Interview:2015/06/06 The Heroes Issue: Marilyn Manson

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The Heroes Issue: Marilyn Manson
2015-06-06 Kerrang! 1571 cover.jpg
Photo: Paul Harries
Interview with Marilyn Manson
Date June 06, 2015
Source Kerrang! #1571
Interviewer Matt Allen


MARILYN MANSON REEKS of gore. The stench of dead animal has gathered on his clothes from the filming of his latest movie, Let Me Make You A Martyr, in which he plays a hitman. "I skin a coyote," he laughs. "I'm in the jeans I was wearing while we did the filming."

Sat with Kerrang!, he's auditing the things that in 2015 can still shock a man who's made a career out of shocking. Turns out, the self-named God of Fuck and Antichrist Superstar doesn't have a very long list.

"It really depends on the standard definition of shocking," he says. "I'm amazed sometimes watching something on [news channel] CNN and it's real. I can be dumbfounded - 'This can't be true!' So, I get high and laugh [until I] think it's a made-up fairytale."

Such is the modern day-in-the-life of one of rock's greatest heroes. Manson has long revelled in twisting the knickers of authority figures; sometimes with his appearance (drag-queen-goth-on-stilts), occasionally with his song titles (Pretty As A Swastika), and regularly with tales of backstage debauchery - his autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, details one unsavoury incident in which a deaf groupie was covered in cold meat, before being urinated on."I think she, too, found it to be art," he wrote.

Now in his late-40s, you'd be forgiven for thinking Manson may have mellowed, discovered inner-peace. A recent K! interview even found him yearning for a family life. Yet when pushed on his role in modern rock, he reaches for one word: "Troublemaker."

"I don't think I've ever given up on myself," he says. "I've not become some safe version of me. I think the only dramatic change I've made in the past six years was to stop drinking absinthe. I switched to pot and vodka. We still like to - and when I see 'we', I mean the collective 'we' in my head - fuck shit up."

On current evidence, the Marilyn Manson of 26 career years is no different in dark spirit to the one that first grabbed headlines two decades ago. Only the MO has changed. "Last year I decided I was gonna get up when I normally go to bed, at 6am," he says. "No-one understood what was going on." Today, his idea of a good night usually combines drug intake with a copy of the Bible. "Getting stoned and reading it aloud, until I pass out. It's got everything you need: devils, demons, vampires. zombies. The Bible has a lot of the greatest hits. CNN has the rest."

Despite his love of controversy, he says those periods of extreme notoriety - the charge sheet that once labelled Manson as Public Enemy Number One within conservative America - "weren't as enjoyable as some people might think". Currently, he views his role to be "a voice of reason in an insane world, though people probably see it backwards. I think it's still necessary for me to be who I am. It does divide America, which it needs because otherwise music is pretty fucking boring here.

"It's strange," he adds."The world changes, but it doesn't really change at all. Everything I could have been mad about when I was younger, I feel the same way about today. The phrase 'ignorance is bliss' was created for a reason. Once you see behind the curtain, it either horrifies you or pisses you off."

There is a balance, then, to Manson's life in 2015. He describes last year as a period of "rebuilding". The Pale Emperor was recorded and its subsequent release, he thinks, has reintroduced people to his wide-ranging art that comprises music, performance and acting. There are more projects to come, too: an upcoming appearance at Download is currently in preparation, plus a U.S. tour with Smashing Pumpkins. Beyond that, there's talk of a possible collaboration with old friend Jonathan Davis of Korn.

Most of all, though, Manson seems to be an artist hell-bent on advancing his creative streak. He claims to be happy but unsatisfied; in control, but unable to see his work in a state of near-completion. "I'll never be satisfied with life," he claims. "I'm happy with it, I feel like I'm accomplishing my goals, but I don't think I'm ever gonna be content. That's been a part of my nature since I can remember."

There is still, then, chaos raging inside Marilyn Manson. Our hero just might go to bed a little earlier.