Chris Vrenna

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Chris Vrenna
Chris Vrenna recording in 2013
Background information
Birth nameChris A. Vrenna
Born (1967-02-23) February 23, 1967 (age 52)
Erie, Pennsylvania
Origin Chicago, Illinois
Genres Industrial rock, industrial metal, alternative rock, electronica
InstrumentsDrums, keyboards, vocals, piano, synthesizer, guitar, bass, programming
Years active1988–present
Labels Six Degrees, Waxploitation
Associated acts Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Tweaker, Stabbing Westward, Gnarls Barkley

Chris A. Vrenna (born February 23, 1967) [1] is an American musician, Grammy-winning producer, engineer, remixer, songwriter, programmer, and founder of the electronic band Tweaker. Vrenna played drums for the industrial/rock band Nine Inch Nails from 1989 until 1997, and was the keyboardist and drummer of the American rock band Marilyn Manson from 2004 until late 2011.

Tweaker is an American alternative rock collaboration founded by Chris Vrenna in the late 1990s. Tweaker's musical style incorporates synthpop, progressive rock, modern jazz and electronica genres, and is characterized by a generally melancholy and sombre sound with matching artwork.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. The band was founded by lead singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, who was the band's only official member until adding English musician Atticus Ross in 2016. The band has signed with several major labels over the course of three decades, the current being Capitol Records, under the name The Null Corporation.

Marilyn Manson (band) American rock band

Marilyn Manson is an American rock band formed by namesake lead singer Marilyn Manson and guitarist Daisy Berkowitz in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1989. Originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids, they gained a local cult following in South Florida in the early 1990s with their theatrical live performances. In 1993, they were the first act signed to Trent Reznor's Nothing Records label. Until 1996, the name of each member was created by combining the first name of a female sex symbol and the last name of a serial killer, for example Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. Their lineup has changed between many of their album releases; the current members of Marilyn Manson are the eponymous lead singer.



Soon after graduating from McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1985, Vrenna moved to Chicago, quickly becoming a part of the Chicago industrial music scene and was briefly a member of Die Warzau and Stabbing Westward.

McDowell High School

McDowell High School is a public high school located in Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania a suburb of Erie. It is the only high school in the Millcreek Township School District. The school's mascot is the Trojan.

Erie, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania

Erie is a city on the south shore of Lake Erie and the county seat of Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States. Named for the lake and the Native American Erie people who lived in the area until the mid-17th century, Erie is the fourth-largest city in Pennsylvania, as well as the largest city in Northwestern Pennsylvania, with a population of 101,786 at the 2010 census. The estimated population in 2017 had decreased to 97,369. The Erie metropolitan area, equivalent to all of Erie County, consists of 276,207 residents. The Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area has a population of 369,331, as of the 2010 Census.

Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in America, namely in Chicago.

He later reconnected with Trent Reznor, whom he met during high school in Pennsylvania, [1] when they both were in local Cleveland, Ohio band the Exotic Birds. He also toured as a live drummer for KMFDM during the Money era tours, in 1992. He records under the name Tweaker, and has released four albums under that name: The Attraction to All Things Uncertain (2001), 2 a.m. Wakeup Call (2004), Call The Time Eternity (2012), and And Then There's Nothing (2013). Tweaker toured select North American dates with Skinny Puppy in 2004.

Trent Reznor American musician

Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

Exotic Birds

The Exotic Birds was a synthpop music group formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1982 by three Cleveland Institute of Music percussion students, Andy Kubiszewski, Tom Freer and Tim Adams. They wrote their own music, and were described as synthpop and dance. They achieved mainly local success, but appeared as an opening band for Culture Club, Eurythmics, and Information Society.

KMFDM German industrial band

KMFDM is a German industrial band from Hamburg led by multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko, who founded the group in 1984 as a performance art project.

As producer, remixer, or engineer Vrenna has worked with The Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Gary Numan, Scar the Martyr, David Sylvian, Mudvayne, Lords of Acid, God Lives Underwater, Megadeth, Rammstein, Metallica, The Rasmus, Weezer, P.O.D., David Bowie, Slipknot, Cold, underwater, Scarling., Hole, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Green Day, Bush, Live, Adema, the Wallflowers, Dir en grey, and Psyclon Nine. He has also worked with the industrial group Pigface and produced songs and albums for underground girl groups TCR, Jack Off Jill, and Rasputina.

The Smashing Pumpkins American alternative rock band

The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988 by frontman Billy Corgan, D'arcy Wretzky (bass), James Iha (guitar), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums), the band has undergone many line-up changes. The current lineup features Corgan, Chamberlin, Iha and guitarist Jeff Schroeder.

