9/28: Interview- Marilyn Manson talks Twiggy, Trent, Zombie
On the eve of opening the Twins of Evil tour with Rob Zombie on Friday, Sept. 28, as part of the 98KUPD Desert Uprising festival at Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, Marilyn Manson opens up about the tour, his former bandmates, plans for a box set and how he doesn't hate Trent Reznor anymore. He also reflects on checking into rehab and how doing drugs and drinking when you're in a bad mood may not be a good idea.
It's clear as he speaks that the shock rocker is in a more humble place these days, but Manson is still Manson.
How would you compare your performances now to the "Antichrist Superstar" era?
It's different for several reasons. Obviously, Twiggy is playing guitar now, not bass, so that makes one strong difference. I am not as self-abusive (laughs) in the manner of walking off stage bleeding. But as far as attitude, I feel that Twiggy and I have finally gotten back to the point of being brothers and clicked back into the place where we really enjoy feeding off each other onstage like we did when we started out. I remember the turning point when I called Twiggy and asked him if he wanted to work with me again.
I'd seen the Led Zeppelin reunion and I've never been such a huge Led Zeppelin fan as much as the Doors or Beatles. I went and saw the reunion and watching them play "Stairway to Heaven," it was very breathtaking for one reason mostly. I can imagine these two guys looking at each other (Robert Plant and Jimmy Page) and saying "You (expletive) wrote 'Stairway to Heaven.' " Not to compare us to Led Zeppelin, but I did miss the fact that I could look over at the guy that wrote "The Beautiful People" and "Dope Show." Emotionally, it's taken a long time to repair that.
There are a whole new set of people that are discovering something that may never have even heard of "Antichrist Superstar." It would be arrogant and ignorant to expect people to know something you did in the past. You have to really swallow your pride and admit that you want to make a comeback. And that means that you weren't at your best and I feel like I stopped being who I needed to be. When I started making this record ("Born Villain"), I didn't want to be what I used to be but I certainly didn't want to be what I was at the time. I knew that I was supposed to be something better then what I was. I feel now that I am close to being what I'm supposed to be and am enjoying what I'm doing here.
When people ask me about drugs and alcohol, I say "Yeah, I went to rehab, I went to a mental hospital, I've been to jail." The main lesson you can learn is do drugs and alcohol when you are in a good mood, not when you are in a bad mood, and find balance in anything you do. People drink to numb the pain and suffering. I think it's the pain and suffering that drive you to become an artist. The art itself should be the pain, sort of exorcising every demon and making you feel like you're a person that matters.
Who's your favorite character, Hank Moody of "Californication" or Kenny Powers of "Eastbound & Down"?
That's a tough call. I find myself being an automaton of the two. Although I was in major league football and I do have an arm like a mother (expletive) because I used to throw rocks at cars. I like Kenny Powers' sense of humor and I like the heart of Hank Moody. I got to be on "Californication" and got to play myself.
You've talked about doing a tour playing "Antichrist Superstar," "Mechanical Animals" and "Holywood" in their entirety and doing a three-night stay in each city. Are you still interested in doing that?
A: Yeah. After we finish this tour, I want to record again but I've always done what I wanted to do. When you hand that over (to the label), it becomes something different. We have plans of putting out a box set with a lot of things that weren't released and not just outtakes or acoustic versions but a lot of things that are special.
So there are no issues releasing the box set through Interscope Records or Trent Reznor?
No. That part of the whole record deal on our end is through. The only unfortunate part of that is that some of the mixes have been destroyed. But he didn't destroy the mixes I care about. I don't have any bad feelings towards him. I really don't. He helped put me out into the world and I went my way and whatever happened happened. I don't think you should go back and fix things that have already been done anyway.
So if you ran into Trent Reznor today, there would be no ill feelings?
No. I don't think there is tension. I don't think we ever really had a lot in common. We had a certain sense of humor in common. He was always more of the jock and I was more of the burnout.
Why do you think you've had so many different people in and out of the band over the years?
It's hard for me to say since I'm not someone else. I've had one person who is not in my band anymore say it's really aggravating to be in my shadow. I've never treated anyone in my band like they're not on the same level as me. I'm not that kind of person. In the past, I have disrespected people in my band and that was my weakness. I think some people have a hard time understanding how I think.
I didn't go to guitar school and I don't know how to play chords, but I can do it in my own way and I think sometimes that will piss off some guitar players who sit around playing their stuff all day long and then there are people who like that. For me, it's never been an ego situation where I have been "I'm the boss; (expletive) you." It's always been a situation where someone comes to me and says "I can't tolerate working with you anymore' and I would admit sometimes I wouldn't blame them for that. But I also sometimes think I'm not that difficult to figure out. I don't really know what has driven people to be so angry and bitter -- people like my old keyboard player Pogo, who I've known for such a long time. I feel bad for him, but there are grievances with everything.
Looking back, the only person that really surprised me was Chris Vrenna only because I've known him since 1992, and for him not to be able to say it to my face, "Hey, I don't want to do this anymore." Instead, he said "I'll see you tomorrow" and then he never came back. I find that strange. I don't know if he is afraid of me or thinks I'm going to beat him over the head with something. I'm not like that. We were supposed to get a tattoo together.
Are you looking forward to the upcoming tour with Rob Zombie and your former bandmates John 5 and Ginger Fish.
Yeah, it will be fun. I still love Ginger. He almost did this tour but he is playing with Rob Zombie. Ginger is a wild cat. He is always the most dangerous person to be around but always the person who would have my back. John 5 didn't have the constitution (laughs) to be in Marilyn Manson. He is a great guitar player and he is a nice guy, which is one of the reasons I fired him (laughs). I look forward to it. I like them and the Rob Zombie thing seems like something I would never do for some reason, but it seems like something people want to see.
Are you playing before Rob Zombie every night?
We were going to alternate, but I choose to only go before because if they are going to get any girls after the show, those girls will have already worked their way through our entourage. And I think that will be a bigger challenge for them, no matter how great the show or the music might be.