Interview:2005/11/03 Dramatic New Scenes for Celebritarian Needs
|Dramatic New Scenes for Celebritarian Needs|
|Interview with Marilyn Manson|
|Date||November 3, 2005|
The Dramatic New Scenes for Celebritarian Needs interview originates from the now defunct fan site Mansonusa.com. The original interview was lost, the source disappearing June 2009. While there is no longer proper sources to verify its integrity, references to the interview can still be found.
What was gestating during the interim of the two Celebritarian incarnations and how has the vision evolved since the Holy Wood era?
Well, there’s always been a desire for me to live in a world that doesn’t really exist to a lot of other people and I’ve found an idea of a religion or a political party or an art movement or a philosophy that could have been discovered in some way – whether it be in your mind or in someone’s attic would be a great way to begin a story. That story could be in real life or in a book or in a film. I had this concept that came to me upon stumbling through various documents that hinted at and led to all the elements that are contained within – the celebritarian ideal and all of its incarnations.
When I first tried to represent it in a novel, it was used as part of a metaphor or parable of sorts that made a point to satirize or point out all of the different aspects and ugliness of each and every belief system and that also had to include my place in pop culture and the people who listen to me, and the people who dislike me – because I had clearly become, especially during and in the wake of Columbine - I had clearly become far deeper into the culture that I was criticizing and I had expected and it was more than just now I had to criticize myself along with everything else. I had to criticize myself and defend myself. I should never defend my art, because defending myself was through my art, so there was no point in ever defending the art itself.
Celebritarianism, I think, is best defined by whoever is interested in it. That doesn’t mean that it has no meaning, or no universal meaning. It just means that people who don’t understand what it is aren’t going to understand it if they’re explained it. Although I don’t think there’s any wrong way to understand it, either. So, it’s a little complex in that way that it could never be a religion of sorts that had any sort of organization because it is much like DaDa and surrealism in that it doesn’t even believe in the world it exists in so therefore it itself can’t exist, unless it acknowledges that it is something that is too abstract to define – and then it becomes a complete mindfuck where you’re lost inside yourself. Letting go and getting lost in yourself is kind of the center of where I find my life now. I find my life moving forward and elements of that contain the idea of being a celebrity and that’s probably the least important element of the word – which would seem like it’s the most obvious, relevant point of it, because it’s almost a play on the word – but it’s more about, for me, looking back at all the art I’ve created, it’s about the examination of our culture’s desire to really enjoy - whether admitted or not – a guilty enjoyment of the worship of death, the worship of martyrdom, the promotion of fame at any cost, and often dying when there’s enough people watching is an idea that has been implanted in people’s heads that has created a culture that spawns the assassination of John F. Kennedy; that spawns the Oklahoma bombings; that spawns Harris and Klebold; that spawns 9/11… people realizing full well that they can get exactly what they want and we’re always willing to give it to them. So, in that sense, Celebritarianism realizes and acknowledges that. In a sense, it is a journalistic art approach that is an attack and a complete and utter desire to destroy what journalism has become. If it were a magazine, it would be something that caught fire when you opened it and burned your hands because you deserve it for reading it. That’s a bit of an explanation to let people delve into it much more than they want. I chose to call it Celebritarian Corporation because I think that provides a further irony into what it represents. It’s about a group of artists that is continuing to grow and we’ve combined together to make-- People who are in a stage in their lives where they’ve accomplished enough to get to the point where – sometimes you don’t realize that you’re at the point that you worked for. I almost, unfortunately, missed out on the part that you dream about getting to. I almost got to this point and wanted to give up because of frustration and negativity that was draped over me like a wet blanket.
A lot of changes have taken place. Things have worked out in the past in a magical, unexplainable way and then there’s been periods when that feeling of everything tied together slipped away and I think it’s a matter of who you surround yourself with. Without whining about the troubles I’ve gone through, I think it’s been a year of finishing a tour on a high note and then dealing with the fact that the music industry and the people who are managing me, and everyone around me seemed to have very little faith in a lot of the other things I wanted to do. However, these things, when I do them, I’ve found them to be very rewarding and very successful and it was because I did them on my own most of the time. I think sometimes it’s people’s fear about being replaceable or being irrelevant, their job.
Of course, there’s the other problem that’s completely separate. I’ve got a band that I’m friends with and the idea of me not doing music means they have to worry about what they’re going to do. That’s hard for me to take into consideration because I feel responsible in a lot of ways – especially Pogo, for example. I made him a promise that I’ll never break: We will never separate, because it started between the two of us and that will never change, no matter what happens. If he just wants to go back to reading science books and playing with army men on stage, I’m fine with that. He’s such a genius and I think there’s been so much wasted talent or unused creativity because, when you make a record, you may do a photo shoot and you pick one or two pictures from something that contained a lot more ideas and it can be frustrating, aside from any money concerns, just the idea that you’ve got this creativity and there’s nowhere to put it – it doesn’t fit into the confines of the rock n roll music industry because people aren’t really interested in creativity. When I say “people,” I mean people in the general sense, the people that, whoever they are, buy the records that we all hate. I suppose if I were alive and standing alongside some of my heroes, writers, Andre Breton and Salvidor Dali; They would be saying “Those people don’t exist. This is all a farse” as they did during World War I when they said that people weren’t being killed. They were all actors.
Surrealism’s affect on the world I think is something we’ve taken for granted because they were expelled from Europe by Hitler because they were threatening to the way European’s think; they were presenting a different reality; they were presenting an unnatural way of looking at the world – painting things differently than you see them working from their imagination, mixing media. It was all degenerate to everyone. They came to America and they did anything from Marcell Duchamp and his urinal to some of the manifestos of surrealisms that say things that wouldn’t sound out of place next to Harris and Klebold’s diaries because they were bombastic and completely unafraid to say what they thought. It’s so rare to see that now. You may see it in the underground, where unfortunately a few people are listening. You’ll never see it above ground unless it’s some sort of posture that is purely created for marketing purposes.
