Interview:1996 Headbangers Ball Marilyn Manson & Twiggy Ramirez

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1996 Headbanger Ball Interview
M HB Ball 96 1.png
Interview with Marilyn Manson & Twiggy Ramirez
Date October 11, 1996
Interviewer Vanessa Varvick - MTV Europe

Vanessa Varvick: Hi there and welcome down to Charlotte in North Carolina for what promises to be a particularly dark and depending on your prospective, disturbing edition of Headbanger’s Ball. Sex, mutilation, pornography and weird medical fetishes are all a part of everyday life for the self-proclaimed sickest man in the world, Marilyn Manson. Tonight, we’re joining the band on their U.S. tour to find out why, with their new album Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson created music to bring about the apocalypse. As a preview for the upcoming European dates this show should tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Marilyn Manson, but were too afraid to ask.

'Grady Cole Centre, Charlotte, U.S.A., 10th Nov. '96 ' flashes at the :59 mark.

("Get Your Gunn)" plays.

Vanessa Varvick: Yes indeed, tonight Headbangers Ball has it all: malice, make-up and mayhem with Marilyn Manson and it's our pleasure to join Marilyn Manson on their U.S. tour and I must say, Marilyn, it's a pleasure to meet you guys. Welcome to Marilyn and Twiggy. How's the tour been going?

Marilyn Manson: Very well. It's, a, been sold out everywhere so it's all good. Only a few bomb threats so we're still alive.

(laughs) Well, I wanted first of all, actually, to congratulate you on the album going into the US Billboard charts at number 3, um, and I was just wondering, has Marilyn Manson gone to the mainstream, has the mainstream gone to Marilyn Manson, or as perhaps as I like to think of it maybe like a big, festering boil on the back of the mainstream? (laughs)

MM: (not laughing) I always felt, rather than play by the mainstream standards, you know, we've, we've always done what we do and the mainstream has finally decided to, you know, like that but, uhm, we've only gotten more extreme so, the band hasn't got more commercial, it's just that more people understand where we're coming from so more people are in to it.

Absolutely. Now, because this is the first time we've interviewed you on Headbangers Ball, could you explain kind of the kind of concept and the vision that you had for Marilyn Manson when you first formed the band? What was that all about?

MM: Well, the idea, I was writing a lot of lyrics five or six years ago and, uh, the name Marilyn Manson, I thought, really described everything that I had to say, you know, it expressed the dichotomy of my personality, the combination of extremes, you know, male and female, beauty and ugliness, and it was just very American. It was a statement on American culture, uh, the power that are given to icons like Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson and, uh, since you know that's where it's gone from there. It's about that paradox, and that uh, diametrically opposed archetypes.

Excellent. Well, we're going to go to the first video from Antichrist Superstar, and that's for The Beautiful People. Twiggy, uhm, who are The Beautiful People?

Twiggy Ramirez: Ummmmm.............not us. (V & MM laugh)

Is it maybe your fans?

MM: Well the song is kind of challenging the fascism of beauty in America, how there's a real status quo where you're supposed to be in, yeah, it would be, it would be our fans. It would be anybody who, you know, society really considers ugly, you know, where we consider beautiful.

Yeah. Looking at it from a different perspective. Uhm, and so for this video that you did suffer for your art by the look of it. (laughs)

MM: (smiles) Yeah, well there's always pain involved.

Absolutely. Alright, well we'll talk to Marilyn Manson some more but right now we're going to check out the new video from Antichrist Superstar and, as we said, this is The Beautiful People and I'm not sure... (if I agree with Twiggy or not but, well, check out the video. (Plays video) We just got back from Sepultura 'Attitude',) **needs resourcing not showing in video.** ...a song all about living your life the way you want to live it, not conforming and, Marilyn, I was wondering, I) guess you can relate a lot to that particular song. What's Marilyn Manson's attitude?

MM: Uh, it's usually based in individuality and being a strong person. Antichrist Superstar is a record about, you know, finding faith in yourself and killing off the old ways, you know, that you've been raised, in things like Christianity, and considering other alternatives. A lot of the philosophers that I really grew up enjoying were, you know, Nietzche and Freud and Darwin, and a, Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, and some of these people.

