Interview:2008/01/12 Everyone Will Suffer Now
|Everyone Will Suffer Now|
Blood Brothers: The Return Of Twiggy Ramirez
|Interview with Marilyn Manson|
|Date||January 12, 2008|
- The Everyone Will Suffer Now interview originates from the now defunct fansite Mansonusa.com. Since it's original source disappeared in June 2009.
- 1 Reuniting with Twiggy
- 2 Happy Birthday
- 3 The Tryptich and Twiggy's return
- 4 Tim Skold's departure
- 5 Left Over Tracks / Opening The Window
- 6 Rape of The World Tour
- 7 Full Blown AIDS | "Out of the butt and into the fuck"
- 8 Performing with Alice Cooper
- 9 DVD Release
- 10 Replacing singles for more obscure tracks
- 11 Why change up Hate Anthem
- 12 Playing older songs
- 13 Possibilty of a third single from EMDM
- 14 Chris Vrenna
- 15 Axl Rose of GNR
- 16 Credit
- 17 Pogo lawsuit
- 18 Vision for Phantasmagoria
- 19 Book of aphorisms and coffee-table book
- 20 The Celebritarian Gallery of Fine Art
- 21 Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma
- 22 Film influences
- 23 Hunter S. Thompson
- 24 Film-makers
- 25 Current state of the music industry
Reuniting with Twiggy
Not long ago you had ruled out the possibility of working with Twiggy Ramirez again, going so far as to say that you didn't have much in common as friends anymore. Why the change of heart, and how did your reunion with your long-term friend and collaborator materialize?
Reflecting on last year, I have to say that it was a big deal for me to stay up and count down the moments until “6 am Christmas morning...” I had waited a year to be able to actually sing that. I was with Evan, Rudy – my friend, the magician – and I was with Twiggy. There were a few other assholes that managed to squeeze themselves in the room, but I kicked them out. They didn’t have the right to be in the same room when our experience took place. It wasn’t our first moment of reuniting, but it was the first time we actually got to talk.
There’s going to be a lot of Smells Like Children added to the set. The two of us are nothing but trouble. Ive always loved Rob as a guitar player as well as a bass player because he, as a bass player, was the closest thing to a rock star that I could have to Twiggy. Now there will be two nightmares on either side of me. I can guarantee there is going to be a lot of things that we’ve never done – like switching. Sometimes we’ll play different instruments.
Right before we left for the very last leg of the tour, I was staying at The Roosevelt Hotel. It’s very famous for being haunted. I’m not sure how I feel about ghosts. I know I have said in the past, “Honey I’m going to haunt your vagina with my dick ghost.” I know that I’ve had experiences with Ouija boards, but my cats were barking this time. Cats don’t normally bark, but they were barking at the ceiling and at strange noises. Ironically, I had a portrait of Bowie that Mick Rock took hanging above my bed and across the room there was a photograph of Sid Barret. I was in the room and we were getting ready to leave the country. I had to meet up with my friend Jonathan Shaw who has written a few books now. He was one of the most famous tattoo artists. He is responsible for the “Winona Forever” – Johnny Depp, and the Captain Jack Sparrow stuff. He’ll be tattooing me tomorrow for my birthday as a gift. I’m getting “Together as one against all others” tattooed across my lower back – but I digress…
I went downstairs to meet Jonathan Shaw. Bowie is one of my idols, of course; Sid Barret happens to be one of Twiggy’s biggest inspirations. That all being said with the ghosts and strangeness and not seeing each other for this past year. I sit down and the first person that walks into the room was Twiggy. It was really strange – a complete coincidence out of nowhere. I would never go to this bar that’s in this hotel unless I was staying at the hotel – although I normally don’t go out anyway.
So we sat down and I noticed he looked a little bit sad. We were both almost in tears seeing each other again. We’re like twin brothers in some strange ways, although I prefer not to be blamed for certain aspects of his facial features. He wouldn’t want to get blamed for not having as big of a penis as he does, although mine has preserved its integrity, we’ll just say. In our five minute conversation, he had told me he had gone through a really hard relationship breakup very similar to mine. I could see it in his face – he’s like my little brother, so I knew. We exchanged phone numbers and it wasn’t one of those, “Yeah, I’ll call you”—like when John 5 always calls me – and I’ll get back to that later…
I went back upstairs and told Evan. I didn’t know how to feel about it right away. I was happy, but didn’t know what to do. The conversation didn’t go any further than, “Hey, when you get back into town in six weeks, we should hang out. Let’s get together.” I asked him, “How was it with my old pal Trent?” I think he best described it as “A vacuum of happiness.” I guess he found out he wasn’t in the band anymore when he read it in the press. He did have a strange comment for me “Never in your craziest days of ever doing anything” – and I’ve never been an extreme dick in any way to Twiggy because I’ve never needed to. We never had a falling out or anything like that. I’ve had a reputation of not being the most polite gentleman in the past – that’s putting it lightly. “Never in your worst days could you have made my life as uncomfortable and miserable as it was this last year.” The good news is it’s over.
We joked a little bit. I said, “You know what I’m sick and tired of? I’ve been on tour for a year. I’ll get a hangover, I go to complete extremes. I outdo the Shop Boys that mention me in their song Party Like a Rockstar. I go beyond that on a daily basis and every day I wake up and say, ‘God damn it. Why can’t I die?’” Being immortal sucks, unless you’ve got a beautiful girlfriend.
I got an email from Twiggy while I was off in some foreign land – New Zealand, I think. It was a picture of a dick. I’m very accustomed to him doing that. He likes to show me his dick. I felt like the bit of life that seemed to have been beaten out of him or whatever reasons in the past year. The twinkle in his eye was represented by the twinkle on his dick in the picture. It made me smile and I decided to call him. “We should get together and play some songs.” I said, “Yeah, I want to make a new record. I don’t want any rules, I just want to have some fun. Something new, something different.” I didn’t really relate that to Tim, because he plays guitar and I assumed that would be something that would be treading on what he felt was his territory. In the ironic sense, obviously, he replaced Twiggy. There’s some awkwardness there – although I can’t speak for either of them.
I just mentioned that I saw him. I could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t going to be something he was going to like. I was just excited that I saw my best friend in the world. All of my best memories are always associated with him. Every story I’ve ever told – when I tell Evan stories about all of the terrible things that I’ve done and how she has the strange ability to care for me and think that those are redeeming qualities. It reminds me that they are. Anybody can be good. Why can’t it be me.
It just made me happy. It wasn’t about the music, it was about friendship. We e-mailed back and forth every now and then. I started to pick up a few very enjoyable bonding habits with most of the band. Rob Holliday is able to go head to head with me when it comes to going for broke with alcohol or whatever substance it might be – except Viagra. I won’t take that. Rob likes to take that when he’s alone and go into truck stops and buy porno magazines.” – but I’m digressing on that.