I’ve tried to maintain that in my time, but I’ve realized that I had more to do. I wasn’t going to be done with music. It became a turning point: I had to realize that things were depressing and crumbling around me and you have to let go. You have to be willing to hit bottom and you either end up dead or the person who may or not be – for whatever reason – destroying you, whether it’s intentional or not – will jump ship because of fear or thinking with you. In turn, they will destroy themselves. In a sense, that is what had to happen in my life, in general, with my business world, which is a world that is kind of alien to me. I’m not naieve and I’m not trustworthy and foolish. I’m a writer and I’m an artist; I don’t want to worry about counting numbers and things like that. I don’t want people who don’t believe in me to be exploiting me and telling me to do things for the wrong reasons. When you make it clear that if you can’t do the thing that you want, then you’re not doing anything and you may very well disappear from the world entirely. You begin to find out who your real friends are. I feel I have a strong relationship with my real friends than ever before because of them standing by me and saying “Well, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll go down with you because you brought us here, we want to go with you.”
The joy of the storm clouds clearing and realizing that, you know what, everything seems to feel so much better now. We might as well just make that record and I suppose that’s the most important announcement to make. We have – and when I say we, I would credit Tim mostly – over the course of this year compiled around twenty songs are not ideas, but they’re completed songs and only have vocals to be added. The music has been created and has come from a secret place. It’s really something we hid from the world because we didn’t want the world to know what would be coming. I find that this record will probably be the one that is like the part in the movie where everything changes and then there’s either a happy or sad ending.
It’s the point where everything goes in a different direction and that’s a lot like how I felt when we did Mechanical Animals because it was such a drastic leap into a different direction. That record was written in a completely different way with a completely different intent. It had two sides to it: A level of sarcasm that had referential music elements to it. It had nods to all of the things I liked when I grew up: Kiss, Bowie, Queen, T-Rex, and Iggy Pop. A lot of lazy and foolish journalists assume that we weren’t intelligent enough to do something like that, so it must have been purely just derivative which makes the point of the record even more comical because that point of the record is me defying people’s expectations of what they wanted me to be, what kind of a rock star they wanted to create and merchandise to fit into a small, easy to define package.
This album comes from a lot of different places, but I’d call it a romantic record and not in like holding hands and walking in the moonlight, but romantic like the unfulfilled yearning to be in another time or another place where you feel like you would fit in better. That’s something that everybody can relate to. It also has a lot to do with a yearning to find another person to share that with. It’s the struggle that you have looking for that. It’s very unlike anything we’ve done. It’s also very dark in a sense. I think it will probably be talked as being very guitar oriented and very melodic and almost rock n roll in the sense that it feels and sounds very much like a band forming. It has some surreal element that throws that into a weird place that doesn’t quite fit. The part that doesn’t fit is the part that feels most enjoyable because it rubs aside the side of your mouth like a tooth that’s falling out.
The Celebritarian Movement
Ultimately, what will this new Celebritarian movement encompass and unfold into? And conversely what is the effect on the world you plan it to have?
Marilynmanson.com is going to be changed drastically into something that represents all aspects of entertainment that is often lost and wasted from everyone involved. I want to see Pogo’s ideas, his photography that no one knows about; his musical sequence of twenty-or-so keyboards tied together in a chain that’s been playing for over a year broadcast on the internet, so people can inform or entertain themselves whenever they feel like it.
I wanted the website to be something that is only about itself. It’s not there to promote a record. It’s not there to promote anything but being there. It’s a stand that I want to make to prove a point: It’s not a reaction of “Oh, I can’t get played on MTV” or “I can’t get played on the radio.” It’s a stand to say I want to be heard and seen this way and I can do it right here and you guys can come here and see it. No one is going to stop you; no one is going to stop me. That kind of freedom is rare and worth fighting for nowadays. It has made me have a different appreciation for the internet and what it can do. It’s not naieve like the people who thought they would do that ten years ago. The technology allowed us now to provide people with everything that they want and the fact that everybody has the access to become an artist has a lot of people afraid that they’ll be out of a job. However, I find that it will instantly point out the people who are the most creative. We all have the access to shovels, but that doesn’t make us all gravediggers.
I think it will be a new way of looking at things. It will be a new way of looking at a band. It will be “Well, I thought they were a rock n roll band, but they’re doing a movie.” Or “I thought that they were performance artists, but now they’re making a book.” I wanted to be able to do whatever we want when we have the idea because we have all these creative people. That leads me unable to define “Okay, who’s going to play on the record? Who’s going to play live?” I don’t know until it happens.
I know that the music right now that is just been created – I’ve got twenty songs that have guitar playing on it that I’ve never been privileged enough to be a part of and to emerge as a guitar hero that a lot of people I’ve underestimated or have not appreciated or known that he would be. It’s a completely different world. Everything has changed, even in a week. You change the environment around you and suddenly it becomes positive and all these new things open up and everything has fallen into place like never before. There’s times when it’s scary and it seems like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, but then there are times when you realize that nobody else can stand on the edge of that cliff and you don’t fall. I think that this will be the most exciting period of what we do. Everyone’s fear of a long hiatus is really just that – people who complain or people who like to doubt the very thing that they revolve their lives around are people that are still looking for their identity. Maybe they’ll find it now, maybe they won’t.
I think the Celebritarian slogan that I decided upon says it best: “We will sell our shadows to those who stand within it.”
The Cross Of Lorraine
Why did you choose to utilize the Cross of Lorraine in the transformation of the Celebritarian site, and what significance have you found in this ancient symbol?
