Holy Wood Interviews

Metal Edge
arilyn talks about MTV, the work he's doing at the moment, Holywoods' success and the battles between Nothing and Interscope about Holywoods release
Marilyn Manson
2001 Jun
Marilyn Manson: Moral Minority
By Steffan Chirazi

Metal Edge:
What are you working on at the moment?
Marilyn Manson:
I just shot a video for "The Nobodies", and strangely, somehow it got involved with the soundtrack for the television show Jackass. We were supposed to somehow incorporate Jackass into the video, but because Jackass is now experiencing some of the same type of blame I got for Columbine, I don't know if it's gonna be in the video. By the time this comes out, everyone will have seen the video and known the outcome, but it's ironic that it's their project and they can't put their own footage in it. It's kind of bizarre.
Metal Edge:
So the idea was to feature Jackass in the video, the way you'd feature film clips if the video was for a movie soundtrack?
Marilyn Manson:
Well, I already had a story for the video that I wanted to do, a sort of Marilyn Manson fairy tale about some children escaping from an orphanage and seeking refuge with me after fleeing from some terrible, evil nuns who abused them -- As all nuns do, I guess [lauging]. So I decided that they would be watching Jackass on television and the nuns would be upset with them, which is why they'd leave. But now I don't know what they'll be watching...Maybe Joeseph Lieberman -- That might be the most appropriate thing.
Metal Edge:
I could see that. Did you direct this one yourself?
Marilyn Manson:
No, I worked with a new director named Paul Fedor. I think this video may be my favorite one we've ever done. It looks unlike anything else we've done. I've kind of grown to hate the idea of making music videos, because it's frustrating when you spend so much time being creative and coming up with ideas -- particularly for me, because I take it as seriously as writing a song and put everything into each detail. It's such a finite thing. It's not like making a film, something that lasts forever. Even though people can go back and watch videos, in some ways it's sort of a worthless art form, because they play it for a couple of weeks and then it's forgotten. That gets frustrating. But I actually enjoyed making this one, and I think it may be the best one we've done.
Metal Edge:
It seems that with your imagery and the concepts that you come up with, video has been and would be a really natural and expressive medium for you. But at the same time, as you said, you really don't know where they're going to end up, how many people are going to see them... Do you feel like the medium has not been utilized to its fullest potential?
Marilyn Manson:
It's just turned into something quite different because of MTV's programming. Obviously they rarely play music videos as much as they used to, so there's really no home for music video. There are just five or six that are played over and over again, and it's more about politics now. If there was another channel or another way for people to see these things, it might be more worthwhile. We're actually putting together a DVD that is gonna come out later this year, and it'll have a full, filmed concert, and all of our videos -- including the new ones -- so people will be able to see them that way. And it's our first DVD.
Metal Edge:
Seeing your stuff in the DVD format seems pretty overdue at this point. Are you a collector?
Marilyn Manson:
Yeah, I have quite a few. Once they started making them, people got really addicted to getting anything that came out. But it's good to be able to find rare things that weren't available before. I'm such a movie collector that I'm able to find a lot of stuff.
Metal Edge:
What's the one film that you've found that you thought you'd never be able to see or find again?
Marilyn Manson:
On DVD? Well, I'm really trying to help Alejandro Jodorowsky [Chilean director of cult avant-garde films El Topo and Santa Sangre] get his films put on DVD, but he's had some sort of political battle with Allan Klein, the guy who produced his films. I did find them on laserdisc in Japan, but I think they're bootlegs. For Christmas, Twiggy gave me Stir Crazy with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor -- It's a terrible film, but I guess it's better on DVD [laughing].
Metal Edge:
What are your thoughts on doing OZZfest again? You were almost an anomaly on the bill the first time you did it in '97 -- Do you feel like you stand out from the rest of the lineup again this year?
Marilyn Manson:
Well, since then, a lot of groups have taken performance a little more seriously and have gone further. It was a real significant part of my decision to be on it that Slipknot be included, because I wanted to do a tour with them. I thought that would make a good combination. I think with us two and the other bands on the second stage, it has more of a younger attitude than when I was on it the first time. It seemed like an older crowd then, an older Ozzy Osbourne crowd -- A lot of people my Dad's age watching the show. I think now it'll be more like a Marilyn Manson/Slipknot tour, if anything.