Chris Vrenna is like my other little brother, although he’s older than me. One of my hobbies is to see how banged up he feels in the morning after I have my way with him. He just looks so fragile and destroyed. I feel like I need to buy him some sort of vitamins or something. One night I was up and I was actually beating Chris senseless with a potted plant. I made him drink the plant water on a dare.
Ginger just picked up a new hobby of drinking. It’s always fun to see somebody experience that for the first time, especially when they’re insane. That’s why I like Ginger. We’ve got all three of us, and we’re having a wild time. We decided to call Twiggy up and we’re like “Hey man, get back in the fuckin’ band.” He said, “I’ll do it, man, but we have to take it to the next level.” I’m like, “Well, do you think I would call you if I didn’t know that?” Then we started deciding, what is the next level? Cutting our faces off? Extreme teenage sleepover? Crotchless wheel chairs? I don’t know what the next level is, but depravity and offensiveness is definitely going to be our post-it note of things to do on this tour.
I came home and we saw each other. It was Christmas, 6am. Things couldn’t be more fateful. All the stars were aligned one hundred percent. We just knew it had to happen. I know that there wouldn’t be a real positive combination between Twiggy and Tim. I respect Tim and I love the work we did together. I just want the next part of this tour to be positive and almost in a selfless sense for Twiggy to see how much he probably looked a year ago and to know that I wish I had my best friend here a year ago. I think it took him having me in his life is exactly what we both need. We looked at each other and said, “Shit is going to hit the fans. People are going to go insane. They’re not going to believe it.” I would have never thought it would happen, either. I can’t wait to finish the tour and start writing songs. We started writing songs last night. We knew right away that we were back in business; the old ways.
First of all, we'd all like to wish you a Happy Birthday. Did you do anything special for the occasion?
Last night I got a really amazing gift. I’m just grateful for friends and friends who have stuck by me and the fact that I can see somebody that I alienated and they forgave me for it. I can see people that I didn’t know even gave a shit about me. I’m not very complicated to make happy nowadays and I like that. I’m not jaded anymore. I appreciate small things in life. My favorite thing that I got for Christmas, my birthday, whatever, is Charlie, Lily’s new little brother. He’s amazing. He’s got a serious troublesome personality and he’s coming with me on tour, they both are. They need to experience it. Charlie needs to grow up seeing Marilyn Manson with Twiggy in it.
For my birthday, Kerry King came to visit me. We’ve become really good friends on the tour with Slayer. We hung out on Halloween as well. Twiggy answered the door. He told me he had been listening to Antichrist Superstar on the way there. He has tattooed on his fingers “When I’m God” on one middle finger; “Everyone Dies” on the other. He got that on the tour because he loves Reflecting God so much. We were all excited. Kerry King is also a big influence on Twiggy as a rhythm guitar player. I also watched Evan play Raining Blood on Guitar Hero the night before. There were many levels to the excitement of it. Kerry gave me as a gift, the trademarked, iconic Kerry King nail-spiked armband thing that he created. It’s a giant gauntlet of nails. He gave me one that he made. I said “Man, you’ve got to come on stage on this tour and play Reflecting God with us – we’ll have three guitarists, whatever – and I’ll wear that in honor of you.” There’s a chance that that may happen too. That really turns the evil content in the satanic cocktail up to one hundred proof. Who’s going to swallow, I don’t know. It was a great synchronicity and musically there’s a real big exciting future ahead of us. We’ve never been in the position where. I’m not going to say it’s anyone’s ego. I had the flexibility to have players and collaborators that are willing to change things and do things like this before. I don’t have any words for it. I feel like a kid.
He has a little bit of a mustache. I didn’t think little Adolph had such a ring to it as Charlie, so we went with Charlie Chaplain. Then there’s Charlie Manson, if people want to go for the obvious. When he’s bad, I’ll just say “Charles, you need to behave.” If I get drunk with my cat I can say, “Come on, Chuck!” There are a lot of options. That was Evan’s gift to me. It was the greatest gift ever, because last year at 6am is when I had my other cats taken from me. For nothing else, Lily needs a companion because I can’t satisfy her alone. I’m not talking sexually – I don’t look at her in that way. Charlie still has his genitals intact, so I just wanted to see what he does before we get rid of them. I think he’s entitled to try them out at least. I don’t think Lily’s going to like that.
The Tryptich and Twiggy's return
Twiggy left right after the completion of the triptych… do you forsee returning to songs of that nature versus the more personal, autobiographical songs on your last record?
I think we definitely have an agenda in front of us and it’s – first I have to remind him in the way… I should say another important thing. The real deciding factor before I called him up and said “let’s do this,” I was lucky enough to get to see the Led Zeppelin reunion with Evan. Everyone of course always likes to sing Stairway to Evan to her. I’ve never been as passionate about Led Zeppelin as I am about Bowie, The Doors, or The Beatles. I’m into them, just not in the same way. I realized that I was sitting here listening to the most famous song in rock n roll – Stairway to Heaven. I saw these two guys looking at each other on stage. I just laughed and said, “Holy fuck. We wrote Stairway to Heaven. Can you believe that?” I looked over to Evan, and Tony – my manager, sitting to my other side – and I said, “You know what? I want to be able to be on stage again and look at Twiggy and say ‘Holy fuck. We wrote Beautiful People!’” I wanted that look when I saw those guys. That was a big determining factor.
Alain, the guy who runs Wild Bunch is producing Phantasmagoria, was also with me. I turned to him and said “You know what, Alain I’m going to get Twiggy back in the band. What do you think of that?” and he said “It’s the greatest thing you could do in your career right now. I will fly to America and see every show on the tour.” There was no questioning it at that point.
The show went on and they played Kashmir and dry ice comes rolling off the stage and the lights come descending down into this big, purple metal spider and it sounded exactly as it should. It sounded perfect and I just declared immediately that this is almost as amazing as Evan’s vagina. The guy right next to me goes, “That must be some vagina.” Everybody was just blown away by Kashmir. They had me. I’m sold. I felt like I was at a piece of rock n roll history. I don’t really get a chance to go to many shows, and I was really blown away by them.
Tim Skold's departure
During his time in Marilyn Manson, Tim Skold has extended his role in the band from producer to almost the sole music composer on your last record. Taking this trend into account, few fans would have foreseen his abrupt exit at the end of the 2007 tour. Please tell us about the split and what this might mean for your future direction in music?
