BLACK MARKET MAGAZINE • MARILYN MANSON
If you read the review of Marilyn Manson's Portrait Of An American Family CD in the music review section of the magazine, then you could probably tell it was just a matter of "When are they comin' to town?" [regarding] whether or not we're going to do an interview with these guys. As for Marilyn Manson live, they were the opening band on a Nine Inch Nails tour and this was their first time on the West coast, but I could tell while we were interviewing Mr. Manson (singer) that they would be killer live!
Sometimes you can just tell when a band will be good or not live, know what I mean? It's hard to explain, there's little giveaways - real subtle things - like for example in appearance: when you're interviewing a really skinny, tall guy with super fucking long hair, who's got ghost white skin, sleeved with tattoos on both arms and who likes to talk about how he sets things on fire (if it's flammable - it's considered lit, including people!), well I don't know, but something there reeks of a possibly interesting live show. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's there!
Me (Carl) and Patti Meagher interviewed Marilyn Manson's singer Mr. Manson before their show at the San Diego Sports Arena with NIN. Here it is:-
Tell us a little about your band, like about when you first got started and stuff?
"Everything started in 1990, at that time I was writing. I wouldn't really want to call them lyrics, I was just kinda writing down some ideas that I was thinking about. I didn't really have any ambition to be in a band because I didn't really think that was right for me. And the name Marilyn Manson was something that came to me through kind of a couple of different levels.
On a media level - they [Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson] were the two most memorable people from the '60s I thought. On a philosophy level - sort of along the lines of Hegel, I thought it would be interesting to take two extremes and put them together and come up with something that was a gray area, that really transcended boundaries and with what I was writing, you know, the way I was living at the time, well I thought that was right for me. I thought that name really defined what I was about and what I wanted to stand for. I met our guitar player (Daisy Berkowitz) and he had some music with no words to it and as an experiment we tried it out and ended up liking it so much we wrote a couple of songs like Dogma and My Monkey, which were the very first songs we wrote that are on the album, and that was pretty much the birth of the band."
Were you ever in a band before that?
Well, obviously by your CD, you're into serial killers and stuff right?
"To a certain degree, but no more then anybody else I don't think. I'm not a special fanatic or anything but I'm fascinated with the way people ARE about serial killers, I'm more interested in what makes people so interested. I'm also into the relationship between stars and serial killers and how there's a really fine line."
Hollywood Babylon, huh?
"Sure. I thought after seeing Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson next to each other, it seemed like there wasn't so much of a difference, they weren't such extreme opposites as people thought they were. That line starts to cross. I tend to seek out things that people consider ugly and I tend to find things that society decides are beautiful and make it unattractive."
Like the song Cake and Sodomy?
"Yeah, That's kind of my way of going about things. Well you know if someone says that they don't like something, I wanna find out why. Generally I found that the things I don't like are the things I'm afraid of, I don't like weak people because I'm afraid of being weak. I want to think for myself, I don't want people to tell me what to think or what I'm supposed to believe in, and I think that goes for everybody. People often gravitate towards things like Marilyn Manson because of their fears and they like their fears. People are like an amusement park ride and it's ride at your own risk. People see that sign and it makes them want to go in more because they know of that danger. I wonder why society needs something like Marilyn Manson, that's one of the questions that I'm asking. I've been raised on American culture, I'm a true product of America. So it's completely unjustified for society to consider what I'm doing wrong. I'm a symptom of a problem that they created. I came from them and they can't blame anybody but themselves."
So how'd you get on Trent Rezner's label Nothing Records?
"We've been friends for awhile. Two years ago he called me up and told me that he's living at the Sharon Tate house and you gotta come out and see it."
I heard he turned it into a studio?
"Yeah, so I went out there and we started talking, you know, we were courted by some major labels but they were all too afraid to put out our record."
"They weren't willing to back up what I had to say. Not everyone's going to agree with my opinion and I don't care, but a lot of labels aren't willing to take that risk to back up an opinion that they don't necessarily agree with. But he agrees with it and he wanted to put it out and he's totally behind it. Working with him in the studio, he didn't try to imprint any kind of sound on us or make us sound like he wanted. He knew what we sounded like and he took it and made it sound the best he could."
So Marilyn Manson's sound is totally Marilyn's. I was a little curious if he messed with the production in any way, that's cool he didn't lay that shit on you. So what kind of things would you say you're into? From listening to your CD it sounds like you're into a lot of different things?
"I'm into extremes. Whether it's extreme kindness or extreme violence or extreme anything."
That sample from that old TV show Lidsville, that was pretty extreme, of that Mad Hatter laugh. That was so fucking cool! That almost gave me a headrush when I first heard it on your CD. Where did you manage to find that one from?
"I'm really into nostalgia and it plays a big part in what we do. Just because things are new doesn't mean that they're necessarily better and there's a lot of times in your life that, you know, certain things like Lidsville, that takes you back to that time in your life.
Like with our song Lunchbox, it's kind of an autobiographical account of my childhood growing up. About five years ago I found my KISS lunchbox and I remember the time when I was in Christian school and I wasn't allowed to take it to school. They thought it was satanic, and around that same time I'd always get my ass kicked by the kids in public school because I was a sissy in private school. And then I finally got kicked out of Christian school for stealing money out of the girls purses during prayer."
