The guardians of public morality have always had a peculiar fear of music. In Medieval times a combination of notes known as The Devil's Chord was outlawed, condemned as being too sensual and thus potentially dangerous. When the saxophone first appeared it was denounced as a tool of the Devil, an instrument capable of inducing lustful abandon in the day's listeners; a group of concerned citizens even hired an assassin to knock off its inventor, Adoplhe Sax (though the erstwhile killer murdered Sax's assistant in a case of mistaken identity).
Enter Rock & Roll: now here was The Devil's music, the penultimate corrupter of youth. The upholders of public decency issued stern warnings that this loud, brash music with its primitive rhythms would open a Pandora's Box of sexual depravity and juvenile delinquency that would inevitable result in anarchy and the breakdown of civilized values.
So what happened? Whatever became of the threat of Rock & Roll? Was it just part of the post-war, baby-boom paranoia that gave rise to similar hysteria's about the H-bomb, Russia, and Space Invaders, or did the hysterics perceive something in Rock's potential that its proponents did not?
Enter MARILYN MANSON: to him the threat of Rock & Roll was its raison d'être. For Mr. Manson, Rock's ability to corrupt youth was in fact its promise, a promise left increasingly unfulfilled as mainstream Rockers grew ever more drab, P.C., and conservative. But if previous generations of Rockers have dropped the ball, it matters not. The ball is in Marilyn Manson's court now, and he intends to run with it. He's a man who seems to fervently believe that Rock can still live up to the title of the Devil's Music.
A Marilyn Manson concert is like a cross between a live sex show and a revival meeting, or perhaps a Nuremberg Rally by way of Glam Rock. There is a palpable feeling of sexual tension that hangs heavily in the air as the music bites its way into your consciousness. And there is the inkling that Rock could still be a forum for something far more profound than mere record sales and a multitude of pimply-faced teens giving the sign of the horns.
SECONDS caught up with Mr. Manson in Cleveland, where he and the boys are rehearsing their new stage show on the verge of a major tour of the U.S. and Europe to promote the new CD Antichrist Superstar.
Whereas onstage Marilyn Manson is loud and lewd, in person he is soft-spoken and intelligent, radiating a quiet intensity. We spoke at length about the ideas behind his new CD and the personal obsessions that fuel his work.
Boyd Rice: So, you always knew you'd be famous?
Marilyn Manson: "I've always been the type of person that doesn't accept failure. When I do something, I set my mind to it and take it as far as it can go. I don't know if being famous is my ultimate goal."
When I first met you, you hadn't been signed and were home watching daytime talk shows. Yet, you had a plan to do exactly what you're doing now.
"I think that's the key to succeeding with anything, never doubting it, never looking back. The analogy I've used before - if you buy into the mythology of The Bible - is looking back over your shoulder and turning into salt. Belief is ninety percent of success."
You seem to be part of a guiltless new generation who not only embrace fame, but ride it for all its worth.
"It's not that people who are famous and embrace being a star aren't sincere in what they do, it's just they're accepting it for what its worth and what it is. At the same time, I love the idea of every man and woman being a star and that's what I try to relate to our fans. If anything, they use me as an inspiration for their own success. If they can see that someone simple as me can do it, there's no reason they can't."
I've never bought into that "every man is a star" thing. There's a few stars, a lot of planets, then some asteroids...
"You're right about that. Every man and woman has the potential to be a star but very few realize it. Everyone wears a crown but who will stand and be a king?"
What's the wildest rumor you've heard about yourself?
"I hear so many - I avoid using the Internet because it's filled with so much gossip. People say they went places with me or someone has my kid or someone went to school with me. People create stories out of nowhere."
One rumor I heard was that you were dropped from Interscope because Trent Reznor was going out with Twiggy Ramirez and the band broke up.
"There's a part of a truth to that because when we recorded Portrait Of An American Family, Interscope did drop us. They refused to put the album out, the reason being the content of the record was in question. It was too hard to handle at the time when they were in the midst of their big Rap scandals. They had a change of heart and we stayed with them."
