Nothing in Marilyn Manson's mind can ever be mistaken as commonplace. Like some of today's up-and-coming alternative music personalities, Manson baffles its listeners by making them look within themselves to change their perceptions.
"I went to god just to see and I was looking at me, saw Heaven and Hell were lies, when I'm god everyone dies", Manson yells in the haunting Antichrist Superstar tune, The Reflecting God.
The Fort Lauderdale-based band which he fronts incorporates much of the philosophy into the other Antichrist Superstar tunes, as well as elements of their 1994 album Portrait Of An American Family. With Antichrist Superstar reaching the million-mark, and Manson collaborating with Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan on what should be an unusual side project called Fairy, it's quite possible Manson's antics are slowly being assimilated into the mainstream. So is he a clever media stuntman, a talented artist or just plainly mad?
A lot of people claim that you're just a cleverly constructed drag act and the music is only a small part of that Marilyn Manson represents.
"Our getup and the way we look might qualify as a drag act, but WE ARE what we present on stage. Marilyn Manson is not just an image we put on for the stage. The music and our show go hand-in-hand. Marilyn is real, I wake up and I AM Marilyn Manson. Marilyn is like a skin... I can't shed it off."
Isn't that rather schizophrenic?
"No its not, not at all. As I already said, I'm Marilyn and it's so much a part of me that I wouldn't be the same person without it. If it was just an act, then there would be the danger of becoming schizophrenic. Marilyn is not a dress I put on for a performance. It's not some half baked idea."
What made you become Marilyn?
"I always loved the glamour that surrounded KISS. They were stars but they didn't live and breathe it, they washed their make-up off and that was it. I can't wash my Marilyn personality off. Marilyn is not a mask, its real."
You were fascinated by glam rock?
"For me glam rock was truly rock and roll. I never believed in the grunge idea. Grunge was about killing the superstars, killing idols, not killing them physically but the show was gone... the idea behind it. Everything that made rock and roll alive disapeared. Grunge was a sad era for me."
But why a name like Marilyn Manson? Manson is still remembered as one of the most horrible serial killers. Don't you think that that gives kids the wrong idea?
"Manson was a serial killer, a mass murderer... it's the dark point. Nothing is just black or white. I combined Marilyn as the white, positive aspect, the light, with the dark part of Charles Manson. Light and darkness, life and death are simply two inseparable parts of life. Without darkness you wouldn't know light and without evil you wouldn't know what's good. Good and evil go hand in hand, you can't seperate them."
It is rumored that you were high when you recorded the Antichrist Superstar album.
"We experimented... But I think it was more the atmosphere. We recorded Antichrist Superstar in New Orleans and the atmosphere was incredible. There are lots of earth movements..that's the reason why all the graves are mausoleums on the surface, and when the earth moved the smell of death and decay was everywhere and it certainly crept on the album. That was the most powerful influence ever. It made us realize just how much death was a natural part of life. Theres also a seemingly never ending reservoir of different drugs and pills in New Orleans and it had a certain influence on the recording process. There were times when we recorded for days without a break before we just fell into an exhausted sleep."
Are you Satanists?
"Because we titled our album Antichrist Superstar or because of the way we look and behave? No we're not satanists. I dont believe in any organized religions at all. The title Antichrist Superstar is provoking yes, but people want to be provoked. It makes them think, shakes them up. I have read a lot of books about so-called black magic. I confessed once that Aleister Crowley had a big influence on me, but there were other influences too. I read all the great philosophers but most people just hear whay they want to hear and it makes it easy for them to brand us as Satanists."
A lot of your stage performance is right on the verge of being tasteless.
"Nobody's forced to watch our performance and you've got to cross certain lines. I'm not giving a performance just for the audience. I'm not a superior being. Some of it might be tasteless for some people, but then who told them to look? I don't know if it's tasteless or not, a lot of it is exciting to me. I do whatever I want, I'm discovering myself on and off stage."
Not only do religious groups seem to hate Marilyn Manson but also a lot of parents are afraid that you are a negative influence on their children.
"How can I be a negative influence? I'm not telling them to look or act like me. I tell them to find themselves, do what they want and do it their way. Find their own identity and don't follow a fashoin regime. Individuality is the keyword. We are all individuals and I don't want people to copy us. I'd be insulted if I'd see my own copies and our fans understand."
Is it true that during a autograph session you smeared artificial blood over a baby?
"No it's not true at all, it was simply lipstick."