What ever happened to Tapeworm, the supergroup featuring members of Nine Inch Nails, Tool and Pantera? 25 years after it was originally proposed, former NIN keyboardist Charlie Clouser reveals exactly why the project never materialized.

Metal Hammer caught up with Clouser to get the scoop on Tapeworm, which ended up taking a back seat to Nine Inch Nails once the band started focusing their energy on writing The Fragile. The lineup of vocalists for Tapeworm would have been epic, including Philip Anselmo, Maynard James Keenan, Trent Reznor, Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman, Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan and Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire.

“Maybe we were aiming way too high,” Clouser admits. The idea of these great vocalists trading verses with Trent excited us hugely … I mean, you see it on paper and it does look really cool. I can see why people were like, ‘Just release it, man!’ but it’s really not as simple as that.”

Clouser explains that the Tapeworm material came from unused NIN ideas. “[Trent Reznor] told Danny [Lohner, NIN bassist] and I that any ideas we had that wouldn’t work for Nails could be expanded on by us for our own project, and he’d put the results out on Nothing Records. It felt like a win-win.”

However, when the process for The Fragile began, Tapeworm fizzled out while Reznor took one idea for his main outlet. “I had a drum loop for a song that I was working on for Tapeworm and Trent really liked it. He took it away and it became the genesis for the song ‘Starfuckers, Inc.,’ which is a far bigger deal, really.”

Maynard Keenan also used some unreleased Tapeworm ideas, which became A Perfect Circle’s “Passive” and Puscifer’s “Potions (Deliverance Mix).”

“It’s almost cooler that we never did release it,” Clouser concludes. “It’s become this mythical thing now. There will always be an air of intrigue and mystery around it. Not many albums you’ve heard have that.”

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