Marilyn Manson, 2004 promo photo
With a Best Of record on the way, the reigning monarch of creep rock has been getting reflective. Marilyn Manson may not freak out parents in the same way he used to, but he’s always going to be the weird one.
“I feel like more of an oddity,” says a sickly, croaking Manson, explaining how he views himself. “As long as someone’s not charging quarters to look at my balls or something. That’s what it can’t be.”
The Anti-Christ Superstar is mighty ill as he conducts this interview. He vaguely alludes to a breakdown and institutionalization and veers from topic to topic haphazardly. He doesn’t actually seem all that interested in the music biz these days and isn’t afraid to say it either. Regardless, his razor-sharp wit is still in fine form.
“I really couldn’t care less about Soundscan anymore,” he says. “I’m going for body count. At this point it’s only about prestige, it’s the only way to have more. It doesn’t have to be kills… at least severely disturbing people.”
The only new song on the Best Of is a vicious cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” After joking that he picked the song as a tribute to Dave Gahan’s wife for fellating him, Manson explains the song choice was about politics.
“It’s symbolic of my career in that I found it to be more political and relationship-based than religious,” he says. Politics and revolution, or perhaps the politics of revolution are still at the front of his mind. Manson may joke about racking up body counts, but he probably has world issues in better perspective than most people.
“I’m kinda famous for tearing up bibles and wiping my ass with the flag, so I don’t think it’s any newsflash that I’m not big on American politics,” he says. “Who’s going to lead the revolution? What is the revolution revolting against? [On song] ‘Disposable Teens’ I was feeling the same things you’re asking me, ‘they say you want a revolution, I say you’re full of shit.’ I think it’s the same. Nothing has changed. It’s just a different colour.”
Manson then equates Columbine with the Iraq War in one simple observation:
“I’ve had my grasp on morals for some time since my dad’s experience [in Vietnam], but also because I had to sit there and think, ‘Why is it OK that we’re blowing the shit out of some other country and two kids blow up a high school?'” he says. “What’s the difference? Because somebody says? At the end of the day it’s all killing. You can drive yourself crazy in circles going round about that but it’s… it would take an hour at least just to go down that path. I think art is your escape. That’s what keeps me going.”
This story was originally published September 17, 2004 on ChartAttack.