Interview:2010/10 "A Three-Minute Act and You Can Tour the World" (Interview with Rudy Coby)
|"A Three-Minute Act and You Can Tour the World" (Interview with Rudy Coby)
|Interview with Rudy Coby
After his triumphant return to magic earlier this year with his show Magic VS Science at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. “The Coolest Magician on Earth,” is now set to take things to the next level with his scheduled performance at the El Rey Theatre October 23rd. We caught up with Rudy Coby during his rehearsal to discuss his career, future projects, and a few other surprises along the way. As with all great magicians, Rudy Coby always has something more up his sleeve.
MansonWiki: You recently returned from Japan, what were you doing over there?
Rudy Coby: There's this really famous company that makes magic props that's called Tenyo Magic, they've been doing a show over in Japan for over 50 years. Every year they roll out their new products. In Japan magic is different than here, in every department store there's a magic department. Tenyo is the biggest magic distributor in the world, I advise anybody that's interested in magic at all to go to the magic store and buy anything Tenyo, they're truly the coolest things ever. The head of Tenyo thought that I'd be a good person to bring over there for their product roll-out. So that's what it was, they had a big show in Japan and then I did a lecture over there also, I was there for a total of four days, it was crazy.
MW: Did you release new lecture notes while over there?
Rudy: I didn't release them, but I have them written. It's actually a sequel to my lecture notes, “How To Become A World Famous Magician” which I wrote ten years ago. It's mostly about how to make yourself more creative. My first lecture book was never really just directed toward magicians, it was directed to people that wanted to be more creative in their careers. It's really amazing how you write something ten years ago and people are still talking about it and how it affects their lives.
MW: In your first series of lecture notes, one of the most interesting things you discuss is the “Three Minute Act,” can you elaborate upon the theory behind that?
Rudy: Yeah, well here's the thing. I was asked to do a magic lecture ten years ago and I had always said no because I didn't really know what I had to say about the subject. But then I started to think about it, and a really good friend of mine wanted me to do a lecture at his magic convention. So I started to think about what magicians really want to know about someone like me, and I made it into sort of a comic version. Basically, they wanted to know how I got to where I was. How do you become a “world famous magician?” So I looked at it as if I was going to give my best friend advice, what advice would I give them...and basically the biggest secret I've learned in my career is that when I was younger I learned every trick in the book. I would go to the magic shop and all of the magic conventions and I knew thousands of card tricks. In the end, if you want to travel the world, meet famous people, get wined and dined by royalty, live your life like a millionaire, basically, you don't need to know a thousand card tricks. You need to have a three minute act, a strong powerful act, just three minutes. The reason I came up with this concept is basically that's what happened to me. I was a magician since I was nine years old. And when I finally came up with that three minute act, I immediately, in the first year, was in forty different countries. Now I've been in more than eighty different countries. So basically, it was designed for people to focus on what was important. In other words, if you have a three minute act, and even less now, you can travel the world tomorrow. For example, on America's Got Talent you only have 90 seconds, you have to prove yourself. You have to have a strong character and original material. So I broke it down into it's basics, basically my four legged man act is my three minute act. It changed my life.
MW: What would you consider Manson's “Three Minute Act” to be?
Rudy: That's a good question. Well, I would say that there are a couple of them. Certainly, I would say that Antichrist Superstar with the podium is his three minutes. Because if you see him do that three minute song on the podium, that tells you everything you ever need to know about Marilyn Manson. If that was the only thing you ever saw, ever...you know, that should be in a fucking space capsule it's so fantastic. I would say the other one, probably to the general public, is Beautiful People. That three minute video is probably THE greatest video ever made. Even if I never met Manson I'd still feel that. There are very few pure works of art, and I think Beautiful People, the song is fantastic and the video is perfect. Probably Sweet Dreams is another “Three Minutes.” He took something that we all know and love, that was accepted and mainstream and then twisted it and made it scary. So that's the thing about three minutes, you don't have to only have one. Once you have one, you become famous from that three minutes and if you're smart, you have other three minute versions.
MW: What I like about Sweet Dreams so much is that he didn't even have to change the lyrics to twist it, and it takes on a whole different meaning just by the way he accentuates words.
