Interview:Richard Kern snapped and chatted to MARILYN MANSON for PURR 1995
|Richard Kern snapped and chatted to MARILYN MANSON for PURR
|Interview with Marilyn Manson
|Unnamed Russian fansite
Richard Kern snapped and chatted to MARILYN MANSON for PURR
RK: Each band member has the first name of a model and the last name of a serial killer. Can you describe the basic MARILYN MANSON concept and how these names embody that philosophy? There is Marilyn Manson (vocals), Twiggy Ramirez (bass), Daisy Berkowitz (guitar), Madonna Wayne Gacy (keyboards), and a new drummer...What’s his name?
MM: The new drummer is named Ginger Fish. The concept started about five or six years ago. I was doing a lot of writing. I didn’t intend anything that I was writing to be lyrics, just ideas I was thinking about and putting down. The name Marilyn Manson was just something that came up. I thought that Charles Manson and Marilyn Monroe were the two most memorable people in my childhood. They stood out as strong archetypes as far as a female and male icons. I thought putting them together would make a really strong balance between male and female and positive and negative. And it (really) defined the things I was writing and the way I felt in my personality at the time. So when I met up with our guitar player Daisy Berkowitz (he was doing weird instrumental demos at the time), I started putting some of my lyrics down with his music and we ended up with a batch of songs. Each member basically followed suit with the Marilyn Manson ideal and each picked their favourite females and males.
RK: In SNAKE EYES AND SISSIES, you refer to ‘middle finger technology'. What is that?
MM: Sometimes you can try doing things, you can know all you want to know, but a ‘Fuck You’ attitude will get you a lot further in a lot of cases.
RK: During your live shows, you often strip and play with your cock. I’ve also heard that lately you’ve been cutting yourself on-stage. If you were given an unlimited budget for tour support and no one was going to censor you, what would you add to your stage show?
MM: It’s hard to say because basically I do whatever I feel like doing which has gotten me in trouble in the past. I am always extreme when I want to be so I don’t ever take into consideration the law when performing, but it would be great to do things on a larger scale, we could have a bigger show and bring along a real freak show.
RK: What type of ‘freak show’?
MM: It’s hard to say... I’ve always been fond of chickens and girls in cages screaming always seems to turn me on. I guess it’s from early childhood from watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
RK: You must have loved that scene in Roadkill (A girl in a cage on top of a stove screaming while her tormentor watches her burning) I’ve watched that scene over and over!!! So, do you feel the need to outdo yourself yet?
MM: Not necessarily. I am always re-inventing and re-creating just out of my own boredom and my own looniness. I am always wanting to go onto something different. I don’t want to become predictable, but I don’t feel like I’m trying to top myself.
RK: Do you have any specific ideas for what you would like to see on-stage that you think couldn’t be shown because you couldn’t get away with it?
MM: Not necessarily. Basically we try to be spontaneous. I just like to do whatever I feel like at the time and not get hassled by animal rights, female rights and childrens rights groups.
RK: You were arrested in Florida and banned in Salt Lake City, Utah, right? What was the Florida arrest about?
MM: It was a law that usually applies to strip clubs where you are not allowed to show simulated sex while they serve alcohol. There were some undercover cops in the crowd and toward the end of the show I ended up taking off all my clothes. The police said I was masturbating on stage. I wasn’t, but I ended up paying a fine to get the charges dropped.
RK: Was your first sexual experience with a boy or a girl... or an animal?
MM: When I was about 8 I used to hang out with this kid next door who wanted to pretend we were in jail. He made me take off all my clothes and started fondling me. I told my parents about it ‘cause I was kind of freaked out and they went over and talked to his parents who didn’t believe me which kind of changed our neighborly views toward each other. When I was 14, my dog killed their dog. I guess that was like judgement day.
RK: That was when you were living in Ohio?
MM: Well, after getting into the type of lifestyle that I’m accustomed to now... In Ohio, things are so normal that at this point they seem very strange to me and take on this John Waters quality. I don’t think I can look at that life and ever be able to enjoy it again after you’ve experienced and know certain things you can’t be a civilian anymore.