I wouldn’t consider it a split in the sense you can compare it to any previous band relationships, Tim became a very important fixture in Marilyn Manson with The Golden Age of Grotesque and he was a very important person for me in making Eat Me, Drink Me. I don’t know how he feels about me as a person, I know that the passion in the music making was there, I can hear it. I wasn’t so vulnerable that I would let someone do whatever they want. There should be no misconception that I just said ‘ok I’m going to sing and you can do what you want Tim‘, it wasn’t like that. He got me inspired and we wanted to do something different and I like working with him, so there is no problem with me and him. He may end up hating my guts but that’s not what I want, this is only about me and Twiggy. I just know that those two guys, I know there’s too much tension and history there, I don’t know, I can just imagine. I’m not afraid to feel selfish because I’m saying it’s the right thing for right now. I know it might of made more sense for me and Twiggy to get together to make a new record and then that could be what happens, but this is the record that Tim wrote.
When Jodorowsky read my tarot earlier this year and he said this year was going to be the most important year for me and he mentioned about my twin relationship with Evan, he also talked about my career and I was really going to really go some place and I didn’t feel I had really accomplished something as dramatic as he made it sound like with the record because I had felt like this is making a change in my life, but I think that’s what it was, it was me seeing him again before the end of the year, and every time he has read my tarot its been exactly right.
I am at the point where I am enjoying being Marilyn Manson, I am enjoying the fact I did not give up the greatest thing in my life for all the wrong reasons and I wouldn’t have even got to that place if I was still with my best friend, Twiggy. Its fate we ran into each other, everything happens for a reason when it comes to me and him, that’s how it all started it, its how Antichrist Superstar started, and its going to lead to greater things in the future. If Tim doesn’t hold all this against me and understands that it's not anything or any reflection upon him in any way, I’m not opposed to working with him, this has to happen right now with me and Twiggy and this is the only way it's going to happen. I had to have at least half of the balls that I did to break off my friendship with him and to have Tim play in my band, to get him back because that was one of the more regrettable things that I had in my life as a person, not even musically. I missed him and it was one of the best things that I could ever get back. It happens for a reason, we both know it and there’s now turning back now.
Left Over Tracks / Opening The Window
In the last interview, you and Tim had left over tracks, do you see that as something fell by the wayside with Twiggy in the picture?
I'm sure we're going to go in a different direction. He wrote the music so maybe he'll do something with it - the music is great. I didn't invest all of my end that I would put into the song to the point where it was that finished. But I don't know. I just feel like there is a big change happening now, which is good, because I always have to change, but I didn't expect this one. It's going to be the one. This one was the doorway to the one. Eat Me, Drink Me is opening the window and this is going to be the Hurricane Katrina.
Rape of The World Tour
How much will this next leg of the Rape of the World differ from your previous outings in the US with Slayer?
I don’t know how to describe how it’s going to be, but I know it’s going to be completely out of control. We are ready just being around each other getting so energized and feeding off each other like two little kids and we just want to destroy everything. We just started going down the list of what we want to play. It’s impossible to play all the songs we want to play. We started a list with Little Horn, 1996, Apple of Sodom… There will be a lot of stuff that for whatever reason we didn’t, couldn’t, or whatever. I can’t wait to play some of these old songs far more than being excited about playing new songs because they’ll feel like a completely different experience. It will be like the first time doing it again. If you could have a musical hymen restored… Twiggy is back to Twiggy and he said something that was really heartfelt to me. We had a lot of moments where -- I’m not afraid to say it, we got teared up -- If you think I’m a sissy, I’ll cut you.
He said, “I just wanted to let you know the reason why I did not use the name Twiggy outside of the band, it was out of respect for what we did together. It just didn’t belong anywhere else.” Now it’s back. It’s like a bad sexually transmitted disease. It’s all about suppression. There was no cure for Twiggy, and now I got it back again. Now I have to spread it to everyone else.
Full Blown AIDS | "Out of the butt and into the fuck"
Speaking of venereal diseases, can you comment at all on how “full blown AIDS” and “out of the butt, into the fuck” became inside jokes between you and your touring crew?
Two different places: We started watching a website called tourette's guy. I don’t really care if he really has tourette's. I personally think he sounds like me when I get drunk, because I say some very obscene and strange things that don’t make any sense. This guy just happened to say “We’re out of the butt, and into the fuck.” I caught it like airborne tourette's, because I couldn’t stop saying it. I have a bad habit of saying inappropriate things more than ever and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I need to embrace my disorder. I’m not mentally handicapped; I’m mentally handicap-able. I’m not going to name any names, but somebody in the band – not me – may or may not have contracted a curable, mild venereal disease by fornicating with several girls and didn’t – or did know – who gave it to him.
(Evan comments)I didn’t say Todd was going to take the drugs. He was just trying to find out so if they did find the drugs, he could keep us away from them. He’s a concerned citizen.
I didn’t say who it was! Evan is concerned and said, “He’s never going to get laid again.” It could have been anyone. It could have been someone who isn’t in the band anymore.
(More Evan comments)
I’m going to get laid. I appreciate your concern for his sex life. I travel with my personal pharmacist, Tackle Box Todd. He’s my cinematographer, but he also gives me psychological advice. I’m not saying it’s in the form of drugs or anything (Manson snickers). He’s really out there. When news broke about this alleged sexually transmitted disease amongst us gentlemen and Evan. I said, “You know what? If you’re going to do that, just get full blown aids.” That’s the new punk rock thing to do. You know, where do you go from here? We’ve done it all already. Not that curable, easy, goes away Magic Johnson AIDS that didn’t work or whatever – I mean full blown AIDS. I said to Todd, “I’ll give you $20,000 if you get AIDS” and he said “I’ll do it for thirty, and I’ll use the money to find a cure.” That’s how Todd thinks. He thinks on his feet. I like Todd so much because he stumbled into the venue at 9am with a bottle of absinthe in his hand and he said, “Do any of you know where I can find wireless internet and cocaine!?” He was just curious, he was taking a survey.
(Evan stares disapprovingly)
He’s my spiritual advisor, cinematographer and historian. He keeps track of ideas that I have for infomercials. He created an infomercial or two. He created the sex chair: I can’t really describe it to you, I’ll have you interview Todd sometime. He was there almost the entire tour. I was talking to Evan about something and I said, “…maybe on Antichrist Superstar.” He goes, “What’s that?” “Well, you know at the end of the show that thing where I’m on the podium with the banners.” “Yes, yes, of course.” I go, “Well that’s Antichrist Superstar.” “Is that a song or a record?” He’s not retarded or stupid or an asshole, he’s just in his own world. He has a rattle snake in his house, he invented the sex chair, brought laser tag to America. He’s a walking comedy.
I later made some other comment. Someone had mentioned drugs and I said, “Oh, I don’t like the drugs, but the drugs like me,” sarcastically, as if we haven’t heard it enough. Todd said “I like that, I like that! Who said that?” “I did.” Todd tells me “You should put that in a song!” That’s Todd. Todd also thinks that dinosaurs ate the black polar bears. He doesn’t understand why they don’t exist. Todd’s going to be thrilled.
Performing with Alice Cooper
Last year in Romania you performed Eighteen and Sweet Dreams with Alice Cooper. Some could say that a duet was inevitable. Was this your first time meeting?
