The Pale Emperor Interviews

Washington Post

Marilyn Manson
2015 Jan 15

Marilyn Manson at the Fillmore: The shock-rocker on new album 'The Pale Emperor,' social anxiety and playing kids' birthday parties

By Dean Essner

Marilyn Manson may be a rock icon, but he'll always feel like an outsider.

"I don't think anyone's a fan [of mine] when I meet them," he says. "I just like to introduce myself as a person, and I'll make them a fan, either musically, with my painting, or my acting, or my personality."

And he still makes quite an impression: Late last year, he had a memorable turn as a white supremacist on the final season of "Sons of Anarchy," and on Tuesday he'll drop his ninth studio album, the surprisingly bluesy and eclectic "The Pale Emperor."

The 46-year-old "Antichrist Superstar," who'll lure fans to the Fillmore on Wednesday, took time out this week to re-introduce himself to Express.

On the new album: "It's about a Faustian deal I made with the metaphorical devil," Manson says. "The fact that, if I sold my soul to be where I am today, then I've been hearing him knocking on my door for a couple of years now. And I've been ignoring it. [He's] saying, 'You're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. You owe me, plus interest.' "

On masculinity: "When I meet people, I shake hands with them like a gentleman and I carry a gold switchblade in my waist pocket," he says. "I've never had to use it, but … I think that I became a little more masculine because I didn't want to ever end up on the receiving end of my character on 'Sons of Anarchy.' "

On being an introvert: "I'm not good at being around strangers, which is ironic since I perform in front of people I've never met," Manson says. "I can go onstage in front of millions of people but it's very difficult to be around just a few people that I don't know. I've often been reclusive but this year I've broken my pattern."

On how people perceive him and his art: "I despise the words 'fine' or 'interesting' or 'miscellaneous' because I don't ever want to be [those things]," he says. "I don't want to be ever understood in the same way by anyone. I can't be misunderstood because I'm not trying to be one thing. I want to be chaos."

On playing Johnny Depp's son's birthday party: "I walked offstage and I said to my girl, 'How did it sound?'" Manson says. "And then I thought, 'What the f— am I talking about? I'm playing a 10-year-old's birthday party. They weren't even listening.' "