Running With the Devil, by Marilyn Manson
SPIN's February 1998 cover story
He may be an agent of Satan, but, oh!, the places he’s been, the people he’s known… In this exclusive excerpt from Marilyn Manson’s upcoming memoir, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, the author makes friends with Anton LaVey, makes fun of Corey Feldman, and makes time with Jenna Jameson.
I. I had written, I had called, I had pleaded. Finally, I was granted an appointment. During a day off on the fall, 1994 Nine Inch Nails tour in San Francisco, the hotel phone rang.
“The Doctor wants to meet you,” came a woman’s voice, stern and husky.
I asked her if the Doctor would care to see our show the following night. I knew everything there was to know about the Doctor but he knew very little about me.
“The Doctor never leaves his house,” she replied icily.
“Okay, when do you want me to come over? I’m in town for a few days.”
“The Doctor really wants to meet you,” she replied. “Can you come between one and two tonight?”
No matter what time the Doctor called for me and where he summoned me to, I planned to be there. I admired and respected him. We had a lot of things in common: We had experience as extravagant showmen, successfully placed curses on people, studied criminology and serial killers, found a kindred spirit in the writings of Nietzsche, and constructed a philosophy against repression and in support of nonconformity. In short, we had both dedicated the better part of our lives to toppling Christianity with the weight of its own hypocrisy, and as a result been used as scapegoats to justify Christianity’s existence.
“Oh,” the caller added before she hung up. “Make sure you come alone.”
The Doctor was the preferred name of Anton Szandor LaVey, founder and high priest of the Church of Satan. What nearly everybody in my life—from my black magic-dabbling high school friends to my Christian schoolteachers—had misunderstood about Satanism was that it is not about ritual sacrifices, digging up graves, and worshipping the devil. The devil doesn’t exist. Satanism is about worshipping yourself, because you are responsible for your own good and evil. Christianity’s war against the devil has always been a fight against man’s most natural instincts—and a denial of a man’s membership in the animal kingdom. The idea of heaven is just Christianity’s way of creating hell on earth.
I’m not and have never been a spokesperson for Satanism. It’s simply part of what I believe in, along with Dr. Seuss, Dr. Hook, Nietzsche, and the Bible, which I also believe in. I just have my own interpretation.
That night in San Francisco, I didn’t tell anybody where I was going. I took a cab to LaVey’s house on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. He lived in an inconspicuous black building collared by a high, brutal-looking barbed wire fence. After paying the cab driver, I walked to the gate and noticed that there was no bell. As I contemplated turning back, the gate creaked open. I was as nervous as I was excited, because, unlike most experiences where you meet someone you idolize, I could already tell this one would not be a letdown.
I timidly entered the house and saw no one until I was halfway up the stairs. A fat man in a suit with a sweep of greasy black hair covering his bald spot stood at the top. Without saying a word, he mentioned for me to follow him. In the times I visited LaVey since, the fat man never introduced himself or spoke.
He brought me into a hallway and swung shut a heavy door, blotting out the light entirely. I couldn’t even see the fat man to follow him anymore. Just as I felt myself panicking, he grabbed my arm and pulled me the rest of the way. As we followed the curve of the corridor, my hipbone collided with a doorknob, causing it to turn slightly. Angered, the fat man pulled me away. Whatever was behind there was off limits to guests.
The fat man pulled open a door, and left me alone in a dimly lit study. Beside the door there was a lavishly detailed portrait of LaVey standing next to a lion he used to keep as a house pet. The opposite wall was covered with books—a mix of biographies of Hitler and Stalin, horror by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, philosophy by Nietzsche and Hegel, and manuals on hypnosis and mind control. The majority of the space was taken up by an ornate couch, over which hung several macabre paintings that looked like they were taken from Rob Serling’s Night Gallery. The oddest things about the room were the oversized playpen in the corner and the television set, which seemed out of place, a token of disposable consumerism in a world of contemplation and contempt.