It seems you've been able to do what you want without selling out. You've gotten more hardcore and closer to your vision.
"If anything, we've gotten more extreme. The record company has a lot of concern about Antichrist Superstar because of the title, and if you use the word 'nigger' in a song, people get in an uproar. Everything I've said on the record is used intelligently. Nothing is malicious or racist in any way. I think some of the stuff I've said is actually politically correct. 'Everybody is someone else's nigger' is very politically correct."
Most people assume Antichrist Superstar refers to you, but you claim it has a broader meaning.
"I'm really into the idea that the Antichrist Christianity has worried about for so many years is really man's unconscious disbelief of God. The Antichrist is a collective mindset of people who don't believe in God. I may be the person who awakens that idea in people. The thing they're afraid of is themselves."
That's why people have a great fear of music, because they fear it will unleash something in them. Do the hysterics see something in music that you're consciously using?
"Making this record, I had in mind that it would be a musical ritual. When you play it, it brings you one step closer to the Apocalypse, not in a Science Fiction-type of way where a kid plays a record backwards and a demon appears in his room, but in a way that's an Armageddon of the mind. Each time someone listens to Antichrist Superstar, it brings them closer to being an individual. For Christianity, that is the Apocalypse. When I speak about the end of the world, it may be in literal terms or it may be a matter of everything in your mind dying off and starting fresh."
You said you wanted to be remembered as the man who brought about the final end of Christianity.
"There's been so many people over the years that have cracked open the gates to bring an end to Christianity. Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey have done great work in bringing us to that point. I want to continue that. Now, with the millennium and the social climate and music having the power that it does - mostly in part by the influence of MTV, like it or not - a record like Antichrist Superstar can cause a great deal of change. Maybe some people would brush it off as being ineffectual, but it can do more than some might imagine."
Is there a holy war going on?
"There is for Christians. I could take the stance that this record is a call to arms against Christianity, but more constructive time could be spent believing in yourself."
Don't you feel that Christianity is a slave creed and most people have a slave nature?
"Absolutely. Christianity coupled with television has bred blind consumerism. If they're stupid enough to believe in something they can't see, they'll easily buy something you shove in front of their face."
I'm old enough to remember when the U.S. was predominantly Christian. A lot of ideas from the Sixties evolved into secular humanism; people still believe in Christian precepts, they just don't call themselves Christians. But the world seemed like a much better place when people had the fear of punishment.
"It's interesting, because I've almost come to the conclusion that what America really needs more than anything is strict Christian values. It would teach them to appreciate the taboo side of their nature and fear it, like you've said. At times, I'm more of a paradox than I intend to be."
I think most people thrive under conditions of oppression. You give them too much liberty and they have a nervous breakdown.
You're a priest in the Church Of Satan. How seriously do you take Satanic theology?
"Most of my ideals are based around things LaVey and Crowley have written, and Nietzsche also. Recently, I've been reading other ideas just to broaden my knowledge - numerology and Hebrew Kabbalism.
I always try my hardest to bring a better understanding of Satanism to America because I have a Pop status. If I explain Satanism to people in a way they can understand, it may open up their minds to it, more than if I was brandishing a pentagram. If the concern is to educate people, sometimes you have to change the way you present things and that's what I've tried to do. A lot of times we're extremely Satanic in our nature and other times I present things in a less Satanic way. That in itself is overtly Satanic."
LaVey's really outspoken about his dislike of Rock music. Does he perceive the importance of what you're doing, despite the fact that it may not be his cup of tea?
"Well, I hope he isn't blind to the fact that if I were trying to do this with something more Classical, it wouldn't work. He's intelligent enough to see the medium I'm using is appropriate."
I know you wanted him to play Theremin on your first album. Is there ever a possibility of a musical collaboration?
"We talked about it. I don't want to be pushy because I don't like to make people feel obligated to do stuff for me. But yeah, I'd love to collaborate with him. It's always a joy to watch him perform."
How have you used the Kabbala in constructing the new album?
It was just one of my influences. I got really into the mythology of the Antichrist in different cultures. I like the idea of the legend of the watchtowers for the end of the world that can only be released by mankind.
