WHILE MARILYN MANSON RECENTLY THREATENED DEATH ON ANY JOURNALIST WHO DEFAMES HIM OR HIS BAND ON TWITTER, NIC TOUPEE STEPS UP TO THE PLATE AND ATTEMPTS TO GET AWAY WITH HIS LIFE INTACT.
2009 has been a year of mixed success for Brian Hugh Warner – aka. Marilyn Manson. His latest album The High End Of Low was released in May, and features the return of long time bandmate Twiggy Ramirez who went AWOL from the Manson line-up in 2002. A document of the last two turbulent years in Manson’s career and containing some of his most personal songwriting to date, The High End Of The Low has been subjected to close and critical scrutiny by fans and press after Eat Me, Drink Me’s historic emotional posturing. The question being asked is whether Manson’s very public derailment recently has rendered his role as the Arch Duke of rock’n’roll debauchery a parody; whether his clever dance with controversy and mainstream success has given way to a drunken shuffle out of the charts and minds of the public. Interviews around the album release so far have raised eyebrows; inebriated babblings and random behaviour fuelling the speculation that Manson is approaching the low end of the low.
Manson is aware of the rumours. He describes the last year of his life as a redemptive process and recording this album with Twiggy as key to his emotional resurrection. “When you lose something important in your life you have to figure out how to deal with that,” he explains soberly. And it isn’t ex-wife Dita Von Teese or ex-girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood he’s lamenting – it’s the loss of Twiggy Ramirez in 2002. “In the time I was not with Twiggy it was like not being with my brother. We find our connection not through words, but musically, and we’ll never have that with anyone else. It’s a different connection – it’s male and non sexual – well, most of the time, except for some antics…”he trails off with a snigger. “If you try to replace something like that with something stronger or different, and when you are and have chosen to be someone not considered human by others for the most part, you want to find love or something. Love, question mark in this case.”
The High End Of Low is a biographical document of the loss, Manson’s subsequent emotional confusion and eventual self re-discovery. The album starts with the breakdown of his relationship with actor Evan Rachel Wood and plays out a real-time period of introspection and fundamental change. Something Twiggy could relate to; going through a break-up himself at the time. Manson thinks the album –as-therapy model worked for both of them. “[The album] was about a story I wanted to tell and Twiggy and I were both going through something very similar at the time we wrote it. Like every classic story in literature, like Lucifer falling from grace, it was about wanting to find and connect with someone. What I learned was that if you could give up your wings, when you give up who you are, you will never be loved you have to learn this through loss.
"I figured it out by living alone for the first time for the period of making the record. I survived it I realized I don't need anyone I made the important distinction while writing the record that there's a difference between love and dependence, desire and weakness. I found out I don't need anyone I can be alone; although it doesn't mean I don't want to be loved. But I can survive with nothing the things I do care for now I will kill and die for; the things I have now- all the people that believe in me now, people who have stuck by me, are not to be fucked with if people know what's good for them."
From the first song on the album (Devour) to the last (15), Manson and Ramirez dissect love and loss- starting at heartbreak and suicide, and ending with a fierce reclamation of his independence. "A story told in real time as I wrote it- It starts off with foolishness, a Shakespearean drama of romance. The world doesn't understand, so let's die together. That was the first track Devour. That was me saying to anyone who would listen; ‘this is me, this is what I do, and I want you to allow me to do it.’ I was vulnerable, dangerous and vulnerable. By the time I wrote Four Rusted Horses I was referencing my biblical upbringing in symbols that I think are important. It was using them in an anti-religious way- just painting a lyrical picture as I was living it. Then I felt the confidence to use sarcasm; I used it in Armageddon and added profanity to be silly. I allowed myself to be funny in the way I am with my friends, which was very freeing for me. Then I hit my stride, and realized I'm not as weak as I thought I was. The record starts to get angry from here and goes on with being very angry and unpleasant it's darkest with Into the Fire, my manifesto of rebirth. It was written across my bedroom walls in lipstick. I couldn't find a pen," he laughs, "But I wanted to be able to see it everyday I woke up. It was going to be the end track, but I woke up on January 5th, which was my birthday, and realized that wasn't how I wanted the album to end; I needed redemption. And so I recorded 15. I walked into the studio at 11:30 am in the morning and sang the song in one take; it came out of nowhere, just that melody and the words inside of me came out and then the album was finished."
Manson has resolved his identity crisis and is now prepared to accept himself as more than just an emotional accident waiting to happen. In fact, he claims to have found optimism and a place in the world. "I think that attitude of wanting to kill what I have to protect what I have is optimistic: the other option is to think’ we might as well kill ourselves, the world is nothing but pain.’ Now I believe there are things worth loving- therefore I am more dangerous with this knowledge. If I am painting or performing, I think I'm someone who puts things into the world, not take things out of it like politics and religion take things out of the world. I have belief in making the world a better place to live- I think it's stronger not sit back and say ‘this all sucks’. I can make fun of things, comment on them, write about them."