Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock band, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. Nine Inch Nails live performances contrast with its in-studio counterpart: although Reznor is in complete creative control of Nine Inch Nails in-studio, he typically assembles groups of backing musicians to interpret songs for tours and other live performances. In 2009 Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails was done touring, but that he would continue to create music under the name. In 2013 Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails would return to the stage and revealed tour dates for the Twenty Thirteen Tour.
The configuration of Nine Inch Nails as a live band evolved consistently from the first tours in 1988 until the final tour in 2009. Early incarnations of the band featured three people playing guitar, drums, keyboards, and samplers. Later incarnations replaced the keyboards and samplers with an additional guitarist, and further incarnations added a bass guitarist. The live component of Nine Inch Nails later settled on a five-piece band between the Self Destruct Tour in 1994 and Lights in the Sky tour in 2008. In September 2007, Reznor expressed his interest in moving away from the "rock band configuration" to explore "other ways [to] present the material in concert", and by 2009, the live band was once again pared down to four positions.
Between major tours, live band members have on occasion contributed instrumental performances to official Nine Inch Nails releases, though creative control and direction has always been the responsibility of Reznor. Nine Inch Nails has released one album and four videos featuring the live band: Closure (1997), a double-VHS set featuring live performances from the Self-Destruct tour; And All That Could Have Been (2000), released in CD and double-DVD formats featuring performances from the Fragility tour; Beside You in Time (2007), released in high-definition and DVD formats featuring performances from the Live: With Teeth tour; and Another Version of the Truth (2009), an officially sanctioned fan-made release in high-definition and triple-DVD sets featuring performances from the Lights in the Sky tour.
Robin Finck replaced Richard Patrick, the live band's original guitarist, for the Self-Destruct tour in 1994. Between tours, Finck performed briefly with Cirque du Soleil and then with Guns N' Roses. Following a four-year touring hiatus, the Nine Inch Nails live-band reformed in 1999 for the Fragility tour, again featuring Finck contributing on guitar. At the conclusion of the Fragility tour in 2000, Finck returned to Guns N' Roses, and was replaced by Aaron North for Live: With Teeth in 2005. There are various reports that suggest there was animosity between Finck and Reznor during the Fragility tours, which may have led to Finck declining the invite to the following tours. In 2008, Finck rejoined Nine Inch Nails, playing on The Slip and joining the live band for the Lights in the Sky tour and the following Wave Goodbye tour. Finck has contributed on the most tours of all the past live members, playing for the Self Destruct, Fragility, Lights In The Sky and Wave Goodbye tours. On May 17, 2013, it was announced that he will be returning for the 2013 and 2014 tours.
Prior to the Live: With Teeth tour in 2005, Reznor held open auditions to replace live-band members who had left the group during the five years between tours. Alessandro Cortini reportedly fit in immediately, and was part of the live-band for 4 years. Between tours, Cortini contributed to some of the Nine Inch Nails studio-material, gaining co-writing credits on Ghosts I–IV (2008) and a performance credit on The Slip (2008). At the conclusion of the Lights In The Sky Over North/South America tour in late 2008 Cortini announced his departure from the band to pursue other music projects. No replacement was hired for him, and the 2009 incarnation of the live band was a 4-piece group, with the role of keyboard player shared between the 4 band members. Cortini returned to the live band for its 2013 and 2014 tours.