Rudy: Yeah, it's remarkable. I think people know that I've been working for years on a couple of different books with Manson. One is the art book, which someone else might end up doing. But I actually learned to use InDesign so I could lay the book out exactly how I wanted. So there is a Rudy Coby version of the art book that exists that could be published tomorrow. The other book, and I actually have a version of that is written and that Manson has shown to publishers. Was a book for which I'd collected his essays, writings, and his personal note books and made them into one book. You know, like his Columbine essay for Rolling Stone, or all the different essays he's done over the years. But then I went through his personal note books and collected all of that as well. He's got all of his note books from when he was in junior high. When I was living with him, I would stumble across note books that contained hand written lyrics to all of his songs. Songs like Antichrist Superstar, and it was THE note book that he had used to write that album, all of the lyrics. So I was thinking to myself, “this stuff is history.” So I went through it. I'm very OCD, so I went through everything, and put them in proper boxes. This was months of work. It sounds like I was doing this to be a good friend, but no...I was in heaven. This guy deserves every bit of credit, because I'd see hundreds and hundreds of names and addresses for his newsletter, and this was in his own hand writing, this was fucking cool. He deserves every bit of success he could get because he did all of the work to get there. I'd be browsing through one of his eleventh grade note books and for the first time see the words Antichrist Superstar written and you just go, “Wow,” here's a kid dreaming. Then you see all of the cartoons and stuff and it's fantastic. It just goes to show you that if you have a crazy dream in high school and dream you can be what ever you want to be, you can actually become it.
MW: You lived with Manson for a couple of years, can you describe what that was like?
Rudy: Living with Manson was an adventure, because at any time, night or day, you're going to be creative. That's the best compliment I could say about anybody. It's a dream, because I live to be creative. I'm a magician, but if I have to break down what I do for a living, I love being creative. I love creating things and 24 hours a day that's all he does. He has thousands, I'm not even going to use hyperbole, but there are thousands, many many thousands of photos you will probably never see. Like those photos that were on the biography special that everyone said they'd never seen before. There are literally dozens upon dozens of unfinished projects between Manson and myself, whether it's books or movie ideas or stage ideas. Probably hundreds of really well thought out ideas, but he's only one guy, he cant do it all. Things like the Holy Wood novel that people have been waiting for, but when you're around him you realize why... it's because he's on to the next thing.
MW: You were once the boy who received a magic set under the Christmas tree, one would imagine a young Rudy Coby performing tricks in front of the family. Does magic still hold the same appeal as it did as a child?
Rudy: Yes, absolutely. When I was a kid I used to do my own comic books, I used to make my own super 8 movies. So I think I was kind of on the track to being a director or writer or something, I don't know. But then I found magic when I was nine years old, and it changed me. Magic is basically like doing a movie on stage. You go to the movies to experience wonder, and the best magic kind of does that live. So ever since I was given my first magic kit, I have never wanted to do anything else ever since. I think I kind of went away from magic when I stopped feeling like a nine year old, you know I had great success, but then it started feeling like all the weird Hollywood and all the bad influences were intruding on what had made it fun for me.
MW: What prompted you to get back in to performing?
Rudy: Well it was strange, I literally got out of magic because I was disillusioned, not to use a pun, but that's the truth. It just wasn't fun any more, and I think the other thing was that I had achieved all of my goals. You know, when you are a kid, you want a TV special and I got that. I wanted to work all of the greatest spots in the world like the Crazy Horse in Paris, and I got that. And then I was working with people that I wasn't having fun with, it just wasn't fun any more. I was really kind of burned out on it, and that's when I met Manson, strangely enough. Then I got to do his show for six years, literally living in another guy's world. Manson is the iconic nine year old, I mean he's exactly the same guy that drew his flyers in high school, he's not growing old. So I found a really good friend and a person that maintains that childhood wonder in what he does, even though it's completely dark and horrifying.
What drew me back though, was I was kind of missing it. It was great being in Manson's world, but there were people finding out who I used to be. When YouTube was getting really popular, Manson would show my videos to everybody, specifically Evan Rachel Wood. She would start imitating my poses from my TV shows and she would know all of the words from Puppet Boy. It's funny because I think it was only after five and half years into our relationship that I actually performed a magic trick for Manson. He never asked me to do a magic trick ever, and we were in Europe and he got me really drunk one night and the bus driver at the time hated me. Manson was trying to tell him that I wasn't just an idiot making his life miserable, that I could do something with my life. So somehow there was a deck of cards on board, I think it was the first time I had done an actual magic trick for anyone in probably fifteen to twenty years. The bus driver liked me much more after that. It was funny because Manson, after he had seen me do sleight of hand and melt everybody's mind, Manson took me aside and said “I knew you could do it, I didn't even have to ask.”
MW: How did you meet Manson?
Rudy: I was always a fan of Manson, I loved his image and performance. I remember seeing him on MTV with the big DRUGS sign behind him thinking “this guy has something going on.” I bought all of his albums, Antichrist Superstar, I bought it but I think I was too scared to listen to it at first. It was literally scary. I think it was after I saw the Sweet Dreams video that I went out and bought it, but it was just, you know, being a Catholic boy I was afraid of it.
