Nine Inch Nails is making news for the first time in a while and unfortunately, rather than over a new album, it’s news of ex-NIN musician James Woolley dying over the weekend, which was revealed by a post by his ex-wife Kate Van Buren on Facebook Tuesday.
The last time the ex-NIN musician toured with the band was 22 years ago, after being part of the studio recordings for the 1994 release The Downward Spiral, before he left to work on a few other projects and settled down with Van Buren, who, according to a report on Inquisitr, felt it was love at first sight when she met him in 1991.
Referring to Woolley as an ex-NIN musician is a title reserved to only the most devoted performer from the industrial pool-scene at the time, as the band itself is really only made up of one person on stage, since the NIN name mostly refers to the lead musician Trent Reznor, who played all instruments, wrote, recorded, and sang for all tracks on his 1989 debut Pretty Hate Machine.
Rolling Stone‘s report on Woolley’s death also includes a response from Reznor and another ex-NIN musician Richard Patrick who’s better known as the singer of the band Filter.
“Terrible news regarding James. I hadn’t crossed paths with him for some time, but always thought of him fondly. He was a fun character to be around, a solid musician and a genuinely good guy. Those of us from that era of the band have been sharing ‘James’ stories … lots of laughs and love and sadness. Wishing his family the very best.”
The ex-NIN musician had other projects he was involved with, one of them was 2WO with Rob Halford of Judas Priest, which was one of the early releases from the Trent Reznor’s now-defunct Nothing label, for which there was only one album which capitalized on the Nine Inch Nails sound.
Some of the other projects with the ex-NIN musician were Sister Machine Gun and Die Warsau. However, Woolley’s last project for which a MySpace account is created features tracks for a project called V.O.I.D., apparently formed over the last several years, with very little left to hear. But Boycott Records’ page for V.O.I.D. says that their debut album Mass Distraction is due out this year.
Currently, the label has an account with ReverbNation, but nothing in social media. So there’s no anticipation building for marketing the release. Perhaps it’s a sign of the ex-NIN musician withdrawing into a private lifestyle?
His ex-girlfriend has stated that he had some back and neck issues, which might have a lot to do with his time with NIN as the shows were known to be physically tasking, where the musicians suffered injuries when Trent Reznor would let loose on stage.
At one point it was reported that drummer Chris Vrenna took the base of a mic stand to his head during a performance after two falling outs with the lead singer.
On occasion only a few of the ex-NIN musicians have returned, such as guitarist Robin Finck, who stuck with his career as a studio and touring musician for the band.
According to James Woolley’s Facebook page — on which he barely posted — he showed off some of his art and referred to an art gallery showing years ago. His last post was in December of 2014.
The ex-NIN musician would however recall that the ’90s with the band was a great time for him, helping the band win first Grammy for The Downward Spiral, which would be a sign of things to come for Trent Reznor as he has also won an Oscar for his soundtrack on The Social Network.
For that reason James Woolley might be happy to be known as an ex-NIN musician, but greatly missed as a legendary musician overall. If nothing comes of the V.O.I.D release, then it will certainly be a void for sure.