Interview:2012/02/20 Marilyn Manson: The Born Villain

From MansonWiki, the Marilyn Manson encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marilyn Manson: The Born Villain
20-02-2012 The-Brag 450.png
Interview with Marilyn Manson
Date February 20, 2012
Source The Brag #450
Interviewer Joshua Kloke

For those who've heard it, the name Marilyn Manson is synonymous with a brand of insidious, anger-fuelled glam metal, and a musical output geared to incite the deconstruction of such pillars of modern American society as Christianity, conformity and an obsession with violence. His tours in the late 1990s and early 2000s were explosive affairs, typically picketed and protested by conservative political and religious groups, climaxing with the blame assigned to him for the role his music (arguably) played in the Columbine tragedy of 1999. Compounding all this moral outrage was the fact that the conservative backlash only seemed to make him more successful.

Yet the age in which an artist is able to shock based purely on live performances, stage costumes and lyrical content has long since passed and, thanks to the rise of the internet, Manson's outlandish approach has been superseded by millions of citizens willing to say or do anything for 15 minutes of fame.

Now with his eighth full-length record Born Villain on the way (the first not being released through major label imprint Interscope) Manson finds himself at a crossroads: is his shock-filled approach still relevant? And if not, what's to become of Marilyn Manson?

"A lot of times, a large portion of people - especially in America - aren't interested in finding something deeper. Sure, sometimes I like the jingle on the commercial, but at the end of the day, when you go to sleep, you're locked in a moment when you remember certain images, songs, smells and sounds that stay with you forever," says the remarkably chatty Manson from his Los Angeles home, which doubles as the studio where he laid much of the groundwork for Born Villain. "And that's what allows me to have an attitude where I can objectify the fact that people treat what I made as a product, but not get mad and take it personally. I can treat it not as a product, but as something that comes from me. I can still be happy about making it. And I also know how to adapt to what I believe is a great new environment. A lot of people have never heard my music; I would never walk into a room or a situation and have the arrogance - or, actually, the ignorance - to assume that they know what I've done before. I want to play them [Born Villain] just as I would my first record, and have them like it for the same reason."

As the oft-reclusive 43-year-old speaks, he sheds the thick exterior he's presented in the past. He is open when discussing not only his fears about his place in the world, but how he might overcome them. "I was struggling very hard to figure out where I would fit in this changing world - [as] someone that's against everything and then suddenly, they're a part of everything. And in that Warhol, Salvador Dali sense, I was just trying to make it out alive." What Manson chose to do was get back to basics. "I can't say it was simple, but it was important to go back and give myself no other options. Limitations are a very strong thing for artists to have. I moved into a place and started painting, and only gave myself one colour: black, with white paper. We started making this record, and made it with the limitations of immediacy and urgency. It wasn't so much improvisation as it was figuring out that when you only have a pencil and a guitar or a drumstick it's almost reinventing the wheel. And I like limitations. They work for me. It worked for me back when I didn't even have any songs, and I could only draw."

In 2012, Manson sees himself less as a crusader for a cause and more as an artist, born Brian Hugh Warner, who has finally gotten back in touch with what pushed him to start creating music under the Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids moniker over 20 years ago. "Over the past few albums, it didn't start to become less passionate, but [it became] less fun for me. Art was always the thing that brought some fulfillment to me. And it had started to slip away." With Born Villain, Manson has regained control of what he lost. He took his time, refused to rush the process and allowed his newfound creativity to take him wherever it could.

The making of the album, which was jointly released on Manson's own label Hell, etc. Records and Cooking Vinyl Records, was also an opportunity for him to look back on his time spent at a major label's beck and call. (And amidst all of these changes to the man and his career, it's refreshing to know that he never lost the ability to paint a vivid picture with trademark Manson wit...) "Here's a profane reference, or metaphor: you're having oral sex with a woman and you're thinking to yourself, 'Wow, this is wonderful!' and you just want to keep doing it - but then you think to yourself, 'Wait, people have also told me that mustard is great,' so you put mustard on it just to change it, and keep going. These labels, they love something but then they want to try something different because everyone's telling them something else to do. They get afraid of just loving something, just because. It's not the artist, they think - it's the formula. But people identify with stuff that really hits them."

It's Manson's hope that Born Villain will indeed hit fans, without the mustard. While he's ready to acknowledge his past, he's more content to move forward; shocking those around him is not a concern for him, and he doubts it ever was. Turns out Manson, with his ongoing fight to be honest, may be more relevant now than ever. "Whatever I've done, it's certainly led us to this conversation. I've always said that I can't possibly be shocking - and believe it or not, I said that when I started out. What you can be is confusing, and interesting. It's a form of communication. And all that added to the determination of making this record. I think this will be considered the best Marilyn Manson record. It's the most true to how I wanted it to be."