Up until now, the only elaboration Trent Reznor had given us on his dis against Chris Cornell’s Timbaland-produced album Scream was in the form of the hilarious April Fool’s Day joke album Strobe Light. In the faux press release, Reznor parodied Cornell’s attempt to incorporate popular dance music and electronic beats with his 90s grunge roots, while also calling out Cornell for selling out by listing radio-friendly performers, like Fergie, Alicia Keys, and Justin Timberlake, as collaborators on the mock album. In a lengthy podcast interview on Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot’s Sound Opinions, Reznor has given us a much more specific, and revealing, explanation for his indignation against Cornell:
In the case of Cornell, I don’t know Chris. I do know what label he’s on now and I do know who’s whispering in his ear. And heavily on the With Teeth album, I turned that record in and I would get back “Hey you know, you might wanna… maybe we need to put some beats on this record.”
I’m not making this up. “What do you mean ‘beats’?”
“Well this urban thing is really taking off. You’ll get it in the club. You know, what if we had Dre or somebody…”
And the part of me that wants to be the open-minded artist says, “I’ll consider that.” I even went so far as Timbaland doing a, trying to do a, remix at Interscope’s dime of “Hand That Feeds” which was laughably terrible. And when I turned in Year Zero, which I thought had the coolest beats I’ve ever come up with and I hear “Yeah, we need some cool beats,” it’s like, “you know what, suck me.”
And I’m sure there was someone whispering in Cornell’s [ear] and he can put that off as some kind of socio-cultural experiment, but what it was was a money grab and when you do that you’re saying to other people that look up to you, it’s okay to do that and it’s not okay to do that. It isn’t.
Not quite as harsh as his slam against Prince and Rivers Cuomo, but damn, this guy’s an open book these days.