We never met before and much like when I got to meet David Bowie, it was not a disappointment whatsoever. In fact, it was almost like Wayne’s World. He invited me into his dressing room and he was full blown Alice Cooper with makeup and a cane. I was nervous. It actually made me sweat a little and I know that he had a problem with me in the past. He's got some religious opinions now that really don’t coincide with me. He actually met my friend Rudy, the magician, on Halloween and they had a long talk. He gets it now for some reason, in a way he didn’t before. He asked me to come on stage and sing a song. I was kind of petrified and didn’t know what to do about it. The song that I would want to sing out of all of them is Eighteen. It’s my favorite one and that just so happened to be the third song in the set. I managed to pull up to the stage while the first verse was already playing, because the stage was a van ride away. He didn’t know I was coming. I said I really appreciate the offer and I’m very honored but I'm going to be too freaked out to do it. I would just rather watch the show. Then I said, you know what, fuck this man! When is this ever going to happen again? That's what you have to say from now on. So I run up there. He didn't know I was there and I started singing. No one knew what was going on, no one knew I was there. I'm glad it happened, it was great. I was happy because it wasn’t like we rehearsed it. I could care less if it was perfect, it was fun. It was a dream come true and we both enjoyed it. I came off the stage, went back, and was putting on the rest of my lipstick and everything.
He came into my dressing room and had on a bloody decapitation white shirt from a show and he said he thought I was great. He said, “Don't be surprised if I come on stage with you during the show,” in a very Alice Cooper voice. Somebody just said that maybe it should be [[Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)Sweet Dreams because no other song in the set would really work. He came up and started singing it. It was surreal. One of those moments you don’t really know if it's happening. I never really know what's happening if it’s real anyway but that's the good thing about being me.
Recently, you announced to a sold out crowd in Stockholm that the show was being recorded for a future DVD release. How did this come about, and were you the one who chose Stockholm as the show that would be recorded?
Well I think I said that to the audience because I have Stockholm syndrome. I get put in a cage every night after the show and they feed me full of drugs, make me dance around and entertain people like a monkey and I love them for it. When we were trying to just do a six camera shoot, maybe more than six - with proper ability to film the audience with cranes and all of that movie jargon, etc, etc. We've been filming all the shows, like I said, and everyone has a camera. I don’t want to have a boring DVD - such as, “Here’s song #1. Here’s song #2. Then here's some behind the scenes footage.” I want to have a video that makes you feel like you’ve experienced, even one day of my life, how it is now.
You know, I think it does say something for the way that people look at the world now. It feels more like you're there and you saw something that was very TV-style. If there was something when you're performing live on American Band Stand, but being recorded on a cell phone with some girl screaming next to you. You get punched, and it falls out of your hand. That to me is what I want the DVD to feel like. Although, I wouldn't hold up a phone at a concert. You know I got into a habit of taking people’s phones in the front row. Not taking them away, but I take them and talk on them while I'm singing. I grab them myself. I like it most when people don’t want to give me their phone, that’s always funny. I'm trying to get it from them anyway. Maybe I'll take a picture of my genitals, or maybe I'll scream into it at whoever they're talking to. I don’t do this to people using it for pictures, but people talking on their phone. Tell their mom that they are at a Marilyn Manson concert and ruin their lives. The people who don't want to give me their phone are my favorite, so I have to take it from them and I feel like a vagrant.
It's going to be fun. You're going to cry. You’re going to have a headache at the end and be sure to keep your pants on or your ass might be sore when you wake up. (Manson Laughs) It's exciting and that’s what I want to see. I mean, of course there's going to be music in it, but I don’t want to see that HBO special looking concert. I’m just not into it. I assume other people aren’t into it. I’ll film the whole thing with a cell phone and release it on VHS.
Replacing singles for more obscure tracks
Singles as a rule are created with radio play in mind and also to attract new fans. Do you feel that once you have fans that are willing to pay the admission to your show, that replacing the singles with more obscure tracks would be something you would consider?
Well, this is the way I look at the set list and I understand the question completely. The old-fashioned way of rock and roll, I suppose, was to go out there and play your show and play the singles so they'll buy the record. That used to be the old way. Record companies were still raking in the money and they were just making bands go out on the road and bust their ass. I never really had that problem because we never had to do that. Actually, that's how people bought our records, because they were on the radio, but the record company wasn't saying that - they're not that smart. I didn't care, I just wanted to break things and tear my face off, then smile about it. I think with the exception of the Lest We Forget tour, we're not really playing on this tour so many things - Especially the covers like Tainted Love, Personal Jesus and stuff like that. The songs that we're playing that are singles, I like to play because I like the way the audience responds to them. So the attitude behind the set list, for me, isn't motivated by trying to inspire new people to get into it because this is the catchy song.
It's kind of strange for me because when I see all these different reactions all over the world, I would expect in some ways people who don't understand so much the way I understand Heart-Shaped Glasses to not like it as much in the set list - next to Hate Anthem or something like that - because it is poppy sounding. However, it's ironic because the lyrics are very dark and violent in a subtle way. That song seems to get the rowdiest response in the weirdest countries. It's strange. I don't think about singles anymore. I don't think about making them anymore. I like the fact that people loved "If I Was Your Vampire" and the reason I opened up with that song is because it's long, and it's slow. It's exactly what I shouldn't do. That's why I do it. It works and I enjoy it.
Why change up Hate Anthem
I know everyone was skeptical, even myself, why change up Hate Anthem, why move that back in the set when that was the obvious opener, but it turned out at least to be my favorite in the set?
Thank you. For me it is too. And it's just a different approach. It wasn't 'Marilyn Manson is mellow now,' it was just setting the mood differently. Some of that comes not from wisdom or experience, but just from having a little bit different cinematic approach to a concert, in a way that's not like some kind of concept rock-opera type approach. Just in the way that sometimes the other songs, I find, have a different, or stronger impact when they happen at a different part of the show. It's that simple. You know, I wanted to open up with The Beautiful People. I was like, "Let's just get it out of the way. Let's just go balls deep." I'm going to guess that the set list is going to be quite different on this next leg. Quite different. Not in playing the new songs or anything like that. I can find potentially some other songs - And not even because Twiggy's playing, but I honestly miss playing This Is The New Shit as well as 1996 and Apple of Sodom. So it's going to be like seeing your high school girlfriend again and trying to figure out which hole you should use first.
Playing older songs
Are there are any songs in the catalog that you can see absolutely never playing again? A song like Kinderfeld, for instance, hasn't been played since 1997... Do you ever foresee playing songs like that?
One song I regret not playing is Target Audience we are going to rehearse - don't want to spoil anything.
Possibilty of a third single from EMDM
Is there a possibility for a third single on Eat Me, Drink Me, are there any music video ideas that haven’t made it to fruition yet?