"Pogo, our keyboardist, is really into numerology and he was really specific with what he would pick for sounds and frequencies. I don't have a complete understanding of what he did but we made it all tie together tightly. Anything that seems deliberate is, and anything that seems random is also deliberate."
It seems like a concept album in the truest sense.
"I almost feel like I'm in a movie that I write as I go along. The record talks about things that haven't happened yet and I speak about popularity that hasn't been achieved yet, but it's a matter of having the insight to see ahead. Over the past year, I've kept a diary of what I was dreaming, almost like John The Baptist's visions of things to come. In the studio, we'd go about different ways to enhance that. We brought out our subconscious when making this record."
You recorded this at Trent Reznor's house in New Orleans.
"It was his studio, in a funeral parlor, appropriately enough."
Speaking of numerology, I came here on Friday the 13th, the hotel is at 777 St. Clair, my room is 1111 and the address of your hotel is 1111.
"I've come to accept those types of coincidences. I also pay close attention to deja vu. I haven't finished my theory on it, but I feel we will develop the ability to send ourselves messages from the future. That's what I think deja vu is. Psychologists have a name for a disorder called "the delusional self" and that's when you think everything's related for a reason, but I think that it's a higher form of awareness."
Describe your fetishes, if any.
"I have a real big fetish for brown pantyhose these days. LaVey mentioned he liked the flesh-colored thigh-highs women used to wear and I agree with that. I actually wear them myself onstage because I like them so much."
What was Traci Lords like in bed?
"Last time I did an interview with SECONDS they asked me that and I got myself into a lot of trouble."
I assume anyone who's given so much head must have developed it into a fine art. But if you don't want to talk about it...
"It's not that I don't want to talk about it, but I'm better off if I don't."
Okay, so what's the rule of thumb for sex on the road? Proper sex or mostly blowjobs?
"Let's come back to that question."
Do you and the fellas share and have threesomes and foursomes?
"I've seen other members of my band participate in threesomes and foursomes, but in my whole life I've never been a big fan of anything other than one-on-one sexual experiences. That's not to say my mind couldn't be changed..."
I know for awhile you found humiliation and abuse more popular than plain sex. What's the worst thing you've ever done to somebody?
"The worst thing I've seen done - and I won't confirm if I was involved or not - is someone having Bible pages stuffed up their vagina and urinated on. It was one of the more interesting things I've seen recently."
If you could fuck any woman in world history at their prime, who would it be?
"It would have to be Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield are what women should be. Actually, what might be interesting, later you should ask Twiggy a couple of questions."
I'd love to.
"You should drill him about Courtney. He's never talked about that in an interview."
I intended to ask him about that. What's you most prized possession? I know you got a bunch of them and it's hard to narrow it down to just one, but...
"Right now the thing that I'm always worried about losing is this ring. I don't know why; it's just that it's my favorite ring. It's a red amethyst with a brown recluse spider in it."
"Thanks. I guess I could say that's my most prized possession, but not for any reason that has sentimental value or anything."
Describe your doll collection.
"I haven't really gotten any dolls lately. But I've got Planet Of The Apes dolls, and Charlie's Angels - I actually have both blondes from Charlie's Angels: Farrah Fawcett and what was it..."
"Cheryl Ladd. I have both of them. I did have a Huggy Bear doll. One of his legs fell off. That empty leg became a place where, when we were doing a lot of drugs on tour at one point, we would store the drugs in his empty leg. That's where the term 'dancing with the one-legged man' on Smells Like Children came from, because whenever anyone was doing drugs we called it the 'dance of the one-legged man'. That became a ritualistic thing that was funny for awhile. What other dolls? A couple of Pee-Wee Herman dolls..."
What's the doll with the eyes that change color?
"I don't know her name, but, uh..."
I've been looking for one of those forever.
"They're really hard to find. I can't even think of what her name is, but you pull the string on the back and her eyes change color.
I have all my KISS dolls still intact. I have a Six Million Dollar Man and the Sasquatch or whatever it was."
