Portrait Of An American Family Interviews

Unknown, Europe

Marilyn Manson
1994
Someday, when Marilyn Manson has secured a position in Rock and Roll history, fans may be curious to know what thoughts and emotions were instrumental in fuelling the Manson Machine...

"Had Portrait Of An American Family been released in the 60s or the 70s, it probably would't have deemed as provocative as it is today." - Marilyn Manson ascertains matter-of-factly.
"The way our songs are structured and the things I have to say in them wouldn't be perceived as particularly 'shocking', inasmuch as they would be a part of rock and roll, which at the time was liberating. In comparison with a time that had rockstars like Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Zappa or Alice Cooper, the '90s seems a far more moralistic, conservative place to be, and because this irritates me I feel our rock and roll should be in opposition to that. To a lot of people the band's image is fear inducing or scandalous, and similarities are drawn between us and those aforementioned names. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not some thief looking for a quick buck in resurrecting rock and roll of the past, but I have things to say and I feel that if you don't scream at people loud enough they won't hear you."

It seems that whether positive or negative, Marilyn Manson is adept at attracting attention, and in addition to his statements about having to scream the loudest in order to be heard, it would seem that his fans are less music buffs or historians, and more aggravated teenagers who once again have a voice for their modern frustrations and insecurities. Or maybe they just like the perpetual repetition of the word "fuck". Discussing the bands sound in detail, Manson offers this explanation:-
"For the recording of the album, we originally worked with a producer named Roli Mosimann, but after the album was ready, I hated how the songs sounded. They had nothing to do with our demos and didn't express what we wanted to say. Then we moved to L.A. and started the whole thing over again. Naturally, we changed our producer as well. We started working with both Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder, who's been hanging out with Smashing Pumpkins lately. So Trent, Alan and myself started working on the re-producing of what we already had. As a team we worked perfectly together, and the resultant album was finally one I could be proud of."

The album will certainly provoke clamor from his detractors, whether Manson wants it to or not. Even assumptions about its title (which bears resemblance to famed thriller flick Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer) indicate an incendiary atmosphere sure to set tongues wagging...
Manson proclaims an element of serendipity in the creation of his project, telling us that the end product "sounded a lot more obscure than we first planned, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think we have Trent to thank for much of the redirection of the album's sound, as he helped return it to how I originally envisioned it".
At this point, it would seem that Reznor's role has been somewhat omnipotent in guiding Marilyn Manson to the point they are at today. It was Reznor who initially discovered Manson at a small show in South Florida four years ago, and being suitably impressed by the transvestite freakshow he witnessed, he invited the band to sign a deal with his own label, Nothing Records, which he was hoping to roster with fresh, exciting bands.
"At this time, he worked with Interscope Records as well - Manson reminds us - "So our contract was actually with Nothing/Interscope. The contract was very favorable and gave us the freedom we needed when choosing what we put into our album, which was exactly what I wanted. They probably wouldn't have given us a second glance if they didn't think we'd make them money - if you don't get famous fast in this business, they want to get rid of you. But Trent and John Malm, his partner and director of Interscope, believed in us and as a result all parties were satisfied and our creativity wasn't affected too deeply."

Criticisms and controversy began predictably with the album's release, but as Manson asserts, these things didn't bother him remotely, as he has repeatedly stated in interviews that he doesn't care if people like his music or not.
"What remains important to me, are the emotional responses of either fans or naysayers. No matter how bizarre it sounds, it's media indignation that I obtain my creativity from."
"The whole problem with the band - if there was a problem - is that people won't leave us alone. I like to think that those who spit on you the most are actually idealizing you. At first, we wanted to get rid of these people, but then we realized that the most effective way of demonstrating your anger towards a person is to write a song about them. By that definition, Television, Christians and the Moral Majority are the ones who truly seek to oppress and create negativity, which in turn we thrive upon as a band" - says Manson in conclusion - "you created us and so now you have to put up with us".
"I understand completely how much we'll be spat upon and I am ready to take this risk. I've always felt it necessary to highlight the flaws of those who express themselves through their inconsistencies rather than their feelings, and I won't be intimidated by them now that I have the opportunity to do it. It's important for me to remember that these are not the people who truly listen to our music, they are not our fans, they aren't the children and adults who understand Marilyn Manson; they're just people with nothing better to do than going to a goat for wool. And I can guarantee, that all said and done, these people are more unhappy with their own lives than they are dismissive of mine".