RK: Yeah, you’re no longer innocent. You sing about sodomy, (Cake and Sodomy) what do you think of it?
MM: Sodomy referring to oral sex or anal sex?
RK: ANAL SEX MAN!
MM: I think that it’s ridiculous that in a lot of states, certain sex acts are illegal. I believe in certain parts of Florida it’s illegal. The law tries to stifle homosexuality by making sodomy illegal but they don’t realize that a lot of mild-mannered heterosexual couples fuck each other in the ass too. I think sodomy is a necessary part of sex.
RK: I agree. You and I did this fantasy shoot with you and a groupie who was made to look dead. While we were shooting it you said: If you see my penis I’ll be gay.” What did you mean?
MM: People often consider us homos or bi’s because of the androgyny. Through the years, we’ve made up our own little rules here and there as to what constitutes being gay or not gay. One of the rules was that if you get someone else’s cum on you it makes you gay, or if you are naked in a room with some other guy and The Smiths are playing on the stereo, you’re both gay!!
RK: (Laughter) That’s good! That should go over big in England!
MM: I like Suede a lot. I think just by owning a Suede CD, you have definitely dabbled in the world of bi-sexuality! I really like the video for The Drowners.
RK: Is that the one where it is all bubbly?
RK: Yeah, that’s awesome.
MM: There are some male performers that I am always finding arousing. Does this mean I want to have sex with them?
RK: Nah, it’s manly admiration. Who are some of the others?
RK: Back to groupies, you’ve told me a bunch of tales from the road. Would you care to tell any exciting episodes?
MM: I have always found that the best and most exciting stories on the road are better left a secret because of the statute of limitations.
RK: How about without ages? Have you been advised by your manager to leave all that shit out?
MM: NO. But I’ve found there are some things you should keep to yourself. I can say I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the level of depravity that a male or female will go. I realize that a lot of fans are caught up in the excitement of the moment and a certain part of me has to respect that innocence and ignorance, and I care not to want to exploit people like that, so anybody that gets into any exploitation is not someone who doesn’t WANT to get taken advantage of. I guess I have a soft spot for not taking advantage of people who don’t deserve it.
RK: Okay we’ll skip all that. There is a line “I want you more when you’re afraid” (Sweet Tooth)...
MM: That goes back to watching horror movies. I’ve grown accustomed to getting sexual excitement out of a girls’ screaming. There’s something about a terrified girl that I find exciting. I like scaring girls, but how far do you go for your own excitement? I guess I tend to be into fear and I like to find out what makes people afraid and why.
RK: Who was your first television idol?
MM: I remember the first time I had an erection, was watching Scooby Doo (cartoon) and I didn’t understand what it was from, but it was from Daphne, the redhead. But a ‘real’ person probably was the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’, Lee Majors.
RK: Do you write all your songs in a line or are they all fragments that need to be fused to make a concept?
MM: They all evolve differently. Sometimes they will all come out at once, or a line a day. Then I come back and finish it. There is no formula, I just try and remain honest to what inspired me.
RK: Here Is My Real Head from Organ Grinder. Which head?
MM: When I was writing that I had this vision of pulling back the face to expose the real you. Partly because people have a different perception of what I am about. And sometimes what I am really about is a lot more terrifying than what they think. It’s a different danger from what they expected. The things I would want to do to people’s kids would really scare them because I would love to push individuality and free thinking on them and that would be something that would disrupt the family household.
RK: Since you wrote the first songs before you reached this level of success and you’re now insulated within a womb of fans, has you(r) subject matter changed?
MM: I don’t think it is having an effect, but the experiences that we have gone through over these past two years are affecting the things I’m thinking about. I have become a lot more bitter from having seen more of America and how horrible it can be but at the same time all these things that make America so bad I enjoy so much. I think people can expect our next album to be more extreme. Not a change in the attitude, just more extreme.
RK: In High School, who or what did you hate the most?
