01-12-2012, 07:45 AM
Thanks to Einzige from Babalon;
The Antichrist Superstar who liberated an army's worth of suburbanites with his mainstream introduction of goth expressionism returns with Born Villain
God. Where to begin? How about two minutes ago, when I pressed play on my audio recorder from my night with Marilyn Manson and heard nothing but silence, sort of like trying to see a vampire in a mirror. Or we can start in 1995, when I kicked a hole in my bedroom door while listening to Smells Like Children, the EP that was bookended by his 1994 debut, Portrait of an American Family, and his break-out follow up, Antichrist Superstar-all three of which were produced by already-established Trent Reznor. Superstar helped push punk and industrial music into a new demonic domain of pop surrealism, a pill more easily swallowable by the American masses. Or we can start with the fact that Manson's new album, Born Villain, is out this February via Cooking Vinyl Records and Manson's own label, Hell, Etc. Villain is Manson's first record in three years and marks his eighth studio album, and his first without long-time label Interscope. Or maybe we should begin where we began: God, which Marilyn Manson is basically considered to be, not merely by his legions of devotees, but countless kids from the 90's.
Marilyn Manson lives on top of a liquor store in Hollywood. It used to belong to Billy Zane, and Manson first visited his future home when he'd just arrived in L.A. and was trying to make it as a musician. Now it's his perfect lair: a recording studio, a bedroom with a "bad girls room" (some former shower or steam room that's now a lockable, soundproof glass enclosure), and an enormous and blacked-out space that serves as a movie theater, bar, art studio, and den for congregation. This is where Manson leads me when he opens the dense metal (possibly bulletproof) door to his home. "What are you drinking?" he asks. I tell him whatever he's having, and I start on my first of many glasses of absinth. What happens next is a bit of a blur, but a beautiful one. Manson is high on the list of people I want to meet, and we get along as well as I prayed to the black dogs of hell we would. Which means lots of drinking. And after a technological fail with my digital recorder, and the backup analog recorder's then-unknown inability to record Manson's deep, cellar-door-creaking voice and the entirety of the record we listened to together-I'm going to chalk it up to fate. So we're gonna have to go off my entirely unreliable memory of the night.
The first sentences Manson speaks to me are whispered. He kneels by my side while I'm sunk into a big black bean chair in the lair. A couple of musicians and friends sit on the humongous black couch, facing the giant white wall that serves as a make-shift theater, which was plastered with Jeremy Prusso's hysterically crying face. They're watching an early screener of I Met With You, a scene wherein (spoiler alert) some bearded guy shaves his beard then kills himself. I remember remarking that Wes Anderson cornered the market on shaving-then-suicide, but Manson says there's some sort of connection between the removal of body hair and a heightened immediacy of death. We'll get back to that.
In the corner of the room are countless giant paintings. Countless because there are a lot, maybe thirty, but also because they're strewn about and stacked on top of each other. Marilyn Manson is a phenomenal artist, whose stunning portraits are these devil-on-their-shoulder versions of friends, freaks, bastards, and his beloveds: they're breathtaking studies of the dark, damaged shadow of beauty.
We sit in his recording studio and listen to the record for hours. I play with the guitar he wrote Superstar on. I play with a gun. He shows me the film Shia LaBeouf directed for Born Villain's title track. Manson's been out of the scene for a while, popping up at some events here and there but generally reclusive, so I anticipated he'd keep me at a bit of a distance, enclose himself with the moats of the mind unique to hermetic eccentric brilliant avant-weirdos. But he's actually this warm and wonderful man. Maybe it's because we're kindred souls. Or maybe he's actually the gentle genius he was often described as during the worst of his scandals and lynch mob moments. I remember not wanting to leave. I remember Lily the white cat. I remember a whole shitload of IHOP food showing up. Manson showed me a book inscribed to him by Hunter S. Thompson, a gift right before the writer took his own life. "See that doll? Pick it up." It's a crash-test-dummy type of doll on the ground, wearing a blonde wig, with several non-car-crash inflicted wounds, and it's heavy as shit. "It's heavy as shit," I probably say. "I'm renting it for $150 a day," I definitely remember him telling me because it's such a uniquely and harmlessly strange extravagance. But in all honesty, I remember many incredible quotes, but naturally the ones I recall are the ones I can't (won't) repeat.
Most of all, I remember that the album is incredible. It's a dance-to-it, fuck-to-it, anthemic beast, perfect for these insurrectionary, riotous times. Manson's music has always been the ideal fight song of the enraged and suppressed, tuned perfectly to the key of generational angst, but there's maturity here. And definitely more depravity, indicative of today's prime-time sex crimes and uncensored Internet war coverage, i.e. transparency in all the wrong places (like gruesome acts of humanity) and none of the right ones.
Manson tells me he's recently been painting with tattoo ink. I ask him if he has a tat gun, and he points to it. "Let's use it," I say. "Let's start with that beard," he says, referring to my dense grizzly situation which took a lot of patience and awkward moments. I think back to his earlier correlation between grooming and death. He pulls out a razor. And then my dream of Marilyn Manson coming at me with a blade comes true.
^^For people who can't access the site(s) that have that interview transcribed on.
01-12-2012, 09:55 AM
A fun read but we learned absolutely nothing.
01-12-2012, 09:59 AM
probably didn't help that the dude doing the interview is going off his "unreliable memory", lol
That's why, at first I had replied but deleted it, "Nice Pictures. Nice new Marilyn Manson "Public/Candid Etc...Pictures".
01-13-2012, 06:35 AM
Thanks for posting this Benjamin.
The scans are fucking awesome! Love the photographs. Shame an interview wasn't included but I enjoyed what was there, especially the confirmation of the Feb release!
01-15-2012, 08:02 AM
Nice article. Its probably old as some people pointed. Still nice to see the promotion ball rolling. I for one am excited as fuck to see all the info come out, even if its stuff we have heard of before. The album may come out in Feb, March, April, whenever. I think its going to be MM's return to form considering as how I personally am not fond of the last two albums.
A fun read but we learned absolutely nothing.
Well I didn't know he was painting with tattoo ink, that's an interesting addition. The way those inks are designed is for permanent duration, obviously, which somewhat reflects his observation that critics take issue with him using watercolours because they won't stand the test of time. Providing the canvas and accompanying media are quality, what better long-lasting ink to use than one meant for branding people's skin until they die?
Given that V is a fashion magazine and the journalist got shitfaced, I don't think this was going to be a massive exposť on the new record, there's always little incidental interviews like this before and after a new album. Also, Manson fans who follow what he does regularly sometimes forget that the information, soundbites and stories we're accustomed to aren't necessarily known by the wider world. If you trace back interviews surrounding Antichrist Superstar (for example), it's repetition central, virtually every one re-treads similar ground, but that's the nature of press, you are appealing to people who haven't studied your every move, not established fan groups.
01-16-2012, 04:11 PM
The article and photographs is now available on the V Magazine website -
Nothing new obviously, but cool to see it featured on there now as well.
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