Are there any that you're lusting after, that you know are out there, and you can't find them? Toys or dolls or any weird kind of stuff like that?
"Yeah. Those Colorforms aliens I've looked for for such a long time... if you've ever seen them, they're really rare. Colorforms made a series with these aliens, then they made a three-dimensional doll version of it. They're just really hard to find. I think my favorite doll, now that I think of it, is this JJ Arms. He's like a handicapped private detective and he takes his hand off and he has different ones that he puts on. I love that because now I'm collecting prosthetic limbs and he's kind of like the action figure of prosthetics."
Have you ever seen Dolly Downs? It's a Down Syndrome doll.
"No. Oh, Christ..."
"From The Kids Of Widney High? Actually I need to get a better copy of that tape because I've worn mine thin."
Widney High is right off the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles and I think you can go up there and they've got a gift store and you can get these shirts that say "Widney High Wolverines" and you can get the CD.
"I'll check into that. There's a really interesting scene - did you see the movie Santa Sangre?"
No, I didn't.
"You'd like it. It's really surreal.
It's about a boy who's father was in the circus and his mother was a bit of a cultist fanatic who worshipped this Spanish saint that had no arms and at one point another mother catches the father cheating on her and she throws hydrochloric acid on his genitals and the other woman's face or something - the father cuts her arms off.
Then it becomes like a Norman Bates thing where he believes that his mother is still alive and he's using his arms for her. But there's a crazy scene in the middle where he goes on a field trip with all of these kids with Down Syndrome. They take them to a movie theater but they get sidetracked and they're given Cocaine and they're dancing around with hookers. It's a bunch of kids with Down Syndrome doing drugs and dancing around with prostitutes. It's really surreal."
What films have been an inspiration to you over the years? Like when you were a kid or now or whatever.
"Well, that movie was great. Over the years, of course Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Some of the children's movies...
I've always been a big fan of David Lynch. Actually Twiggy and I got to have a cameo in the new David lynch movie called Lost Highway that comes out early next year. We did a song called Apple Of Sodom that only appears on that soundtrack.
Stanley Kubrick has been one of my favorites. I liked his use of music, always - just real big and terrifying - The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Recently I got a good movie, if you haven't seen it, called Begotten."
Haven't seen it.
"The director's name is Elias Merhige. He actually did a short video for one of the tracks on our album, Cryptorchid. It's a musicless film and it's black and white. It looks like it's dug up from the Earth or something; it's some sort of old footage that you weren't supposed to see. It's this weird tribe of nomads who find this naked, quivering Messiah figure, almost like a fetus. They carry it all these miles and they take it up on this hill, which I think is supposed to be Golgotha, and then they beat him to death. It's really powerful. It's something worth seeing."
What about cheesier stuff that you take along on tour, like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or something.
"Oh yeah. My favorite musicals are Hair - Sgt. Pepper probably is my favorite - Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show - KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park is kind of entertaining at times, and there's one other one that I'm forgetting. It'll come to me later."
Did you see those guys with their makeup on this tour?
"Yeah. I got to meet Gene Simmons backstage with his makeup on."
"It was interesting. He was pretty friendly. He made a joke and asked me for my autograph, so I think he actually knew who I was or something. Kind of interesting."
That's cool. If you could push a button and magically make people die, who would you kill and why?
"I think I would have people take some sort of SAT test and all the ones who failed would die."
What are the things that really piss you off?
"I get pissed off when I'm at a restaurant and people are laughing and having a good time with their normal lives, too stupid to see how much everything sucks.
I get pissed off when people come up to me and they presume that I'm going to be an asshole so they treat me like an asshole which in turn makes me be an asshole. They get exactly what they asked for, because I'm usually pretty fair and I'm very patient with people when them come up to me and stuff. People will come off with an attitude sometimes like 'Oh, you're a Rock Star', and they give you that whole routine. That usually pisses me off.
It used to piss me off when I would see a band that I felt didn't deserve the popularity they were receiving. But I've learned to accept that because it's just a matter of holding true to what you're about and having the power to maintain what you are. So many bands just come and go; they may be on top of the world one day and they're gone the next. That's the easy thing to do. It's much more of a struggle to maintain a long career that builds and builds."