But how I actually met him? I used to work with this girl named Andrea who was Dita Von Teese's stage assistant, at a place called Club Rubber... believe it or not. It was this great and incredible electronic music club in Las Vegas. Every year they would host the Pimp N' Ho Ball, and I would have Tommy Lee introducing me. It would be like 20,000 naked hoes and guys dressed like pimps, [laughs] it was like the greatest thing ever! Andrea told me that Manson had became a member of The Magic Castle and that he was really interested in magic.
I just told her, “you know, if he really really wants to do magic in a show, then I would help him.” I've never offered this before but I told her if he was a nice guy or a good guy then I would help him, I would advise him. I actually asked her, “is he a nice guy?” and she said, “yes he's a great guy,” so I said “okay.” I really respected him and I loved his performance at the MTV music awards. So I said to her, “I'm not trying to meet him, I'm not a star fucker...I'm not trying to use you to meet him.” But I said, “ I'll photocopy cool stuff that I think would be good to use in a show and I'll just give it to you to give to him. But tell him not to waste his time with other people because they will bore him, they'll sour him of magic.”
So anyway, that was backstage at Club Rubber [laughs], and I didn't hear anything from her. It was one of those things where I had put the feelers out once and never followed up. Maybe a year later, a week before Golden Age of Grotesque came out. I heard that he was going to be performing the Grotesk Burlesk at a club with Gottfried Helnwein on Sunset Boulevard, and I'm like “man, that sounds great.” But I didn't call Andrea, I'm not the kind of person to do that. I went to the midnight showing of the Matrix Reloaded instead. I came home that night and my then wife meets me at the door and says “you're not going to believe who just called,” and I was like..”Who?” She said, “Marilyn Manson, he wants you to come over there tomorrow,” and I was like ...“What?” I had been listening to Golden Age in the car non-stop so I thought, this is kind of weird. I called him up that night and he's exactly the kind of guy you would want to answer the phone, he's really down to earth, funny and he said, “yeah, lets get together tomorrow.”
I went there the next day and it was the last day of rehearsal for Golden Age, the reason he found me and joined the Magic Castle was basically because Golden Age is based on Vaudeville and theatrical performances, and he joined the Magic Castle because he wanted to do a trick where he would take his head off and keep singing and Andrea had told him, “Well, you have to get my friend Rudy Coby. Because he actually gets his head taken off and he's the only person to have it actually look cool on stage. Trust me, it looks incredible.” So Manson was like....”give me his number.” Andrea would write it on a yellow Post-it note and stick it on his desk or whatever, and so this went on. If you know Manson you'd know this to be true. He'd basically keep repeating, “I want to get my head cut off.” Andrea would say “Well you've to meet my friend Rudy Coby.” So as it got more manic during the recording of GOAG, this happened several times. By the end, while they were rehearsing, there were literally hundreds of yellow Post-it notes all over his house with my name on it. Finally he got aggravated and said “Who the fuck is Rudy Coby?” And so that's how I got the call, he called me up and he was cool and I went the next day and we totally hit it off. I walked in and met him and we've been best friends ever since.
I can't describe it, it was like meeting you're doppelganger. I'm not saying I'm remotely as cool as him, but, I'm as twisted and we have the same exact interests. We have the same library, though he has more banned books than I have. Basically, I walked into the room, took my head off and we've been friends ever since. He saw that I wasn't messing around, I could do this stuff for real. But even before that, we hit it off immediately. He literally felt like a brother from the moment we first met, we had that connection. But anyway, he was leaving the next day and he said, “How can we possibly do this, how can I get this stuff made?” So I literally took my legs off, they were the most important prop that I had used in my act, they were my three minutes. I handed them to him and I said, “They're yours dude.” So then I watched his rehearsal and it was obviously eye opening to see Manson in his element. I would say even now that there's a soft spot in my heart for Golden Age of Grotesque and that tour. I thought that tour was perfect. The next day I went to his house again, I stretched my arms really long and I said, “I think this would be good for Dope Show.” He had car waiting outside for the airport and he was leaving in five minutes so I took them off and said, “They're yours dude.” He threw them in his personal luggage and he went away for a month and did the big festival tours like Germany's Rock AM Ring. I'd given him my arms and legs and a week later he was doing it in front of eighty thousand people. Which just kind of shows you what kind of guy he is, he's crazy. I'll just say this right now, he does the arms better than I will ever do it. He looks like Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas or something.
MW: I recall reading that Johnny Depp had seen a part of the Phantasmagoria trailer in which someone gets their head cut off and that he was completely blown away to find out it wasn't Computer-Generated Imagery.
