around, and with Nine Inch Nails I got pretty good at working on whatever guitars were broken each night. My passion is in the technical side of things. For reasons purely financial, I’ve stuck to one main guitar. I know I have it, and I have a backup of it. I don’t want to have to carry 13 guitars around on the road with me.”
Back when you were teching, did you ever have a real nightmare where you thought you could be fired?
“I’m sure I did. Working for Trent Reznor on the Downward Spiral tour was unlike anything that ever was or will be – ever. It was pure chaos, mayhem and destruction. There was one pedal, the DigiTech Whammy pedal, and there was no way that was gonna survive what was happening on stage. Trent would come over and just crush that thing with full force.
“I hired the guy at DigiTech to make a remote version of it. But even though it was laser-based, the laser was out there on stage in a pedal form and the guts were in a rack. Trent would still crush the pedals, though. I had three of them in a trough. He’d crush one and another would go up; he’d break the second and a third one went up. If he broke the third one, I thought, ‘That’s it. Fuck, after this one, I’ve got nothing.’ And once everything breaks, that’s it – total destruction on stage. That was probably the most tension I felt out there, thinking that if the third pedal breaks the monitor board is going to come crashing onto the floor.”