Marilyn Manson Interviews
For some right wingers you are a favorite whipping post and just
as there are fanatic Manson fans, there are also fanatic Manson
haters. It must be really confusing to be a most loved and most
hated person at the same time....
I think different people perceive me in different ways. I get
all sorts of reactions. Some like me; some hate me; some just
want to be entertained; others try to interpret my art and some
others are just looking for somebody they can hate and despise.
I think it would be selfish and pretty arrogant to expect that
everybody reacts the same way, or sees your art as you want it
to be seen or perceive it yourself. I was always one that claimed
that being an individual is the most important thing. How could
I expect that people give up their individuality and see me the
very same way? It wouldn't make any
I take myself far less serious than most people believe.
According to some, especially on the Net, you are sick, evil,
twisted, a danger to society – well you get the idea. What
really surprises me is that some claim you advocate murder, but
when asked where or when, they draw a blank....
I'm not surprised at all. Funny enough, the wildest stories about
me come from people without a clue, people who claim they don't
need to hear my albums or talk to me to know what I'm all about.
Do they fancy themselves mind-readers? There are so many horror
stories around about what I do. It's truly amazing and to be honest,
most of the stuff is too sick for me to think it up. Go figure.
There are people accusing me that I'm sick, that I'm a danger
to morals, western civilization and basically everything under
the sun. And they've got these wild stories about me, completely
off the wall, completely untrue. They thought them up and it makes
you wonder what goes on in their brain, but of course, they don't
consider themselves sick. They think they're normal because they
don't dress like I do.
Does it bother you that people criticize you so offhandedly, without
even trying to listen or understand?
Everybody can criticize me. I'm in the public eye. I have to live
with it, but it doesn't mean that I have to pay attention or even
change anything about the way I live or what I do. I ask people
for advice who know me, and I usually value their opinion or I
wouldn't bother to ask them for advice.
If I ask anybody
for advice, then I'll listen, but I don't listen to people walking
up to me and offering me advice or trying to force their advice
down my throat. Most of the time they don't even know me. To put
it short and sweet, I don't accept unsolicited advice.
You and Rose McGowan broke off your engagement a while back and
it was all over the press and the gossip columns. I imagine it
must be painful to see your private life discussed in public.
I have to live with it. It's simply not relevant if I like it
or not, or if it is painful or not because it won't change anything.
That's the price I have to pay. I made the decision to be who
I am and now I have to bear the consequences and live with it.
Once you are in the public eye, once you become a public person
– a person known to the general public – there is
a price to pay and you have to pay. If you're not prepared to
pay up, don't do it.
There is a lot of talk about George W. Bush and his ultra conservative
politics. You're far from conservative, but when he was elected,
you said something along the lines that it would suit you, since
art develops better in a conservative and repressed environment.
Now that he has been in office for a while, do you still agree?
Is it worth the price?
From the perspective I have now, I can only say that it is quite
a sacrifice. I see it as a sacrifice for the future. What happens
now in America is some sort of groundwork. We do make experiences
and learn to deal with repression, and hopefully we can pass our
experiences on to the following generation and help them to avoid
making the same mistakes. Maybe through being suppressed, people
will unite and think about ways to stop the suppression. It might
sound cruel, but without pressure a lot of things wouldn't have
happened. Maybe – hopefully – it is a wakeup call.
I always said that we have become too comfortable. Maybe that's
the price we pay. I mentioned before that I think people forgot
how to think for themselves. Maybe now they realize that they
have to learn how to think again, accept responsibility and not
simply believe everything the media or politicians tell them.
I'm not a
politician, though my take on politics is simple: They'll tell
you what they think you want to hear just to get elected. I always
ignored American politics because I simply don't believe in what
politicians say. I don't believe in their promises. I think they
lie. All they want is to get elected. Think about why they do
what they do. And think about why somebody wants to be president.
It's the power, not the people they care for. Even in the music
business or the film industry, there are far less lies than there
are in politics.
Considering what is happening in America now, the Lewinsky scandal
seems even more ridiculous than it was back then....
I always wondered why it was such a big deal. It was a blowjob,
so what? He could have found somebody prettier, but whatever tickles
his fancy. She wouldn't have done anything for me, but so what?
All the old hippies should love Clinton; at least he was the president
that made love not war, ha ha.
A lot of your views are very un-American, but somehow I think
the way you are comes from growing up in America....
A lot of things I address are not American. They are universal.
But, in a way, I think America influenced the rest of the world.
Almost every country is Americanized to a certain degree, some
more, some less. I don't want to judge if it's good or bad. I
just observe that that's the way it is. Part of me is very American,
simply because I grew up in America, in this culture. Another
part of me is an outsider. It's like being part of the pop culture.
I criticize it, but I'm also part of it. In a strange way, I placed
myself between the chairs, but that's where I belong.
Some critics claim you only have shock value. Do you like the
shock value or does it just make it harder for you to top yourself?
It wouldn't be all bad if people would stop being shocked, if
they'd stop running away once they see me and fear me, or break
out in hysterics. I think if they could simply get used to the
fact that I do look different, they might be able to take a look
at what I really do and try to understand what I'm trying to say.
But I think
it changed a bit for the better. If you look back at Antichrist
Superstar, during that time I was completely on my own, alone
with the way I was, how I looked, what I had to say. Now, people
seem to be more open about it. They seem to be prepared to listen
and try to understand. I sometimes get the feeling that now they
are more willing to get into controversial subjects, that they
are more open about heavy, dark music and controversial, unsettling
opinions and views.