The Cross of Lorraine can be interpreted slightly different from what we have. Ours is more symmetrical and it was hinted at in the layout of the Holy Wood novel design originally. Between the gun cross and the obvious layout of the words going across the bottom to make the second bar, it seems to me in a lot of different ways that it represents a lot of things that we identify with – all of us as artists that are involved. I always have referred to it as the double cross and I think it has a funny sort of irony about it.
The art movement in itself is a betrayal to the people who didn’t believe in it -- a payback. It also goes back to the initial religious discovery of this as more of a myth of what people once believed in or what people could have believed in a different world and it involved the idea of several Christs rather than just the one. It has a lot of different interpretations, but I think most often with symbols, when you see one, that you feel instantly that that’s always the obvious definition. I think it has a very specific striking identification with Marilyn Manson and in what Celebritarian art will represent.
The Holywood Novel & Album
How do you think the Holy Wood era would have differed had the novel been published simultaneously with the album?
I think it was not the appropriate time for it to emerge because it was about everything that was happening and there was no way people would ever be able to get the point of it when they were so wrapped up in everything I was trying to say. They would really prove the point of the book, but that would not accomplish much except for me having the satisfaction of knowing I was right in my observations.
I think that there’s a place for the story that exists maybe in the world of narrative video games or a graphic novel – a place where you can be experimental and immerse yourself more into the story. The story was more about me, in a sense, initially and I think it needs to be about everyone else for it to have the value that it should have. It was a matter of me just letting it sit. It represents a difficult part of my life, so part of me wants to not deal with it, but when I go back and I read it I find myself proud of what it does. I want it to exist in a place that makes a point and it may be ironic, too. Video games - being a metaphor or a modern scapegoat for violence - play very much into what the story is about. There will be a home for it very soon, but I can’t say for sure which one it will be. I’m just trying to find where it fits best.
Aside from possibly Gottfried Helnwein and John Galiano are there any other artists, writers or musicians whom you're planning on collaborating with for this new era? Boyd Rice for example?
Whenever I see Boyd, I always enjoy being around him. We ended up having a coincidental obsession with Sintra Portugal – which is a very powerfully magical, strange place. It was my first choice for location to shoot my film PHANTASMAGORIA or possibly the second part of what I want to do, which would be the follow-up. That is my version of the stories that Lewis Carroll wrote – Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Because I’m telling it from his point of view and from him as a photographer – someone who hid behind the camera. I thought that looking through the glass was the way I would describe the stories. It’s really a two film project.
I intend the first film to be very unconventional in its delivery to the world, but it was reported earlier on and somewhat incorrectly the way things would go about. My website is being – and I happen to actually see the progress itself today to know that it has been created to be a place where you can see even more than what is in the film. Whether it will be viewed as trailers or teasers, or further elements that aren’t necessary to support the film, but if you enjoy the film, there’s a wealth of knowledge there to dig deeper. For everyone who loves the riddles and hidden sites that I’m obsessed with; that Lewis Carroll himself was obsessed with – and that’s why I find such a great relationship to him.
The website will be a place that is different each time you go to it. That may sound like a false promise, but it isn’t. It’s something that will be filled with as much as you want to find and as much as you’re brave enough to look for. I’ve spent about a half a year getting to that. In a way, it’s what I’ve been making this year. Some people spend that time making an album. I’ve spent that time making a website.
The other people that are collaborating-- John Galiano, I can’t say that he’s so much a collaborator. I’m lucky enough to have him be a fan and someone who has made my outfit to be wed in – which is a whole different scary topic I don’t feel like talking about. I am thrilled that the outfit he made me is very unique and also because we plan on having such a small and intimate but traditionally ceremonial wedding that will be – the person who will be performing the duties of the priest, or whatever it should be called – the person who will wed Dita and I is going to be one of my greatest of all time heroes and a bit of a mentor, Alejandro Jodorowski, so I couldn’t hope for something more bizarre or unique. To have the film director that influenced my entire visual style and still to make a film this year with him called King Shot, but for now I asked him to perform the ceremony because it won’t be legal in Ireland but it is technically a holy man of different sorts and I couldn’t think of anyone else that would be more perfect. He treats me like a son and every time he’s read my tarot, it’s always been amazingly accurate and sometimes for the best and sometimes for the worst, but always always true.
Back to the other people collaborating: I’m going to begin shooting my film PHANTASMAGORIA in January in Ireland primarily, but in other locations as well. Lily Cole, who is a model… if you look her up – she has red hair, very striking features like a doll. The idea I had of Alice in my head was very attached to someone with red hair and meeting her and finding her, she’s very much the personality of this character. Obviously, I’ll be playing Lewis Carroll and directing along with the close direction of Anthony Silva who is my co-writer and editor.
His art will be soon discovered by everyone. He is an animator and he has a lot of projects underway, but we met in a just as strange way as you and I would’ve met. He sent me a DVD of his work, but I didn’t find it until a year later. When I did, I was astonished by it. I met him and that worked out.
Steve inclined a fashion photographer who – I should say, because he probably wouldn’t want me to say it – would hate to be judged by his work on the new Madonna record because he did something very fantastic that I thought me as a Madonna fan – and I recently got to meet her. I watched a screening of her film and I was sitting right next to her, which, to me, was exciting still. I’m not jaded enough to not be excited by that. The beginning of this film, if anyone’s seen it -- they showed on MTV where she’s with this coyote and she found these amazing jeweled masks and costume – Steve was responsible for that.