Rudy: Absolutely, it was funny because when Manson was going to do the Phantasmagoria movie, and it may or may not happen, who knows....but he made that trailer with me and Anthony Silva in his living room. Manson personally showed him the trailer, not the trailer you see on line, this was a different one, and Johnny Depp was completely blown away. Manson said, “this was just on Digital Video, but we're going to shoot film.” Johnny said “Yeah, you know what? Maybe you should just keep it DV so that the CG will work better. If you do film it will be harder to make the CG look good.” That's when Manson told him, “there is no CG.” Johnny was like...”What!”...and made him play it again. I was pleased because all the effects in all of the Phantasmagoria trailers were accomplished with just magic.
MW: It's now common knowledge that you are the magician behind the magic of some of Marilyn Manson's most theatrical stage shows. Do you foresee any future involvement in Manson's stage show?
Rudy: The last big thing that Manson and I talked about was the Triptych tour. What it was going to be, was a select amount of cities, the three big albums played from top to bottom, one per night and then a traditional Manson show the final night. So basically what was going to happen was that I was going to co-design all of the visuals for those shows and then open for him.
MW: That was actually our next question. Have you and Manson ever considered The Rudy Coby Experiment as an opening act for a Manson tour?
Rudy: Definitely, the bottom line is, that HAS to happen. I think it will definitely happen, because the very first time that I met him, he asked me to open for him. At that time I didn't feel it, I wasn't doing my show and I wasn't Labman at that time, which is where I am now. Coming back into magic and doing my own thing, one of my greatest joys, and still is when I think of everything I've ever done with Manson. I smile so big, my whole body just smiles, I crease my pants with my smile [laughs]...because it's the greatest experience ever. And you guys can imagine, coming up with ideas with Manson and then actually being on stage for mOBSCENE, or having the robot come out and be the focus for Tourniquet. Just designing or being a guest star in his show has been an amazing run.
MW: That's great to hear because I think a lot of fans genuinely enjoy your acts. Even though we've only seen the 1995 specials, your act would really compliment a tour because Labman is timeless.
Rudy: Thank you, that's kind of the way it was designed. I never tried to be trendy. I think that's a problem with every magician. They try to have the latest music, if I had done that I'd be using Poison or something [laughs]. So my character is based in the 50's and even a little bit of the 80's, because I think that the 80's are funny. But I think it's with a very dark “underbelly” sense of humor and that's why it is timeless. It's funny, when I first met Manson, when he asked me to open for him, in that head space it would have been difficult opening for him. Because you say “Wow, he's so hardcore” and it's such a difficult audience. If you look at people that have opened for him in the past, they've been obliterated, even Peaches. But I know for a fact that now I could open for him and do well. It's not that the audience is evil or petty, they just do not suffer fools. So if you suck they're going to let you know.
Rudy: [laughs] Well here's the thing, I have my show and he has his show and each time he wants me to appear in his show, he knows I will. He knows if I'm available its my favorite thing to do. During Magic Vs Science, Manson was incredibly generous. The whole idea was magic versus science, evil magicians versus mad scientists. He wanted to be the evil magician, which is awesome [laughs] and he volunteered to be in every show at the Magic Castle. There were 21 shows and I told him, “Believe me, you're not going to want to be in every show. But you know what? If you could just be involved in some way it would of course be an honor and a dream come true.” In my old show we had all these crazy super villains. I had a parody of David Copperfield, who was the evil magician. So after not doing a show for so many years, it was one of the things I wanted to bring back. Manson basically volunteered to be that person. He was so generous to me to do all of the photo shoots and he actually showed up at the Magic Castle playing the evil magician, complete with moustache, top hat, and cape, with his assistant following him around with a smoke machine. He came back the next night and saw the show. In all the years I'd worked with him, he'd never seen my show, because I wasn't that person at that time.
It was the filthiest, most depraved show I will ever do in my life. It was the last show at the Magic Castle for Magic Vs Science. Manson was sitting in the third row, normally you would sneak him in when the lights were down. We were back stage and he said, “No, I fucking want people to see me.” [laughs] So they brought him out there in full light. There are only 120 seats at the Magic Castle, and he sat third row right out in the aisle, everybody saw him walk in. It was like, “Holy shit, Marilyn Fucking Manson is here today!” His face was on the poster out front so everyone knew he was there. It was the first time he had ever seen me perform, so I walk on stage, he was only ten or fifteen feet away, so it was definitely like doing a show for my best friend. I did the first ten minutes and then afterward I did my line, “I can explain everything you've just seen using just one word.” I usually say “Science” and Manson yells out “Anal!” From that moment on, it was the Rudy and Manson show, it wasn't my show any more, it was him. The entire show was me and him back and forth, and obviously this site knows Manson. He's the funniest motherfucker ever. You don't say the word “fuck” or “anal” at the Magic Castle, but believe me, “fuck” and “anal” was the least of it, it was awesome, it was the exact place I had to be after working with him all of those years. What was really fantastic is that he was part of it in such a supportive way. MansonWiki knows who Marilyn Manson is, and normally how you get to relate to him in a 'real world' situation. But he was totally approachable by anyone, people got to take photos with him and everything. That experience will be hard to top, but I will be in town for the El Rey and I'm not promising anyone else will be there, but someone else “might” be in town that same night too.