MM: I hated the rich kids. I wanted to hang out with the heavy metal burnout kids but I didn’t smoke pot. I wasn’t cool enough for them, I wanted to try and fit in with the high IQ crowd and I could get the good grades, but I ended up not studying because my friends were in between outcasts and hated me for getting good grades and I would deliberately fail a lot of stuff to be cool. So I ended up watching a lot of After School Specials and got a little fucked up afterwards. But in the end I am very grateful because I am happy with the way I turned out.
RK: Your song Lunchbox is about a common American childhood dream-instead of wanting to grow up and be firemen, astronauts or politicians; kids now want to grow up and be rock and roll stars. Is that how far back this went with you?
MM: I guess so. When MM was coming together, I thought back to when I was a kid and I used to make tapes all the time, sing ridiculous songs and give them to people. So I guess it was always something that I was going to be. I thought this would be the ultimate payback to everyone who doubted me. Music is such a powerful medium now. The kids don’t even know who the president is but they know that’s on MTV. I think if the anyone like Hitler or Mussolini were alive now, they would have to be rock stars. That’s where the social issues are noticed and maybe that’s a danger of America. Kids can relate to what I’m saying, because What I am saying is reality and it’s something that they are always trying to hide.
RK: You spoke about kids, you have a very focused plan that puts you in the role of the pied piper, where would you lead these kids?
MM: ed;ogogsdsetjilgiirpwieyspfjgjb mb, cwperkv mvtirpt
RK: Did you ever ‘sell yourself for a piece of candy’?
MM: No, ironically though, at the Christian school that I attended as a youngster, we weren’t allowed to have candy in school so I ended up managing to buy candy at the dime store and smuggling it in to sell to the kids at lunch time. And I got in trouble for it too.
RK: What was the last book you read?
MM: I’m in the middle of reading American Psycho.
MM: I’m into it. It’s disturbing in the way the character is so obsessive-compulsive.
RK: What was the last movie that scared you?
MM: I just saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre again because we were touring through Texas. That movie is a classic and will always be terrifying.
RK: What is your favourite age group?
MM: The most understanding crowd seems to be the 14-18 set.
RK: I notice on-stage you always seem to be talking to the 14 yr. olds. Has that given you any trouble?
MM: It does and that is exactly why I do it. Because I am not supposed to and I hate being told what to do. I guess I have a childish attitude.
RK: I know from personal experience in dealing with you for photographs and the video we did that whatever plans you make must be filtered through your management and record company. Do you find it ironic that the corporations responsible for the society that you sing about are the ones putting your music in stores?
MM: Yes, I do and if I were stubborn I would not want to deal with it because I would say to just realize what is going on around you and instead of being played by the machine, play the machine. It may appear that we are being controlled by them but we are allowing it so we can get what we want to say out.
RK: What is the future for MM?
RK: Can you describe a typical MM fan?
MM: A typical fan that I would want would be anybody with enough intelligence to think for themselves and not be programmed. They seem to be people who don’t have anywhere to go for acceptance. They are not your Pearl Jam fans.
RK: During the last show I saw in NYC, you told the audience, “I’m your daddy, who wants to come up here and talk to daddy?” There was a huge response from the crowd and you selected a very straight looking girl and dragged her up on-stage. You coaxed her into saying, “Do you love your daddy?” and she was shouting it into the microphone and then screaming that she wanted to fuck daddy. Do you remember? Does that happen every night?
MM: No. One part of it is just an experiment for me to see what kind of an influence you have on people. On another level I would like to think that person leaves there wondering why they did that maybe raises some questions in their heads. Everyone seems to go about their lives and jobs being told what to do and never asking any questions. The reason I like to stir up so much shit is because I like people to ask questions. That’s why I dabble with very taboo subjects like child porn, sodomy, Satan. It raises questions.
MM: I bring guaze and rubbing alcohol to tend your wounds after I am done sodomizing you.
RK: I hear that Courtney Love is a big MM fan?
MM: I’m not so sure that she likes MM as much as likes Twiggy. I don’t know if she’s even heard the record.
RK: What do you think about the current state of pop music in America?
MM: I think MTV is trying to play God and some bands that are trying to pass themselves off as punk rock are a joke. These happy politically correct bands singing about high school and love and caring and sharing.
RK: Do you have any final words?