I feel like most bands shoot their load with their first album. After that they've used up all their creativity and inspiration. You haven't done that: this album is your best one. Do you think it's possible to keep building and keep evolving and getting purer and purer?
"Yeah, you can, especially if you have that attitude. A lot of people, I think, are satisfied with being the same. But I've always felt the need to evolve and be growing toward something else, some final thing. Antichrist Superstar, for me, is the record that I've always wanted to do. The other two were stepping stones, really, for this album. This is the ultimate Marilyn Manson record as far as I'm concerned. It also helps to be working with fresh minds. Our first record was written by me and our former guitar player predominantly. This new record was written mostly by Twiggy and myself. So, there's a new creative element that wasn't there before - so it lends itself to more growth."
Is your new guitarist a guy from Boulder? A friend of mine knew a guy who was trying out for you and came down and made the final five or something...
"He's actually from Chicago. I'm not sure if I remember anyone from Boulder."
He apparently has big things in his ears and he's a very tall guy.
"I'm not sure..".
There were something like three hundred people who tried out?
"Well, we got about a million tapes. But we actually only had about twenty or so people fly down and play. With out new guitarist, I really liked him before he put his guitar on because of the way he carried himself. I felt good about it. I think once again in the future, working on stuff and actually performing this album live, he'll bring a whole new life to it. It just helps things more.
I remember with our old guitarist it was an inevitable breakup between me and him from the beginning. He was always very set on having a specific style and being identified with that. He wasn't ever into what was best for a song or what was best for an album or what the band really meant or what it stood for. He was very much a hard-headed musician in that he felt like 'I need to represent my musical style', rather that what's going to work in a song or something like that. He never really believed in any of the philosophies of the band."
He always seemed like the one who was least a part of the whole thing. Everybody else would be going around to these toy stores or restaurants and whatever and he was never there.
"My thing that I finally realized was - I just had to say to myself, if I really believe what I have to say, I wouldn't be working with this person. He's everything I'm against in some ways because he's not behind what we're about. He didn't really have a lot of respect for himself if he took the type of abuse he got from the rest of the band. He just didn't really stand up for himself. The best thing for him to do was to quit and to do his own thing because now at least he's found some form of fulfillment or self-respect. The fans are always weird when things like that happen. I mean in this circumstance."
Yeah, but it's like replacing Darrin on Bewitched - nobody really cared. Is there anyone in politics, entertainment, or music that you'd like to see tarred and feathered?
"If anyone deserves it, it's probably me."
Have you ever taken that Jungian personality test where you say your favorite animal, color, body of water is - that sort of thing?
"Yeah, I think I have. I'm not sure."
I'll administer it again. What's your favorite animal and why?
"A monkey. I like the way they look. I like the way they move. It's very interesting."
What's your favorite color and why?
"Uh... I mean, I would normally say black, but I think I really like purple. It's very rich. It just seems very colorful to me, but at the same time it's not cheery, it's kind of royal. It's colorful without being happy."
What's your favorite body of water and why?
"My favorite body of water... The only one that I'm really familiar with is the Atlantic Ocean. I don't know if I'd say it's my favorite. Let me think about that."
That was a hard one for me. You don't usually think about qualities of water that you like. Okay. If you were alone in a room with no windows or doors how would you feel?
Bodies of water can also be lakes or rivers.
"I guess I kind of grew to like the Mississippi River in New Orleans because it just seemed big and dangerous and kind of dirty. It seemed like you never knew what would wash up in it."
According to Jung, your favorite animal represents the true you. Your favorite color represents how other people perceive you. Your favorite body of water is your attitude toward sex: dangerous and dirty. And being alone in a room with no windows or no doors represents your attitude towards death.
"Huh. I like that."
Something that strikes me about you is that you have a real fun image and yet there's this dark aspect. You sort of toy with the image of being this corrupter of youth or a seducer of youth; I feel that's what you really are, what you want to be - it's not just an image you're toying with. So, I was wondering how conscious all of that was.
