Nine Inch Nails: The Trent Reznor Chris Cornell Feud

Chris Cornell Trent Reznor Feud

Two of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose’s favourite artists including Trent Reznor and Chris Cornell feuded in the press in the late 2000’s.

Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they take a look at the time Nine Inch Nails frontman and leader started a feud with Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell. Check out the full story below!

Back in 2009 Chris Cornell would release his solo record Scream which was divisive to say the least. Produced by Timbaland the album shed Cornell’s rock n’ roll past and went for a more electronic sound. One of Cornell’s rock n’ roll peers would slam the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer for the record and then come to regret his comments. Stay tuned to find out the full story. 


In 2009 Twitter was relatively new and wasn’t yet cancelling your favourite people or TV Shows. Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor had just signed up to Twitter and had around 40,000 followers. He would take to Twiter following the release of Scream and write “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus,”


The album would be panned by critics receiving 2 stars from Rolling Stone, but Cornell was wel prepared for the fan reaction telling the magazine “Maybe I’m an optimist or just an idiot but I really think the fans will come around to the concept.”


Reznor would shed some more light on the Tweet the same year during an interview with the Canadian press stating 


“We had a chip on our shoulder about Soundgarden because their record [Superunknown] came out the same day Downward Spiral came out, and they beat us to No. 1 on Billboard. That became a kind of professional showdown. And we did show them.

I really have no personal issue with Chris at all. The thing I said on Twitter… it goes deeper than what have may appeared on the surface. We were on [Interscope]. And I have had Jimmy Iovine, the president of that label, come up to me on every record from With Teeth onwards saying I should do some sort of urban thing — it was Timbaland for a while, then it was Pharrell for a while — because ‘that’s how you sell records.’ The idea seemed so preposterous and insulting.

I’m not talking about ‘let’s go make a record with Dr. Dre,’ because that would be kind of cool. What he’s talking about is making your record sound like what’s on the radio, whether it’s appropriate or not. And that’s what Chris did. I think that when somebody who is respected like he is goes that route, it sends the message that it’s OK to give up any kind of core values you had to be the fashion of the moment. I don’t think that’s OK. I think it’s harmful. If I have one major fight in the world of the music business, it’s trying to keep art first and commerce second.”


A few weeks after the tweet Reznor didn’t stop there as on April Fools in 2009 he announced a new record called Strobelight which was produced by Timbaland and featured collaborations with  Chris Martin, Jay-Z, and Bono, plus Sheryl Crow, Justin Timberlake, Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, Fergie, Alicia Keys and even Reznor’s old rival, Ministry’s Al Jourgensen. In his statement Reznor would tell fans”Strobe Light” can be bought for $18.98 “plus a $10 digital delivery convenience fee.”

“Your e-mail will be kept confidential and will not be used for spam,””unless we can make some money selling it.”

It wasn’t just Reznor hating on the album as his Nine Inch Nails bandmate Alessandro Cortini tweeted about Cornell’s newest album around the same time “Chris Cornell + Timbaland = depression,” was Cortini’s first post, followed by “Once again, please somebody erase this nightmare that is Chris Cornell’s new album” and “I don’t know why I am listening to it. I am so bummed right now! Where’s Soundgarden?


So what did Chris Cornell have to say to all of this well he would respond on Twitter with the following tweet without calling out Reznor by name 

“What do you think Jesus would twitter,” Cornell asks. ” ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ or ‘Has anyone seen Judas? He was here a minute ago.’ 

In 2014 Soundgarden and Nine Inch nails would head on a co-headlining tour.Looking back at his 2009 statements following Cornell’s death Reznor would  tell an interviewer “Prior to the co-headlining tour  Reznor wrote Cornell an e-mail, apologizing for that outburst. “He was very cool and generous about it – ‘It’s the past, f it. Let’s go on.’ The Chris I met on that tour was a gentleman that completely had his s* together.” “Seeing Chris do that record felt like a blow to me,” says Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. “I thought, ‘He’s above that, man. He’s one of the 10 best vocalists of our time.’