To some people, this would all seem corny. To others, it would be terrifying. To me, it was exciting. All the power LaVey wielded he gained through fear—the public’s fear of a word: Satan. By telling people he was a Satanist, LaVey became Satan in their eyes—which was not unlike my attitude toward being a rock star. “One hates what one fears,” LaVey had written. “I have acquired power without conscious effort, by simply being.” Those lines could have just as easily been something I had written. As important, humor, which has no place in Christian dogma, was essential to Satanism as a valid reaction to a grotesque, misshapen world dominated by a race of cretins.
LaVey had been accused of being a Nazi and a racist, but his whole trip was elitism, which is the basic principle behind misanthropy. In a way his intellectual elitism (and mine) is actually politically correct because it doesn’t judge people by race or creed but by the attainable, equal opportunity criterion of intelligence. The biggest sin in Satanism is not murder, nor is it kindness. It is stupidity. I had originally written LaVey not to talk about human nature but to ask if he’d play theremin on Portrait of an American Family because I had heard he was the only registered union theremin musician in America. He never acknowledged the request directly.
After sitting in the room by myself for several minutes, a woman walked in. She had gaudy blue eyeliner an unnatural coif of blow-dried bleach-blond hair, and pink lipstick smeared on like a kid drawing outside the lines in a coloring book. She wore a tight baby-blue cashmere sweater, a miniskirt and skin-toned hose with a ’40s garter belt and high heels. Following her was a small child, Xerxes Satan LaVey, who ran up to me and tried to remove my rings.
“I hope you’re well,” she said stiffly and formally. “I’m Blanche, the woman you spoke to on the phone. Hail Satan.”
I knew that I was supposed to respond with some kind of mannered phrase that ended with “hail Satan,” but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. It seemed too empty and ritualistic, like wearing a uniform in Christian school.
As she left, no doubt disappointed by my manners, Blanche informed me, “The Doctor will be out in a minute.” The formalities I had seen so far, combined with everything I knew about LaVey’s past—as a circus animal trainer, magician’s assistant, and all-around hustler—led me to expect a grand entrance. I was not disappointed.
LaVey didn’t walk into the room—he appeared. All that was missing was the sound of an explosion and a puff of smoke. He wore a black sailor’s cap, a tailored black suit, and dark sunglasses, even though he was indoors at 2:30 A.M. He moved toward me, shook my hand, and said right off the bat in his rasping voice, “I appreciate the name Marilyn Manson because it’s about putting different extreme together, which is what Satanism is about. But I can’t call you Marilyn. Can I call you Brian?”
“Sure, whatever you feel comfortable with,” I replied.
“Because of my relationship with Marilyn in the ’60s, I feel uncomfortable because she has a special place in my heart,” LaVey said, closing his eyes gently as he spoke. He went on to talk about a sexual relationship he had with Monroe that began when she was the organist in a club where she was a stripper. In our conversation, he planted the seed that his association with her made her career flower. Taking credit for such things is part of LaVey’s style, but he never does it arrogantly. It’s always done naturally, as if it were a well-known fact.
He removed the sunglasses from his goateed gargoyle head, familiar to thousands of teen dabblers from the back cover of The Satanic Bible, and instantly we were enmeshed in an intense conversation. I had just met Traci Lords backstage after a show at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, and she had invited me to a party the next night. Nothing sexual happened, but it was an overwhelming experience because she was like a girl version of me—very bossy and constantly playing mind games. Since LaVey had a relationship with another sex symbol, I thought that maybe he could give me some advice on what to do about Traci, whom I was both confused and captivated by.
The advice that ensued was very cryptic, which was no doubt another way for him to maintain power. The less people understand you, the smarter they think you are. “I feel like you guys belong together, and I think something very important is going to happen with your relationship,” he concluded. It sounded more like the result of $50 and five minutes spent calling the Psychic Friends Network than something I expected LaVey to say.