Today I was lucky enough to receive a gift from him because I went to his art exhibit which was the darker side of his Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie photo shoot that was in W Magazine. This was the violent black and white, extremely grainy blow-ups and this one is of a total eruption of domestic violence – it’s Brad with his (???) choking her. It’s odd because I’ve met with them and have spoken to Angelina about being involved in one of the film projects, probably the second one because I believe that she is a prime candidate for the Red Queen. I’ve just got to bargain my way with her to do that. As I will reveal on my new site in my art gallery that is much more comprehensive of everything I do -- not just the painting, but the sketches, and I Polaroid the film and I Polaroid everything I do to document the progress. I’ve done several portraits of Angelina. More of a bribe, actually. They asked me to paint their family portrait. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a secret, but now that it’s known that they’re a family... I think that’s quite odd, so that’ll be an interesting project for me to do on the side.
Knowing that Brad Pitt -- to me, is one of my favorite actors – that he enjoyed and was impressed by the footage that I showed him of the trailer that we’ve just created for the film. The trailer was created in and of itself, so it’s not necessarily representative of what you see in the film, but it’s representative of parts of the aesthetic and that’s what I like doing. To make every single bit be an enjoyable creation that everyone gets to have input in rather than everything as an afterthought for marketing. I want everything to be an artistic expression because it’s definitely something better to do during the day than to watch TV.
Book of Aphorisms & Paintings
During The Golden Age of Grotesque you mentioned a book of your writings and aphorisms in the works, and now most recently a coffee table book of your paintings. Is there a time table set for any of these?
I don’t know if it will be made for sitting on coffee tables because I actually have a lot of so-called “coffee table books,” but I don’t drink coffee. The book of my paintings is finished and it has been delivered to a publishing company and there was a bit of a battle over who was going to get it. I want to try and have it done by the end of the year because in the middle of December I plan on having an art exhibit. I can’t guarantee that’s going to happen as we speak today, because I’m in the process of trying to make that happen. I intend it to be the launch of the Celebritarian Corporation as an art movement. My goal is China Town. My goal is to take it over. I don’t think that as with film what I want to do and with performance and with art I want to cross the boundaries of the gallery, of the stage, of the screen. China Town will be the location, not just the gallery. My intent is to have the book done so that it’s something I can have available for people at that time. Hopefully it’ll be finished by then. I’m happy to see everything put together alongside each other. It wasn’t exactly easy parting with a lot of my paintings because you get attached to them, but just being able to see them in front of me in a book makes me enjoy them just as much.
The book of quotes from 1990 until now – anything ranging from the absurd to the poignant, to the sarcastic, to the confrontational – it’s all there and I think the book is almost a primer for people who go up to me in airports or different places and say “I really like what you did in Bowling for Columbine,” or they’ll say “I really like what you did in Bowling for Canada” or, you know, they have all the variations – “Bowling for Concubines” was always my favorite.
Part of understanding how I can be a happier person as an artist and not be frustrated that all my ideas won’t fit into music and that I don’t want to be filled with hatred for music and the music industry because of the frustration and the infladement that takes place with record labels and bands. I’ve gotten to the unfortunate point in your career that everyone gets to where you realize that “Yes, you have been raped” and “Yes you have been objectified as an object” and you have to not take it personal. You have to realize that these people don’t matter. Their opinions don’t matter. Those that support you and those that care about your art; those are the people that matter and you can’t forsake that.
I don’t know if there’s ever a misconception about how I feel about the people who have supported me over the years, but I am forever grateful and always will remember those who have stood by me. All I can say is it’s impossible for me to put it into words, so, the only way I can return the gesture is through the music and through everything else that I do. I know a lot of times people want more and sometimes the more you give them, the more they want. People should always realize that I’m a very shy person. I put everything I have into what I create, no matter what it is. That’s because I want them to feel what I feel. I can’t give them anything more honest than that. Talking with me, or taking a picture with me, or even getting an autograph is never going to be as true as what I put into what they hear and what they like. My willingness to quit music because I’m disgusted with the way its treated should be genuinely accepted and proof to people how I feel about it and what it means. It’s a love letter to a lot of people. It’s all I’ve got. It’s all I can give.
On the Forefront
For the new era, in terms of the music, what is the status of the band or would you ideally like Marilyn Manson to exist similarly to each of David Bowie's ventures with him at the forefront with a backing band behind him?
It’s complicated. He’s a musical hero of mine. I don’t think that I would want just a backing band behind me. I think I’ve spent the past ten years eliminating elements of what would be a backing band from Marilyn Manson; whether it be people who looked at it as a job; people who didn’t understand it; people who exploited it; or people who were just in it for the wrong reasons.
I’m the first and insistent upon giving credit to the musicians who create something that I can live in and can make into something more. This often becomes strange because I don’t think we can define it as a band now. Not because it’s a solo project, because it is now engulfed in the idea of the Celebritarian Corporation as a way of thinking. It is the musical identity of an art movement without being artsy. One thing I would hate people to mistake me for is someone who is “artsy,” and I find it even hard to not sound pretentious by using the word “art” so fucking often in sentences, but I think it’s important to get the point across and not be ashamed of something that was once respected and will once again be respected on the same level of politicians and scientists and other things of that nature. Art is about creation and people that create are the closest thing you’ll find to religion in the world. Without that, we wouldn’t have dreams and without dreams, we wouldn’t exist.
It’s an important – not necessarily heroic – intent to really push these ideas at the world very aggressively. This isn’t a passive art movement, and it’s not a hippy art movement. It’s not something that is open to the public. It’s something that we find a bunch of like-minded people that want to create things for a world that we hope can relate to it and those people will make their own Celebritarian movement – or whatever they want to call it. It’s not about joining anything. We’re just taking a stand and putting a name on what we are.
Films & Inspirations of Celebritarianism
Can you recommend any films or readings which have been particularly inspirational to you and your evolution into this new era unfolding?
