Interview:2008/01/23 The Aquarian Weekly
|Interview with Marilyn Manson: A Musical Apocalypse: The Return Of Manson And Ramirez
Photo by Perou
|Interview with Marilyn Manson
|January 23, 2008
|The Aquarian Weekly 
Interview with Marilyn Manson: A Musical Apocalypse: The Return Of Manson And Ramirez
- —by Patrick Slevin, January 23, 2008
Christmas and New Year have long been associated with life in a time of death and a general sense of rebirth, a resetting of priorities, values and calendars. By now, it’s safe to say that most lessons or promises made during that season have been forgotten or broken by now, lives finally getting back to ante-seasonal levels, but every now and again, something happens over the holidays that sticks with a person.
On the eve of the final North American leg of the Rape Of The World tour, the Manson camp announced that Twiggy, the group’s most iconic member aside from their namesake ringleader, would be rejoining the ranks in place of his original replacement, Tim Skold.
It’s a long way from where Manson was a few short years ago, ready to hang in the towel on the music business with the retrospective Lest We Forget. But after last year’s Eat Me, Drink Me and now rejoined with Ramirez, things seem clear for Manson for the first time in years, with his long awaited film, Phantasmagoria, finally on the horizon, a new album and several other projects already in the works.
How is rehearsal for the tour going?
It’s amazing. Obviously, we’ve switched the lineup around but it’s kind of like it used to be and in a way it’s kind of completely new. The reason why I decided to get back together with Twiggy is because I knew we missed our friendship and that always translates for positive creative output and we’re doing songs that we haven’t played in seven or eight years and I think everyone’s going to be really blown away by it. It will probably be, even for us, looking at each other on stage, we’ll probably end up setting ourselves on fire and stabbing each other. (laughs)
How did the reunion, so to speak, come about?
We ran into each other before the end of the year, and it was a complete coincidence. We ran into each other in a bar at a hotel I was staying at, and we just kept in contact while I was in Europe, e-mailing each other. Then I went and saw Led Zeppelin, and I saw the way Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were looking at each other, and I thought, ‘I miss having that look with somebody, like that.’
So, I think we were all in the dressing room, everybody but my guitar player Tim Skold that I just split with, of course, and we called him up and we said, ‘Hey man,’—we’ve all known him for years—‘let’s get back together in the band.’ And he said, ‘Fuck it, we’ll do it.’ And we came back, and it just automatically fit. I walked in and these guys have probably only been rehearsing for one day, and it’s probably sounding better than it ever sounded.
Was there ever a consideration to retain Tim on guitar and have Twiggy on bass?
That was a possibility, but I don’t think that things would have flown right with those two guys because of the tension and the fact that Tim had replaced him. I think out of respect for Tim, I told him what I wanted to do, and he understood to a certain degree that our parting was for the time being and it was amicable, and this was something I really wanted and had to do. I think it would have made things very unpleasant if those two guys were together. It would have just been awkward.
Well, as a result of the new lineup, are you going to be focusing on Holywood and before for the setlist for this leg of the tour?
Yeah, absolutely. Without giving anything away, we’re playing three songs off the new record. Everything else is songs that Twiggy and I wrote together. We’re playing quite a few songs, songs that I’ve never played before, like ‘Coma White’ and ‘Coma Black.’ We’re playing ‘1996,’ haven’t done that since the Antichrist Superstar tour. It’s kind of like new songs, they’re just old, we haven’t played ’em in a while, so they’re new again. (laughs)
I remember not too long ago, there was serious talk of Lest We Forget being a farewell record. What was going on at the time to spur that?
I think you have to go through things to get a perspective, and I guess looking back, my friendship with him [Twiggy] disappearing from my life, and I think maybe my focus, not having so much enthusiasm about music anymore and not realizing why. I tried to convince myself that that wasn’t the case, and then my marriage, I think, probably had to be some sort of replacement in the back of my mind somewhere for my friendship with him. And it just couldn’t be. And I think that that relationship was, somehow—I don’t blame her—but I think that the relationship was responsible for me not wanting to be myself anymore.
I think I was convinced that it wasn’t good to be me, that I had to become something more responsible or something like that, and I associated that with music. So, I realized that if I try to separate who I am from what I do, both things will die. This last album was sort of me finding myself again, and now that I’m back, and now that I’m back with my best friend, we have more of an agenda, so we’re ready to make a new record right away. We’ve already started messing around with ideas, just by ourselves in the hotel room, and I think we will have something completely different to say with this new record.
Has the tone of your relationship with Twiggy changed? There’s a lot of years going back there, you’re not really fucking with him on MTV anymore.
(laughs) Well, we were on Loveline last night, and I’m not really ever going to bring him on an interview anymore. I remember why. It’s because he’s like a bad little brother. He was dispensing advice about unprotected sex and drugs and they really probably didn’t like that that much. Ah, they probably did like it.
Anyway, I kind of compared him to a bad disease that you think is gone but it comes back later. I think he compared our relationship to a bicycle, you just get back on it. It’s the same as it always was. I think he needs me right now as a friend in the same way that I would have loved to have had him a year ago as my friend still when I was going through such a dark period and he’s kind of in the same place with this tour. More than being about the music, just being about what we need from each other as friends.
