It was Reznors likening his third album The Fragile to a journey that began at the bottom that spurred me to put reservations aside and prompt the daimon to tell me how the story ended. Previously I had recorded his words as one would take dictation, letting the story unfold in whichever order he chose. Beginning at the bottom, I realised, might mean jumping into a dark moment in time...the nadir.
100500 Cielo Drive. Trent has fervently denied selecting this California residence based on its infamous past. Affording exquisite views over the Hollywood Hills and its suitability for recording in are reasons he gives for singling it out over nine other properties viewed. Trent claims he wasnt aware, until after it was rented, that it was the house in which Sharon Tate and four of her friends were brutally murdered by the Manson family.
Alerted by the housekeeper on a sultry morning in 1969, police arrived to find the heavily pregnant Tate with a rope around her neck, dead from multiple stab wounds. Attached to the other end of the rope, drenched in blood, was prominent Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring. The house has since been razed but Reznor, not entirely willing to leave the past behind, took the front door with him and it is now ensconced at his New Orleans mansion.
On choosing to carry on exploring the past life story I too stepped through a door of sorts into a scene almost as tragic as the one that occurred in 1969. Later, when reviewing the notes, I had to question whether the similarity in the scenes could be why Reznor was drawn to that Hollywood home - if indeed it wasnt simply because of the shockingly poor taste publicity it would engender?