"I've always liked to make the point to people that the character of Lucifer - maybe if we were to have read the story from his point of view, he wouldn't have been the bad guy. So I like to show people: yeah, I am the bad guy, but at the same time is that so bad after all?
On another level, I like to candy-coat things to entice people so that when they bite into it it's not always what they expected. That was the big trick with Sweet Dreams - that was the ultimate little prank of America. Here was a song that I liked and I felt quite strongly about, but at the same time it was quite obvious to everyone involved that it would be a song that people who normally wouldn't listen to us could grasp on to. So it was kind of like a piece of cheese on the rat trap and a lot of people got their necks snapped that weren't expecting it. They thought, 'Oh, I like that song', but then they got wrapped into the whole Marilyn Manson thing that they might not have been looking for. And maybe they liked it and maybe they didn't, but at least they were exposed to it."
Your use of typeface is like the Willy Wonka typeface; is that a kind of visual clue for the cognoscenti who would recognize what it was and appreciate it on that level, or more a kind of subliminal manipulation than people unconsciously know what it is and will be attracted to it but no consciously know why or...
"It was a little bit of both; you're familiar with it but you might not be able to put your finger on exactly where you saw it. And for me it was part of the whole idea that record, Smells Like Children, was my idea of a children's record. It was seeing everything form a child's point of view. It was grand and ugly at times. Smells Like Children is almost a metaphor for me trying to hold onto my childhood."
I wanted to ask you about your being sued by Charles Nelson Reilly for sampling one of his prop shows...
"No. We got the rights to use his voice. We were harassed by the Salvation Army because of our Satanic Army shirt that was a variation of their logo, which I thought was great. I would have liked for them to actually sue us because it would have been the ultimate irony that they're a non-profit organization and they wanted to take the time to make some money off the Devil's work."
Most people who bring some intellect to the Rock idiom or some art to it end up sabotaging the form in the process. It ends up being over-intellectual, and lacks balls. Your stuff is intelligent yet still very visceral and instinctual.
"Well, with anything, I try to make sure it can be taken on a couple a different levels. I'd love for people to read into it and get a message out of it, or want a message, but at the same time realizing that it is Rock & Roll and it needs to be that. I've always made sure that the music captured the same spirit as the lyrics; whether that be angry or sensitive at any given moment, whichever it takes."
Are there any dream projects that you'd still like to do?
"I really see this record as being a movie. So, I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes one."
You talked once about doing a kind of Satanic Lollapalooza. Still have any thoughts about that?
"Yeah, that's actually something that I've been speaking to people a little bit more about. There's a record I want to put out, a compilation to coincide with a more, like you said, Satanic Lollapalooza. That might be something really interesting for next summer. I might really concentrate on that after the first of the year. An anti-Lollapalooza, you know?"
What's your favorite bar?
"That's an easy one. Portland Oregon. The Acropolis Steakhouse. Are you familiar with it?"
Acropolis Steakhouse? I've heard about this. People say, "You've got to go to this place," and nobody took me.
"Well, it's the Acropolis Steakhouse and that's what the song says and that's all that it leads you to believe, but when you enter it's an all-nude dance club that serves steak. It's all nude, not just topless. You can eat steak at the table and people will be dancing all nude in front of you. The steak is only - I think I got a fillet for five dollars."
"And it wasn't really bad either. It looked like a place out of a John Waters movie. It just didn't really seem real. But it was great. There's another great bar in Atlanta called the Clermont Lounge that's similarly surreal. All of the dancer there are - and I'm not a fan of strip bars, by the way, but the two favorite bars that I've been to are just so strange - all of the dancers there are very heavy-set, and most of them are Black. That place is something else you should check out sometime."
Ever been to Jumbo's Clown Room in Hollywood?
"No. I've heard about it, but I've never been there."
That's amazing. We just went there. It's a strip bar, but it's not full nudity and most of the women actually wear Band-Aids over their nipples. I'm not a big fan of strip bars, but for some reason this seemed steamy and lurid and the women seemed extra-exciting.
