Nine Inch Wall
Trent Reznor says he’s putting together materials for a new Nine Inch Nails album. This is great news for the MaddWolf household, since all three of us are fans. In particular, it means that I will recognize the sounds blaring from my bathroom while my son Riley is in the shower – as opposed to the Norwegian Death Metal, Lithuanian Punk, or Pirate Metal (I swear this is true) I might hear today.
One of Riley’s earliest concerts was the NIN show at the old Germain amphitheater. Bauhaus, a band from my childhood who sings of vampires, opened. Riley considered them “adorable.”
“They’re like 50 and they take their shirts off. The one guy’s wearing all mesh. Who does that?”
I couldn’t defend my aging goth band against these charges of adorableness, though, because some out-of-place, incredibly drunk dude in faux blonde dreads kept trying to frat-boy dance his way into our row. Riley was about 11 and I didn’t want him crushed up against the rest of the row, so I did the only reasonable thing. I planted my feet and boxed out.
NIN took the stage and Riley beamed. We sang along. Periodically the kid in the row ahead turned around to ask me which album one song or another came from, as I was the only ticketholder old enough to remember the band’s 1989 debut album. All went well, until the body count beyond Riley shifted, and suddenly a woman wearing only police tape for a shirt appeared to my son’s right.
The mesh shirt seemed epically reasonable to me at this point.
Sgt. Nipply stumbled close to my boy and murmured some, “oh, isn’t he cute” remark. I placed my right hand firmly on her left shoulder, straightened my arm (I do have an impressive wing span) and pressed.
With my right arm as a brace above Riley’s head and my left guarding against rhasta-frat-drunky, I stood as a force field for the balance of the program, in what is now known as the “Head-off the Ho’s Memorial Box-Out.” Riley danced and clapped and had a generally great time within my perimeter of party-poopitude.
Some years later, Riley got the phenomenal opportunity to meet Reznor because our glorious friend Cheryl won backstage passes, and her possibly-more-glorious husband Demetrius unselfishly decided to make a 16-year-old’s dreams come true. He gave Riley his pass. All Riley had to do in return was promise to ask Reznor how much weight he could bench press, which, to Cheryl’s dismay, he did. (FYI: Reznor didn’t give a number, but he did ask Riley if high school still sucks.)
My only job was to get him there.
Riley took his buddy Nate, both 16 but not yet licensed, so I drove the boys to Nationwide and looked for the ice cream truck where they’d meet Cheryl and the other winners.
Some of those winners were women in their twenties who (presumably) misjudged Riley and Nate as of-age. This band of tramps openly eyeballed – even flirted with – my charges.
I put a quick end to that.
George says there’s a name for people like me, and it’s not Cholesterol Blocker. But I don’t care because I’d do it again. I would, that is, if Riley and Nate would ever again be seen in public with me.
Anyway, to sum up: 1) Nine Inch Nails may have a new album soon, 2) Don’t take your mom to a rock show.