It may not seem so new, because I often talked about surrealism more so after creating The Golden Age of Grotesque because I was really inspired by DaDa, but I think understanding and learning more about the lives of several people, particular Salvidor Dali; Lewis Carroll the most; and Man Ray, the photographer and his involvement that is talked about in the Black Dahlia Avenger and how being someone who’s photographs have been suggested to have been created by (from?) someone else? I would say Igma Burgman Hour of the Wolf was something that I saw that kind of changed the way I wanted to do things. It really made me want to make films more than anything. More so seeing how terrible things are often has inspired me. Wanting there to be something good and not finding it is often a disappointment and the original reason for starting a band.
There’s a lot of things out there. I see people being creative and I see that as a positive thing. I just want, not a revolution – I’m not interested in that – I want some kind of hippy, anarchy, anything of that nature – I just really want people to get lost inside themselves and not be afraid of that. It’s not about things I’ve said before as much as it is… You can compare it to going through the looking glass: the idea of getting lost inside yourself and not being afraid if you can’t tell what’s real and not real. That’s not about taking drugs and having an acid trip. It’s about not being afraid to cry; not being afraid to die; not being afraid to live also. To really find out who you are and find out who your real friends are. You have to go farther than I’ve imagined. I thought that I had done that on Antichrist Superstar. I had to really almost break my personality in half in an attempt to – I guess it’s almost like when you have a bone that you need to be fixed so they need to break it so it heals better – I think I had a fractured personality that had to be re-broken and set so it would heal better.
The Golden Age
Are we still in The Golden Age of Grotesque, so to speak in terms of your definition of it during the era, as a movement where music, film and other forms of expressionism will together deliver your whole vision or would you consider where you're heading right now to be a separate embodiment of this?
I think The Golden Age of Grotesque was me stumbling across something that was always there in front of me and didn’t realize the amount of expression that needs to be done and can be done. The Celebritarian art movement put more of a definition on it, personally. Golden Age of Grotesque, in a lot of ways, was a commentary for what was outside and it was also could be a metaphor for what I was doing. It was open for everyone to take it where they wanted to. Celebritarian art, behavior, anything, whatever it becomes – It’s more whatever you want to make it. It’s like a strange piece of clothing. Some people might wear it on their heads, some might wear it as underwear; some people might not wear it at all, but I think everyone has it in their closet, they just need to find it. I don’t really think that that was necessarily the best metaphor to describe it, but I’m standing in my closet, so that was the best thing that came to me.
What type of score will PHANTASMAGORIA have?
What it has so far and what we’ve based a lot of the writing around is: Some of the music that I created, but did not use for American McGee’s Alice – originally I was hired to do that job and ironically Chris Vrenna, who we’re familiar with, ended up doing it – but I felt the music was too precious to give away for what they were offering and it wasn’t really a situation where I wanted more money, I just didn’t feel that it should be cheapened in the way that they were asking. Unfortunately this was so far into the whole process that my indelible stamp of the alchemical symbols and the Mad Hatter was actually fashioned after me, or even more so my grandfather. My mark is layed upon it, but not credited and I’m completely fine with that because I didn’t find it to be something that is similar in any way to how I look at Alice and Wonderland or – It wasn’t really anything that accomplished what it should have. It was far too wishy-washy. It wasn’t brave enough to be very violent and it wasn’t soft enough to be for kids, so it left itself in a mediocre middle. That’s not to say that it’s the creator’s fault, it’s just to say that that’s what happens when you don’t have the courage to stand up for what you’re making.
It will be very traditional in the sense that it's a period piece. But there are elements of uncertainty about the period and elements of uncertainty about, at times, is the people in the film that are the movie or the audience, so sometimes certain elements have to jump off the screen and live in other places. That may sound strange now, but you'll understand later. There's a song that's a huge influence on the way the movie ends called "In Every Dream Home A Heartache" by Roxy Music and it very well might make itself into a film, which would be very odd because it's a '70s song in a 19th century film. We'll see. I intend on collaborating with Pogo and Tim on the score but I don't intend to over extend myself when I already have acting and directing to be responsible for. Later, I can tell you and update you on the process of how it's going to be filmed because it's going to be done in a way that no one has done yet. I have a camera that I'll be the first person to use in cinema and I'm very excited about it. It's very unique and I want to bring back the experiments in terror, which is actually a DVD that documents that attempts of 1944 filmmakers to insert subliminal elements whether in sound or in frames of the film to enhance whatever tense or fear they're looking to create at that moment in the film. I think technology allows me to go much further than that. I'm going to do a lot of things that may end up being illegal, I don't know, but until they are, I will do them. I think it will change people's opinion about horror films and they will realize they're not all about slasher --
No insult to Rob Zombie; People might predict that that would be the type of film I would make. That's absolutely the opposite of what I would do. That's not an interest of mine, anyway. If I had to pick, stylistically, people that I would admire, it would be Ingmar Bergman and it would be Roman Polanski and modern filmmakers Takeshi Mike - who made the film audition - and Gasper Noe made I Stand Alone and Irreversible. It's kind of a return to Hitchcock-style psychological horror about letting your mind do the damage and sometimes what you don't see is scarier.
Since film currently is the immediate direction of Marilyn Manson, one of your first film endeavors you've mentioned was during Antichrist Svperstar called 'Groupie.' Given the extremity of how you've described this film, would this fall under the Horripilation category and would that mean it will see the light of day now?
First I should clarify the ridiculously over hyped relevance of “horripilation,” which, technically, I believe, genuinely is a word that means the same thing as phantasmagoria – a rapid series of disturbing images, or something of that nature. I just happened to say it and the writer thought it was amusing and my answer was sarcastic. They turned it into something much more different. I had actually spoken mostly about Celebritarian art and I think that they were lost. They were so lost that they actually spelled “phantasmagoria” wrong – and its not a new word I made up – it’s an actual book that Lewis Carroll wrote exactly 100 years before I was born, to the same week, January 1869.
