Interview:1996 Anti-Christ Superstar: Rev. Marilyn Manson

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Anti-Christ Superstar: Rev. Marilyn Manson
1996 The Black Flame Vol6 N1-2 page-0001.jpg
Photos: Joseph Cultice
Interview with Marilyn Manson
Date 1996
Source The Black Flame Vol. 6, #1&2
Interviewer Jeffrey W. Nagy

DID THE HORRIFYING CIRCUS just hit town? Nope, it's just Marilyn Manson and friends here to take over (at least for a couple hours). Then off to another town to dominate. This newest rock icon isn't just playing the Devil's game without taking the Devil's name, in fact, he's the musical Anti-Christ smashing all conceptions of the behavior of typical rock and roll.

Seeing the intense show in San Francisco, one would figure his demeanor would be that of an ego-inflated weirdo. Such isn't the case. After the show, my wife and I went into a very calm, blue bus to meet with this showman, and to my delight I found a very modest, fan-appreciating gentleman.

Two months later, during a telephone interview, I was granted unprecedented access to and through the mask collectively known as Marilyn Manson. Here he is for you, dear reader: the man, the myth, the new icon.

JN: Where did the name Marilyn Manson derive from?

MM: Six years ago, when I was writing, I used a pen name. This pen name described my personality and what I grew up admiring - Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. Both were icons for different reasons. They both reached opposite extremes. This is something I have always felt in my own character - opposite extremes, dichotomy, diametrically opposed archetypes. I grew up reading Nietzsche, Crowley, LaVey. In such, Satanism seemed right to me. "Marilyn Manson" is Satanic in its mystery.

JN: Do you feel Satanism is incorporated into your music?

MM: Not overtly - subconsciously. I have to thank LaVey for inspiration. I incorporate Satanic philosophy, more times subtly than others. It gets across the philosophy without the name "Satanism." After people get close to me, I let them know of my affiliation with the Church. The band isn't overt with symbolism of Satanism, no upside-down crosses or Baphomets. I have been more outspoken about Satanism the last year or so, and the fans seem to understand the philosophy. The music is very eclectic, always taken from everywhere. It's kind of a "Willy Wonka" world: the visual concepts, always creating art - such as body art, always expressing what's on my mind. It's very ritualistic. The concert is Satanic. Just by being in the audience, you are entering my own personal Satanic ritual. However, I'm not a salesman for the Church of Satan. I get adrenal energy from the crowd, and they get it from me. This energy motivates me, makes me feel completely vital on stage. After the show, I feel drained and have no more emotion, which is the exact prescription for a ritual in The Satanic Bible. I've found performing to be the most powerful thing I've tapped in to.

JN: What of this new movie that you and Twiggy are involved in?

MM: Yes, it's the new David Lynch movie, called "Lost Highway." In this movie, I have a pornographic scene with Patricia Arquette. It's a ménage à trois. David Lynch is kind of sketchy. He works completely with people's imagination. It ends up being a "snuff" film for me, because I end up dying in the movie, naked in a puddle of blood. David Lynch was talking about using some of our songs from our new EP in the movie. It was a great honor to be involved with the project. I've always been a big fan of his. Acting is something I'd like to get more involved in. It stirs something inside; it gives me a new way to express myself.

JN: Are you Marilyn Manson?

MM: Yes and no. It represents different sides of my personality. Marilyn Manson is the more animalistic side of myself, as in lycanthropy. This transformation can happen anywhere, usually on stage. It could happen in bed. Then again, it might not. My fans are Marilyn Manson. They give me power. My motto is "I am you." We are the embodiment of disbelievers, the Anti-Christs, if you will. In the end, it's Marilyn Manson.

JN: How have your experiences been with Dr. LaVey?

MM: Flattering, exciting-an interesting person to meet, inspirational-wise. I've had a lot of great conversations with him. I have listened to him play music at his house. I felt like a part of his family, as if he were a father figure to me. People have often asked me "What Satanic is music? Is it just what Dr. LaVey plays?" Yes it is, and no it isn't. If you grew up listening to the music of the 40's, that music would be evocative to you. In my case, it was the music of the 70's and the 80's. People my age find this music much more powerful. Satanic music is music that affects your life. I had musical influences from Black Sabbath and other groups like Alice Cooper, David Bowie, The Stooges, and Kiss. It wasn't necessarily the music I liked, but that they stood out as icons. Nowadays, nobody is taking a stand as an icon. And that's what I'm here to do - fill the void of iconography. Doctor is an icon for his reasons and I'm one for my own. After all, isn't that what iconography is all about - Gods doing different things to affect people in a similar way? I need to see icons myself.

JN: Anything you'd like to add that you haven't had the opportunity to express in the "traditional" media?

MM: I've read discussions on Satanists needing to dispel myths about animal sacrifice, killings, child molestation, etc. At the same time I feel there is a need to keep the myths intact. Satanism draws power from the misconceptions as well as from the conceptions. In a perfect world, Satanism wouldn't be suppressed, but then consider if it was, what would we be? I think that Satanists all like to be the underdog. That's what makes it work. As much as I'd like to destroy Christianity, I think it needs to exist for us to feel as strong as we do - not to say that we rely on it, but the world wouldn't be as fun if it didn't exist. This is one thing I think Satanists need to realize, that it is OK to fun. I find positive things out of negativity. Marilyn Manson is what I care for deeply and would die for.

JN: What is Anti-Christ Superstar?

MM: We are about to work on a record entitled, "Anti-Christ Superstar." After ten years in a private Christian school, I was inundated and told about things like Armageddon, the Rapture, taking the Mark of the Beast, etc. When I realized it wasn't going to happen, I felt fortunate, but at the same time I felt cheated. For me, the things that had tormented me as a kid, I have become. What I set my mind on was, if Armageddon wasn't going to happen, I was going to bring it upon the world myself. I felt the obligation to be exactly what they had me me so afraid of. So on this record, I take the role of the Anti-Christ. This record is me asserting myself in that position. It is the tale of how things are going to happen in the future. It will scare America, and rightfully so.

Like what he has to say or not (I do), he's real and he's here to stay. He is affecting change in our world and his own. He's a Satanist to the bone, and lives his lifestyle of choice without stinting. He's shown you a "Portrait of the American Family," he's showing you how the world "Smells Like Children," who may very well follow this new "Anti-Christ Superstar."

In memory of Andrew Kenneth Nagy