This week we meet MARILYN MANSON, whose latest album EAT ME, DRINK ME follows his painful break-up with burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese.
The Lord of Darkness talks about going to hell and back following the split, how making the new album saved him - and how he has now found love with teenage actress Evan Rachel Wood, who has inspired tracks on the new album.
"Music was my only friend. If this record didn't exist, I wouldn't exist."
It's scorching outside with temperatures reaching 25'C but Marilyn Manson's suite at London's Metropolitan hotel is in near darkness and the air conditioning is set to icy cold.
It's a chilling experience walking in to meet the Lord Of Darkness, who is clad head to toe in black leather with dark shades, his trademark ghoulish white make-up and red lipstick, and the cold, uneasy atmosphere adds to my nerves.
I feel uncomfortable taking my seat next to him. After all, this is the super-intelligent but scary singer, film-maker and artist who takes no prisoners when he speaks his mind.
His music was blamed for the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre. He was made a reverend of the First Church of Satan and has been known to wear a jacket made from the skins of conjoined twin lambs.
But it seems the self-proclaimed antichrist superstar has mellowed after surviving a tricky few years. It's not been an easy ride. First, the fall-out of Columbine saw him become US Public Enemy No1 and death threats became a regular occurrence.
Then he went to hell and back following the break-up of his year-long marriage to burlesque artist and model Dita Von Teese, who is pictured with him. [see scans]
But he seems in a jovial mood as we begin and jokes: "I'm with a tabloid journalist so I'll have to order a lunch of dead animals and babies so not to disappoint."
His sixth studio album EAT ME, DRINK ME, is Manson at his rawest and most revealing.
After saying he would never make another album, he found solace in his music following his painful break-up with Von Teese, who left him last Christmas Eve, filing for divorce a week later citing "irreconcilable differences".
In a raspy, monotonous voice, Manson says: "I know it's a cliché but marriage can ruin a relationship and it did. I was expected to change a lot of things about myself, which made me feel the elements of my personality were false."
But then it failed and it was over. As much as I was trying to convince myself that I didn't want to make music any more, music was my only friend. And so if this record didn't exist then I wouldn't exist.
Every day it was the only thing that I had left. I kept listening to records that had a common bond - despair.
I had always used music as an armour. I was making a statement about how I felt. My opinion was something I had to defend and I used music as some kind of fighting stance. But I was never able to see that simply being me and talking directly, which is associated with being human, was enough."
"Human" is the last thing you'd associate Manson with being. He's the self-styled "god of fuck", known for being shockingly different. But he reveals the pain he has suffered has changed everything.
"I was a different person before making this record, which is like a diary and shows my human side. I felt a connection with the vampire mythology as the only thing you can kill a vampire with is its heart and this became a central theme of the record."
The song, If I Was Your Vampire, was the moment Manson realised he had to make another album.
"If I Was Your Vampire was the turning point. I didn't write about the Christmas morning (after Von Teese had left) after it happened. I wrote it straight away and then I sang it a few hours later. It was at this point I knew this would be a record."
The track Just A Car Crash Away is about the friendship and then a relationship with his new girlfriend, 19-year-old actress Evan Rachel Wood. It was reported Manson, 38, was having an affair with her towards the end of his marriage but this is something he denies.
"I had no friends and I really was alone, literally. I had developed a friendship with Evan and, yes she is now my girlfriend but it wasn't me leaving one for another. It took time to discover how much we had in common."
Evan was also the inspiration behind the song Heart-Shaped Glasses. She appears in the video, having simulated sex with him.
"I was reading the book Lolita, which was a gift from heaven, and Evan was wearing these heart-shaped glasses. I realised at that moment I should write this song but I didn't tell her it was for her.
It seems very pop but it's also rather threatening, like the songs Patrick Bateman listens to in American Psycho. It's so dark, one of the darkest songs on the record. Pop songs with a subversive undertone are my favourites."
But Manson is proudest of the track Putting Holes In Happiness. "It's my greatest song-writing accomplishment and I love the guitar solo. If you're going to have a guitar solo, it might as well really prove it's point and the point is arrogant in the same was as on Purple Rain or Ziggy Stardust.
Tim (Skold, his guitarist) was the person around me the most and was able to reflect what I was going through."
EAT ME, DRINK ME features a new style of vocals for Manson. He "sings" more than ever before and he adds: "I was listening to For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music and Diamond Dogs by David Bowie. They had a certain feeling to them I felt I had not lived up to artistically."
The album title, as always with Manson, is controversial. Inspired by the story of German Armin Meiwes, the Rotenberg Cannibal sentenced to life after killing and eating willing victim Bernd Jurgen Armando Brandes, who he found through an advert on the internet.
How is this gory tale inspiring. I ask?
"I think it's been slightly misconstructed as I already had the title because the song was the last one I wrote. But my friend Thomas was making a movie about this German man and I saw the romance in it.
The act itself is repulsive but in religion, eating someone and drinking their blood is symbolic. Being consumed, devoured is true romance, it identifies with a point of no return but having been close to that point, I Know I don't want to die."
Locked alone at home with thoughts of suicide on his mind wasn't the first time Manson had faced death head on.
Following the Columbine massacre when students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris murdered 12 of their classmates and a teacher in Denver, Manson received death threads and daily abuse. His music was blamed for the slaughter when the two killers were said to be Manson fans (though it was later revealed they actually thought his music was too soft).
Manson tried to hid back and appeared in Michael Moore's 2002 gun-culture documentary Bowling For Columbine. He was disappointed when most of his interview was cut out and found the pressure unbearable, describing it as "the worst time of my life".
So, having returned from the dark side, having made the album he has always wanted to make, where does he go next?
"I want to draw on the energies and not be afraid to put that into whatever I do whether it's music, my art or my film directing. I feel like the centre of the whole personality of my sound has been returned so from now on everything and everyone close to me will benefit."