People will find out more about the story as we go, but the story because it’s close to the end – it’s really about depression. It’s really about some person struggling between two personalities. It has affected the music, and it has bled into that, but that’s not to say that the music will be made for the movie. That isn’t to say that all the art is living very healthfully off of itself.
Going back to “Groupie:” I think because my former manager suggested that it should be locked away in a safe never to be seen because it would ruin my career and possibly put me in jail. I think that now seeing it – and this was filmed before reality television, you have to understand – there’s a lot of different ways people can walk away from this, but I’ve had extremely close friends feel uncomfortable knowing me after seeing it and only through the discussion of it were they able to come to terms with it in different ways. It goes farther than most people would ever go and it was genuinely intended to be something released at the time. I wanted it to be attached to Dead to the World and I suppose I was probably just too unable to realize that my perception of what’s normal and other people’s perception was very different.
Speaking of that, I’d like to put Dead to the World and God is in the TV out on DVD. I very much intended to put all of our videos, but there was a complete lack of concern and I realize now that that’s because they were stuck on iTunes without asking. I guess that what happens when you’re being raped. They really don’t stop. They don’t even use lubrication.
I intend on at least trying to at least get that out there and I think there will be absolutely no way in the world that the record label will allow themselves to be attached to “Groupie” in any sense of the word. It will be put out in whatever way it ends up decided… it’s like a thing of its own. It’s the video tape from Ring before Ring ever happened. It’s the tape that if I tried to throw it away, it’d come back because… it haunts me. Not in a bad way. I watch it and I’m strangely proud of it. There are some things in it that are very, very funny. It’s something that disarms you because you spend a great portion of it laughing and then you spend a great portion of it very afraid for your life and you’re not even in the film, but it really kind of cut me out of the film. And that’s me saying that I was involved with it, so it’s still, now, watching it does not lose any of its power or feel dated. It feels very historical and I think being along tied to those two videos to document important parts of my career – it’s something that people should see. It’s something that some people shouldn’t see. But I think it should be out there. It’s another important step for me to not be afraid of what I’ve created. If you create something, you really have to stand behind it. There will be no more cowards involved in my parade.
Holy Wood & "Unfinished Business"
With some of your more recent hints and imagery it looks like one aspect, aside from the artistic elements, is something of a revival of "unfinished business" relating to Holy Wood. Is this an accurate inference or just linear reasoning?
I don’t believe that this has any direct religious or political specifics as Holy Wood did as much as it is – the idea of an art movement being a corporation and something that Celebritarian—something that ends in I-A-N really brings to mind a lot of different things, a lot of different words that sound like that which are political and religious. I wouldn’t say it’s going to be like Holy Wood. I would just say that that’s it’s going to be as creative as people want it to be. People are going to fuel it. It’s something that people want, people need, and it’s not a matter of me going around asking people. It’s me understanding and realizing that I am, as always, every bit the people that we’re talking about, so I just try and create things that fulfill my needs and make me happy as a fan of art and music. I don’t find myself being that much different from everyone that likes what I do and the people that hate like I do – sometimes I feel that way as well.
The Resident Evil Score & Unreleased Material
Will we ever hear such unreleased materials as the Resident Evil or From Hell scores or possibly any unreleased songs from past eras such as Mon Enfant ("Mommy Dear")?
The Resident Evil material, I think, in a roundabout way has drifted back into my ownership. Being that the three titles or more that were created originated from me looking more into the character of the computer who was called the Red Queen because they were trying to use an Alice In Wonderland reference in an unnecessary location. I put too much into it for my imagination and the piece itself is very interesting. I don’t know how much they would fit in what I’m doing in Phantasmagoria
Rereleases, Rarities, and Legal Issues
Have you considered re-releasing any of your older albums with remastered tracks, b-sides, and other goodies? Antichrist Superstar turns ten years old next year - any possibility of fans getting to hear an improved mix of this milestone album in the future?
I’d like to say yes, but there’s a legal matter pending that I can’t say too much about. It’s very hard to believe this, but representatives from Nothing Records have indicated that they are not able to find or have lost the master recordings to my first three records and without me saying my feelings on that, I think people should just understand what that means and what kind of respect and what kind of people would go to such lengths or not go to such lengths to let something like that happen, because it’s not something that you would ever have happen in musical history. I would imagine something like that could only be intentional or, if not intentional, it would have to be done only through complete disregard. Now that Nothing Records doesn’t exist, I think there’s only one of two people responsible for that. Out of those two people, there’s only one that really has an opinion of me that is voiced very often and I don’t have an opinion that is voiced very often. In fact, the last thing I said was very nice and I remember doing a favor for a friend. So I don’t know why people would do something like that, but I’m often painted as the bad guy in a relationship – in most relationships. I will not deny that I am an asshole at times. I will not deny that I’m probably completely insane and most people will agree with that. I don’t betray people that I care about. I don’t forsake people that are important to me and I would do anything for someone I love, but I don’t know what kind of people do things like that. It’s erasing history. It’s erasing your life’s work. It’s killing a part of you.
I don’t know how to react to it. I’d just like to wait and see what happens because it may be just a terrible mistake. I would hope for those involved.
I’m not a big fan of lawyers, although I probably should take a few months and get an online law degree so that I don’t have hire anyone for all my problems. I’m actually living in a life without any lawsuits right now, which is the first time in 10 years. It’s not because I’ve mellowed out. I’ve learned how to do the right things at the right times and the wrong things at the right times.
