Former Nine Inch Nails Keyboardist James Woolley Passes Away [Update]
Sad news to report, as former Nine Inch Nails keyboardist James Woolley has passed away. Woolley’s ex-wife announced the musician’s passing in a heartfelt note posted via Facebook.
Woolley performed keyboard and synth work for Nine Inch Nails from 1991-1994. Though Woolley didn’t receive any writing credits in Nine Inch Nails, his live work can be seen on NIN’s Closure concert film and he can also be seen in the videos for "Wish" and "March of the Pigs." Additionally, he won a Grammy with NIN for Best Metal Performance for their live version of 'Happiness in Slavery" from Woodstock '94. Woolley also contributed to industrial project Die Warzau on a number of releases, and performed briefly with Rob Halford's band Two.
Woolley’s ex-wife Kate Van Buren shared the news that James is no longer with us:
I met James Woolley in late 1991 at the Sunset Social Club in Los Angeles. I was with my friend Tatiana enjoying the live band, then stood in the long line for the ladies’ room. James was sitting on a chair nearby. We started talking and it was love at first sight. I did not know he played keyboards in Nine Inch Nails until weeks later. He was staying in Sharon Tate’s house where the band was recording 'The Downward Spiral.' I had a small apartment on Ocean Front Walk in Venice beach. We tried to make it to the beach every evening to watch the sunset. James worked hard and played hard with NIN. He brought coolness to playing keyboards, which isn’t as easy to do as playing guitar or drums. Those years were truly magical and quite an adventure. After his time with NIN came to a close, we moved into a house in Topanga Canyon, got married and started a family. James played briefly in Rob Halford’s band Two, produced music for a wide array of groups, worked on sound design for 'The Simpsons' (those fart sounds are authentic), and worked on his own tunes for his band VOID in our home studio.
Though our marriage ended, James always stayed close to his children. He loved being a father. Because of significant neck and spine injuries, he wasn’t capable of doing a lot of physical activities with them, but he loved sitting down to paint, or teach piano, or just look at nature. He passed his amazing musical and artistic talents to all three children.
James passed away this weekend. I wanted our friends to know so you can please keep Brendan, Mary and Anne, the Woolley family and all his loved ones in your prayers.
Feel free to share photos and memories of James Woolley here or on his FB page.
RIP James Joseph Woolley 1966-2016 We will miss you.
We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of James Woolley.
Update: Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor offered a comment on Woolley's passing to Rolling Stone. He stated, "Terrible news regarding James. I hadn't crossed paths with him for some time, but always thought of him fondly. He was a fun character to be around, a solid musician and a genuinely good guy. Those of us from that era of the band have been sharing 'James' stories ... lots of laughs and love and sadness. Wishing his family the very best."
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