Interview:High Times Interviews Marilyn Manson
|Marijuana Manson and The Medicine Show
|Interview with Marilyn Manson
|High Times Magazine
Florida's reigning shock-rockers, Marilyn Manson, like their potions white and their "grass" green and sticky. With musical heroes like Dr. Hook and Dave Wyndorf, it should come as no surprise that they've smoked bones - that is, the human kind. I've just wrapped up a phone interview with Marilyn Manson, the lead singer ofthe band that bears his adopted name. The phone rings again. "It's Marilyn," the voice goes. "I forgot to tell you about the time we smoked human bones." Hmmm. From just about anyone else this might seem outrageous, but with Marilyn Manson it's just another way to test the boundaries of society, which happens to be the band's specialty.
Ever since the release of their debut album, Portrait Of An American Family (Nothing), in 1994, Marilyn Manson have gained a well-deserved reputation for being parents' worst nightmare. From such songs as Cake And Sodomy and Lunchbox, depicting the band's rebellion against mainstream society, to wild accounts of stage antics that have occurred during their stints as both headliners and openers for the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson have managed to become the reigning champions of shock-rock.
Last year, the band - Manson, guitarist Daisy Berkowitz, bassist Twiggy Ramirez, keyboardist Madonna Wayne Gacy and new drummer Ginger Fish (the names were chosen to depict the duality of the band: part beauty, part revulsion) - followed up with the EP Smells Like Children, which featured several remixes of Dope Hat, samples of everything from talk shows to porn films and blistering covers of Patti Smith's Rock N' Roll Nigger and Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You. They are currently working on a new album, tentatively titled Antichrist Superstar, that's scheduled for a September release. Combining the influences and excesses of '70s glamsters such as Kiss, David Bowie and the Stooges with their own brand of drug-soaked satanic verses, the Florida-based band brought decadence back to rock 'n' roll at a time when imageand charisma were giving way to political correctness. This decadence includes their industrial-tinged style, wardrobe of rubber and vinyl and openness about drug use. Recently, Marilyn Manson himself dialed HIGH TIMES' number, not once but twice...
High Times: Rumor has it you started smoking pot again. Is this true?
Marilyn Manson: It's funny, because I hadn't really smoked pot since high school. When I started singing, I kind of stayed away from smoking because I thought it would hinder my throat. We just finished a tour that went about five or six months; we were doing a lot of coke and crystal meth, stuff that pumps up the edge to my personality. I've never been one to want to take off the edge, but I guess out of boredom and wanting to try something new, I started smoking pot again.
How long had it been?
The very first time I smoked marijuana was when I was about 16. This was in Ohio, where I had a real cornfield childhood. I went over to this kid's house to stay for the weekend and his brother pulled up in a GTO. He got out of the car and he instantly started firing off a pistol into the sky, which I knew meant that I was in for an interesting weekend. He had this special party room that was real dark with lava lamps and all these posters of Grim Reapers and skulls. He broke out a bong and we started smoking marijuana, while listening to Ozzy Osbourne. Then, he talked me into drinking the bongwater. I got sick for like a week.
Do you smoke from bongs now?
I don't mess around with pipes or bongs. I prefer it in the form of a joint. I only refer to it as 'grass' or 'reefer'. If someone gives me pot, I convert it over to grass or reefer. Our keyboard player, Madonna, smokes pot from the minute he wakes up 'til the minute he goes to sleep. Both he and Daisy. I didn't want to be a part of their group smoking 'pot'. So Twiggy and I kind of stick to ourselves. We bring along our favorite concert t-shirts - Iron Maiden, Journey, Judas Priest - and our suitcase with cheesy sirens and strobelights. We hook them up in our room on tour, turn 'em on, start playing acid rock and smoke some grass.
Do you think "grass" should be legal?
All drugs should be legal. Then the people who want to kill themselves will have the opportunity to - you know, a bit of Social Darwinism weeds out the weak people. I like to do drugs just to know that I don't have to. I do it as a test to myself, to challenge my personal strengths.
Have you ever taken psychedelics?
I used to be really into LSD. When we were first starting the band about five or six years ago, my favorite thing was to take acid and go to Disney World. Everything seemed bigger than life and terrifying. It was like being a kid again.
Do you have revelations when you're high?
One time I had a vision of Dave Wyndorf from Monster Magnet appearing in the shape of a fairy and he had wings made out of marijuana leaves. He floated up and give me these little messages about smoking grass. We were in Memphis and it was about five in the morning. We'd been up all night with our sirens and strobe lights going and were listening to Monster Magnet. We just have this fetish with Dave Wyndorf.
Why is that?
Actually, the first interview I ever read with Wyndorf was in High Times, when he said that he wanted to shoot up a donkey with heroin on stage ("It's A Satanic Drug Thing..." Jul. '92 HT). That's when I first began to love the word of Dave Wyndorf. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Dave Wyndorf invented marijuana.
How do you figure that?
He got in a spaceship and traveled back in time and invented marijuana. It's just a theory I have.
Who else is important to you besides Dave Wyndorf?
Dr. Hook - that's Ray Sawyer - who I believe probably invented cocaine. We got this  album Sloppy Seconds by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show. Just about every song mentions having sex with teenage groupies and snorting drugs. So we're very intrigued by this Dr. Hook music. Get My Rocks Off has become our anthem: 'Some men need some killer weed/Some men need cocaine/Some men need some cactus juice to purify their brains.'
These guys were very decadent. Music like theirs probably would be very much frowned upon today. It's more controversial than what we do.
You're from Florida, a state known for censorship. Have you run into any problems there?
I've been arrested twice in Florida, both times for lewd and lascivious behavior. Back then, I tested the boundaries more just to see what you can really get away with. I think there's always going to be some sort of censorship. Where would we be if we didn't have it? Would the things I have to say be as valid?
[After a few more questions, the interview ends. Then a few minutes later the phone rings. It's Marilyn.]
I forgot to tell you about the time we smoked human bones.
When Twiggy and I were living in New Orleans, we went out one night grave digging, because in New Orleans bones stick out of the ground everywhere. You just kind of like pick 'em like strawberries. So we had a big bag of bones that we carried with us on the road. About five months ago in L.A., we were in a hotel room, and there were all these people there we didn't know. We talked them into chipping off pieces of the bones, putting it in a pipe and smoking it. We smoked it too. It was terrible - it smelled like burnt hair, gave you a really bad headache and made your eyes red. Oh yeah, and after that we talked someone else into smoking a Tic Tac.