Absolutely, there is a philosophy now that we’ve not exactly put in to effect publicly, but we’ve been working on it. Everybody has a camera now and for example I filmed this home shopping network and my commentary on it while I was drunk till about 10 in the morning in one country, I just want everything that happens to be videoed and at all times, good and bad, most of its going to be bad, in a good way. We started attaching cameras to Ginger and you know, I just wanted to see things from every possible point view. It’s not just a promise of some live DVD but I just want to start using the ability that we have now to show video immediately obviously on the internet. I just want to use it in the same way that I was frustrated that I couldn’t four years ago because I wanted to do the same thing, it was my initial impetus for wanting to do Phantasmagoria, I wanted to make short films and I wanted to show them, that’s what got me into the concept but I was frustrated because the technology wasn’t as good as it is now. Even back when I used to put clips with my journal postings during The Golden Age Of Grotesque, I enjoyed doing that simply for my own pleasure to do them, I have ideas and I just want to do it and I know it’s an additional way to communicate the whole frame of mind I’m in. So if it helps people understand things more if that’s what they are looking for, or if it makes them offended or amused, or makes them think or whatever it is, its an outlet that I like and I want to take advantage of that now. It seems like everything is happening for a reason.
Ginger is a great drummer but he’s also an amazing piano player and he writes great songs. He wrote stuff that unfortunately was kind of vetoed out, not by me so much, and I think he didn’t get the chance that he could have to write some songs for Eat Me, Drink Me. He played the piano arrangements in the Remix for Putting Holes in Happiness, it’s really fantastic. He started drinking, he’s always been a full blown rock star, crazy person but we all realized that first of all: life is short, this only happens once. Who knows if it's going to happen again. Everything is lined up so we are all on fire.
In the past I loved to do things visually. It wasn’t so essential for me and it really didn’t strike me as something that I wanted to do first and foremost on Eat Me, Drink Me. I didn’t feel like attaching imagery to the music so much whether it be videos or photographs or anything, the record had feelings that didn’t, I didn’t know how to put pictures to it, except the ones that are on the record, the one on the back of the record is the one that represents the record the most, the knife. I’m in a different place because this years over, and I’m in a different place because now I’ve got so much inspiration for every reason, especially Twiggy, but with everybody I think that there is going to be so much creativity coming from everybody. I really hope and plan on keeping this a band now, and I think that Rob’s an amazing guitar player and he’s very creative song writing wise, and of course I think me and Twiggy just getting back together the songs are just going to come piling out, they have been built up for too long.
And Chris, heaven forbid NIN fans don’t want to believe it, but Chris is responsible for a lot of what people like about the sonic sound of NIN, the drum sounds, the sample and such. He did a lot of the work and he didn’t get the creative credit. Chris is very talented as a drummer but also the keyboard player; because he started out as a keyboard player.
Chris Vrenna at times might be unfairly viewed by the casual fan as not much more than a stand-in, not realizing that you have a history dating back over a decade ago. Chris has played drums and keyboards on your last two tours respectively proving himself to be a versatile and talented musician. At present, do you see him becoming a more permanent facet of Marilyn Manson?
I want him to be, if for some reason Ginger couldn’t have recovered from playing drums I would have wanted Chris to stay in the band as a drummer because he’s a friend, but I wanted Ginger back. Chris is the first person I thought of to call when Pogo freaked out on us because Chris he actually plays keyboards, and what fans probably don’t know, and I don’t mean it to be a demystifying interpretation of my history, because I’m not saying its any better or any worse, but Chris doesn’t play sampled loops of parts of the songs. He’s into keyboard melody, Whatever it might be, Dope Show the little keyboard melody and the in-between the versus he played it, where as Pogo would play samples and that’s not because he couldn’t play it, Pogo was creative and he never touched a keyboard before I met him and he figured out how to use it and I think he knows completely, probably more than normal piano players, all of the in and outs of it. For whatever reason live, if it was because of energy, or I don’t know what, he didn’t play as much as a keyboardist, so much as someone with just a sampler.
I’ve known Chris the whole way and I don’t know if people get it enough from reading my autobiography, or if you didn’t read it then your listening to this. Chris was the one who ended up sticking by me when there was a complete melt down during Antichrist Superstar, and Chris recorded every single vocal of mine on Antichrist Superstar, and that’s why I sometimes get pissed, and not for my ego, but for the fact Chris doesn’t get credit and people think oh well Trent is the guy behind everything on that record, I feel that Chris deserves some credit for it.
So I hate people that think Chris is a stand in, for a lot of reasons because Chris doesn’t reinterpret the parts, he plays them exactly how they where on the album, but he plays them in a more difficult way but it actually to me it sounds more live, like a live band and it sounds more like the record. What people don’t know is that Chris was involved in a lot of those keyboards, there’s a lot of stuff that Chris did keyboard wise on Antichrist Superstar, on Portrait Of An American Family. I met Chris same day I met Trent and I helped Chris throw up into a beer can, which I don’t even know how you do that, on our Way to see U2. The first time I was in LA, I met Axl Rose and mentioned something about Charles Manson songs that he had never heard of and then he did that Charles Manson cover a year later.
Axl Rose of GNR
On the subject of Axl: What’s your take on the revival of GNR and Axl being the only original member left?
I don’t know a lot of details about it. Sean Beavan, who mixed EAT ME, DRINK ME, and worked on all our records for the most part -- except Holywood -- was working on that for like 2 years. I saw the comeback thing and I don’t really know what to make of it. I have seen the Velvet Revolver side of it and the Buckethead Guns N’ Roses side of it. I saw Guns N’ Roses on the Appetite for Destruction tour. It’s really sad to say -- and kids I’m not trying to make any sort of suggestion here, but a lot of people are not as good when they stop doing drugs. I was singing Welcome to the Jungle karaoke last night on my birthday and I had leather pants on.
When did this meeting take place?
When I met him, that was before Portrait came out, it was before I was fined? I think. It was when I did the Gave Up video with Trent. Quite honestly -- and I’m not insinuating anything -- but at the time I was a little uncomfortable. He didn’t really know me, and he’s like, “Hey I will fly you out to LA. You can play guitar in my video and you can stay with me.” I said I don’t play guitar, that’s ok man don’t worry about it. I felt like I could have woken up with a sore anus, but I didn’t, the jury’s out on that one.. I am not suggesting anything. At the time I was a little intimidated, but then when I got there I realized I’m a good 4ft taller than him, so it was fine.
Having Chris and Twiggy and yourself who have all had far more interaction with Trent Reznor, are you all having a realization about the mixed position of credit on certain things?