U2 Four-member Irish rock band, from Dublin

U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.. Initially rooted in post-punk, U2's musical style has evolved throughout their career, yet has maintained an anthemic quality built on Bono's expressive vocals and the Edge's effects-based guitar textures. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal and sociopolitical themes. Popular for their live performances, the group have staged several ambitious and elaborate tours over their career.

Skinny Puppy band

Skinny Puppy is a Canadian industrial music group formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982. The group is widely considered to be one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. Initially envisioned as an experimental side project by cEvin Key while he was in the new wave band Images in Vogue, Skinny Puppy evolved into a full-time project with the addition of vocalist Nivek Ogre. Over the course of a dozen studio albums and many live tours, Key and Ogre have been the only constant members. Other members have included Dwayne Goettel (1986–1995), Dave "Rave" Ogilvie, Mark Walk (2003–present), and a number of guests, including Bill Leeb, Al Jourgensen (1989), and many others.

Vrenna has also worked on music for several video games, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare , Doom 3 (as producer with Clint Walsh), Quake 4 , American McGee's Alice , its sequel Alice: Madness Returns , Enter the Matrix , Sonic The Hedgehog , Area 51 , and Need for Speed: Most Wanted . In 2004, he started soundtrack work on Tabula Rasa , a massive multiplayer online game. He also helped compose the theme song to the animated series Xiaolin Showdown .

<i>Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</i> first-person shooter video game

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first-person shooter video game published by Activision. The eleventh major installment in the Call of Duty series, the game was developed by Sledgehammer Games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while High Moon Studios developed the versions released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Raven Software developed the game's multiplayer and the Exo-Zombies mode.

<i>Doom 3</i> 2004 science fiction horror video game

Doom 3 is a horror first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and published by Activision. Doom 3 was originally released for Microsoft Windows on August 3, 2004. The game was adapted for Linux later that year, as well as being ported by Aspyr Media for Mac OS X in 2005. Developer Vicarious Visions ported the game to the Xbox, releasing it on April 3, 2005.

<i>Quake 4</i> video game

Quake 4 is a military science fiction first-person shooter video game, the fourth title in the Quake series. The game was developed by Raven Software and published by Activision. Raven Software collaborated with id Software, the creators and developers of preceding Quake games. id Software supervised the development of the game as well as providing the id Tech 4 engine upon which it was built. Quake 4 went gold in early October 2005 and was released on October 18, 2005 for Microsoft Windows and later for Linux and OS X, as well as being a launch title for the Xbox 360. A special DVD Collectors Edition was released, including promotional material and the game Quake II with its expansions, The Reckoning and Ground Zero. The Xbox 360 version of Quake 4 is based on the Special Collectors Edition, and includes Quake II. On August 4, 2011, the game was made available through Steam.

He can be seen performing in the music videos for the songs "Down in It", "Head Like a Hole", "Gave Up", "Wish", "The Perfect Drug" and "March of the Pigs" on the Nine Inch Nails video compilation Closure .

Down in It single by Nine Inch Nails

"Down in It" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released in 1989. Released as the project's debut single, the song was the first to be written by Trent Reznor. It was released as a teaser single prior to the debut album, Pretty Hate Machine.

Head Like a Hole 1990 song by Nine Inch Nails

"Head Like a Hole" is a song by the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as the second single from the group's debut album, Pretty Hate Machine.

"Gave Up" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Written by frontman Trent Reznor and co-produced by Flood, the song serves as the sixth track of Nine Inch Nails' 1992 EP, Broken. The song is noted for its multiple music videos and became a concert favorite during the band's live performances.

Vrenna won a Grammy award as a member of Nine Inch Nails for "Best Metal Performance" for "Happiness in Slavery" in 1995 for the live performance of the song on Woodstock '94.

Vrenna was Billy Corgan's programmer for four months in 1997. While he was on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins, Vrenna got a call from Axl Rose, who invited Vrenna to spend time with Guns N' Roses to work on what would become "Chinese Democracy". "I did for a couple weeks, but then decided I didn't want to join the band", said Vrenna. [2] Vrenna stated in a later interview that he was in the band for several months before dropping out due to the required time commitment. [3]

Vrenna was chosen to take over the drumming responsibilities for Marilyn Manson after Ginger Fish was injured in 2004 during the Lest We Forget tour. He then replaced Madonna Wayne Gacy as the permanent keyboardist for Marilyn Manson. Vrenna co-produced the albums The High End of Low (2009) and Born Villain (2012). In April 2011, following the departure of Marilyn Manson's drummer Ginger Fish, Chris Vrenna was announced to be his official replacement. However, in November 2011, it was announced that Vrenna had parted ways with the band in order to focus on scoring movies and video games. [4]

