Marilyn Manson, A MusicDish Exclusive Interview
Frederick Audran [FA} delves deep into the thoughs of icon Marilyn Manson [MM] to expose his true beliefs and visisons. See what Fred saw in a unusually introspective interview with Marilyn Manson.
[FA] Your album is totally different from the preceding ones, less in your face, less provocative. Why the change in tone?
[MM] In fact, for the writing of Mechanical Animals, I have the impression of having felt feelings for the first time in my life. More than a simple lament, this album holds more than tragedy. I mean once you've found someone to whom you become attached, it is pretty painful to evolve in this tragic world. In the past, when I yelled my emotions without holding back to anyone who'd listen, I didn't give a care that the world be destroyed the next day because I never had someone to whom I was really attached.
[FA] Do you feel any responsibility towards your public? Since you tackle certain taboos, it could become dangerous for impressionable souls.
[MM] I feel responsible to inspire my public, and I feel they have a responsibility to evolve intelligently. If you want to appreciate art, literature or music, you need to have a certain level of intelligence to be able to seize the messages and interpret them in you own manner without taking everything to the letter.
[FA] Has your attraction to self-mutilation evolved?
[MM] I think that in the past, I put myself voluntarily in situations of physical pain because I didn't feel anything on an emotional level. It's the reason behind, I found, behind this attraction. That said, I believe that I've evolved since the day that I felt emotions.
[FA] Your last album tries to appeal to a broader public. Are you finished with Satanism?
[MM] Satanism was simply a theme which has inspired me in my career. This album though looks at rebirth as well as the alienation I feel in the position I am now. In fact, I'm beginning to gather together the left and right side of my brain. The more I begin to feel and experience, the more the world seems mechanical and cold to me.
[FA] The title Mechanical Animals conjures up philosophers such as Spinoza or Descartes which related human nature in mathematical terms. In short, a vision very close to your view of the human soul represented as a machine.
[MM] If you study history, you'll notice that man passes his life and time creating machines which act as machines. On the other hand, more and more people act themselves as machines. I realized this by feeling these emotions which I had never experienced, and paradoxically, I felt increasingly alone in the world.
[FA] On your first two 'extreme' albums, we get the feeling you were trying to attract people's attention: that weakness for example, the act of lowering your guard, of feeling and showing emotions could also be a strength?
[MM] Yes, it's a good vision of things - I captured peoples' attention and now I feel the need to make them feel. This album was made to make people feel.
[FA] One of the messages you appear to be sending is that "every one of us has in him good and bad sides. It's no use hiding them, but to accept them if we want to evolve and rid ourselves of them. You believe that if people incorporated these very simple ideas that the world would be a better place?
[MM] I believe that people will never accept these concepts because unfortunately they love using their ability to control others. Some give themselves the role of well-wisher to be able to label what is 'evil', those that are mean.
[FA] On "New Model No. 15", you slay the sufficiency and superficiality of Hollywood by targeting the top models. How do you deal with those who could turn the argument against you?
[MM] But I include myself in this circus. That's why in the album I make lampoon the interpretations that people can have of me.
[FA] But there appear be an unnatural difference between one of the top models who satisfy themselves with walking down the runway and your status as an artist who offers a consistent work.
[MM] That's true. But people, the media and the magazines try to sell me as they would a model. People need to create labels so they can classify and find themselves and I'm simply a part of all that. As such, I'm obviously open to criticism.
[FA] It seems though that despite your strong marketing image, your motivation is not money.
[MM] It's not work for me. My art is my passion. It's not important at the end of the day whether I'm paid or not for me to express it. Sure, money gives me the opportunity to be more creative, but it's not the goal in itself.
[FA] Does it make you laugh when a reporter treats you like a chump because he hasn't even heard your music or understood your message/lyrics, when they are satisfied with the image without going any farther?
[MM] When reporters criticize or praise me, who cares. They still need my name to sell their magazines. It's ironic because whatever they say about the way I look, they always include a picture of me in their pages.
[FA] In other words, your simply there to blow things up?
[MM] Yes, the only way to change the system, is to destroy it from the inside. It's become with my art my primary goal.
[FA] Alec Empire from Atari Teenage Riot has a pretty radical credo: "Destroy yourself with drugs before the system destroys you." Do you adhere to the same principle?
[MM] No, because that's what the system wants in any case. I think that drugs can be used to inspire or for fun, but I do not believe in letting yourself be controlled or destroyed by anything.I would like to fight for anyone which has that willpower. Drugs have been, for, me a tool in my growth. You don't know if something can control you until you've tried it.
[FA] Will you work with David Lynch again?
[MM] Definitely, but I can't tell you anymore. We spoke recently on the phone and there's a mutual desire. We live somewhat in the same universe as well as sharing a similar artistic approach. Blue Velvet is his work which affected me the most. I was younger and this movie had a huge impact on me.
[FA] When you were flirting with Anton Levy's Satanism, there was a notion of elitism which was somewhat bothersome.
[MM] I believe that I championed the idea that intelligence is the only acceptable criteria to choose leaders and decision makers. No one chooses their sex or race, But anyone can excel and enrich their spirit by cultivating themselves and studying. People who express themselves without boundaries like artists, architects and musicians make up a base in which we should seek our leaders for they are more philosophic than those who don't use their abilities to create or express themselves. These people bring an enormous contribution to society.
[FA] Your becoming increasingly mainstream, do you want to stay on this path, to become increasingly popular?
[MM] I find that it's useful that my ideas become more mainstream and that more and more people become exposed to them, because the cliches and idiosyncracies they are bombarded with every day are less provocative, stimulating or enriching to the soul.
[FA] You've seen the movie, Kurt & Courtney?
[MM] Yes, good movie. But it's still too nice towards Courtney. (smile) I don't like Courtney Love..
[FA] Can you tell us more?
[MM] (bursting laughter) She exposes herself enough in the media, she doesn't need my help to sink any further.
[FA] Wait, the movie is totally critical of her. Does it reflect reality?
[MM] The movie could have been a lot harder on her. They could have put her down a hundred times over.