MW: How will the El Rey theatre differ from Magic Vs Science?
Rudy: Well... Magic Castle, you have to realize, is the greatest magic showcase in the world. It's in Hollywood on the hill over looking Mann's Chinese Theatre. It's the ultimate show case for magic, but at the same time, its a small 100 seat theatre. You know, its a jewel box. But the stage is so tiny, that me doing something like Puppet Boy was a challenge. It was crazy for me to try to do the things I was doing on that stage. So the El Rey theatre show is my opportunity to do the full version of my stage show. So that's the difference, I can do what people have seen on TV at the full scale. At Magic Castle we squeezed it on to that stage. In fact we're premiering new, crazy illusions that I've been working on. We're going to do lots of new stuff that nobody's ever seen, ever. People are going to see a peek at the next level of what Rudy Coby is going to be.
MW: We saw Manson's in-progress portrait of you in the A & E biography.
Rudy: Yeah, it looks totally different now because he's painted sunglasses on it. [laughs] Apparently he has scanned it so I'm going to have it soon and I may make copies of it for people at the El Rey.
MW: We heard that you were in Vegas at Fright Dome a couple of weeks ago, can you explain what that is?
Rudy Coby: Fright Dome? How can I explain it? Circus Circus has an indoor amusement park, this genius guy named Jason Egan takes it over at night on the weekend so it becomes a haunted version of a Las Vegas amusement park. It's really cool, I used to do my show at Knott's Scary Farm in Southern California, that's where first did all my crazy stuff like Puppet Boy and all of that, really crazy Halloween stuff. You have to realize, in California, Halloween is a huge production. Los Angeles is the best place for Halloween in the world. It's funny because where Manson lives now, in West Hollywood, there will be a half a million people walking past his door. It will be like a big block party, the West Hollywood Halloween parade. No matter where I am in the world, I always fly back for the West Hollywood Halloween parade.
MW: You recently posted of Facebook that you were having a garage sale or rather a warehouse sale, to make room in your storage area. Is that still something you're planning to do?
Rudy: Now that I'm back in magic, my work space is literally for work, and my warehouse space is for storing stage props. Throughout the years with Manson, and throughout the years of magic, I've collected incredible artifacts, things that would normally get thrown away. If Rudy's on the set or on the tour, and my own show also.... But imagine you're on the set of Heart Shaped Glasses, and literally, James Cameron is behind the camera. You're doing a scene in a crazy night club with Evan Rachel Wood, Marilyn Manson and 30 or 40 Suicide Girls watching. It's all being shot on Cameron's 3D cameras that he's developed for Avatar, which people wouldn't see until years later. During the scene there are hundreds of Polaroids personally shot by Manson being dropped from the ceiling and afterwards you see those things thrown into boxes. You know in your heart that they're going to be thrown away, so the Rudy Coby artist inside of me knows that, that cannot happen, it's history. People would kill to have one of those Polaroid photos, so I scoop them in a box and put them into my storage. But that's one of a thousand boxes in my storage, I literally have no room. When I go to my warehouse, I now have to unpack ten to fifteen feet of stuff to get to my equipment and then repack it all in. So it's time to clean out. It's funny, I did some personal appearances, and I did a big music festival in New York. I said any Manson fan that comes to the festival, introduce yourself, and I will make you very happy. So a couple did show up,and I gave them original props from the Heart Shaped Glasses video. Nick Kushner was there, Manzin drove in, as well as Manson's father drove in from Ohio to see me. So anyway Nick was like, “This is really cool, these are reproductions?' I said, “No man, these are the actual props from the video.” He was like, “Then I want some, why are you giving them to strangers? “[laughs] You know, me, Hugh, Nick, Manzin and Bob Mussell (Manson's photographer) all stayed up there for the Music Is Art Festival, and had a great time. Hugh is like a second dad to me, he's the friendliest guy, he's so fucking proud of his son, as is Barbara. They're the greatest parents that any artist would ever want, I would say one out of a million get great parents like that.