Right. So, from your perspective it's a very positive message in the album.

MM: It is, you know. I don't think it's an offensive or shocking record, I think, I'm just saying my story on my terms and for some people it might be extreme but, you know, it's not intended to be.

Right. Now you have said that it's a concept album. What's the concept based on for Antichrist Superstar?

MM: Well, it's more of a soundtrack to our lives which is more of a concept in some ways, you know, it's like a...

(Varvick laughs)

MM: write a story or you create something that takes you over and then it begins writing you. The story is basically a biography of, uh, you know, my life and there's a lot of different metaphors I use. The metaphor of a worm to kind of describe the more vulnerable time when I was a kid and I really didn't have my own opinions and then sort of transformed into this angel which is really Marilyn Manson and then the final stage is Antichrist Superstar which is the more nihilistic, totalitarian element in everybody's personality, that, uh, is a real struggle on the album and in my life, between, you know, that power. What do you do with it, you know, where does it go?

But I read somewhere that you also said it was kind of to bring about the apocalypse. What exactly did you mean by that?

MM: Well, as a kid I was, you know, constantly terrorized with the idea of Armageddon and the Antichrist and things like that and as I got older, I realized that, you know, something like Antichrist is the collective disbelief in God that everybody has in them and, uh, it's not so much as one person but you know, it's like I look at things like everybody wears a crown but someone has to stand and be king so I'm the person that stood up and said, as many others have tried in the past that, you know, you can believe in yourself so it's more of an apocalypse of the subconscious, you know, it's not so much a destruction of the world as we know it. (Varvick laughs) The things that you hear on the record, you know, are kind of what you see live in so many ways. I mean it's not, uh, so much, uh, theatrical or contrived, it's because, just by nature, we're very volatile and unpredictable so, um, but, but there is a representation of that, a metamorphosis.

Right. OK. Well, we will be checking out some Marilyn Manson live a little bit later on but right now we've got a new video for you on Headbangers Ball and it's coming from Tool. They've got a new album out called 'Aenima' and it went straight in at number two on the US Billboard charts so well done to Tool and the first video coming at you now is 'Stinkfist'. (Pause)
Well, uh, we're gonna talk some more to, uh, Marilyn and, uh, Twiggy now and it's the Headbangers Ball Marilyn Manson US Tour special and actually we'd like to talk a little bit, um, in more detail about the live show, um, because we've seen reviews and gig reports, um, in the press and it seems that the Marilyn Manson live show is very volatile and very unpredictable. Now, what happens to you guys when you get on stage? (laughs)

MM: Uh, there's no telling, you know, cause it's very ritualistic for me. It's the, it's my favourite thing is performing so it's, uh, yeah, there's no way to really describe it other than to see it. It's, um, it's everything, you know, that, that people would expect it to be, I imagine. Sometimes, you know, we've talked about, uh, we feel that we're watching the audience, that they're performing and we're just up there and we're the audience so it's uh, it's, uh, for me, you know, I feel there's a lot of points in the show where I debased myself in a way that, uh, to kind of express to the audience, that, that we are the same...

(Varvick) Right

MM: ...that they're just as much a part of it as I am, you know, uh, the audience likes to spit on me and things like that so it's, it's very ritualistic and everybody feels like they're part of it.

I just wondered cause you have such an air of mystery about you, um, I wondered whether you were actually accessible to fans or not.

MM: Uh, in some ways no, but in some ways yes. I mean, uh, I think maybe, uh, by people seeing the way I express myself it makes them feel like they can do the same in their lives.

Yes, definitely. Yeah, I do think that's a very positive message and I'm gonna ask you some more about that a bit later on. I'm gonna try again with you now, Twiggy, cause you're being very difficult.... (MM smiles) ...but what is your intention to offend as many people as possible or is it just that you want to be talked about?

TR: Uhh......I think I'm trying to offend myself more than anyone else.

Ok (laughs, points mic. at MM)

MM: I can't speak for him, I don't know. If we wanted to be offensive, you know, that would be really easy but it's just I try to do things in a way that people remember 'em, and, uh, you know, that makes people think but being offensive, you know, is kind of, it's boring.