"Yeah, that's probably just the mystery of it that makes it more exciting."
You've probably seen a lot of weird little tourist traps touring around the United States. What's your favorite tourist trap?
"I like truck stops in general because Twiggy and I have this theory that truck stops are these little portals in time that don't really exist because they all look exactly the same and they're very interchangeable. Sometimes you might look behind the counter where they're cooking the food, and you'll see that it's a fake front, it's like Disney World or something - it's not a real place. The food you eat there doesn't fill you up. You could actually kill or rape somebody and it would be of no circumstance. They're not real places. We only pull into truck stops in the middle of the night when you're sleeping and stuff and we never know if we're dreaming or if it's really there. I think those are my favorite spots around."
If you could go back in history and meet anybody, who would you be interested in meeting?
"That's tough. The thing is, when you have an impression of someone sometimes if you meet him it's ruined. I wouldn't mind meeting Charles Manson is '69 or something like that. That would have been interesting. You know, back then, how things were then."
Does he know about you?
"You would probably know better than me. I've never heard of any correspondence or anything. I'd be into talking to him, but the opportunity's never really come up. I feel like what our music is doing is not so far removed from some of the things he had in mind, and that he might find an appreciation for it on his own level. To me he's the ultimate Rock Star anyways. He just never had a chance to be. He would have been..."
I picked up the paper when I came to town, and there was a mention of your new album and it said something this vile and obscene had to come from an uptight state like Florida. Florida seems like a weird kind of part of the United States; there are so many strange people who come from there, like Pee-Wee Herman and Mark Pauline and Herschell Gordon Lewis. Do you think growing up in Florida had any sort of impact on you, or that you could have came from anyplace, basically?
"Well, ironically, I grew up not far from here. Until I was eighteen I grew up in Canton, Ohio. I moved to Florida when I was eighteen. My impression of Florida was it was very much like Disney World in that it was a lot of tourists and a lot of phoniness and everything seemed like a fake smile all the time. Everyone was working on the perfect tan. It was all about a vacation - just everything that I disliked in life. I think it was kind of a necessary breeding ground for Marilyn Manson because we provided a balance for that. We were the - if Florida's about girls laying out in the sun at the beach, we were the yeast infection they got from not having a good bikini."
So, have you come for the children?
"I think the children have come for me. I always loved that movie Children Of The Corn; it managed to be a halfway decent 'Satanic Cult' type movie. I always liked the idea that they never let anybody become an adult. It's almost like a Peter Pan story. When they turn a certain age they have to sacrifice themselves to the corn cobs, or whatever the story was. I still consider myself a kid no matter how old I get. I like kid's things. I like toys. I like, you know... Imagination is the key to everything and children have such strong imaginations. You become an adult because of TV and your job and whatever bullshit is laid on you. Nobody cares about imagination, except when you're a kid. That's why I was so drawn to something like Dungeons And Dragons as a kid, because it was all about escapism and being whatever you wanted to be.
That's what Marilyn Manson became to me - you know, being whatever you want to be."
I always totally identified with that Mary Martin Peter Pan video; it's so odd and surreal... I always completely identified with Peter Pan. You can remain pure even in a corrupt world like this. You can remain absolutely true to your vision and the people who don't - it's because they're weak.
"That's a great point that you've brought up because what a lot of people don't realize is there's nothing more beautiful than pure realized evil. It's much more attractive then hypocritical goodness. Pure evil, in a sense, it is good because it's extreme and it's realized and it is what it is. It's those that are mediocre and unsure of themselves, like Christians, who are guilty because they're sinners and their whole belief is based on failure. I think that's important."
There has to be a balance of good and evil in the world. Whenever the forces get out of balance with one another, that's when things screw up. That's whenever the forces get out of balance with one another, that's when things screw up.
"When I say 'pure evil' I'm referring to what society considers evil because we have our own idea of what's good and evil. It's what society considers what I do to be evil, my point is that it's so pure in what it is and so realized that I know exactly what I am and that it isn't evil, it's good. For me it's what's right."