Well not me, but I see it with those guys, Chris will be forever traumatized by how there relationship ended up, and I cant speak for it, he has no animosity it’s a part of his life he wants to be proud of, but I don’t think considers it any fond memories. I don’t have any animosity and I don’t really have bad memories as such, I just feel like, and Twiggy probably feels a bit like somehow in some weird part of someone’s head the idea of Chris was playing in my band was some sort of challenge and I think that definitely might of fed into, you can ask Twiggy why he joined NIN but honestly I don’t think so. I don’t think about that kind of stuff, I’m like this guys my friend and I really didn’t even think about that about Twiggy because when I think of Twiggy I think of Marilyn Manson and I think that he was doing something else because he’s a musician and rock star and he wanted to do something. I tried to get him a job as a guitar player in NIN before he was in my band, when he was still in Amboogalard, he wanted to be in NIN, but who wouldn’t want to be at the time. But now things are different and we have been through a lot together, so it must be strange to go back into that, what’s cool is, its not strange for those two guys and me to be together that’s the weird opposite part. I don’t know about the kind of conclusions you can make about what it's like being in NIN. I’m not saying it’s a big picnic in Marilyn Manson but we are having fun and we are happy that we are still friends and can stand together and enjoy it knowing that we can destroy things and remind the world who invented trauma. If Marilyn Manson is a black rainbow, hopefully there is a gigantic pot of burning naked women at the end of it because I would like everyone to get a reward after the show.
Last August, Pogo came forward with a multimillion dollar lawsuit claiming a breach of contract and unpaid royalties. Said lawsuit went much further than the case itself -- detailing a grocery list of items you've purchased in the last several years. At this point, how do you respond to Pogo's allegations?
First of all, I don’t think any of those items, whether they are true or not can be purchased at a grocery store. To start with, if you just look at the paperwork that is there now – not all of it is, but what is there. This whole dispute in a legal sense has nothing to do with any of the things that are being said about me. It's really a case about accounting. That's the legal side of it. That is what I know first of all. So it hurts me to know that he would actually go there. You know? He must really have some reason to dislike me that I don’t think has anything to do with money. I don’t know because I haven’t talked to him since October 31st of last year. I think he really crossed the line in a way that truly makes me sad, because I didn’t ask for this relationship between him and I to turn out this way. I don’t know what he's thinking because he stopped communicating with me so I can’t explain it. I'm not going to assume and I’m not going to suggest. I just want people to know that whether he likes to admit it or not, he did not return my phone calls. I was paying his phone bill, I saw the bills so I know that his phone was working. I don't know what he was thinking. I just know he was not in the dark about the record being made. For example, we did an interview months and months before the record and to allege that we did it secretly is absurd. Not to mention in the same way that I said I wish Twiggy was around, it was a time in my life where I could have really used a best friend - Someone that I've known for so long.
My point being, that John and I saw things a different way, but it's nice that we can talk. We had a very nice conversation today and he was very happy to hear that Twiggy was back. That's what he called to tell me, aside from wishing me a Happy Birthday. It just says a lot. He's a stand-up person and it meant a lot to me. But still, he eats his own cum. I told him that. He won’t deny it.
Aside from all this, I'm not blaming him. It just makes me really sad that when I was down in my worst place, not only did he decide to turn his back, but then go ahead and kick me while I was down. I have no grudges. I just think people can look at it and see that it's really absurd. It's truly, truly absurd. Musicians have a hard time making money when it comes to record labels. The only thing that really helps a musician be able to do this as a living is by being a songwriter. As creative as Pogo has been in the past, or not been in the past, he is not a songwriter. One song that he wrote for the most part, which is an amazing song is Cryptorchid. He’s participated, but unfortunately he did not play the keyboards on The Golden Age of Grotesque, I did. It wasn’t because I wanted to. It was because even then for whatever reason… I can't explain it because I can't speak for him. He didn’t want to be there, or wasn't there. I’m not trying to take credit for it as much as saying I was inspired, I had a good time and I liked playing the keyboards. I don’t want to be a keyboard player though. I don’t really have a way to explain the situation other than it caught me very much by surprise. All I can say is, I assure people that at no point in our entire relationship as friends or as professionals, did I ever, ever take or hold anything, or spend his money. It couldn’t be more the opposite. It’s just sad that I would have done anything for the guy and I really don’t know why he decided to stab me in the back.
First of all, it is shock value. You have to think, “OK, you're Marilyn Manson.” To assume that I have 20 million dollars to begin with is really ridiculous. You know, I could brag and try to pretend by wearing some jewelry or something. But you know, let’s be serious. I should be entitled to buy things, shouldn't I? It’s just purely for the shock value. It's like he spent his money on baboons and this and that, and blah, blah, blah. I really don’t understand why he thinks it has anything to do with him. I really don’t. It doesn’t. I don’t want to get into it further, other than to say, what do you people think that I would spend my money on? Am I not allowed to buy anything? (Manson laughs)
I don’t know - I just work my hardest and I think I know the guy that's in that band Marilyn Manson, but I'm not sure. I know somebody that knows him. It just strikes me as, “What do you spend your money on?" "I don’t know." My only concern is taking care of my family. Other than that, I live in a hotel now, with a new cat. Two cats, a hotel and I'm happy. It's not because I'm destitute because I’m frivolous at times. Right now I'm going to order Caviar and set it on fire, film it and throw the videotapes into the street. The idea that the lawsuit says I spent the money on Phantasmagoria - I hadn’t even started filming it yet, beside the fact that I wouldn't pay for it myself. I mean, I would if I had to, but that right there is absurd. Then the newest one, that I somehow spent his money on paying Evan to be in Heart-Shaped Glasses. I think he made it pretty clear he wasn't involved in that record, so how does it have anything to do with him? I think it’s a lot about shock value. People thought that would work with the Security Guard. The problem is when you walk into a courtroom - the people that sit on that jury, I like to think, are just like me because I don’t think I am above anyone else. I feel like I work very hard for my money. People are not going to sit there, no matter what you say about me and tolerate somebody demanding money that is absurd and completely uncalled for. My mom and my dad, I have to take care of first and foremost. No one is going to come between them and I. I just think that's uncalled for. He crossed a line and that’s worse than anyone else that has sued me. It was never as personal and as out of nowhere.
He never heard Eat Me, Drink Me. Yeah, I remember calling and being like, "Hey, we're remixing the record in a week or so. I really want you to come over and play on it or at least hear it.” “Hey we're doing album artwork and we can't do a band photo since you decided not to respond." Then even up to the point of "Hey, we're doing the video.” No phone call. So, you know, it wasn’t my choice. As much as everyone likes to think I'm a dick, and I am, but I wasn't a dick to him. In fact, that leads me to my strange day today. I spoke to John5 and Mark Chaussee. They both called me to say Happy Birthday, with absolutely no hard feelings there. In fact, if John 5 will not be a pussy and lower his guitar strap down a little bit more, I'll have him come on stage and play songs with us this first show. It would practically be the Holy Wood lineup.
