Long known as one of rock's angriest men, the Nine Inch Nails frontman is engaged to be married and is planning to put his band on hiatus after a summer tour. He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Seth Colter Walls about life after angst.
Your comeback has been successful, both critically and commercially. Why stop now?
When I reemerged sober in 2005, I was apprehensive about any kind of relevance I might have. It's been a pleasant kind of comeback; it's felt creatively good to me. But at the same time, a lot of the emotions the songs were based on, they are less who I am now.
So this isn't just about hanging up the Nails banner as a touring franchise?
It feels to me like [the band] has run its course at the moment. I'm not going to quit making music, and I probably will make some more Nine Inch Nails stuff down the road. But I'm going to try some different things now.
What music do you listen to that might shock your fans?
I saw Sufjan Stevens last year, and I was like, how is his singing that good? The band Grizzly Bear, I think they're excellent. There's a beauty and a musicality there that I wish would have been in vogue in the late '80s, when I was forming bands. The aesthetic I was tuned into was a more dumbed-down kind of thing. Sometimes listening to stuff like they're doing makes me feel irrelevant. That's a nice, healthy kick in the ass. And it's interesting to see there's room for that in what's considered hip these days.