Mechanical Animals Interviews

Inside CX
Marilyn reveals that Zim Zum's leaving was an inconvenience, playing tricks on Michael Stipe, and the music past and present.
Marilyn Manson
1998

Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animal
By Gabriella


After the enormous success of their album Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson was engaged in a huge tour, the writing of his autobiography, Long Hard Road Out Of Hell and countless media attacks and law suits. Marilyn Manson is finally back with their fantastic new album Mechanical Animal.

This album shows them from a different side, a side none of their critics and probably most of their fans wouldn’t have expected. Not even the newest changes in his ever changing line-up seem to bother him or dim his good mood. Guitarist Zim Zum is the last of the Manson family who packed it in, claiming that he’s not in the mood to tour another 18 months with Marilyn Manson again. “For me, it was a creative prison!”

Small wonder, Marilyn himself and bassist Twiggy Ramirez are not only close buddies who share a house in LA, but also the main creative forces behind the band. On stage, everything seems to revolve around the duo infernal, while the other band members seem to have only small guest roles.

The line-up roller coaster seems to be endless, while the number of band members are pretty steady. Zim Zum’s current replacement is John Lowery, the former David Lee Roth guitarist. The number of ex-band members seems to be forever growing. Personal difficulties hardly ever played a part and Marilyn AKA Brian Warner is certainly not an unpleasant egomaniac. However, for his band members, it’s pretty hard to be overshadowed by their front man. Combined with long, draining tours, the attentions of fanatic Mansonites and the furious and often vicious propaganda of Manson haters who try to create a hysteria, the pressure seems to be almost unbearable.


Inside CX:
Zim Zum walked out, how are you going to deal with that?

Marilyn Manson:
Actually Zim Zum was the temporary replacement for Daisy. Originally he was only hired for one tour, however we got along and he stayed. It’s sad that he walked out. I would be lying if I said that it’s anything less than inconvenient, very inconvenient, but life goes on. One of the most important things I have learned in the past few years is that good art, great art, is born in great pain. Art is a combination of pain, craziness, confusion, drugs and - or sex! John Lowery is now pretty busy practicing and he’s got to learn our whole back catalogue. On top of that he had to record a lot of overdubs for Mechanical Animals. It was a lot of stress, but he was coping really well with it.

Inside CX:
How do you cope with the pressure of the press, your fans and enemies?

Marilyn Manson:
It has to be your life-style. You have to live with it. You can’t just pretend that you live it. If you’re not really into it and believe less than 100 in what you do, then it’s impossible. We’re not a freak show where you put on a mask and the rest of your time you live a nice suburban life-style. You have to feel, breathe and live it! If you’re not 100 into it, then you create a monster that comes back to haunt you!

Inside CX:
What happened between you and your old friend Trent Reznor? You don’t seem to be on such great terms anymore...

Marilyn Manson:
Since my book was published, I didn’t hear from him anymore. Maybe he’s pissed off, so what? I’m not going to back off and claim that I didn’t mean what I wrote, I’m still behind it all. Anyway, it was time to free myself. I had to step out of his shadow. His work as a producer was great and very important. But at the same time he really limited me. So I had to break out.

Inside CX:
Weren’t you one of the first journalists who interviewed him? What was that like?

Marilyn Manson:
Actually it wasn’t so exciting, but we got along well. He’s pretty different from Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers), who I interviewed a couple of times and was always an asshole, or at least he acted like one.

Inside CX:
Wow, quite a grudge you’re carrying there! Does he still remember when you interviewed him?

Marilyn Manson:
I don’t think so. I looked a bit different way back when! He’s all over me now, all smiles and kisses. I don’t engage in that friendliness. I won’t forget that he treated me like shit!

Inside CX:
What about Michael Stipe? Still checking into hotels under his name?

Marilyn Manson:
Oh God, no. I don’t anymore, (laugh). I grew really bored with it, but it was a lot of fun!!!

Inside CX:
I never really got why you did it anyway.

Marilyn Manson:
That’s really simple. Michael was calling me a lot. He kept calling me and I just decided I needed to shake him up a bit. You know he takes everything far too seriously. He needed to ease up. I liked the idea that whenever he called the hotels and wanted to talk to me he had to ask for himself. That’s pretty hilarious, isn’t it? I just can’t resist it, I need to shake people up, need to make them see the funny side and stop them from taking everything serious, especially themselves!

Inside CX:
About your book.... Billy Corgan claims that most of the stories in your book are rather fictional...

Marilyn Manson:
He’s also one of the guys who need to let go a bit. When Billy is in town I drag him around and I make him take drugs. He doesn’t admit it, but I swear he’s having a lot of fun!

Inside CX:
You’re living in LA now. It’s a pretty crazy town and you seem to fit right in.

Marilyn Manson:
I moved to Hollywood and it’s really not what you think it is. I’m trying hard to make it livelier, to spice it up a bit! Everybody thinks Hollywood is this decadent place, but it’s terribly conservative here! The people all act so bourgeois. They’re hiding behind the proper front. You’re not allowed to smoke in restaurants and nobody would ever admit that they’re taking drugs...

Inside CX:
The drug and sex stories in your book were rather long and explicit. Nobody tried to sue you?

Marilyn Manson:
You can’t sue somebody for telling the truth. I think the drug chapters were just an excuse for the cops to search my house from bottom to top and vice versa. But apart from that, I didn’t have any other problems, so far!

Inside CX:
Not even with the search warrant they had? Did they find anything?

Marilyn Manson:
Do you think I’m stupid and would keep anything in the house AFTER I published a book like mine?

Inside CX:
Your looks have changed and on Mechanical Animal. You sound like a different person from the one who recorded Antichrist Superstar...

Marilyn Manson:
I guess you’re right. Antichrist Superstar was something like an act, a role I played. I had to play to be able to deal with my own hatred and the hatred of others. On Mechanical Animal, I had to get away from it. I wanted to be somebody else!

Inside CX:
There are obvious traces of Bauhaus especially in a couple of songs like the title track “Mechanical Animal”, “The Last Day On Earth” and “Dissascociative”...

Marilyn Manson:
That’s right and I won’t even try to deny it? Why should I? It IS obvious and I don’t have a problem with it! The ’80s weren’t so bad. However, nothing happened afterwards except grunge!

Inside CX:
Your music and your lyrics have really changed...

Marilyn Manson:
I think in the past, our music was lacking feelings. It was harsh, but not melodic and that was OK. It was suitable, but this album is far more personal. It’s more vulnerable. The music and the lyrics have to go together, so the music had to follow the lyrics, otherwise it wouldn’t have worked at all! What I really like about this album is that it will shut up a couple of critics. All those people who have claimed we’re just shock rockers without talent will be rather quiet, or they might end up looking like fools. I think we shocked them with this album! How’s that for shock rock?