Vision for Phantasmagoria
Do you feel that the experience of making a new record and touring again for the first time in four years might have changed your initial vision for Phantasmagoria? How has this 'hiatus'--if you can call it that--affected you creatively?
Well I am glad that I did it, because where I came out of my head space in regards to music after the Lest We Forget tour I wanted to believe that I could feel the same way and accomplish things as effortlessly, that’s not really the proper word because its not like its easy to perform and do what I do but it feels exactly like what I’m supposed to be doing. I thought I could transfer all of that into movies seamlessly and I did not come off of Lest We Forget in the feeling in the right frame of mind, I wasn’t believing in myself as much as I thought or tried to convince myself I was.
Evans had amazing success this year with all of her projects and Across The Universe getting a Grammy nomination and a golden globe, that didn’t hurt at all with the desire to make the budget bigger for the film. Wild Bunch is so supportive and have always believed in me, they want me to have everything I need to make the best movie I can make, and I feel like I can make the movie now so I am excited to do it. I have been writing again because I want to write, I wouldn’t call it a sequel, I just want to make a book, it doesn’t have to be considered an autobiography but I just got stories to tell.
Coming out with this tour and when I finish this and I go and make my movie, its going to make for a better movie because I feel stronger physically, mentally, focused, more confident. I’ve got more Ideas. I got time to step away from the script, and still I love it and I can’t wait to do it. It’s even in a greater place now because, asides from the writers strike, that works out with the tour so, it looks like we are going to do it, I wont say when because movies are very unpredictable they get moved around, but when the tours done, May, June I don’t know, but in Europe, Prague, most of it in Prague, maybe some of it in Romania.
Book of aphorisms and coffee-table book
You've said in our previous interview that you were possibly releasing a book of aphorisms and a coffee-table book full of your paintings. What is the status of these projects?
Well, now I’ve got an art deal that's been organizing all these art shows and so we've kind of shifted gears about how we're going to do the art book. I’m glad, because it is going to be done by a commercial publishing company, the company that did my autobiography and they will be doing it proper. I’m glad because I've got more paintings and before I was just in a hurry to replace music in my life. I was trying to focus more on all those things and now I feel like I can do them all and have the time to do them all. I can do them better when I can figure out which time is for what. The aphorisms, I thought I would just combine them with my stories in a way that I think and how I write in my journals. It might be scattered but it will not be boring.
The Celebritarian Gallery of Fine Art
Your paintings have recently been in several exhibitions throughout the world with great success in terms of exposure and acclaim. What is the status of your own gallery, , and do you feel that the name and idea behind it is still applicable in your refreshed state of mind?
Well, what I discovered with getting a gallery is that it is a little bit similar to having a record label. It doesn't suit an artist properly. It's the other side of the brain. What I like about having my gallery is that the whole world can come to it. I was very thrilled because at this point, I've had an exhibit at the Volksbühne Theatre where the Threepenny Opera was performed for the first time. I went there and I sang the Alabama Song and got to put my paintings there. It's a very historic building in relationship to Berlin and Weimar Republic. I got to do another art show in the hotel where the Nazi Gestapo's set up their headquarters when they were trying to destroy degenerate art. So the irony of me putting my work there - I don't think there is anyone who is going to call it, not degenerate. So I was already happy then. Then I got to do a show in Moscow which was amazing. It wasn't a historical place or anything, but the last one was in Zurich at the Cabaret Voltaire, and that is the birthplace of Dada. That was a big deal. It's different. I was happy with the success of my paintings and having an art show, but is it different? It's not so much for me about ego or pride, as much as it is about figuring out where I belong as a painter. It's not like the music world. Of course I could show my paintings and tons of fans of music would show up. They could be fans of art too, but it's not about selling the paintings. It's about establishing yourself and being recognized by the world of art people. Saying that, it almost makes me cringe, because it sounds like a group of pretentious assholes. It's more about people who understand the history and if they have the respect to put me in a place where Marcel Duchamp was. Places where I'm in a gallery where Warhol is, or even someone contemporary - Damien Hirst - Whoever it might be. That is the highest compliment. It's not about Marilyn Manson.
I was confused and shocked, actually, that for some strange reason, Dita was demanding some of my paintings. But the part that was so fucked up is that she didn't even remember or care about the one's I painted as gifts to her. She asked for the painting, through lawyers, of Evan Rachel Wood. First off, there are two paintings, and second they are not mine anymore. I gave them to Evan as gifts. I'm sure the fact that I had not painted in a year and the first thing that inspired me was Evan, but what does that even mean? So I have never regretted my own art, but I'd rather burn a painting than give it to someone who has absolutely no emotional feelings for something that I put my heart into. Bled into. So you can figure it out, because I have no idea what sort of sick fucking reason someone would ask for something like that. Artless. I'm tired of hearing that Evan is trying to be like someone who is essentially irrelevant in our lives. If you wear red lipstick you're trying to be like her. Well, news flash. I wear red lipstick. Evan has been asked to dye her hair dark for a Darren Aronofsky movie. And I'm sure that there will be some pathetic attempt to make it seem like an actress, a great actress, gives a fuck about some worthless piece of shit who thinks that they are the center of the universe. We are across.
Art is very subjective and this is something that I've felt proud about. I don't feel like I've gotten to the point as a painter that I can't get better. I think the more you do something, you get better. Art is about - You either like it or you don't. People don't like a painting because I painted it. If it sucks and I painted it, they're not going to like it. Unless they say they like it as a fan and they feel obligated to. With music, there is different feelings behind it. You know, someone else could sing The Beautiful People or I could sing someone else's song, but there is something different attached to the person who is doing it. I guess it's that living part of a person involved in it. In many ways... Personality among other things. Art is something that is done. It's not a product, it's separate. It's more personal and it's just different. I learned something from that and it made me make this record different. I made this record thinking I wanted to write songs that would really reach people if they didn't know it was me. So I wanted to sing and not have my personality be so involved in it so much as you hear it and then you get my personality. I learned that from my painting. It's because I paint people mostly, I suppose. I paint people I meet, or a person that is a mystery to me, or someone that I'm obsessed with. I didn't make songs in the same way like that. It's a real misnomer when people think this record is more personal, because it's always personal. This one is just a little more exposed. You can see where it's coming from more, but it's not more personal. I just let down the wall.
Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma
During Golden Age of Grotesque, you drew inspiration from a controversial film entitled Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma based on DeSade's writings. How did you feel after watching this film for the first time?