He continued by sharing sordid details about his sex life with Jane Mansfield and said that after all this time he still felt responsible for her death in a car crash because he had put a curse on her manager and boyfriend, Sam Brody, after a dispute with him. Unfortunately for Mansfield, she happened to be with him that night in New Orleans when a mosquito-spray tanker crashed into his car, decapitating them both. Although I was suspicious about some of LaVey’s claims, his rhetoric and confidence were convincing. He had a mesmerizing voice, perhaps from his experiences as a hypnotist. The most valuable thing he did that day was the was to help me understand and come to terms with deadness, hardness, and apathy I was feeing about myself and the world around me, explaining that it was all necessary, a middle step in an evolution from an innocent child to an intelligent, powerful being capable of making a mark on the world.
One aspect of LaVey’s carny personality was that he liked to align himself with stars like Jayne Mansfield and Sammy Davis, Jr. also a Satanist. So it wasn’t surprising that as I left he encouraged me to bring Traci to visit him.
The next day, Traci happened to be flying in from Los Angeles for our show in Oakland. I was badly bruised and banged up after the concert, so she came back to the hotel, where she bathed and mothered me. But, once again, I didn’t sleep with her because I was still determined to remain faithful to my girlfriend Missi, though Traci was the first person capable of melting my resolve. I told her about the meeting with LaVey, and she gave me the whole Deepak Chopra, Celestine Prophecy, healing crystal, New Age rap about destiny, resurrection, and the afterlife. She didn’t seem to understand what he was about, so I tried to clue her in as I sank into restless sleep: “This guy’s got an interesting point of view. You should listen to him.”
When I brought her to his house the next day, she was a lot more cynical and self-righteous than I had been—at first. She walked in with the attitude that he was a hoax and full of shit, so she debated him whenever she disagreed even slightly with something. But when he said that a louse had more of a right to live than a human or that the concept of equality was horseshit, he was prepared to back it up intelligently. She left the house in silence with dozens of new ideas swirling in her head.
On that visit, LaVey showed me a little more of the house—the bathroom, which was strewn with or fake cobwebs, and the kitchen, which was infested with snakes, vintage electronic instruments, and coffee mugs with pentagrams on them. Like any good showman, LaVey only let you know what he was about in small pieces and revelations, and the more information he gave you the more you realized how little you really knew about him. Near the end of our visit visit, he said, “I want to make you a reverend,” and gave me a crimson card certifying me as a minister in the Church of Satan. Little did I know that accepting this card would be one of the most controversial things I had done to that point; it seemed then (and it still does) that my ordainment was simply a gesture of respect. It was like an honorary degree from a university.
It was also LaVey’s way of passing down the torch, because he was semiretired and tired of spending so many years advancing the same argument. No rock musician has advocated Satanism in any lucid, intelligent, accessible way since perhaps the Rolling Stones, who in “Monkey Man” came up with a line that could have been my credo, “Well I hope we’re not too messianic / Or a trifle too satanic.” As I left, LaVey put a bony hand on my shoulder, and, as it lay there coldly, he said, “You’re gonna make a big dent. You’re going to make an impression on the world.”
When I next met with LaVey a year and a half later on our “Antichrist Superstar” tour, we had a lot to discuss. I had seen the enemies I was up against, and not only were they capable of stopping shows and making unreasonable demands on our performances, but they were capable of, for no reason at all, taking away the only thing LaVey and I both stand for: personal freedom. Like LaVey, I had also discovered what happens when you say something powerful that makes people think. They become afraid of you, and they neutralize your message by giving you a label that is not open to interpretation—as a fascist, a devil worshiper, or an advocate of rape and violence.
On this visit to LaVey’s house, I brought our bassist, Twiggy Ramirez, with me. We were allowed to enter one of the only rooms in his 13-chamber house I hadn’t been in. It was behind the door his steward had jerked me away from when I first visited the house. The room was a private museum of arcana. The entrance was a giant Egyptian sarcophagus that had been propped up against the doorway. There was a rocking chair that had supposedly belonged to Rasputin, Aleister Crowley’s pipe, a satanic altar with a giant pentagram above it, and a couch lined with the fur of some endangered species. We sat at an old wooden dining table (probably something Aleister Crowley used to snort heroin off of) and ate steak.