So Manson fans of the world....just know, that I have rescued many treasures that one day will be bestowed upon you. Because I realize that the stuff in boxes is history, but in people's hands, it's pure joy. When we did the first show in Orlando when Twiggy first came back, I ripped Manson's personal set list off the stage floor because I know that's history, you know with Twiggy coming back. And all through the years I'm usually the first person on the stage and the last person off. If you've been to a Manson show in the last 5 or 6 years, and if you're a true fan, I've probably approached you or videotaped you, or I've given you stuff. The first thing I'd do after every Manson show, is run on stage. If I wasn't following him with the camera to his dressing room, I would always jump on stage and grab the set list, I'd rip it right off the stage and I would always give it to the person that I thought was the best audience member of the night. Because I'd not only be recording: I'd be watching you. It's amazing how you can change somebody's life just by rewarding them. It's funny because I've met Manzin, who has become one of my closest friends and Nick and all of these fantastic people because they've been such fantastic really devoted fans. I have to thank Manson for that. When I went into my seclusion, or I'd say when I went into my own version of the witness protection program, which turned out to be the Manson show. I ended up finding the best friends in my life today like Anthony Silva, who everyone knows as taking the photos for Eat Me, Drink Me which were featured on the Biography special.
MW: We were looking at those and thinking, “Why weren't those used?”
Rudy: Well this is the thing, people think that I'm bullshitting when I talk about how there's thousands of photos, hundred of projects that haven't been seen by people and I just hope they'll be seen, you know. Then you see something like all of those photos from Anthony Silva, well you've just got to realize, that there's multiple versions of the Phantasmagoria trailer. I would say that the one that leaked on line was most commercial that was shown at the Berlin Film Festival, there are ones that are much scarier and much more sexual.
MW: When we spoke to Anthony, he told us that his favorite trailer was one that was centered more around Alice, and that he hoped to release it sometime in the near future.
Rudy: Manson fans should hope that people like me and Tony Silva don't get in a car accident or something. Because we are the ones that are pushing things that the fans truly want to see.
MW: That's the great thing about people that Manson is surrounded by now, they're all genuinely talented people and they all have their own influences.
Rudy: Yes it's funny, I was just talking to Anthony tonight and he's one of my top five closest friends and I have to thank Manson for that. Nick is like a brother to me, I have an actual brother and Nick is as close to me as my actual brother, he's my little brother.
MW: It was funny that Bob Mussell mentioned, “Okay so Twiggy is Manson's little rascal brother. I guess that makes Nick Kushner Rudy's little rascal brother."
Rudy: Yes, Nick is my little rascal brother. There's very few people that you would take a bullet for, and Manson is a guy that I'd take a bullet for. You know what I mean... I truly love him. I think he's a special guy and I think he's a complicated person. I don't know anybody else in my life that I just genuinely love. But the other person that I feel that way about is Nick Kushner. when I first met him he was this very shy guy. He's now become “NICK KUSHNER!” He is a rascal, he is the living definition of rascal. I think you said it best, the people that are now surrounding Manson are not his ass kissers, he's not surrounded by people that need to be around him. Even Twiggy, who was in the most innovative bands of the era, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle.
MW: I think that is good for the band, when Twiggy branched out, the bands he was in were some of the most amazing bands. For him to bring that back to Manson, I think that next record will be just really amazing.
Rudy: Yes, and the reason that I'm genuinely, incredibly excited is that six months ago, I heard a version of the album, you have to realize that I hear the album at every stage, sometimes on a weekly basis. So six months ago (around April), when Magic Vs Science was here, I brought Nick over, and Nick got to hear the album. There were probably ten or twenty songs back then, they were amazing and they were exciting. But the reason that Nick is jealous of me, is because I've heard the songs that are six months later and it's like throw all of the other songs away, before these six months. That's how much stronger they are.
MW: So they're totally different songs or they're just reworked?
Rudy: No, they're totally different songs, the ones that in the past.... I call them “in the past” but they're only six months old. But I know all the words to all the songs, that's how many times I'll listen to them, because some of them are really catchy. But the ones that I've heard recently, and this is only a month ago, blow the other ones out of the water. What I attribute it to is the new version of the band with Fred.
MW: We think it's great to have Fred Sablan in there, to have them working together and actually recording as a band for the first time in years.
Rudy: What's funny about Fred is that he's a super guy and he's been in the “circle” for a long time. I've met him many, many times and hung out with him. I've gone to Twiggy's DJ gigs where they've been DJing together. He's like the greatest, most approachable, down to earth guy, but again, super super talented. Fred...man, he's bringing the shit! Maybe it's because Twiggy is so close with him, and Twiggy is the transmission of the Manson machine, if you were looking at the band in mechanical terms, he's the transmission. Fred is so close to him. I think that whatever's going on, it's beyond anything that has happened in all the years I've known Manson. It just feels fucking crazy, you know the sound is just crazy. Again, six months ago, it was hardcore, but this is beyond that. Whatever chemistry is going on right now is just great, because you can tell that obviously Manson really loves Fred too.