Metal Edge:
Slipknot has exploded in popularity, and just like everyone else, they've also experienced a backlash from others in the heavy music field, saying that they're all surface and visuals with nothing underneath. Do you feel any sort of kinship with them, if only by virtue of being someone who has faced the same kind of sniping?
Marilyn Manson:
I really like their attitude. They're nihilistic and they don't give a shit what anybody thinks, and I've always been the same way. I'm interested to hear what their new album sounds like. I'm sure they're smart enough to know that they have to live up to the hype and deliver something really strong. Strangely, I've never even seen them perform, so I can't say whether they're all show and no substance. I've only heard the music and hung out with them. But after talking to them, they feel like they're in the same position I was probably in the last time I played OZZfest -- I gave 'em some advice, some wisdom from my years of being bashed by everyone in every direction [laughing].
Metal Edge:
It was first announced that you weren't going to play the OZZfest date in Denver because of the proximity to Columbine...
Marilyn Manson:
No, we are. That was something that the publicist for OZZfest incorrectly stated, and it was announced afterward that we were in fact doing it. I don't know why they said that. I think there was some concern or fear about Columbine, obviously, but there are a lot of places in Denver that have been wanting us to come back there for a long time, and Denver has always been very supportive of us, so we're definitely playing Denver.
Metal Edge:
It just seems so strange to think that musical arts could get banned in a free country in this day and age...
Marilyn Manson:
We're not allowed to play an OZZfest in Minneapolis, which is very odd because we played our own show there -- I wasn't even in the country when the first announcement about Denver was made, and when I heard it, I was confused and pissed off, and wanted to make sure everyone was very clear that I would never make that decision, and that is was untrue to begin with.
Metal Edge:
Have you been following the case in which Slayer is being sued by the parents of a young girl who was murdered by three boys, allegedly under the "influence" of Slayer lyrics?
Marilyn Manson:
I remember when that happened, but I haven't heard anything since. What's happening now?
Metal Edge:
[At press time] it was dismissed by a judge, but the prosecution was given a certain period to come up with additional evidence and present their case again. If you had a chance to speak with Slayer, what would you impart to those guys?
Marilyn Manson:
I don't know. I think I met them once in passing, and I don't really know enough about them personally to give them any sort of advice. I've listened to Slayer before and the music is very extreme, but obviously I don't think art ever has a responsibility other than to be created. I think that art is one of the things that people have to live for, and whenever it gets blamed for things, it's obviously the worst excuse that people can think of, because people are upset and angry and want to point the finger and decide who is to blame, so that they can put things to rest. What they have to realize is that if you want to live in a world where you can see and hear things, then you have to also take personal responsibility for that freedom. So the only thing I think I would say to Slayer is to not let it make them quit doing what they do. Over the years, when people blamed me for things, it's made me start to doubt whether it was really worth doing what I do. But I've decided it is.
Metal Edge:
You mentioned [Senator and former Vice-Presidential candidate] Joe Lieberman earlier, and he recently introduced a bill to Congress to levy criminal punishments against music distributors who market so-called "adult" material to children...
Marilyn Manson:
Yeah, there was something in the L.A. Times about Universal Music being attacked because they aired commercials for Holy Wood during TRL on MTV, and I think he was associated with that, too. I don't even know what to say...It's just so ridiculous. The statement itself is just so stupid that there's not even anything funny you can say about it.
Metal Edge:
I'm still confused over the various reports that came out during the last election that you were going to vote for George Bush, whereas in the last Metal Edge interview, you were leaning more toward the Democrats after all...
Marilyn Manson:
The problem in print media is that sarcasm and my dry, deadpan sense of humor doesn't come across. So when people asked who I was gonna vote for, I said, "Well, I'm not voting, but if I were to vote, I'd vote for George Bush," and that's the obvious opposite of what anyone would expect. But I also said that I knew he was gonna win, and at the same time, I find myself being more creative underneath a more conservative government, along with things like Joseph Lieberman trying to pinch entertainment. I think it just makes you want to be more extreme, it makes you want to push the boundaries further, just for the simple fact that somebody has to fight to keep those boundaries where they are, or else they will take away a lot of our freedoms.