We spoke of religion, and how much of it is just a custom preserving practical codes of health, morality, and justice that are no longer necessary for group survival (like not eating animals with cloven hooves). It makes a lot more sense to follow The Satanic Bible, written with 20th-century humanity in mind, than a book that was written as a companion to a culture long since defunct.
The last time I saw LeVay we had discussed Traci, so he asked me what had happened with her. I told him that she had blown me off and his optimistic prediction about our relationship was wrong. But after our show the next day, I found out she had been trying to hunt me down all along. Since by then I had a Top 10 album, our relationship had flipped on its axis, as LeVay said it would. When I first met Traci the fact that she was a star made her seem distant and unattainable. It crushed me, which made me stronger, filling me with the desire—the need—to become more of a fucking rock star. Now I had become one. This time around I was in charge, and I didn’t give a shit because I only wanted her when I couldn’t have her.
A year later, a few days after Halloween, I got a call at 4 A.M. telling me that LaVey had died. I was surprised by how sad I felt, because he had actually become a father figure to me and I never got the chance to say good-bye to him or even thank him for his inspiration. But at the same time I knew that even though the world had lost a great philosopher, hell had gained a new leader.
II. I met Fiona Apple at the Grammy Awards after-party in February 1997. She was this little singer who no one had heard of. I was a huge fan of her music.
And she was so sexy and fragile—definitely too fragile for me. If I was ever to be put in a circumstance where I could have sex with her, I would decline because her vagina is probably too precious to be dirtied by my filthy cock. When she walked into the room they were blasting the song we did for David Lynch’s Lost Highway, “Apple of Sodom,” and the lyric playing was, “I got something you can never eat.” For a moment, I had a delusional self-experience, because that song’s about obsession and things you can never have and, in a distant way, is kind of inspired by her.
She was slouched over and looked very timid, almost like a wounded deer, as if she was about to cry. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was overwhelmed and show business was too much stress for a girl of her age with her constitution. I asked her to sit down and said I’d bring her some food or a drink, but she was a vegan and, unlike me, was really picky about what she’s put into her body, which definitely means we’ll never get along even though I’m attracted to her on so many levels. When I was speaking with her, I was distracted for two seconds by some drunk teenage daughter of a celebrity who was bouncing and singing songs and talking about the various rock stars who had made her pregnant. Another starfucker and sycophant sucking the life out of me and distracting me from a conversation that I wanted to have. When I turned back around, this weird fellow had kind of slithered his way up to Fiona, and was performing card tricks for her. Really lame. In the book of shitty ways to pick up women this was chapter one. But I think it worked.
The next day I asked Fiona to come to the premiere of Howard Stern’s Private Parts with me. He uses a song of ours in the movie. In some ways I think Howard Stern and I are very similar because he just says what’s on his mind and it pisses a lot of people off but it also entertains them. I consider him one of the people responsible for breaking “Sweet Dreams” because he really pushed it.
I thought Fiona was going to blow me off because she launched into the kind of dawn-out story about visiting a long-lost relative that I would make up if I wanted to get out of doing something. But she called back later and said she’d go.
In true rock star form, I picked her up to go to Private Parts in a white limo. An in anti-rock star form, she came out makeupless with uncombed hair. This was my first celebrity big-deal event, and I didn’t know how to behave at all. There was this red carpet and apparently you were supposed to walk down it and let people take photos of you, but I was kind of confused. I walked down a few steps, thought I was going the wrong way, then came back to the car. Then somebody told me that I was supposed to be walking on the red carpet, so I went halfway down, then got scared because I didn’t know if I was supposed to stop or not. Meanwhile, a bunch of media cornered Fiona and she got mixed up doing an interview with Flavor Flav. I couldn’t take any more, I was so aggravated. It’s not my scene to sit around and schmooze with a bunch of assholes who don’t know who you are but pretend like they do. Fiona decided she was gonna leave and I wasn’t really even disappointed because i felt bad for how overwhelmed she was.