In 2015, Vrenna composed the music on a series of downloadable content packs called Exo Zombies for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare . [5]

In 2017, it was announced by Vrenna's Facebook page that he would be composing music for the upcoming video game, Quake Champions , which marks his second collaboration with id Software since Doom 3 . [6] [7]



Instrumental contributions

List of instrumental contributions for other artists, showing album title, year released and artist name
Big Electric Metal Bass Face1991 Die Warzau DrumsN/A
Broken 1992Nine Inch NailsDrums"Wish"
"Gave Up"
The Downward Spiral 1994Drums"Hurt"
Portrait of an American Family 1994 Marilyn Manson Percussion"Dope Hat"
Natural Born Killers 1994Various ArtistsDrums"Burn" by Nine Inch Nails
Smells Like Children 1995Marilyn MansonProgrammingN/A
Load 1996 Metallica ProgrammingN/A
Antichrist Superstar 1996Marilyn MansonProgramming
Lost Highway 1997 Trent Reznor Drums"Driver Down"
"The Perfect Drug"
Batman & Robin 1997 The Smashing Pumpkins Programming"The End Is the Beginning Is the End"
Songs of the Witchblade1998Various artistsProgramming"Saraphrenia"
"Finale: Apocalypticraft / Tunnel"
How We Quit the Forest 1998 Rasputina Drums
SuperCoolNothing 1998 16 Volt DrumsN/A
Celebrity Skin 1998 Hole ProgrammingN/A
Love Thinketh No Evil1999 Peter Himmelman Drums"Eyeball"
Neve2000 Neve ProgrammingN/A
13 Ways to Bleed on Stage 2000 Cold ProgrammingN/A
The World Needs a Hero 2001MegadethPercussion"Disconnect"
Weird Revolution 2001 Butthole Surfers Drum Programming"Jet Fighter"
Commencement 2002 Deadsy ProgrammingN/A
Modern Folk and Blues: Wednesday2006 Bob Forrest DrumsN/A
Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose 2006 Meat Loaf Programming"Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose"
The High End of Low 2009Marilyn MansonProgrammingN/A
Evanescence 2011 Evanescence Keyboards
Scar the Martyr 2013 Scar the Martyr ProgrammingN/A
Man on the Run 2014 Bush KeyboardsN/A


1996 Quake id Software Credited as member of Nine Inch Nails [8]
Co-composed with Trent Reznor
2000 American McGee's Alice Rogue Entertainment N/A
2003 Xiaolin Showdown N/ATelevision series
Composed with Clint Walsh
Theme music
2004 Doom 3 id Software Theme music producer
Also provided additional in-game sounds [9]
Theme music composed with Clint Walsh
Also credited in Doom 3 BFG Edition
2005 Area 51 Midway Studios Austin Additional music composition by Robert King and Clint Walsh
2005 Quake 4 Raven Software Theme music producer
Composed with Clint Walsh
2007 Tabula Rasa Destination Games Composed with Clint Walsh, Curse Mackey and Tracy W. Bush
2011 Alice: Madness Returns Spicy Horse "Wastelands" track
2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Sledgehammer Games
Raven Software
(Exo Zombies)
Exo Zombies game mode available in Havoc DLC pack
TBA Quake Champions id SoftwareWith Andrew Hulshult


Will You (Chris Vrenna Remix) P.O.D. Will You Atlantic Records 2003
Lights Out (Chris Vrenna Remix) P.O.D. Goodbye For Now Atlantic Records 2005
If Only (Chris Vrenna Remix)Dethcentrik Electronic Saviors Volume 3: Remission Metropolis Records 2014
No Funeral (Remixed by Tweaker) Nachtmystium Retox: Remixes and Rarities Earache Records 2017 [10]

With Tweaker

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  1. 1 2 "Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails (Rhythm Mag – March '97)". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  2. "July 2002 – Chris Vrenna". April 5, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  3. "Interview with Chris Vrenna on". 2010.
  4. Ramirez, Carlos. 'Tweaker's Chris Vrenna on Playing Drums for Marilyn Manson: 'I Just Couldn't Take the Lifestyle Anymore' September 18, 2012
  5. Excited to announce the latest project I've been working on! on Facebook
  6. Excited to announce that I've been working on the score to Quake Champions! on Facebook
  7. "Chris Vrenna writes OST for Quake Champions, News". Plus Forward. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  8. "American McGee on Quake". Quaddicted. 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  9. "Doom 3 – Credits". MobyGames . Retrieved 24 January 2018.