Okay. Okay, well, we'll see what Marilyn and Twiggy are talking about cause we're gonna check out some live performance from the Grady Cole Centre here in Charlotte, North Carolina and see what Marilyn Manson get up to on stage tonight. Live performance from Marilyn right now and then more from Marilyn after the break so stick around as the Headbangers Ball Marilyn Manson US Tour special continues, anything could happen.
(Clip of Angel With The Scabbed Wings)
We're back at the Headbanger Ball that was D Generation debuting on the show with their new video and it's taken from their brand new album No Lunch which was produced by Ric Ocasek of the Cars and there's no way out for Marilyn Manson and Twiggy because they're suffering my questions here back stage in , North Carolina, good old Charlotte here in the U.S.A.

Marilyn, I want to concentrate more on the Antichrist Superstar album right now and I would like to ask you in what ways do you feel that you kind of challenged yourself during the writing and recording of the record. Was it a painful process, was it a long labor and then giving birth or what?

MM: Well, a lot of the songs uh, have been in our heads for, for a long time, you know, even longer than our first album, um, but I started writing down dreams that I've been having over the past five years and, uh, it inspired me so much that I wanted to really open up my subconscious so we started, uh, you know, experimenting with different things to, to tap into parts of your mind that you normally wouldn't get at so, you know, like sleep deprivation and these pain rituals and, uh, of course, the illegal things like drugs and stuff like that and, uh, yeah it was a very long and painful process but, uh, the good thing about it was we weren't concerned about, uh, you know, if this song, you know, can I really say this or is this going to be played on the radio? All of the ideas were very pure and they were straight from the heart, you know, more or less.

So comparing it to, uhm, Portrait Of An American Family, would you say it's, like, darker and kind of more perhaps introspective, perhaps, and would you say it's angrier maybe?

MM: It's bleaker, you know, because there's a lot of moments of, uh, you know, true pessimism but I think in the end it's, uh, there is a shred of light at the end of the tunnel but it's, um, that's for everybody to find on their own, you know.

Bit of a magical mystery tour, then?

MM: Misery.

Misery tour, ok.

MM: (laughs sarcastically)

Uhm, the lyrics. Erm, some people have said they're, you know, very negative, um, and quite disturbing,um, so what do you think a psychiatrist would say about you and your lyrics?

MM: I don't know if he'd even want to deal with me because, uh... (V and MM laugh)

He wouldn't take you on as a patient!

MM: Well, he'd make a lot of money cause he'd have a long time trying to, uh. Yeah, I'm not afraid to express the different elements of my personality, you know, and I think there's a bad habit in America now to, you know, label people having multiple personalities, things like this, but it's you know, I feel like, uh, even on the album I describe myself as a hydra which is, you know, many heads, many different, uh, many different personalities. I don't think you need to be one specific person when you can be, uh, many.

Anyway, erm, moving on, a little bit earlier you mentioned the kind of,um, the multiple personalities of Marilyn Manson and a bit like Bowie inventing Ziggy Stardust, you created, kind of, the Antichrist Superstar for this album. Why did you feel that you needed, um, this persona to get the message of the album across?

MM: Well, um, that is, there's a parallel there, I'm glad you noticed that with the Ziggy Stardust, um, cause that album when I was a kid was very inspirational to me, but it's something that, you know, America has kind of created for itself. The very fear of an Anti Christ, their very fear of someone in my position, um, saying what I have to say, uh, scares them and it's that fear that has created it, you know. They've almost asked for it so, uh, it's just very appropriate. It's very American so..

And how is the Antichrist Superstar different to Marilyn Manson? Is he like your alter, another ego?

MM: Not necessarily. I think it's just what we all eventually evolve into, you know, uh, I always have a lot of idealistic hopes and, uh, you know, want to make things better but the Antichrist Superstar is the element in anyone's personality that's, you know, very nihilistic and instead of wanting to help everything, would rather see it destroyed.

Do you think everybody's got a bit of that in them?

MM: I think so.

Um, a lot of what the album is about seems to be about attempting to, to change people's perspectives, um, which I think is a very interesting concept. Um, is that why the album, you can enjoy it on many different levels, is that partly because of that?