I went upstairs with Twiggy, who was with us, and ran into Flavor Flav. We high-fived and we danced around. I couldn’t see his eyes but if I could have he probably would have been giving me the wink that people who use drugs give to one another, whether it’s for real or it’s in your mind. I was impressed with the fact that he didn’t know who Marilyn Manson was, though I’m not even sure if he knew who he was because he was definitely out of his fucking head. At that point I ran into Billy Corgan, and I immediately gave him some muscle relaxants I had in my pocket. We decided that they made us feel “fruity,” and then we decided that that would be a great name for a band to start together. So we began having a long, in-depth meeting inspired by the fruity drug to create a fruit-filled experience called Fruity, which will probably never happen because I don’t know where I put those pills.
I was surprised that Billy was cool because I thought he’d be a total asshole from all the spiritual hate mail I had gotten over the years from Trent Reznor, who allegedly despises Billy over an alleged conflict allegedly dealing with Courtney, which he says he didn’t, Billy allegedly fucked Trent’s alleged girlfriend, which he allegedly says he did, or so I’m told.
Then I tried to give the mysterious pills to Conan O’Brien, telling him they were Prozac and he looked like he could use them. He just smiled with that weird creepy baby head of his and walked away to talk to a friend. I gave him the finger, and he just laughed. It’s amazing the things that you can get away with when something looks wrong with one of your eyes, you have badly applied makeup, you’re six-foot-three and you’re accompanied by some weirdo with the front of his head shaved who looks like a cross between Gregory Hines and Klingon on crack undergoing radiation therapy. (If you’re reading this Twiggy, I’m sorry.) Then I think we ran into Tom Arnold, who was all sweaty and anxious and racy and basically looked like her was on speed of some sort. I asked him where the drugs were because I was giving him that same wink that I had exchanged with Flavor Flav earlier. And he just joked “Shhh,” and I said, “All right; well, call me.”
As I was trying to walk downstairs, someone pulled me aside and said, “Come do this interview.” So me, Billy, Twiggy, and Billy’s girlfriend walked over to this couch where Howard Stern was broadcasting from. Joan Rivers was standing across from us. It was loud and chaotic and no one could hear anything anyone was saying (except us, because we had headphones on). Joan Rivers was holding up a sign that said I NEED TO TALK TO YOU. So I felt like I had to explain what was going on to Howard, because it was all being filmed for television. I joked that Joan had given me a blowjob in the bathroom and now she was stalking me and I couldn’t get rid of her because she wanted to give me another sloppy blowjob or something. I motioned for her to come over, and she came over and got down on her knees in front of me to beg for an interview. But it looked like she was supporting my claim—except for those beanbag tits, she’s not bad-looking for her age. Since she couldn’t understand what we were saying, we continued to humiliate her until we got bored.
We were just standing around afterwards when all of a sudden I saw walking towards me this blond, tan girl—the antithesis of what I look for in a woman—in a bright canary yellow dress that she must have had to wear as some kind of karmic retribution for something she had done in a past life. Though she was not the kind of girl you’d want to hold hands with in public, the fact that she was attractive shone through. All this flashed before my eyes in the first few seconds because I decide if I’m going to like somebody before they even mention their name. I have a bad habit of not remembering people’s names when they say them. I’m usually too busy analyzing them—trying to read their intentions and determine if they’re out to fuck me or get fucked, if they want drugs or have drugs, if…I can’t think of anything else that’s important in life.
So this canary woman asked for my autograph because she’s a really big fan. A little annoyed at being interrupted, I quickly dashed off an autograph, but as I did everyone was looking at me funny, like I was fucking someone’s mother or shitting in the punch bowl. Afterwards, some guy came up to me and told me that woman was Jenna Jameson. I asked who Jenna Jameson was, and he said she was the most famous porn star right now. In the back of my head I thought about Traci Lords and how she had actually been up for the part of a seductress in the Howard Stern movie.
