Interview:2000/12/01 Marilyn Manson: No Regrets
|Marilyn Manson: No Regrets|
|Interview with Marilyn Manson|
|Date||December 01, 2000|
Marilyn Manson: No Regrets
by Kurt Loder
Marilyn Manson has always seemed most comfortable at the center of a raging storm - or maybe it's just that that's where his critics and fans always want to see him.
But even as controversial a character as Manson couldn't help but be stunned and disturbed by the assaults on his persona and his personal life in the wake of 1999's Columbine High School massacre. Baseless reports of the shooters being influenced by Manson's music whipped up such a howl of protest that he had to pull the plug for a time on his " Mechanical Animals" tour. Judging by the rage and false accusations heaped upon him, one would think Manson himself had pulled the trigger that horrific April day in Colorado.
Manson has emerged from the maelstrom with a new album, "Holy Wood," a new tour, and a renewed sense of purpose. But no one should mistake the new Manson as somehow chastened by - or regretful about - the past year's tribulations. As he made clear in a recent interview with MTV News' Kurt Loder, his desire to provoke burns even brighter than before. Whether he's talking about the election debacle in Florida, the nonsensical, nonexistent "feud" with Limp Bizkit, or how his love life has helped make him even more dangerous, Manson remains one of rock's most entertaining enigmas.
Kurt Loder: Your last album seemed to be a kinder, gentler Manson album. Sort of reaching out to the world. This one seems angry again. Are you angry?
Marilyn Manson: Well the last record was me dealing with the idea that a lot of people wanted to take my sentiments and market them and turn me into a pop sensation. So I was kind of taking the piss out of myself. And I was mocking it all, in a way. Then Columbine happened, and everything came to a screeching halt. I had to really evaluate what I wanted to say as a songwriter. So I took the negativity the world was throwing at me and I put it into this record. Yeah, it's very angry.
Kurt Loder: There's a new song called "Love Song" which seems to be about Columbine.
Marilyn Manson: The love song is one of the most common titles in music, and I wanted to make a metaphor about guns, and I was suggesting with the lyrics that the father is the hand, the mother is the gun, and the children are the bullets. Where you shoot them is your responsibility as parents. Because of all of these things swirling around me, I had to figure out a way to express myself, or I was gonna explode.
Kurt Loder: Do you feel that's pretty much all blown over for you, the whole Columbine thing?
Marilyn Manson: I think it has. I think it was kind of insulting of the media to exploit that particular event, because so many other events like that happened.
Kurt Loder: How did you come up with the video for "Disposable Teens"? Did you sit down and do storyboards, or did you leave it to Samuel Bayer, the director?
Marilyn Manson: I was gonna try and direct that one on my own. I had all the ideas, but it became too overwhelming. Sam's my favorite director, because he holds the camera himself, and people consider him to be probably as much of an a--hole as I am. So we work really well together.
Kurt Loder: You contributed a cover of [the "M*A*S*H" theme song] " Suicide is Painless" to the "Blair Witch 2" soundtrack. Why?
Marilyn Manson: I remembered that song always depressed me when the TV show came on, but it didn't have the words. I went back and found the words to it and I thought, "People are blaming me for the stuff that I say in songs. This is really dark song." It's a beautiful song, but it's very depressing. So I had to do it.
Marilyn Manson: Lennon, [John] Kennedy and Christ are kind of central figures on this album because of the elements of revolution in their lives, and the fact that those who try to change the world end up being changed by the world.
Kurt Loder: You've also been taking shots from Limp Bizkit on the Internet recently.
Marilyn Manson: I've never really taken any shots at Limp Bizkit. I think there've been several things that were misconstrued as aimed at them, because whenever I say "dumb metal" or "jock rock," sometimes people take that and they point the finger at Limp Bizkit. But I've never really attacked them. I don't really have anything bad to say. Whatever they do, they're doing it well. More power to them. It's not the type of thing that I generally listen to.
Kurt Loder: I thought you said that about the kind of guys in high school that gave you a hard time and call you "fag."
Marilyn Manson: I had made a statement, but I was generalizing, and I think that by taking it personally, they sort of indicted themselves.
Kurt Loder: You're still engaged to Rose McGowan.
Marilyn Manson: Yes.