MM: I hope so. I mean, I don't expect everyone to get something, you know, deep out of it. Some people can just listen to it for music or get their aggressions out but, uh, I think with any great uh, you know, painting or movie or album, whatever it is, you know, it's better if, you know, people can take what they need from it, that they're not forced or expected to get some particular message.

OK. Uh, would you say that, uh, conformity or being forced to conform is a lot to blame for the ills in today's society?

MM: Well in a lot of ways, you know, its in America is very fascist and so is Christianity but it's disguised in a way that you're led to believe, you know, it's all very capitalistic and you can do what you want but, uh, the fascism kind of is created by this whole, status quo. You feel like all these commercials, uh, if you don't use this type of deodorant or you don't use this shampoo your friends aren't going to talk to you and it's a real guilt and, I think guilt is the biggest problem in America, you know, people are always feeling guilty about being themselves. You can't say what you want because it's not politically correct. You can't look like you want because you, the people at the office aren't going to like you and so on.

But also I think conformity is like one of the worst things for kind of stifling creativity as well. Wouldn't you agree Twiggy?

TR: ...................Sure. (V and MM and Twiggy laugh)

Hello? Wake up! Anyway, we're gonna just take a little bit of a break from Marilyn Manson because we're gonna be, uh ...

off camera: Twiggy Ramirez: Eddie.....from Iron Maiden)

Eddie from Iron Maiden? Where is he?

TR: Is he stopping by?

No, he's in his box, yeah. Sorry to disappoint you. Twiggy wants to meet Eddie from Iron Maiden but I, you know, I'm not allowed to interview Eddie, actually. He doesn't do interviews. Anyway, enough of that, um after the break we're gonna be catching up with Marilyn Manson's support band, NY Loose and, uh, see what they've got to say for themselves.

TR: (off camera) .....grabbing your genitalia)

Uh, thank you for that (nervous laugh). Uh, you don't want to hear what he said off camera. Anyway, then we're gonna talk some more to Marilyn, we've got a Marilyn Manson competition to come as well, so stick around. We'll see you after the break with NY Loose. Here's some Marilyn Manson live to take us there.
(Clip of Dried Up, Tied And Dead To The World) Back to Headbangers Ball's Marilyn Manson US Tour special and we just enjoyed a great video there from Nine Inch Nails, Head Like A Hole and, uh, talking of Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor is somebody that Marilyn and Twiggy know very well because he produced their new album, Antichrist Superstar so, um, Marilyn, I just wanted to, uh, put it to you that, um, working with such a great musician, um, like Trent must have been a very satisfying and also, you know, rewarding experience. Do you think that you allowed his influence to come through a bit more on this record and also he co-wrote some of the songs with you, didn't he?

MM: Yeah, we approached this one more open-minded. We, uh, had a lot of songs that were written on the road, Twiggy and I, and, uh, we wanted an outside opinion and, uh, our guitar player left at the beginning of making this record so, you know, Trent plays guitar too so every now and then if he had an idea it came in. We, you know, in the past the songs were songs that we'd been playing live so they were kind of set in stone but this album we wanted to approach kind of like The White Album by The Beatles and just anything goes so...

Right, no limits.

MM: ...yeah, it worked out good.

Yeah, absolutely and you actually mentioned that you had to get a new guitarist, that was Zim Zum so, uh, how come Zim Zum didn't get a celebrity and serial killer name? (laughs, points mic. at Twiggy)

TR: .........................................

MM: (smiles) Well, he was, uh, more of a... (V hits Twiggy on the head with the mic.) ...joint Antichrist Superstar in some ways.

TR: It's a Dungeons and Dragons character's name...

Oh, right(laughs)

TR: ...and we just transferred it over to the band.

MM: That would be a good trivia question right there - What does Zim Zum mean?

I don't know the answer to that one. (Twiggy grabs mic.,takes it, waves it around, points it at MM)

MM: It's an old religious term.

Yeah? (Twiggy gives mic. to MM, MM gives it back, Twiggy points it at the camera and gives it back to V. Twiggy and MM laugh) Yeah, cause I thought today I could be called Alanis Ripper.Do you think that's good? (MM & Twiggy look blank)

TR: Ripper by Judas Priest?