Metal Edge:
It's true, it seems like people were more relaxed when we had a pot-smoking philanderer in the White House...
Marilyn Manson:
Right. The President is not supposed to be someone that young people like. He's supposed to be someone to rebel against. Clinton tried to be a friend to American youth, but in reality, his liberal attitude caused a lot of damage by leading to this Lieberman kind of crackdown. There was this whole new idea of everyone having all these rights, and you can't cut down trees because trees are people too, stop this, stop that, Eminem getting shit for his lyrics... We've just gotten to a ridiculous point where everyone's gonna sue everybody else for anything. If you look at someone the wrong way, you're gonna get sued, which has been a complete disaster for America.
Metal Edge:
Do you get the sense that Eminem has become the shock poster boy of the last year or two?
Marilyn Manson:
Yeah, he became the new scapegoat, and next it's gonna be Jackass, and I think those guys are probably gonna see a lot more problems than I ever did. I think they've had three incidents already that they've been blamed for, and it's just gonna keep piling up. I don't know where entertainment's gonna go. It doesn't scare me, but it concerns me. It does make me want to continue to do what I do, and be even more extreme, and find other ways to do it. I'm trying to explore other avenues, whether it be television, film, soundtracks, whatever it is. I'm just trying to get involved and undermine things from the ground up. That's the only way you can do it.
Metal Edge:
To what do you attribute the fact that the sales of Holy Wood have not matched the last two records?
Marilyn Manson:
Well, I don't think is has anything to do with the album itself. The biggest problem was that Nothing Records was battling with Interscope over this album and whether or not it would come out on Interscope. Me being caught up in the middle of that battle kind of crushed and delayed a lot of things, and complicated a lot of other issues. You can imagine if you've got your record company fighting against the people who are paying for you album, then it's not gonna be promoted in the greatest way that it could be. I also think that the record company did the best that they could do. I don't blame it on them, I just think that it's the climate right now, when an album as complex as that just isn't what a lot of people are listening to right now. That doesn't mean I wanna change how I do things. It's kind of like when Antichrist Superstar came out: People who weren't around at the time assume that that thing exploded, but it was actually kind of in the same position that I'm at right now, and ironically enough, I went on OZZfest and things took off after that. So if things get better after the end of this tour, then that's good too. But I was happy just to make an album that I could really put everything into, and that I knew would appeal to what my fans wanted to hear. It was really speaking to them and paying them back for supporting me.
Metal Edge:
That's the second part of that question: We live in a culture where everyone is obsessed with numbers -- Do you care how much it sells? There's always pressure to keep topping oneself, how much of that concerns you?
Marilyn Manson:
For me, I would rather be able to put our records that do well every year and do that for 10 or 20 years, then to put out one or two records that do really great and then disappear. That's gonna be the downfall of some of the more recent bands that have come out and exploded. The faster you burn, the quicker you're gone, and I plan on sticking around.
Metal Edge:
Onto upcoming projects, what is the status of the Holy Wood book and movie?
Marilyn Manson:
The book is in the editing process right now, and it will hopefully be out before the end of the year. It's a fictional novel called Holy Wood. It's not anything like my last book, of course. We're trying to put all the artwork into a fine art coffee table book, which is in the works, and probably after OZZfest I'll work on a film with Jodorowsky called Abbel Cain. It's more of a different role for me. I would be playing something completely different from what people perceive me as, and that's why I wanna do it. I'm also doing some score music for soundtracks.
Metal Edge:
What about the next Marilyn Manson record? Now that this "trilogy" is complete, do you see yourself headed in some new directions musically?
Marilyn Manson:
We are working on music, so some of it may be for the next record and some of it may be for other projects. I feel kind of open to exploring new and different areas now that I've wrapped up the three albums, and lyrically and musically I'm ready to move on to other things. I'm not sure what's gonna come next, but as long as I can surprise myself, then I can surprise everyone else.