Kurt Loder: Is it good to be in love?
Marilyn Manson: Well, I think back in the day of Antichrist Superstar, I had a lot of rage, but it was almost emotionless. Now combined with the anger that was going through me in the past year, I have a much more dangerous spectrum of emotions. My hatred is stronger, and my love is stronger. It's good to have something to balance it out.
Kurt Loder: You're a guy from Florida. What do you make of what's going on down there, with the election?
Marilyn Manson: All I can really say is that I think that art and especially music thrives under conservative rule. I think that Bill Clinton's attempt to be friends with young people, to come on MTV, did something to the rebellion barometer. It didn't really give kids any authority to go against. I think that that's why there's been a lot of bland and happy-go-lucky music created over the past six or seven years.
Kurt Loder: Do you support Bush?
Marilyn Manson: I don't really support Bush, but I hope we get some good, right-wing, Manson-hating people in office so that I can piss them off.
Kurt Loder: What do you think when you look around at the music scene right now? I mean, is there anything you listen to, or do you just kind of recoil?
Marilyn Manson: The new PJ Harvey record is really good. I like Queens of the Stone Age. I like the Deftones record. Hopefully we're on the brink of some sort of musical explosion.
Kurt Loder: MTV is turning 21 next year. Do you think it's been a good thing for you? Is it a good thing generally, or is it a bad thing?
Marilyn Manson: I think it's always been good. Growing up, watching videos had a huge impact on me. I think it's affected the way that I work as an artist, because I think of music and visuals always at the same time. It's been a very good thing.
Kurt Loder: At one point you were saying that you were going to just exist on the Internet from now on. Did you get over that?
Marilyn Manson: Well, I really meant to say that I'd be on the 'Net while I was making the record, because I didn't want to be misinterpreted by the press. I think the beautiful thing about having a format like your own Web site where you can talk directly to your fans is that no one can censor or alter or pull quotes to make their story work in the way that they want it to. So it was important for me, because I was able to talk to the fans and their support really helped.
Kurt Loder: What do they say?
Marilyn Manson: Oh, usually that I suck.
Kurt Loder: Your fans?
Marilyn Manson: No. Of course there are always people that have criticisms. That's the cool thing about the Internet is that, unfortunately, rock critics may be replaced by fans themselves, because fans now are able to have their opinions about albums, and I think they listen to each other more. But there were a lot of people saying that this is what they wanted out of the new record, and this is what they didn't want. And you do run a risk if you start listening to that. It's kind of the death of art if you start letting your audience tell you exactly what to do.
Kurt Loder: Do you look back and feel good about what you've done, or do you have any regrets?
Marilyn Manson: I have no regrets. I feel good about everything I've done. But I can't say that I've fully dealt with that feeling of not fitting in. I think that comes out so much more on this record, because I just saw how all these people around me were feeling and the frustration really, really hit me. That was the thing that hit me most about Columbine. Not just the victims, not just the shooters, but how it affected everyone. America was too focused on who was to blame, how many memorials we can have, but they weren't listening to what the real problem was: that there needs to be more conversations, that there are people who are really upset, and no one cares.
I think Eminem had one point in his song, on his album, which really took off, about the two shooters at Columbine, and sort of portraying them as victims, too, in a way, because they had been picked on by jocks.
I think [gunmen Eric] Harris and [Dylan] Klebold were victims, also. Everyone in the whole situation was a victim. It's like a war. What I always hate is when someone tries to justify death; when my father can go to Vietnam and kill somebody and he doesn't know why he did it, and Charles Manson's family can kill Sharon Tate and they do know why they did it. In the end there's dead people. And it's kind of strange to try and justify one [act] being better than the other. Lot of times, everyone's a victim. But you've got to decide: Do you want to be a victim or not? I try not to be.
Kurt Loder: You say in the song "Burning Flag" that right now, you feel you belong for the first time. Do you have that warm feeling of belonging?
Marilyn Manson: Well, the line that precedes that, actually, is, "I joined the crowd that wants to see me dead, right now I belong for the first time." So in that sense, yeah, I feel like I belong to a part of culture that doesn't really like me, and it's a strange feeling. You know, like finding myself on "TRL," I feel very inappropriate. So in that sense I belong in my own special way, like a venereal disease.