Chris Vrenna substituted for Ginger Fish on drums during the Against All Gods tour. While Vrenna initially seemed to be a temporary solution while Ginger recovered from an injury, nothing has been said since to affirm Ginger's "return" to Marilyn Manson. Ginger has since been involved with another band, Martyr Plot, which has further intrigued fans as to whether or not he will return. So, who will drum for Marilyn Manson?
Ginger has not been fired, nor has he left Marilyn Manson. Chris had to give up other obligations, so it wasn’t something that I would have him do and suddenly when Ginger was better he would have to quit playing when he had given up things to do this favor. I have to say it was great working with Chris. I think that it was a completely different experience. Chris really deserves more credit than anyone – except maybe Sean Bevan who engineered Antichrist Superstar – Chris and I were the ones that finished that record together. Chris is the one who recorded all of my vocals. It was just the two of us. A lot of people have different ideas about how that record was made. As far as production went, Chris was the one recording my vocals, so we had a special bond with each other. It was great to play together. He’s a different type of player; a different type of feel.
It would be a real difficult pain for me to try and pick between the two if I had to, but I’ve just spoken to Ginger and our friendship still exists and it has been rocky and on and off, but I contribute that to the people who come between us; people that were running the band, in a sense, because we really were in a position where we forgot that I was in charge and I was not “employee” or someone else that was trying to direct us into something. I think a lot of arguments between band members may have been resolved, or may not even have been created, if someone else was in charge with the band. I’m not laying blame. I’m just saying in a positive way that I think that any misunderstandings I’ve had with Ginger may have been no one’s fault really. I’m sure that Ginger and I will work together again and I can’t say that we haven’t already on this new music because I’m being a secretive bastard, but I can’t say that I won’t work with Chris either. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have to work with both people. Maybe I will work with either. We’re trying to make it so that it’s the same reason why we started it and the same feeling when we started where – If someone wants to play on something, and they’re good, and they’re the right person for the job, let’s do it that way.
Working With Mark Chaussee
Likewise, Mark Chaussee filled in for ex-guitarist John 5 but was never announced as his "official" replacement. Can you set the record straight in regards to Mark's status with the band?
I thought Mark added something great and different to the tour. We haven’t had the opportunity to write songs together, but upon hearing Tim, who respectfully did not impose himself as any sort of guitar player while John 5 was in the band, to hear him play, and when people hear what he’s written, it will be extremely evident where certain things on The Golden Age of Grotesque came from – like the guitar solo on Para Noir that is often talked about and mythologically has transferred hands from Tim and I’s experiments to John 5’s playing.
John 5 is a great musician and that might be the very heart of the problem for him being involved in Marilyn Manson – not because everyone else isn’t a great musician, but that’s not our focus. It’s about the power, the emotion. There’s just something wrong about punk rock and rock n roll music being precise. He’s a very skilled, precise guitar player, but it’s like a craftsman. Craftsman make hammers. We’re the people that like to use them.
There’s no hard feelings left between us. I’d like to believe that there’s no feelings left in a former guitar player of mine that had the nerve to sue me and then try to exploit me further but learned the hard way that it’s not nice to steal other people’s artwork and the law frowns upon that. Let’s just say things were made even. Strangely, we haven’t heard much out of his mouth, but he was sure talking a lot before. There is justice.
Grotesk Burlesk / Against All Gods Tour Documentary
Is there any archived footage from the Grotesk Burlesk or Against All Gods tour that might find its way onto a new tour documentary DVD release?
I do and I have every intention of doing that. I've just been fighting through the switch in management and finding out where the record label really stands. The new website is very video-extensive and very easy to use, but very high tech. It incorporates the type of technology that knows more about you than you know about it and it works very well in that way. A lot of footage will be available for people to see on there and I would love to make a short film much like I did with the Death Parade on Guns, God and Goverment for Grotesk Burlesk because there's so much to it. I think a lot of people would enjoy it. These are all things I want to do and I just have to fight people to let me.
The Opium Den
How much are you charging at the door for entrance into your basement opium den?
First I have to finish building it. The doors are actually see-through. It’s glass. If you’re lucky enough to make it to my house, I’m not going to charge you anything. It’s the getting invited to my house part that’s the hard part.
Smells Like Dali: An Inspiration To A Fragrance Line
Recently you stated that you've been very inspired by Salvador Dali's various collaborations with world renown Elsa Schiaparelli, the flamboyant fashion designer of the Art Deco period. What do you find inspiring about these collaborations, and what exactly do you want to push to the general public with your own soon to be released fragrance?
I don’t know if there’s a soon to be released fragrance, necessarily. I’ve been approached about that and I just recently bought off of eBay some of Dali’s perfume that he had created and I just liked the idea that it was – there’s something about makeup and perfume that I can associate with paint and with alchemy because it has a witchcraft to it almost – a mixing of chemicals and a blending of things to transform, whether it’s scent that allures or repels something; or a makeup that makes you into something else. I don’t find myself uncomfortable or ashamed to insert my ideas into that world because of course they’re going to be different than everyone else’s and that’s what will make it the most ironic. It would be boring to just continually put my things where people expect them to be.
Of course everyone wants to know what it will smell like. It smells like children, and was inspired by Perfume, a book by Patrick Suskind. It was about a man who made perfume in the 18th century. He was trying to pursue the ultimate fragrance and the distilled scent of children was the most beautiful thing that he discovered. Smashed toddlers is maybe what it smells like? I don’t know. If I do make something, it would be for both men and women because I think that’s the way I do things. It’s always interesting to see that people create a mountain out of a mole hill, but that’s precisely the point of becoming a mountain climber.
The Celebritarian Art Gallery
You mentioned the opening of your own art gallery recently in an interview. What is the status of this concept, and what types of art do you plan on showcasing in this gallery?