She asked if she could sit with me during the movie—she seemed real innocent, or she was a good actress—and we walked to the theater, assaulted by paparazzi flashbulb. I got scared for a moment, but the fruity pills I took calmed me down. When I sat down, in front of me was Kevin Bacon, behind me was Sherman Hemsley, and walking across the room was Corey Feldman, a name that, ironically, one of my bandmates was staying under at the hotel. I was always amused by Corey Feldman. He was a great actor in Stand By Me when he had the deformed ear and went around saying, “Jeordie screwed the pooch, Jeordie screwed the pooch.” Since Jeordie is Twiggy’s real name, I always said that to him, especially when he did screw the pooch.
Corey was in a pseudo-Michael Jackson sort of outfit that made him look stupider than any of his movies had ever made him look, and that’s hard to achieve, especially after Dream A Little Dream (Part 5). I felt like it was my duty to introduce Corey Feldman to Sherman Hemsley wince I had known their artwork for so long. In order to shake hands, they had to reach over the head of Billy Corgan, so his bald head became the bridge over which two heroes of my childhood, Mr. Jefferson and Dorky the Vampire Slayer, met.
I continued to torment Corey afterwards, putting lipstick on him and introducing him to strangers. Because it is my duty to punch below the belt, I told him I was a big fan of the rap song that I saw him perform on television, which was among the shittiest songs ever recorded yet still not cool enough by far to be the worst thing I had ever heard.
When the movie started, Jena Jameson kept making comments like, “Well, what are we going to do later? Are we going to go out to a bar? Are we going to hang out? You know I strip dance to your music. Wow I can’t believe I’m really sitting here with you…” She had a whole catalog of different “I’m a whore, I’m a virgin, I’m your mom, I’m your daughter” lines; she had all different kinds of fuck-me-doll looks; she pulled out the entire contents of her seduction bag of tricks. There’s a scene in the film where Howard is sitting with a famous B-movie girl at a theater and she puts her hand on his leg. At the same time, Jenna put her hand on my leg, which completely freaked me out because the part that Traci Lords was originally supposed to play in the movie was that B-movie actress.
Jenna’s hand slowly started to creep up toward my crotch, and, since I wasn’t on coke, I had a hard-on. I probably could have gotten one anyways because she had some sort of magical touch to her fingertips. After the film, we rode to the Whiskey Bar in my limo. She had a friend with her that nobody wanted to talk to because she wasn’t a porn star and the fact that she wasn’t wearing a yellow dress didn’t make up for the fact that she was not as attractive as her friend. Maybe Jenna had worn the yellow dress out of friendship, like a golfing handicap, to diminish her powers.
At the bar, we sat between Billy Corgan and Rick Rubin. Somehow Jenna had my jacket on her lap, and she put my hand up her skirt to show me that she wasn’t wearing any underwear. So I was sitting there with my hand inside her trying to convince Billy Corgan, on my left, that if he wore a yellow shirt with a black zig-zag across it he would be Charlie Brown. But I was so drunk and high that Rick Rubin’s beard seemed like a cloud, covering the whole room. Everybody had his heard. I looked around and Jenna had the beard, I felt the beard under her skirt, all of a sudden Billy Corgan had a full head of hair made out of Rick Rubin’s bear. ZZ Top showed up in the Eliminator car and had a bunch of hot girls got out. They were all people I had fucked and they all had beards. I got stressed out, and I was having a bit of an episode, and I didn’t know where my finger was. When I removed it I was too scared to look at it or smell it because if it was good, I would want to make Billy smell it, and if it was bad, I didn’t want to ruin the pleasant evening I was anticipating. So I just avoided it altogether, sitting on my hand so the smell would waft.