I have no great desire to watch it again. I'll put it that way. I have unfortunately watched it maybe four or five times because I showed it to people who I wanted to see it in a cinematic point of view, because it's not simply shocking. Some of the things that are most shocking in it aren't the obvious underage nudity, feces-eating - it's the crying moments, the emotional ones. The one guy who has a gaming eye, that's a little crooked - that guy is really disturbing. Not because of his eye, but because it's so offensive, that it really made me feel empathy. I don't know if that was the intention of the book when it was written, but I highly doubt it. I think it was more of a social commentary. I don't think it was meant to be purely offensive. I think that the film, however, definitely wanted to make a statement. The statement was definitely made clear in several subtle moments when they had the Dada paintings not hung on the wall. These decadent, rich people could have whatever they want. They could have these children eating feces but they were completely artless. They were savages treating proper human beings like animals. I think that is what Pasolini's point was. The fact that he was run over and murdered for making that film also makes it really disturbing. It had a lot of really offensive things, but it also had some very beautiful, genius film-making moments. The way that he used the score, it was played by a woman with a piano who was part of the scene. I also used a version of it, Billy Holiday's, I believe, on my website back then and it was a very obscure reference. But she's playing this song that starts off proper and then the next time it's her playing it in a minor key and then it starts to get a little more dissonant - and then she jumps out of the window. I thought that was genius.
At the moment are there any films -- for instance, you mentioned that Irreversible had something to do with what you're doing now?
It was definitely an influence, just in an inspirational way. I saw that during the making of 'Golden Age Of Grotesque' and I actually became friends with the director, Gasper Noe and the cinematographer is going to be the cinematographer in my film, Phantasmagoria which I'm really excited about. I wouldn't site that film so much as Trouble Every Day and a great film I just watched, Time of the Wolf, The Hunger, Bonnie and Clyde, True Romance were films that inspired me during Eat Me, Drink Me and my current mindset. They're movies that I wouldn't have thought in the past would have inspired me. Well, The Hunger maybe is a bit easier to associate with me, but I wouldn't have expected the other two to be inspirations like they were. I've started to see the darkness in places that I didn't see it before. I have a better ability than what I have in the past - which isn't hard to say - to clear a room at a party with my sense of humor. People that don't know me find me a little hard to handle and I think that's funny. I didn't realize that and Evan mentioned to me last night, "You scared those people out of here" and I'm like, "What did I do?" She's like, "Don't you remember when you met Hunter S. Thompson?" And I was like, "Oh, I get it."
Hunter S. Thompson
When was the last time you spoke with Hunter S. Thompson?
Well, it's kind of sad - I could tell you a lot about my whole relationship with him, but I did a painting of him, which I gave to Johnny Depp because I didn't know of anyone else that should have it. I painted that the day that I heard he died. The sad part of that besides him dying, was that I became some sort of strange, late-night, phone friend. I was his comrade on the phone and he would call me. I suppose it's because we had the same hours. He called me, 'Shit-Eyes.' "Hey Shiteyes!" he would say. We would get drunk on the phone and talk about all sorts of amazing things that I'll wait to write about because they are too good to trivialize in a sentence because he was such an amazing, genius mind.
He was going to come to LA and he wanted to film me doing his portrait. He was going to do a spoken word vocal over one of the tracks, it could have been Eat Me Drink Me - for all I know, what would have happened at that point? That was a week before he died. It would have been really great. For some reason he took a liking to me and he told Johnny that I'm the only person he was afraid of, which is quite an honor. The last I saw him face to face is the Polaroid I took of him, which is what I based the painting off of. He had handcuffs around his neck and he was upset. He was in some sort of squabble and I said, "What's wrong?" He looked at me and said, "Love's a prison." That was my last face to face with him.
In what ways has Hunter inspired you reflecting back on when you knew him?
He was an amazing writer. I couldn't ever attempt to be what he did in writing. I could attempt to be as crazy as he was, but he had such an art to his insanity. He and Salvador Dali are the only people who I can aspire to grow up to be like. He sent me a copy of his very last book and I can't remember the exact description, but it said, "Beware of the flag-eaters. They will try to eat your heart and your soul, but your soul is unclean, so they won't" or something like that. Everything he said was poetry. To get to the point in life to be able to collaborate with someone like him or Jodorowsky, I feel like at this point, "Just put me down. Just take me to the vet, I'm done."
Are there any film-makers now that you'd like to work with?
A lot. Julie Taymor. She was a large inspiration for The Golden Age Of Grotesque. I met her and we got along really well. Evan seems to think that we are similar because we operate in the same way. That's some sort of a compliment to me because I think she's a genius. I'm jealous because Evan is going to be in the new Darren Aronofsky film and I think he makes amazing movies. Right now, the person I want to work with the most is Twiggy.
Current state of the music industry
With the recording industry in shambles, certain high profile artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have favored a strictly online venue to selling their music. Certain artists are providing people the option of paying what they want for a record. How do you feel about the current state of the music industry and this new approach to selling music?
I think that Prince really pioneered that concept the best but it just wasn’t at the time of the technology and of the audience to understand it. I think he was the first. I wish I could have that luxury and that's the difference. Radiohead and NIN have been freed from their slavery of the record label. I don’t have that luxury. I have a record contract. Anyone who is just starting a band can go make a website and sell their own song. Someone that has been making music for years would love to do that but they just can't because they are under a record contract. That's the one thing I hope people on the outside can see. I would love nothing more than to do that - not even because of the money, the record industry, or specifically my record company. I know you've heard Trent complain it's the same record company, but I'm not going to fight for the same reasons. I just don’t think they understand what to do with me and I think they've proven that very well. I think that they always want to take what I give them and make it a watered down version. It’s not what I give them and I think that then they're surprised about that. First of all, you can water down what I do and give it to the radio or MTV and they are still not going to walk away with a good taste in their mouth. I try to explain to them to just give people what they want, which is what I created. Smells Like Children is a good example. I can’t give you enough examples and that's why my soul has been removed from the whole concept of making music videos. They tear out everything that people want. They don't understand that I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t me. They want to tone me down so that I can be more like new bands that they’ve shown my record to and said, “Be like this, but not so scary.”
It’s a fucked up world. I'm not bitter about it, just tired of it. That was half the reason I didn’t want to make music anymore. I'm not discouraged because I think, first of all, my motivation has never been to make money. It's been to be able to do this, have this be how I survive and how I live. I never asked for much and I just want to do this and enjoy it. The way that I enjoy music the most is performing live and record companies can’t put their hands on that. That makes me happy, so that's one thing that really makes me smile when it’s all over with. I can control that. The only people that can stop me are the Police. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, I really don’t. I'm going to make the most extreme possible record that they could never want from me. It's going to be the best thing and they'll figure out every way possible for it to not be a hit. But have I ever wanted to be a hit? No! Who wants to be right next to, Rhianna and Jessica Simpson? I don’t want that. I want people to hear it. I’m not trying to pretend I want to be the secret that's in the closet. People come to the show and that is something these other bands that are on MTV that play one video a day don’t know about. That's something that you really have to earn and that's what fans are really about. That’s something that I’m really happy about and I’m very lucky that I have that much dedication from people who like what I do.
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