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Option 30

Option 30
OriginPennsylvania, United States
GenresNew wave
Years active1982 (1982)–1986 (1986)
LabelsShriek Records
Associated actsNine Inch Nails
Past membersTimothy K. ("TK") Smith
Jim Nordstrom
Todd Nero
Trent Reznor

Option 30 was a new wave band from the early 1980s founded by Timothy K. ("TK") Smith on guitars and lead vocals, Jim Nordstrom on bass and vocals, and Todd Nero on drums and vocals. For a time, the band also featured a young Trent Reznor on keyboards and lead vocals. Option 30's style was similar to that of Falco and early albums by The Police.

The band performed at clubs in and around Northwestern and Central Pennsylvania, and Northern Ohio as often as three times a week while Nero and Reznor were attending Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After Reznor departed, the band continued on as a power trio with Smith on lead vocals. At this point, the band began performing a number of additional original songs penned by Smith and Nordstrom. Option 30 broke up in 1986

Not long after Reznor left, he joined The Innocent then onto Exotic Birds and finally, forming his own band, Nine Inch Nails.


In 1985, a CD of original songs was released by the power trio titled, "Almost Live." The CD included mostly live material recorded in Meadville and some additional studio recordings.

Unauthorized CD

Option 30
Demo album by
Option 30
GenreNew wave
LabelShriek Records
ProducerCharles M.
Option 30 chronology
Option 30  

In 1983, the band (with Reznor) recorded a number of demo tracks with local musician and engineer, John Trevethan, at his home studio.

Soon after Reznor's departure, Nordstrom asked Trent to record vocals for some of his songs at a local engineer's studio (not Trevethan's studio). As a fan the local engineer was given the band's other recorded material. After Reznor became famous, the engineer thought there was a market for anything Reznor and in 1997 assembled a CD including tracks recorded at his studio, the previously recorded demo tracks from 1983, and a radio interview from 1984. The unauthorized CD was released in 1997 on the Shriek Records label.

Despite his later career, Reznor had little songwriting input; all songs were written by Smith and Nordstrom, with the exception of "Ice House" (a cover of an Icehouse song), "Lies" (a cover of a song by The Thompson Twins), and "Der Kommissar" (a cover, with English lyrics, of a song by Falco).

Track listing

  1. "Ice House" – 4:24
  2. "Edinboro radio interview" – 1:17
  3. "Time & Chance" – 3:23
  4. "Interview" – 3:13
  5. "Abomination" – 3:02
  6. "Interview" – 1:50
  7. "Der Kommissar" – 4:11
  8. "Interview" – 4:30
  9. "Lies" – 3:19
  10. "Interview" – 2:54
  11. "Just Out Enough to Be In" – 2:43
  12. "Equal Rights" – 3:57
  13. "Old Habits Die Hard" – 3:09
  14. "Interview" – 1:10
  15. "Pandora's Box" – 4:02

Attempted reunion and unreleased material

Jim Nordstrom made several attempts at reuniting the band to record more material, but none were successful due to scheduling conflicts.

Tim Smith died on October 31, 2009, at age 50. Nordstrom and Nero, joined by Smith's sons Roan (vocals) and Kelly (guitar), performed several Option 30 originals composed by Smith at his wake.

External links