Back in the limo, I asked Jenna if she wanted to go back to my room. But she said she had someone waiting for her at her hotel. Then she had some kind of secret dialogue with her friend in Urdu or old Dutch or sign language or hieroglyphics. What I discovered through many years of linguistic and archaeological research int women’s codes was that she was married and her husband was waiting for her, which was more fantastic and made me want her more. So she came back with me, of course, and I recalled from the film that the character who was supposed to be played by Traci Lords made Howard Stern get in the bathtub with her. So I thought, “Why not?” The only other thing I can remember from that night is that she had a tattoo on her ass that said HEARTBREAKER. But then again, everyone in America who has ever watched any of her films knows that, so maybe it was all a dream. But if it was a dream, it was a wet one.
The following is an interview with SPIN’s Julia Chaplin and accompanied Manson’s autobiography excerpt above.
SPIN: You’re only 28. Don’t you think it’s a little early to write an autobiography?
Manson: I though it would be earlier now than later in life to explain how I grew up and the transformation that’s taken place over the past 27 years. I tried to do that on Antichrist Superstar, but it was much more esoteric and metaphorical, and I don’t think a lot of people understood it. Now people will know the facts, not a version skewed by magazine editors.
How much of The Long Hard Road Out of Hell did you actually write?
It was mostly dictated. I would tell [coauthor] Neil Strauss stories, because I don’t have the patience or skill to write them down myself. I’m sure in a month or so I’m sure in a month or so I’ll deny things I’ve said and attribute them to drug use or coercion by Neil.
After reading you life story, do you still like yourself?
I’m so detached from the things that I’ve done that when I read the book it’s almost like hearing them for the first time. Sometimes it makes me feel like shit about myself, and sometimes it makes me finally understand.
In the book you dis most everyone, from friends like Trent Reznor, Daisy Berkowitz, and Courtney Love, to your fans, your parents, and your record label. Do you fear retaliation from anyone?
I don’t fear anything. Life is short and I’m here to entertain people. It’s just my point of view. Anyone I’ve offended, they always have their side of the story.
Do you think Trent, who produced Antichrist Superstar, will be entertained with your portrayal of him as a jealous control freak?
I don’t know how he’ll feel about anything that I’ve done or said. I love him like a brother and I hope that we’ve all learned something from the past year.
Tell me about your next album.
We’re nearly finished writing it. Whereas on Antichrist Superstar I compared myself to Lucifer’s fall from heaven, giving God the middle finger the whole way down, the new album is more about what happens when I land on earth and try to fit in as a human being.
Who will produce the record?
Billy Corgan will be executive producer. After meeting him last year I saw he was different than the people I had worked with in the past. I’ve always been more of a traditional Beatles/Rolling Stones/David Bowie songwriting fan, and sometimes that had been discouraged for the sake of being more inventive. Billy actually made me feel good about the things that I like in music. I’ve also recruited the Dust Brothers to mix the album.
Why did you decide to work with Billly instead of Trent?
I don’t want people to think Marilyn Manson can only sound like Nine Inch Nails. We hired Trent because I respected, and still do respect, what he does musically. But that’s not all I have to offer.
A lot of people say Trent Reznor was the talent behind your last two albums.
The next record will prove Marilyn Manson’s musical identity. And whether that proves that I’m a failure or a genius remains to be seen.
Will you stay on Reznor’s Nothing Records?
Absolutely. There’s no bitterness on my part toward Trent, but there is no reason for us to work together on another album.
Are you plotting to piss off conservatives with the next record?
No. I’m actually hoping to piss off Satanists. It may have a gospel edge to it.
Does that mean you won’t be playing Ozzfest next summer?
Maybe Lilith Fair would be better. Those people are far more depraved and satanic than I could ever be. Christians hate their message—open-mindedness, sexuality, women’s rights—and they’re presenting it in an innocuous, folksy way. That’s much more subversive than me.
What do you think of the recent Senate hearings where they blamed your song lyrics for a teenager’s suicide?
It’s a tradition to try and blame music for a bad upbringing. These hearings are the result of someone looking to get reelected or trying to get their name in the paper. The exploit the parents who claim their kids have been injured because of music. That’s far more despicable than anything I could ever do.