Putting to end all the rumors, Trent Reznor simply named his band Nine Inch Nails because he wanted something that sounded “hard” and “tough as nails”. In the words of Trent Reznor himself,
“I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to think of band names, but usually you think you have a great one and you look at it the next day and it’s stupid. I had about 200 of those. nine inch nails lasted the two-week test, looked great in print, and could be abbreviated easily. It really doesn’t have any literal meaning. It seemed kind of frightening. [In his best he-man voice] Tough and manly! It’s a curse trying to come up with band names.”
Here’s a bunch of different opinions and theories on why Trent chose the name Nine Inch Nails…They have all been denied by the band.
- From the fact that there is enough iron in a person to make a Nine Inch Nail.
- The nails driven into Jesus Chirst’s wrists and feet during the crucifixion were Nine Inch Nails.
- That the Statue of Liberty’s has Nine Inch Nails.
- Nine Inch Nails are the customary length for coffin nails.
- From an obscure lyric from the Tori Amos song “Precious Things” from her Little Earthquakes album released in January of 1992. Tori sings – “Those demigods with their nine-inch nails and little fascist panties tucked inside the heart” but the band had already been around by the time the album was released.
On a side note: On the same Tori Amos Little Earthquakes album Tori sings, “Made my own Pretty Hate Machine” on the song “Caught A Light Sneeze“. Pretty Hate Machine was the name of Nine Inch Nails debut album.