Chris Vrenna

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Chris Vrenna
Chris Vrenna recording in 2013
Chris Vrenna recording in 2013
Background information
Born (1967-02-23) February 23, 1967 (age 54)
Erie, Pennsylvania[1]
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresIndustrial rock, industrial metal, alternative rock, electronica
InstrumentsDrums, keyboards, vocals, piano, synthesizer, guitar, bass, programming
Years active1988–present
LabelsSix Degrees, Waxploitation
Associated actsMarilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Tweaker, Stabbing Westward, Gnarls Barkley, Exotic Birds

Chris Vrenna (born February 23, 1967) 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.


Vrenna graduated from McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1985 and marched in the Erie Thunderbirds Drum and Bugle Corps. Vrenna then moved to Chicago, quickly becoming a part of the Chicago industrial music scene and was briefly a member of Die Warzau and Stabbing Westward.

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.

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, PORN[2] 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.

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.

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.

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.[3] Vrenna stated in a later interview that he was in the band for several months before dropping out due to the required time commitment.[4]

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.[5]

In 2015, Vrenna composed the music on a series of downloadable content packs called Exo Zombies for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.[6]

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.[7][8]

In 2018 Chris became a music instructor at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, AL and Huntsville, AL. He currently teaches there as of June 2021.[9][10]

In 2020 Vrenna was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside members of Nine Inch Nails.



Instrumental contributions[edit]

List of instrumental contributions for other artists, showing album title, year released, and artist name
Title Year Artist(s) Instrument(s) Song(s)
Big Electric Metal Bass Face 1991 Die Warzau Drums N/A
Broken 1992 Nine Inch Nails Drums "Wish"
"Gave Up"
The Downward Spiral 1994 Drums "Hurt"
Portrait of an American Family 1994 Marilyn Manson Percussion "Dope Hat"
Natural Born Killers 1994 Various Artists Drums "Burn" by Nine Inch Nails
Smells Like Children 1995 Marilyn Manson Programming N/A
Load 1996 Metallica Programming N/A
Antichrist Superstar 1996 Marilyn Manson Programming
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 Witchblade 1998 Various artists Programming "Saraphrenia"
"Finale: Apocalypticraft / Tunnel"
How We Quit the Forest 1998 Rasputina Drums
SuperCoolNothing 1998 16 Volt Drums N/A
Celebrity Skin 1998 Hole Programming N/A
Love Thinketh No Evil 1999 Peter Himmelman Drums "Eyeball"
Neve 2000 Neve Programming N/A
13 Ways to Bleed on Stage 2000 Cold Programming N/A
The World Needs a Hero 2001 Megadeth Percussion "Disconnect"
Weird Revolution 2001 Butthole Surfers Drum Programming "Jet Fighter"
Commencement 2002 Deadsy Programming N/A
Modern Folk and Blues: Wednesday 2006 Bob Forrest Drums N/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 2009 Marilyn Manson Programming N/A
Evanescence 2011 Evanescence Keyboards
Scar the Martyr 2013 Scar the Martyr Programming N/A
Man on the Run 2014 Bush Keyboards N/A
Underneath 2020 Code Orange Programming N/A
The Bitter Truth 2021 Evanescence Programming "Far From Heaven"


Year Title Developer Notes
1996 Quake id Software Credited as member of Nine Inch Nails[11]
Co-composed with Trent Reznor
2000 American McGee's Alice Rogue Entertainment N/A
2003 Xiaolin Showdown N/A Television series
Composed with Clint Walsh
Theme music
2004 Doom 3 id Software Theme music producer[12]
Also provided additional in-game sounds[13]
Theme music composed with Clint Walsh
Also credited in Doom 3 BFG Edition
2004 The Sims 2 Maxis "Dance Down" track
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
2005 Need for Speed: Most Wanted EA Black Box Composed with Paul Linford on two tracks
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
2017 Quake Champions id Software With Andrew Hulshult


Song Artist Album Label Year
"Freaking Out (Chris Vrenna Remix)" Adema Insomniac's Dream Arista Records 2002
"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
"Blood On My Hands (Chris Vrenna Remix)" theSTART Blood On My Hands (Digital Only Single) Metropolis Records 2007
"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[14]
"In an endless dream (Chris Vrenna Remix)" PORN Mr Strangler's last words Les disques Rubicon 2020

With Tweaker[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails (Rhythm Mag – March '97)". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "July 2002 – Chris Vrenna". April 5, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  4. ^ "Interview with Chris Vrenna on". 2010.
  5. ^ Ramirez, Carlos. [1] 'Tweaker's Chris Vrenna on Playing Drums for Marilyn Manson: 'I Just Couldn't Take the Lifestyle Anymore' September 18, 2012
  6. ^ Excited to announce the latest project I've been working on! on Facebook
  7. ^ Excited to announce that I've been working on the score to Quake Champions! on Facebook
  8. ^ "Chris Vrenna writes OST for Quake Champions, News". Plus Forward. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Professional musician teaching at Calhoun Community College".
  10. ^ "Chris Vrenna".
  11. ^ "American McGee on Quake". Quaddicted. 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  12. ^ Gaudiosi, John. "Doom 3 One hell of a game". Fangoria. p. 22. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Doom 3 – Credits". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Blake Judd Releases Nachtmystium Remixes/Rarities Collection, Vows to "Make Things Right" with Fans". MetalSucks. April 11, 2016.

External links[edit]