I'm a very
introspective person. Whenever I get a minute of peace and quiet,
I sit and think about certain things that occupy my brain. When
I write, I am very obsessive and I guess selfish. I only write
for myself. If the audience or the public at large doesn't understand
what I'm saying, it doesn't matter. I write it for myself. Maybe
they'll understand it tomorrow or the day after. Maybe they'll
never understand what I'm trying to say, but for me it's necessary
to do it, to write it, to get it out.
I don't do
things for shock value. I do things because I want to do them,
sometimes because I think it's funny. A lot of people don't get
my sense of humor, maybe because it is often a bit dark and cynical.
Manson: the shock! the mystery! the ghouls!
MICHAEL MTJSTO: Hi, Marilyn. I knew Christina Smith, the '80s
drag queen you play in the nightclub movie Party Monster.
Not many people did. I wish I'd have had a chance to talk to you.
used to walk around with-MANSON: -a hatchet.
a German accent] It's so fuckin' terrible here, Michael. I can't
Yeah, a hatchet and a wig that she said was the baby she was nursing.
But let's bury the hatchet and talk about L.A. I think maybe the
town gets a bad rap from New Yorkers, although I can't live there,
because I don't drive and I'm allergic to the sun.
don't leave the house, though.
channeling Christina now!
you really live in legendary actress Mary Astor's old house?
It was built for her by George S. Kaufman for one of their love
trysts. And then in the '70s, it was occupied by the Stones. The
house has a great legacy to it. I feel like it's kind of haunted,
but not in a way that bothers me. I always sense people running
up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.
you think it's Mary Astor?
not really sure. It could be rats.
there anything about the decaying grandeur of Hollywood that appeals
to you, even though you don't leave the house? There must be!
as a kid, being fascinated with movies and Marilyn Monroe and
Charles Manson, I was destined to come here. And the first time
I did, when my mommy let me go on a field trip, I went to look
at the Sharon Tate house and Hollywood Boulevard. It just seemed
like such a dirty, filthy place--but in a different way than New
York is a dirty, filthy place. In L.A., they kind of hide the
dirt and filth.
mix it with glitter.
and litter are very close.
do you think L.A. gets overly ragged on? I mean, I don't mind
it for three days at a time.
I feel the same way about New York. I have always been unable
to deal with a lot of people being around me. I start feeling
claustrophobic. I think that is one of the reasons why people
like me become entertainers. My music is how I communicate with
people. I can't go out to nightclubs. I can't deal with all the
phony handshaking and all the people that make me start feeling
like I'm in a Fellini film. There's a movie called Toby Dammit
[a vignette about a self-destructive actor that's part of the
film Spirits of the Dead, 1968] that's adapted from an Edgar Allan
Poe story, and I feel like Toby Dammit every time.
funny you mention that because I was going to ask if Poe was a
big influence on you.
was just thinking about painting a portrait of Poe today, because
I was looking through this book about absinthe that I have five
copies of--everyone buys it for me as a gift, because they know
that I've been drinking absinthe for four or five years now. In
the photograph I took for this interview, I went for a Poe sort
of presentation. I kind of like Poe's real-life story more than
some of his things that I've read.
you ever get tired of defending yourself against all the people
suing you and blaming you for things like Columbine?
blame, I don't get tired of. It's become part of my personality.
And I can't say I haven't asked for it right out of the gate,
with a name like Marilyn Manson. But lawsuits and things like
that are tiring, because people try to silence me as an artist.
Since they're not able to, they just think of other ways. Detroit
has tried to ban me on so many occasions, and I'm sure they were
thrilled to find someone who wanted to bring criminal charges
against me. [Manson recently pleaded no contest to charges that
he rubbed his crotch against a security guard's head during a
concert last year.] I'm not going to take it sitting down. I'm
not going to take it in the ass any more-unless I've brought the
will be the pull quote.
title! You're finishing up The Golden Age of Grotesque now, right?
And the record is the strangest and most personal and interesting
and confusing piece of dada musical deformity that I could possibly
come up with. Everyone who hears it compares it to the careless
abandon of youth, of the early days. But I think on the last record
I had a careless abandon. I felt like had been attacked so much
that I wasn't concerned if people liked the record commercially
or not. I've Had relationships with people, male and female, over
the past 10 years that have stifled my creativity, and this time
I feel in control.
it true that you split with [bassist] Twiggy Ramirez?
I think his relationship in the band became old to him. It's like
when you're married to somebody and you start sleeping with other
people. It was a touch decision, but we decided it was best that
he go somewhere else so he would have his interests fulfilled.
Hopefully, some day I'll have my friend back.
MUSTO: I hope
so. Is your relationship with Rose McGowan kaput, too?
haven't spoken with her in years. The last time I talked to her
was when my dad was moving her furniture out of my house.
MUSTO: I never
got an official memo. The breakup just kind of happened.
don't know if she did, either. I think that was one relationship
that I felt I couldn't be myself in. My girlfriend now is the
love of my life, Dita Von Teese. She likes what I do and understands
that that is what makes me who I am. I run across people who say,
"I don't want to like you for Marilyn Manson; I want to like
you for who you really are." But that's who I really am!
MUSTO: I know!
Well, thanks, Marilyn. I look forward to all your sundry projects.
trying to make Hollywood a place like New York was in the era
of Party Monster. I want to bring back that decadence. My hibernation
has really been an incubation period, because when I unleash myself
with The Golden Age of Grotesque, it's going to revive this city
into a place that you might want to live in some day.
have to learn to drive!