Raised by his maternal grandparents after his parents divorced.
Started playing piano at 5 years old.
His hero as a child was Steve Austin, the main character in The Six Million Dollar Man. He later used Steve Austin as an alias for hotels while on tour.
Played tenor sax in his high school's jazz and marching bands.
Appeared in high-school productions of Jesus Christ Superstar (as Judas) and The Music Man (as Professor Harold Hill).
Left college after a year and relocated to Cleveland in order to pursue music full-time.
Appeared in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett in a bar scene with a fictional band called the Problems.
Worked as a janitor and assistant engineer at Right Track, a Cleveland recording studio. The owner allowed him to record during off-hours.
Participated in the first Lollapalooza tour.
Fought for his release from the TVT record label after it attempted to exert control over his follow-up to the million-selling debut Nine Inch Nails album Pretty Hate Machine. He eventually signed with Interscope.
Signed Marilyn Manson to his nascent label, Nothing Records, in 1993 and produced Manson's breakthrough 1996 album Antichrist Superstar.
Assembled the soundtrack for the movie Natural Born Killers.
Wrote the song "Hurt," a minor hit in 1995 that was later covered by Johnny Cash.