Robin Finck may not be as recognizable a name as the band with whom he plays – Nine Inch Nails – but it is the guitarist’s unique mastery of both tone and performance that adds much to the industrial band’s sweeping soundscape panoramas. In fact unless you’re a hardcore Guns N’ Roses fan you may not even realize that Finck was one of the main contributors to “Chinese Democracy,” the long running Axl Rose album that was finally released in 2008. Because Robin has played in bands dominated by highly visible frontmen – Rose of course and NIN’s Trent Reznor – he tends to get overlooked when the Best Guitarist lists get written. But he is a stunningly accomplished player (he was accepted to the Berklee School of Music but trashed that idea for an open audition with NIN) capable of playing everything from beautiful nylon-string acoustic strums on “Hurt” to insane whammy-inspired feedback freakout solos on “Piggy.” He is also in the very early stages of his own solo album (and insists that it’s still very early days yet) but once released will absolutely establish him as a major player in the world of electric guitar.
He is currently out with Nine Inch Nails on their 2013 Tension tour. It is an epic juggernaut that will take him through the end of the year and will include Australian and New Zealand dates in 2014 alongside Queens of the Stone Age. On a rare day off, Finck found an hour to talk about life as Axl Rose’s guitar player and what it’s been being a Nine Inch Nail.