So Eat Me, Drink Me was a product of that dark place. Even the approach that you took with it was different; rather than being created as a band it was just you and Tim. Is that set up a blueprint for future work?
No, I think that that’s what I had to do at the time because I didn’t know how to really get myself out of the place I was in and those songs are me not just writing about it after it happens, but it’s me writing as it’s happening. Tim had music that sounded like how I felt, and I think that that’s very much a record that marks that period, and I think that period kind of ended when it was a year later on 6 a.m. Christmas morning this year. I was sitting there with Twiggy, and I was sitting there with Evan and my other best friend Rudy, who’s a magician, and just thought ‘I’ve been waiting a year to be able to say “6 a.m. Christmas morning” since I wrote the song last year’ and it felt like some sort of passage, some rite of passage, and it was over. That period was over, all of it. Some for the good, some for the bad, but I don’t want to repeat it.
Now you say you’ve already started work on new material, or at least thrown ideas around. Does it have anything to do with Phantasmagoria, or is this separate?
No, nothing to do with it at all.
What is the status on that?
I had a meeting recently about scheduling and when this tour is over, we’re trying to figure out exactly when in the Spring—May, June, I don’t know—in Prague and Romania, is probably where it’s going to be shot. The status is that it is going forward, obviously this tour took precedence, now that this tour is ending, I think I’m in a much better place mentally and physically, and I’m focused and I can make a better movie than I would have last year.
It seemed like it was kind of in production hell, but not even really production hell, more like pre-production hell. I’ve been hearing about it for a very long time.
I started talking about it when it was in such an infancy, and it made people think because of my enthusiasm, that it would happen right away. I didn’t realize that it took so long to get things accomplished, and then when it was time to do it, Eat Me, Drink Me started to come about.
I think everything happens for a reason. If I wanted to do my movie right now, I wouldn’t be able to anyway because of the writer’s strike. I think this year is going to be working out that way for me. All of the right things are lining up for once. I’m back on track, and when things start to align themselves, you gain momentum and you gain confidence and power, and I feel like so far this year, it’s only been good.
As far as writing any material for it, score-wise or anything, do you have things floating around?
I’ve done a lot of music on my own, orchestral, not rock music in any way, a lot of children’s music based off of children’s sheet music and things like that, a while back, and that was sort of just something I would give to people as sort of a sonic inspiration, that this was the feeling of what the movie would be like. I’ll probably have a heavy hand in the scoring of it, but I’m not going to try to take on every single role in making it. It will end up watering down what I can do with directing and acting.
When I was working with Danny Elfman for a little bit, I did talk to him about if he would be interested. He said he would be interested. I can’t promise that’s going to happen, but that would be real interesting. But Tim Burton has now decided to do a 3D Alice In Wonderland, which my movie isn’t Alice In Wonderland anyway, but I’m sure because he always works with Danny Elfman, that would probably not be something that I would want [for Phantasmagoria].
Are you planning on seeing this movie through by the end of the year?
I hope so. I’m not going to make any more assumptions. The plan is to take that on after this tour. That’s all I know from there.
There was a long time—of course, relationships and farewell records notwithstanding—between Golden Age Of Grotesque and Eat Me, Drink Me. Are you planning on taking that length of time to write another record?
No, no absolutely not. I think it’s going to be, as far as the record goes, I would really like to put something out right away. I don’t want to take that sort of time anymore. I think that the urgency that I’ve always had to try and communicate immediately, whether it be through interviews or through my website, the technology now has kind of opened things up for artists obviously that you can do things differently than the traditional spend a year in the studio.
There doesn’t need to be any rules anymore, it doesn’t have to be an album, it can be a song, it can be anything. Finally, I think that the record industry can accommodate that. I just want to do something immediately. I know that we’re not going to want to stop touring once we start this, ’cause I can tell already, the tour just started, even though it’s been going on for almost a year.
And you don’t have any idea what kind of direction it would be, at this point?
I think Twiggy and I are both pissed off at what we allowed ourselves to go through, so instead of getting ourselves out of that mode, I think we’re now ready to move forward. I know it’s going to be heavy, and I know it’s going to be ruthless and cruel. (laughs) The way it should be.
On the side, are there any other projects, books, any other kind of medium that you’re working with?
Someone’s publishing finally at some point a book of my paintings, and I started writing the past couple months and I had already found a lot of things that I had written about since my first book. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to do a second part of an autobiography, but I think just the idea of all the stories that I have to tell that have happened in the past 10 years I think are some things that people would enjoy reading, or not enjoy reading. But either way, I think people will read them.
They probably will.
(laughs) Other than that, no. We are open to working with other people on new music together too. Twiggy and I were hanging out with Kerry King and I became pretty good friends with him on the tour with Slayer, and he gave me one of his trademark spiked nail armbands for my birthday, which I thought was something I can actually beat everybody in the band with. I’m trying to get him to come on stage with us on this tour and play a couple songs.
But it’s not Slayer this time; there’s Ours as the opener.
Yes, they’re the opening band. I think because of what’s going to happen on our show, between Twiggy and me, a full blown musical apocalypse, I just feel bad for anybody going on before us. (laughs)
Marilyn Manson will be performing at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. Eat Me, Drink Me is available now. For more, visit marilynmanson.com
Photo Credit: Perou