MW: Exactly, then throw Vrenna in there and you've got such a great team.
Rudy: That's just I was going to say, when you visit Manson, his house is basically the studio. He's got this living area that kind of replicates his backstage. It's kind of a fancier version, and then you come out, and what you can also see in the Biography special is, he's got this projector, a super projector, he's got this Marilyn Manson version of what you'd watch movies on in the cinema. He's got this command center then he has his studio and every night, six nights or whatever, from probably 8pm to 4am, Twiggy, Fred and Vrenna are there. If we're talking car parts which we're not, then Vrenna is like the heart [laughs] because he's there every single night.
MW: He's probably and arguably is one of the most talented musicians that's ever been a part of Marilyn Manson. We're really hoping that on this next album that Vrenna's synth work will shine though more than it has on previous albums.
Rudy: Yes exactly, he's a really great guy and talented musician. I toured with Chris and the band during all the tours and you couldn't ask for a nicer guy.
MW: You know, The High End of Low and Eat Me, Drink Me, a lot of people talk shit about those albums but they are really great albums, songs like I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell...
Rudy: Yup! That's exactly the one.
MW: ...Wight Spider, Evidence, Putting Holes In Happiness and the title track for Eat Me, Drink Me. Those songs ten years from now, when more records come out, people will look back on those and they will be like Bowie's Aladdin Sane, they will be classic tracks. For some reason, sometimes, it takes people a few years to settle into an album.
Rudy: Yup, I totally agree. I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell is probably one of my favorite tracks off of the album and, let me just put it this way....people should be glad that someone like me and Anthony Silva are around. Especially me, because I'm an annoying person [laughs], and I will push my opinion to the breaking point, you know. The reason people got to hear Coma White again in concert is that I would say to Anthony, “Why isn't he playing this, what's going on? We've to to get him to play this again.” And Anthony would say, “Well, he hasn't played it in ten years.” and I would be like... “Why?”...Maybe this is the time that I should make people jealous?....
MW: [laughs] okay go on
Rudy: This was before I was even living with Manson. This is around the time Lest We Forget was coming out. My friends and I had plans to go to Burning Man, I was leaving the next day and I was giving someone a ride. Manson had been working on a lot of stuff and there wasn't anyone to help him with any of the projects that he wanted to put out, he was kind of down because of the record company refusing to put out the (s)AINT video. He asked me to stay and help, and I told him that I really had to go to Burning Man but, okay. So the next day we were hanging out and I realize it was the night of the burn of the man, all of my friends were there and there were 10,000 art cars, robots and things like that. Here I was hanging out with a guy that was really down and fighting his record company and things like that. Then he goes “oh look what I just found.” So I said “What's that?” He says “It's the script for Holy Wood.” This was the first time that it had surfaced. He asked me if I wanted to read it. So I said “Yeah, of course!” He said, “Let me just read the first part to you.” So he actually started reading and lo and behold, two hours later, he was still reading the entire script...
MW: [laughs] you forgot to tell him to stop...
Rudy: [laughs] It's one of my missions in life to make sure that Holy Wood is released, I have plans for it.
MW: Really? Can you go into detail?
Rudy: Yeah, I have plans...I will not rest until that is turned into a graphic novel, and then turned into a movie.... I will NOT rest. I know some of the best artists in the world and I know people in the comic industry. But to me.... this is my dream for Holy Wood...and maybe saying this out in publicly will make it happen faster. But Manson certainly knows that I do not shut up about it. [laughs]... I would like to see a chapter released every other month by an incredible artist/illustrator/whatever.
MW: How can we help make that happen?
Rudy: Well, I mean every year I go to Comic Con, and I'm always looking for the Holy Wood artist, that is my mission. I used to have my own Labman comic and I'm doing that again in the future and I'm going to do it the way it should be done. But with Holy Wood, I think as with any project you become involved with, you fall in love with it and to a certain extent, it's a product of its time. If you went back and tried to have Manson rewrite or recreate images for the Golden Age of Grotesque, it would be entirely different. So something like Holy Wood, was of it's time. But every year I go looking for that guy. A friend of mine, Bob Self, who has a company called Baby Tattoo Books, gave me a bunch of books to give to Manson. Manson immediately had Tony call him, so all of the pieces are there and are waiting to happen one day. So I think that Manson, with a great artist, should release a chapter every two months, and then at the end of that period have Holy Wood become a hard cover graphic novel that's in every book store forever. I know that Manson would probably want to rewrite little bits, because as you know, he's written it both as a novel and as a screenplay. Even if I wasn't a magician, and the only achievement I ever had was...whatever, call me producer, editor...whatever. If I could actually make this thing happen, it would be one of my greatest joys. I LOVE graphic novels, I LOVE dark comic books. I also love that on the bio special that he mentioned that he was a big admirer of Stephen King and Clive Barker. I think that the Holy Wood novel and screenplay remind me of Clive Barker more than anything. Just the way that he describes everything, every word is so well placed it's just dark as shit. So as well as an illustrated or painted graphic novel, I would also want to release it as a written novel. Because there's no other way to capture the great, incredible detail. You've got to imagine, it was a period in his life that all he cared about was this novel. Many people have stolen elements from it, because the screenplay was shopped around. So there are elements in other movies that we've noticed, like a blatant copy, but they're always lame.
