Misc. — May 11, 2017 at 11:23 am

Trent Reznor on seeing Depeche Mode in 1986: ‘It was spiritual and truly magic’

As part of the promotion for its new album and tour, Depeche Mode has been letting a different fan take over the band’s Facebook page each day for a year, and, well, some of those fans — like skateboard legend Tony Hawk — are more well-known than others.

Hawk had his turn yesterday, and in addition to declaring his love for DM, he posted a video of his own skateboarding highlights set to the strains of Depeche Mode’s 1987 single “Never Let Me Down Again” (see below), and drew testimonials about the band from fellow fans, including Wesley Eisold of Cold Cave, Amanda Palmer, and Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor.

Hawk writes:

Pretty Hate Machine changed my life. I knew immediately that NIN would play a pivotal role in the soundtrack of my life. So when asked to host Depeche Mode’s page, I hoped that Trent would contribute ANYTHING to my effort. Without DM & NIN, I would have been lost in a sea of confusing electronica / industrial music during my formative years. They both continue to deliver some of the best tunes of our generations. Trent sent me this email this morning, and it further deepened our connection; Black Celebration is still my favorite album top to bottom.

Reznor, as Hawk notes, took the opportunity to recount the impact Black Celebration had on him and his music, and specifically cited seeing Depeche Mode perform in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on June 10, 1986.

Here’s Reznor’s full account, as shared by Hawk:

It was the summer of ’86. I’d dropped out of college and was living in Cleveland trying to find my way in the local music scene. I knew where I wanted to go with my life but I didn’t know how to get there. A group of friends and I drove down to Blossom Music Center amphitheater to see the Black Celebration tour. DM was one of our favorite bands and the Black Celebration record took my love for them to a new level.

I’ve thought about that night a lot over the years. It was a perfect summer night and I was in exactly the right place I was supposed to be. The music, the energy, the audience, the connection… it was spiritual and truly magic. I left that show grateful, humbled, energized, focused, and in awe of how powerful and transformative music can be… and I started writing what would eventually become Pretty Hate Machine.

Many times, particularly when we’re playing an amphitheater, I’ll think of that show while I’m onstage and hope someone in the audience is in the midst of a perfect summer night feeling how DM made me feel so many years ago.

— Trent Reznor

Below, check out that video of Tony Hawk skateboarding to “Never Let Me Down Again.”






  1. I was also at that ‘Black Celebration’ show (for me it was July, 1986, Los Angeles). It was my first real concert. I echo Trent Reznor’s sentiments. DM was truly magical.

  2. I was also at that same show in Cleveland ’86. The amount and caliber of showmanship on display was staggering; and having seen NIN more than a few times, hearing that TR was in attendance explains a lot.

  3. Delta-Mode

    What a killer band they were then, from 1984 to about 93 they were simply untouchable. They’ve made some solid records since then but that was without a doubt they’re golden period. I was never a big NIN fan but I do like Pretty Hate Machine which sounds like Depeche Mode a lot.

  4. Debra Johnson

    I was at the Los Angeles show in 1986 for the Black Celebration tour, along with my twin sister.

    It was the first concert we went to…universally-depthted, perfectly-pitched, STUNNING voices.

  5. Mark C. Hudson

    I too was at Blossom. What a great show

  6. Julio Román

    I was a kido in that decade, but as soon as I became a teenager, I discovered what has been (and probably will be) my favorite band.
    There’s no concert like a Depeche Mode’s concert.
    Energies melting together in a sea of deep thoughts and stunning rhythms.

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