I think that’s more of a long term dream that I’ll try to make happen. There’s a gentleman who’s helping me with – I sound like a criminal, I just said “gentleman” – there is a huge art collector, a man named Dean Valentine who once created a small channel called the Disney Channel. He approached me and we’re in the process of putting together a project that I will oversee in every detail and may participate as either a director or actor in a three part DVD box set of unrated materials from the most cutting edge directors that I know and want to work with. The subject would be the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.
We’re going to choose three directors and I kind of have my heart set on possibly someone from the Asian horror film world and someone from the French film world, and then maybe an American. I’m thrilled because one of my favorite stories and one of my most infamous hotel names I stayed under was Toby Damit, which is from an Edgar Allan Poe story, but never bet the devil your head (??). There’s a short film by Fellini, where Terrance Stamp plays Toby Damit, and I would say that that is by far my favorite Fellini films and one of my favorite films of all time.
One of my new paintings that will be on the site – I painted an – uncharacteristic for me – a photo realistic image of Edgar Allan Poe splitting in half and fire coming from within him showing him consumed by his inner hell. It’s part of this entire new series that I’ve finished painting – probably about 30 pieces – since the end of the first tour and now, so over the past six or seven months. But it all has a theme that is very much based around the imagination of children and tends to lead toward my inspiration coming from both Edgar Allan Poe and more so from Lewis Carroll. There is one Alice painting that is involved, but that will be another series for another show that will follow because of the time that I have missed between my first art show and now, my enthusiasm for painting has gone wild. I’ve been painting a lot. I’ve painted sometimes two paintings a day and that’s why I need to put a book out of what I’ve done and keep moving because I need the world to be caught up with me and where I’m going and what I’m doing as an artist because I’m enjoying it quite a bit.
Set Fashion, Not Follow
You've attended many fashion shows by world-renown designers. Where and how do you feel fashion fits into the art world, and why is it such an important facet to modern society and culture?
The people who try to set fashion and not follow - if I may quote myself without sounding silly - are just as important as architects and painters and filmmakers. Particularly the ones that I’ve got to know, a lot of them want to be rock stars, or a lot of them want to be another type of artist and I think they don’t realize that there’s a great amount of artistry that goes into what they do.
I think it’s beyond an understatement to say that the clothes make the man, because for me it’s an essential part of even how I’m going to sing on the new record. I found myself dressing and changing my appearance already just to begin singing last week. It worked because I sang in a way that I hadn’t expected and it’s in the same way that – I’m sure anybody who has experienced not growing up rich and getting to wear your first expensive suit or something – it makes you feel like a different person; it makes you feel important. It’s not that you have to impress the rest of the world. It’s about you and how you feel about yourself. I don’t think it has to be about vanity. I think it’s more about personality and of course it’s about very tall, often nude models.
The Galiano show really broke that mold, because the particular one I saw was people of all shapes and sizes, to say the least, and it was for me, my first fashion show, probably one that will be hard to beat.
Antichrist Svperstar: The Music Video
The Internet Movie Database lists "Anti-Christ Superstar" as part of your filmography. A few names are associated with this film other than your own. E. Elias Merhige is cited as the director; Roger Michael Mayer as the Torchbearer; and Texas Terri as the Angel of Death. What was the concept or story behind this video and did anything ever transpire from the project? Why was it never released?
Elias was someone I had contacted. I talked to him the day after I saw his film Begotten, which is one of the strangest and scariest films I’ve seen and I wanted him to do a video for cryptorchid and I came to Los Angeles and I did that.
He also wanted to film a video for Antichrist Superstar; but he wanted to use a lot of footage that he had already compiled, so he shot the material with me. Then he put it together with some other stuff.
He used a lot of military footage from different countries, different wars, that really went for the fascist aspect of the song and I wasn’t quite sure that it represented the criticism that it needed to, but it wasn’t ultimately my opinion that mattered because the record company was appalled by it. That’s not to say it won’t be seen, but I’m not sure if he ever had a fair chance of finishing it because of the record company. I was very pleased with cryptorchid because it’s a beautiful song and I wanted to see his imagery involved in it.
The Art Of Suffering
By example of human history, both ancient and modern, an individual who seeks out knowledge beyond the level of his peers often becomes depressed. In many ways, as intelligence, wisdom, and understanding rise, it almost can push us towards a bleaker outlook of society - Many artists end up in this rut, and a fair share have even taken their life over it. What is the key to keeping an optimistic outlook towards a society which is filled with so many putrid elements?
Well, whoever said that, that’s absolutely true 100%, the first part of it. As far as keeping an outlook; Taking the time to stop and see what you’ve created and for me painting is always often the most immediate because colors and the way they bleed together are beautiful even if it’s a grotesque image. Knowing that you can make something, no matter who you are – that’s probably the only thing that makes you feel like you can make a difference. You can’t change the world, but if you think about it, if you made something, you’ve changed the world. Because it wasn’t there before, then you made it, now it’s there. A lot of people need to amend their “You can’t change the world” philosophy and not look at it so idealistic and so absurdly heroic.
I find if you have somebody that you can share with from – whether it’s a collaborator or maybe it’s someone who you’re in love with or loves you and makes you feel appreciated by enjoying what you do and not just patronizing you because they care about you, then that makes you feel like there is something worth sticking around for. I guess the worst thing you could have is to be alone.
- ↑ Helnwein, Gottfried (2005-09-01). "HELNWEIN COLLABORATES WITH MANSON ON FILM-PROJECT "PHANTASMAGORIA" PHANTASMAGORIA - The Visions Of Lewis Carroll - Excerpt from "Dramatic New Scenes For Celebritarian Needs"". http://www.helnwein.net/article2294.html. Retrieved 2012-05-29.