Rudy: That character was me in the Armageddon video, with a camera head, I posted a photo recently with three tripod “legs.” It was great because he drew this out and I didn't even realize that he already had this as a painting. It was a total coincidence because I had this idea for the camera head thing. Then he was. “oh I had a thing like that,” and he drew another one. I did the best archiving I could do to make sure everything was protected but now that I'm a magician again, I think it's great that someone like Nick Kushner is involved. Because Manson loves Nick like I do and with someone like him involved, I think he'll be the one to do the ultimate Manson book, and is the one that will eventually scan all of that stuff and makes sure that it lives forever, at least that's my hope.
MW: We'd love to see some footage of your newer acts, do you have plans of releasing anything via rudycoby.net? Will you be taping the El Rey show?
Rudy: Yes, it's coming. There's going to be video done of the El Rey. A really close friend of mine is Marco Tempest, I've known him for years and years, he is the internet's virtual magician. This guy does magic with iphones, he's at the fore-front of technology. Not just magic but technology in general. He came to visit me in Vegas and really inspired me. It's funny, you don't need a television special any more with YouTube, it's your very own television station, so all of that stuff is coming.
One of my friends Nayib Estefan, he's been one of my biggest fans since he was really young. Recently he contacted me on Facebook and he's one of the people that really got me back into magic. He contacted me and got me so pumped up about being Labman again. He asked me, why I didn't have any of my TV specials online and I told him that I only have older tapes not any high quality recordings. Nayib's mother is actually Gloria Estefan, and he said that he'd just have his mother call Dick Clark. So she called Dick Clark personally and asked why Rudy Coby didn't have high quality footage of his own shows. So now I have all of my specials in good quality and now I can have a really good YouTube channel. So thank you Gloria Estefan for making that happen. So yeah, all of that stuff is coming and now I'm just kind of playing catch up. I was back for the first time for Magic Vs Science and that was really amazing. Now my next generation of my magic is what I'll be performing at the El Rey.
MW: Do you think Manson would do something like the Oracle again?
Rudy: Yeah, I would love that. That was my favorite, that and his journals. I think that's why I have such a soft spot in my heart for the Golden Age of Grotesque days because the journals were fantastic. Coming from a non-fan stand point into his world then, his journals were so entertaining. I could still quote from them, they were so funny. The videos he'd do of Lily or Pogo with a weird instrument were so fantastic. I wish he would do that again and there's so many... not hundreds, but thousands of crazy videos where he'd just mount a camera or duct tape a camera to Twiggy's head for the entire night and it's some of the funniest stuff you'll ever see.
MW: Recently you tweeted that you were dying to reveal details of the new album and that it would make our heads explode. We've also heard from others that it's very heavy and complex, are you able to go into more detail regarding either the sound or concept?
Rudy: Well, I'm a magician and great magicians never reveal their secrets, so out of respect, I can't comment on that. But I will say that I think he has the right people surrounding him, the idea that Twiggy is making music with one of his best friends Fred, and with Chris who's friends with all of them. It's just this really tight group of friends in a really fun environment without any distractions, they're purely just creating the album, so I think it's in a good place. If you want to be excited, and one of the things that's exciting to me, is that Kerry King doesn't seem to be a guy that blows people. [laughs] So if Kerry King is excited, you know it's hard. I mean Kerry King is not going to eat his words.
If I could sum up, I think that if the Biography special did nothing else I think that it's got to make the Manson fans happy and glad that they're keeping the faith. Sometimes I think the wait between albums is horrible, sometimes I realize how lucky I am to be one of Manson's friends because he's one of my favorite artists and I get to hear stuff constantly from him. If I wasn't in that position, it would make me antsy too, wondering what was going on. He's an enigma, so very little is leaked.
You can catch Rudy Coby live at the El Rey Theatre Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 8:00 PM for only $20! Tickets are available through ticketmaster.
MansonWiki is pleased to announce that Rudy Coby will be handing out authentic props used in a Marilyn Manson music video to any Manson fan who attends, or buys a ticket.