No, like Alanis Morisette and Jack The Ripper, you know, I was just like getting into the Marilyn Manson vibe. (laughs)

MM: (smiles politely) Alright, we'll go with that.

Ok, anyway let's get serious here. Now the lyrics on the album would suggest that you're perhaps a negative, you have a negative outlook, you're very angry. Where does that anger come from? Um, did you feel like an outcast when you were growing up?

MM: Well, I've always felt on the outside looking in but, uh, it's easiest to express all of your emotions whether it's anger or love or anything in between in what you do, so I mean I, I don't think, um, everything I do is angry but, um, you know, that's definitely where I put my anger.


MM: So anybody with any bit of intelligence has got to be pissed off because if they see how things are in the world they're not going to be happy with it.


MM: Yeah, so...

I have to say that you make the best videos. All your videos have gone down very, very well at the Headbangers Ball, um, they're so artistic and they're just, you guys just look great, um. Is that one of the most, kind of, another of the enjoy, things that you really enjoy about the expression of Marilyn Manson in the videos?

MM: Uh, films and things like that are really my first love and, uh, so when we get to make videos it's, uh, it's just as important as the song. To me it's not a commercial, for me it's a whole work of art on it's own so, um, we plan on working on a movie and things like that in the future so...

Fantastic. Excellent. OK. Well, talking of videos, uh, we're gonna check out Marilyn Manson's breakthrough video from the EP, Smells Like Children EP. We're gonna check out their cover of the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams. Well, rather than giving you sweet dreams I think that video's more likely to give you nightmares but then I guess that's part of the dichotomy of, uh, Marilyn Manson that we have been talking about. Marilyn and Twiggy still here, we've got a few more moments to talk backstage on their US Tour and, Marilyn would you say, um, that the band is, um, the ultimate way for you of, of expressing yourself and allowing yourself to be yourself?

MM: It's the only way I know how, you know. If this is the only thing, people ask me what else would you be doing but there isn't anything else, this is, the minute I started doing this I knew that's all I was going to do.

So how would you describe your personal morality?

MM: Well strangely enough a lot of my, um, ideals are christian in a sense but it's just I don't like the way that, uh, religion is portrayed in America but, uhm, I think, uh, the album really expresses, uh, when you look at the lyrics it expresses, you know, how I feel. I mean it's based in individuality and, um, strength and believe in yourself, you know, believe in, you're your own god.

Well, that's a very, I think, a very positive message and I can certainly relate to that and I'm sure a lot of people watching can as well. Um, what would you say that you, you fear, what frightens you? Living a normal life would that be a scary prospect? (laughs)

MM: Usually if...

Working nine to five? (laughs)

MM: Yeah. Usually if I'm afraid, um, I just take it on. I do it and then I'm not afraid of it anymore but, uh, I think that only the fear of, ah, failure so I just try my hardest and to do the best at what I do.

Right. So you said a lot about, um, the reception that you've got in America that people, there's an outcry against some of the things that you've been saying and doing, um, Twiggy. Hello. Uhm, would you say that you, Marilyn Manson, minds being a scapegoat, is that an issue to you?

TR: Space ghost?


TR: Ummmmmmm..................sure

MM: Antichrist Superstar is, you know, it's kind of, uh, I relate to the story in the bible of Lucifer, the fallen angel who was, you know, kicked out of heaven for wanting to be god and on Antichrist Superstar I try and explain to people that, uh, you may see me as this bad person but if the story were written from, you know, my point of view or his point of view, would he still be the bad guy?

Ok. Well, thank you for explaining that. It's very interesting and I wish we had more time to talk but we've come to the end of the show tonight. Before we go we have a competition (explains prizes, rules and gives the address and asks Marilyn Manson to pose the contest question).

MM: What's our guitar player name? The new one.

(Finishes explaining contest) So, um, before we go Marilyn, um, this show is gonna be aired just before you kick of your European tour and, uh, there's a great expectation back in Europe to see you guys live. Is there any message that you would like to leave with fans in Europe. Uhm, what would you like to say to them?

MM: Well, this is our first time coming there so we're, uh, excited about that unfortunately, um, you know, our show won't be quite as big as it is in America this first time but the second time I'm sure it will be, but I hope no one's disappointed. We're, we'll, we always give our best.



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