What a bad kid...
"I thought it was kind of poetic, but they didn't agree with that. It just kinda reminded me of that, and it just reminded me of all the people who fucked with me. And I always knew someday I would have my revenge and this is my way of getting back. Because now they're probably middle-aged and have families and live in a trailer and I'm doing this. Fuck them."
I heard you watch a lot of talk shows?
"I haven't had a lot of time on tour to, but I watch them all the time. I think it's really interesting the way the audience gets self-righteous and the host gets self-righteous and they'll complain to someone like me, that would be on there and they would accuse me of glorifying mass-murderers or exploiting victims families. The thing is their whole show glorifies it. Marilyn Manson is just two words, if you want to make it into something that its not - you can. It's whatever you want to make it. It's America that makes Marilyn Manson a dirty word, because they're the ones that put Charles Manson into it. Whatever they want to do, you have to take the responsibilities for your actions. I don't want to hear any cop outs from anybody and try to blame it on an album, just because you're oppressed doesn't give you the right to oppress others. Just because you're victimized doesn't give you the right to victimize others, or if you do that, just take the rap for it."
But what if they really don't know that it's wrong. I mean, what if they don't realize what's wrong or right?
"Right, well that's part of another thing I believe in. A natural selection in Social Darwinism and it's a weeding out process, you've got the strong, you've got the weak - it's law of the jungle. I think they should have gun laws removed, have drug laws removed and just find out who wants to live. Whoever wants to die on drugs is going to, and whoever wants to shoot each other is going to. America is always trying to protect you from yourself, but I think people know how to protect themselves, it's an animal instinct. You know animals are always given people rights, but how come people aren't given animal rights?"
That would be awesome, but it'll never happen.
"You never know what's going to happen. I think what would be cool too, and I'm a capitalist - don't get me wrong, but if they outlawed money and people were measured by the value of what they can really do. I mean there's plenty of people that don't make any money and they really work their ass off and there's also people who are totally rich, that don't know anything. And then there's people that drain you of all your money by being on welfare and things like that. It's not my responsibility to fucking take care of people who can't. People come up to me on the street and ask me for money - I mean "get a job!" I have a fucking job, why don't you? - I'm not going to give you my money, you don't deserve it. Give them a fucking bullet in the head and make them stop wasting everybody's time and money."
It sounds like you might read a lot of philosophy stuff?
Well it seems like you're well-versed?
"I learn a lot from talking to people. I am really into Nietzsche, I used to read a lot. I'm totally supportive of Anton LaVey, I'm into his scene. Those are two people that I respect the most. They're realists. You can be idealistic and you can be politically correct and you can talk all the shit you want, put on your good-guy badge and say "I'm gonna stand up for animal rights, I'm not gonna eat meat" or whatever. I mean, do you really believe in it or are you just trying to find some kind of value in your life? That's what people need to question themselves on.
People are selective with the way they judge things, they do what works for them and that's not a big deal, it's just when they walk around in self-deceit and think that they're so righteous because they support this and are against that - that's bullshit.
I'm willing to say right off the bat - I'm a hypocrite. If you admit you're a hypocrite then you can reach beyond that and you can be more real then everyone else. I tell everybody all the time that everything I say is a lie, you figure out what to believe. Everything's a lie, because truth is only relative to who's believing it, so you pick what lie works for you, as long as you know it's a lie and you don't try and fool yourself - you can't lose. There's nothing anybody can say about me that would make me mad, because I don't care. If people want to criticize our music - I don't care. If you don't like it - then you don't like it."
What about all the death associated with Marilyn Manson, as far as the serial killer thing goes?
"Well I'm not on any 'Death Trip', neither do I want to die. My whole take on suicide is if a kid listened to our record and then decided to kill himself then 'see ya later'. Because you're an idiot, your parents raised you an idiot, a fool. I believe that there's too many people in the world and if you kill yourself then fine, that just makes more room for me. I don't care - in fact take a couple of people with you."
Yeah! So your view on suicide is that if somebody's going to do something, they'll do it no matter what?
"It's their responsibility, it's not mine. I'm responsible for my actions so they should be for theirs, that's my attitude. It's their parents fault."
Like we were talking about Dope Hat, you use that Lidsville sample, what kind of TV stuff did you grow up on?
"I was also into Scooby Doo. I've always had a thing for Daphne. I remember my first realization with a hard on was because of Daphne."
"Well I was watching Scooby Doo one time (he looks down at his dick) and I'm all 'What's this?'"
That's different - getting a boner over a cartoon character. So did you do the cover art for Portrait Of An American Family?
"Yeah, I made those dolls while we were in the studio. I collect doll stuff like that."
Any memorable tour stories?
"I've been lighting things on fire a lot. We were in Seattle at some after show party, I was drunk and this guy was being a dick so I lit the dance floor on fire."
You did what?
"Lit the floor on fire."
How'd you do that?
"With lighter fluid and a match. I did some interview in New York and the guy was asking me some stupid questions so I lit him on fire."
I must be doing a good job then?
"Well since then I've sort of been on this 10 days - no fire - no Jack Daniels program. So I've kinda been behaving this week."