When I lived in New Orleans from late 1994 to the summer of 1995, industrial music and Goth kids inundated the Quarter. Lots of black hair dye, black lace, Doc Martens, and eyeliner everywhere, despite the humidity. Many of the kids traipsed uptown on a pilgrimage to Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails’ Nothing Studios. “He’s got the door! He’s got the Tate door,” they’d say. It was the scuttlebutt around the French Quarter.
Did these kids even know why they were so excited? I doubt any of them were old enough to realize what “the door” really represented. They seemed to have a vague idea that the door came from a house where a gruesome murder took place, and that was the extent of their knowledge.
It was the front door to the house at 10050 Cielo Drive, where Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski, were murdered on Aug 9, 1969. The murderers wrote PIG in Tate’s blood on the doors. Of course, by the time Reznor rented the house, the door looked like any white door with nine small window panes you’d find at Home Depot.
Nine Inch Nails recorded The Downward Spiral at the Tate House, which Reznor rented in 1992 and 1993. He said in one interview that he had no idea it was the Tate house -he just liked the way it looked. That’s hard to believe, given Reznor’s musical and video output at the time. Anyone with even a vague interest in the macabre or gory true crime would surely recognize the address?
When Reznor had a chance meeting with Sharon’s sister, Debra Tate, his story changed. His explanation for why he rented the house? “It was just my interest in American folklore.” The encounter made him have second thoughts about living in the house. However, he allegedly took the front door with him when he left. (The recording studio at 10050 Cielo Drive was sometimes referred to as “Pig” or “Le Pig” Studios.)
Photos of Nothing Studios in New Orleans seem to confirm this rumor. The Tate residence was demolished in 1994 and the address – 10050 Cielo Drive-doesn’t exist anymore. Nothing Studios fell into disrepair until the current owner bought it. The property is now slated for redevelopment.
New Orleans in the mid-90s was a magnet for a new brand of vampires and witchiness. Read The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Marilyn Manson’s autobiography, to find out a bit more about the unsavory goings-on in New Orleans circa 1996. Anti-Christ Superstar was recorded at Trent’s Nothing Studios in 1996.
“Gave Up” from “Broken” recorded at 10050 Cielo Drive, 1992