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The All Singing, All Dancing Fight Club Rock Opera

Kevin Mooseles | 14 Sep 2015 15:00
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Should we be excited or afraid of the possibility?

Chuck Palahniuk has stated and tweeted on numerous occasions that he listened to The Downward Spiral repeatedly while writing Fight Club. Although the story idea started from his experience with co-workers after he was beat up on a camping trip (his co-workers avoided eye contact; avoided even acknowledging his bruised and healing face), the story elements of The Downward Spiral had a very strong presence in the finished project. Palahniuk and Reznor have been close friends for years. Last October, I gave a track-by-track comparison between The Downward Spiral and the plot points of the film. There is no doubt in my mind that Reznor is the perfect guy to help transform Fight Club to the rock opera medium.

Furthermore - since almost all NIN lyrics have an honest, self-reflecting, almost autobiographical quality - Trent Reznor is, in a sense, the living model for Tyler Durden. The real context for the lyrics in The Downward Spiral were a poetic reflection of Reznor dealing with his growing popularity and the discrepancy that existed between the person he knew himself as, and the guy that went onstage and beat the shit out of his band mates, his equipment, and himself on a nightly basis. Also the idea of stripping away all of the layers of self and pursuing self destruction as a path to rebirth was the very basis of the Nine Inch Nails project. He told himself back in 1988 that if he wanted to make it in music, he had to do without a girlfriend, without a band that didn't share his vision, without any external influences; and his plan worked.

Just as Fight Club began with one guy at war with both himself and the world around him, so was the project of Nine Inch Nails formed. Trent Reznor created a rock star persona: a public face and mouthpiece that was at odds with the flesh and blood, vulnerable and mortal guy who worked late hours in the studio by himself, crafting together his Pretty Hate Machine. This theme of duality is very common throughout the NIN lyrical catalogue, because it was such a big part of Trent's personal story. The quest to "hit bottom" is a philosophy that Reznor took to heart back in the 90s and it nearly destroyed him.

Still not convinced that he is the perfect man for this particular job? Well how about this: examples of Fight Club appropriate NIN songs outside of The Downward Spiral album include "Burn","The Perfect Drug", "Somewhat Damaged", "Even Deeper",And All That Could Have Been", "Only","Getting Smaller","Meet Your Master","Head Down","Copy of A", and "In Two". Just read the lyrics of any of those songs with Fight Club in mind, and ask yourself if there is a pattern.

Imagine if Bono had spent 20 years swinging around New York as Spiderman before penning Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark

The amount of insight that Reznor can offer to this project is tremendous. I mean, imagine if Bono had spent 20 years swinging around New York as Spiderman before penning the songs for "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark", while also being a brilliant musician. That highly unlikely scenario demonstrates precisely the degree of relevance that Reznor's influence would have on this particular project.

Finally, the concept of collaboration is something that both Reznor and Palahniuk have been exploring successfully in recent years. Reznor won an Oscar for his first film score, and Palahniuk has been quite outspoken about how much he enjoyed the collaborative experience of presenting Fight Club 2 in comic book form.

The very fact that Fight Club 2 is a reality that will continue providing installments until next spring makes this crazy Broadway idea less of a dream and more of a serious possibility. While this story has been a book, a movie, a video game and now a comic book (which inspired the brilliant Chuck Palahniuk youtube promotion for the concept of a Fight Club For Kids! book), the idea of producing a dedicated rock opera version actually makes a lot of sense. We should demand this version, not doubt it.

If Palahniuk, Fincher, and Reznor devote all of their energy towards crafting the Fight Club rock opera dream into a reality, we may be faced with one of the most cutting edge, transformative, and synchronistic musicals the world has ever known. By this point I'm not entirely convinced we'll ever see it take shape, but if the most recent rumors turn out to be true, I think we're in for an all-singing, all-dancing punch to the face, and it will be brilliant.

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