He brought coolness to keyboards: Tributes to Nine Inch Nails’ James Woolley

Nine Inch Nails keyboard player James Woolley has died at the age of 50. His death was announced on Facebook by his ex-wife, Kate Van Buren, as she played an emotional tribute to the father-of-three. She did not reveal the cause of his death but said that the musician, who played with the influential US rock band in the 1990s, had been living with “significant neck and spine injuries”. She wrote: “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.

Kate Van Buren

The musician performed with the US rock group, fronted by Trent Reznor, when they released their influential album, The Downward Spiral. Woolley also won a Grammy for best metal performance with Nine Inch Nails for their 1994 Woodstock performance of Happiness In Slavery. He left the band after three years and later worked on the sound effects for The Simpsons. Richard Patrick, former guitarist with Nine Inch Nails, posted a photograph of himself with Woolley on Instagram, writing: “I miss my buddy. #nin #gonetoosoon.”

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

Trent Reznor