Video Interview:2001/08/20 O'Reilly Factor
Marilyn Manson on the O'Reilly Factor
Introduction: Thanks for staying with us, I'm Bill O'Reilly, and in the Children At Risk segment tonight, we continue our reporting on the corrosive effects of the popular music world on some American children. Marilyn Manson has sold almost 5 million records since 1995, and has delivered some shocking concert appearances. I talked with him last wednesday, and one day later, authorities issued a warrant for his arrest for lewd conduct on stage. Manson denies it, but there is no denying, that he is a strange and some say "disturbing" force in the pop world.
Bill O'Reilly: What's your message? What are you trying to get across in the lyrics to these songs?
Marilyn Manson: It's always about being yourself, and not being ashamed of being different or thinking different. I try to take everyone's ideals, common morals, flip them around, make people look at them differently, question them. So you're not always taking things for granted.
O: Alright, noble. But why the bizarre getup? I mean, why the eye, why the nail polish, why this satan stuff? You're a minister in the church of satan, right?
M: No, not necessarily. That was something earlier.
O: Publicity stunt?
M: No, no. It was a friend of mine, who's now dead, who was a philosopher that I thought I learned a lot from. And that was a title that I was given, and a lot of people made a lot out of it.
O: Yeah, but I mean look, if you're a reverend in the church of satan...?
M: It's not a real job. I didn't get paid for it.
O: But why? If you wanna get those kids, those lonely kids, and you want them to be creative, and burst out of that, why the bizarre presentation? Which can be misinterpreted.
M: Well, I think everybody's got a presentation. Everybody' looks a certain way because they wanna convey a certain image. You look a certain way because you want people to listen to you in a certain way.
O: Are you an exhibitionist?
M: I'm kinda shy. And I think I take that out by performing in front of a lot of people, that's how I get out my shyness, so in some ways...
O: But you've done some pretty bizarre things on stage, I mean they tell me you engaged with a sex act with another man on a stage in Miami. Is that true?
M: To a certain degree. To a certain degree. It wasn't so much a formal sex act, no one was aroused [chuckle].
O: But why did you do that, why would you do that?
M: Somebody ran on stage and pulled down their pants, so rather than let them make a laugh out of me, I grabbed them and turned the joke around on them. My parents were in the audience, and...
O: Your parents were in the audience?
M: And I introduced my father to the gentleman that came on stage. So my father approved of it, I don't see it to be that shocking.
O: But it was shocking.
M: It was entertaining. To me.
O: To you?
M: To me.
O: But if kids saw that, if they saw you simulating, or actually doing whatever happened, a sex act with another man maybe they would go out and do it to.
M: Well I can't be blamed for something like that. You'd have to blame Richard Simmons, and Liberachi, and people like that [chuckle]. I don't encourage people to choose any sort of sexuality, but I think I just try an entertain people. That's an odd example, because it was a rare occasion, someone ran on stage and took off their clothes, it's not something that I would normally do. I thought it was funny to me at the time [laugh].
O: Do you have a stand on sex? Do you encourage kids to have sex?
M: No, I don't. I do have a lot of sexual imagery in my performance, but I don't think it's ever encouraging anyone to have sex, I think I just show my own sexuality but I don't think I've ever really written about having sex or anything like that.
M: I think that's another thing that parents should be deciding.
O: Okay, but remember now, a lot of kids, don't have parents that really care about them.
M: Sure, sure.
O: And those kids tend to gravitate to people like you, who they see.
M: If some kid, if a kid asked me, "Should I have sex?" I'd say, "How old are you?" And I'd say, "Well, I lost my virginity when I was 16, so there's my inspiration to you."
M: And I would've tried sooner, but I just couldn't find any girls that liked me.
O: You're a pretty well-spoken guy, yet in your records you use a lot of F-word, a lot of swearing, and this and that. Again, is it necessary to get your message across to use that kind of language? You use the sexual imagery, you use the shocking physical appearance, you've done some bizarre things on stage, and you use profanity. All that necessary?
M: Sometimes. I think sometimes when you're making a point I don't think my lyrics are over-laced with profanity, because I myself don't speak using a lot of profanity in normal conversation. But I think when you're making something aggressive, and you need to get a point across, if you're angry, sometimes profanity is necessary. It's better to use a curse word than to hurt somebody else, I find.
O: You can take some of your lyrics, as, you know, "You'll understand when I'm dead". I mean, disturbed kids could take the lyrics and say, you know, "When I'm dead everybody's gonna know me."
M: Well I think that's a very valid point, and I think that that's a reflection of, not necessarily this program but of television in general, if you die, and enough people are watching, then you become a martyr. You become a hero. You become well-known. So, when you have things like Columbine, and you have these kids that are angry, and you have something to say, no one's listening, the media sends a message that, if you do something loud enough, and it gets our attention, then you will be famous for it. Those kids ended up on the cover of TIME magazine, the media gave them exactly what they wanted. And, that's why I never did any interviews when that happened, when I was getting blamed for it, because I felt that, I would be contributing to what I found to be, reprehensible.
O: So you don't believe that your songs, reflect any kind of suicide wish, or anything like that.
M: No. I feel that my songs talk about getting through feelings like that.
O: What do your parents think of you?
M: My parents, you know, at first weren't sure what I was doing. They wanted me to be a writer. I started out as a journalist. I still feel that I am a journalist, in a way, because I see things, and I report them back to people, in my own fashion, in songs or in interviews. My mom was always a big fan of Elvis, she made me listen to Elvis as a kid, I hated it. And I think now I've kind of, grown up to fill in some of the, sort of controversy that he created back in his day. But in a much more extreme, modern sense.
O: Never before, in the history of this country, have so many corrupting influences descended upon children at one time.
O: And that most children, don't understand what you're doing, and why you're using the F-word, and why you're acting bizarre. And this could be very, very troubling to children who don't have direction, who don't have responsible parents.
M: Anything can be misinterpreted. People can look at Christ on a cross and think, "This is an image of murder. This is violent. This has sexual imagery in it." And, it just, I think it's my job as an artist to be our there, pushing people's buttons, and making them question everything. And I respect you for challenging me. And that's why I came on the show.