AN INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN MANSON
at the Capitol Ballroom
November 9, 1995
Sprawled on a sofa in the pits of the dungeon-like dressing rooms of D.C.'s illustrious newly-opened Capitol Ballroom, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson crossed his legs in a pair of ripped-up black stockings, covered by a politically-incorrect rabbit fur coat. A firm believer in "Survival of the Fittest", this was one group of bunnies that didn't quite make it.
During the course of the show, Mr. Manson managed to slash himself across the stomach with a shard from a broken beer bottle, appeared to have exposed his genitalia or something resembling that action, and with a little slight-of-hand, made it look as if he had sodomized himself with a stick, which he then threw (yuck!) at the gaping audience. His on-stage antics follow in the well-established tradition of shock-rockers of the past, and so the question remains: where can Marilyn Manson go from here? What can he do to shock his audience any further? He started the show by pulling a coke bottle out of his anus. I had just finished interviewing him minutes earlier. Thought: was that coke bottle shoved up his ass during the interview?
Why was Sara Lee Lucas replaced?
He wasn't really growing with the band, musically, and he really couldn't keep up with our lifestyle, so we just needed somebody stronger - better drummer.
Where did Ginger Fish come from?
Las Vegas. He played in a lot of Las Vegas bands. He auditioned for us and we liked what he could do, so he got the job right away.
Who is he named for?
Ginger Rogers, a dancer, and Albert Fish, an old man that murdered and ate children.
What is your favorite track on the new album?
I guess my favorite one would be "Sweet Dreams". I've always liked that song, I like doing that, I haven't gotten sick of it. I always thought the lyrics were very strong and dark and I wasn't sure if people had seen it the way that I saw it so I wanted to redo it and let people get to experience it the way that I did.
What are your thoughts on evolution?
Well, I don't have any specific theories about the origin of Man, but I tend to believe in Social Darwinism, so I believe the evolution of society. I guess I believe, to a certain degree, the Darwin Theory. But at the same time, I'm open to the idea of aliens and I'm open to the idea of a lot of different things. I'm not, however, open to the idea of Genesis and Creationism. It doesn't work for me.
Even the aliens had to have come from somewhere... Do you believe in the existence of Satan as an entity?
I think Satan is a word that you can use to describe your animalistic side if, as a whole, everyone's animalistic nature - I guess Satan exists in that sense - that part of everyone's personality. I don't believe in it as a "being". It's a word that represents rebellion, represents Man, represents a defiance towards society and God and the things that are forced upon us and are considered to be normal and acceptable.
After having had the experience as a child when you discovered an aborted fetus in a coffee can, and having that image imprinted on your brain, what are your thoughts on abortion?
I think the problem that always arises with issues like abortion, between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life, nobody really wants to deal with the problem, and that's birth control. I think if more people concentrated on dealing with that - making birth control more of an issue - then you wouldn't have to deal with the idea of abortion. I don't think stupid people should breed, so in that sense, I'm pro-abortion.
Who decides who's stupid and shouldn't "breed"?
Exactly ... that's where you get into the grey area. I think my ideal Utopia would be to surround myself with people who are intelligent and are responsible for themselves and want to be individuals and want to do what they want to do and want to be themselves and not what television or religion or society might want to impress upon them. That would be my criteria for intelligence.
So it's like a forced escape from all the "outside" influences?
They're kind of inside influences or they're outside depending on how you look at them. I think you need all that - I don't think you need to escape it. You just need to realize that a lot of people take for granted the things they're being fed everyday. They don't realize what it is.
What are your views on sexual abuse of children?
I think a lot of things through the era of talk shows are fabricated and created by psychiatrists to further their businesses and that fuel is added to by talk shows and things like that. As a kid I experienced many different types of sexual abuse from all different directions - but I'm not the sort of person that would get on a talk show and complain about it - instead, I deal with it in my song writing, and a lot of people misinterpret things I say as being pro or to encourage child molestation, but these are just the way that I say these things and I deal with the things that happened to me as a child and that's my way of dealing with it.
But are you FOR or AGAINST it?
Well, I'm not for it OR against it - I'm just speaking about what happened to me as a kid - of course I wouldn't say that I'm "for" it ... there's nothing right about taking away the innocence of someone, but what I'm not promoting or supporting is the way America deals with the whole topic. I think that they make it out to be more than it is a lot of times.
Are you referring to sensationalism?
I think a lot of psychiatrists, with this whole idea of "repressed" memories and this whole concept of multiple personality disorders and things like that - I think a lot of times they create these scenarios just to further their businesses.
What impact do you think sexual family secrets have on a family?
I think it's always the most innocent seeming families that have the darkest secrets. That's why they're secrets, because they're afraid to tarnish their beautiful outer appearance. In songs like "Wrapped in Plastic" where I talk about things like that and the family, I think it's always the denial and the guilt and the repression that will cause problems that parents will alway try and blame another thing like rock'n'roll music and movies and things like that, but it's this masochistic system that they set up where they make kids feel guilty for being themselves and a lot of times through morality they will just hide the truth from kids and I think if you give children more credit and you tell them the truth more often, that they deal with it more.
What impression do you want to make on American's youth?
If I could just get them to want an answer, then they'll find it on their own - I don't have an answer for them. There's a distinct lack of leadership, idols, icons and superstars for kids to identify with. When I was a kid there were a lot of people that, as an escape, I could look to or look up to and it just seems like there's not that anymore. America needs that Anti-Christ figure, that Anti-Hero to save these kids from the oppression of Right Wing morality.
Who were your heroes as a child?
Jim Morrison, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Willie Wonka, Anton LaVey...
At what age do you think a person becomes sexually responsible?
I couldn't generalize - I think different people mature at different rates. I think a lot of people grow up really quickly.
Puberty is probably the key. But some people may never grow into it.
By the way - is that real fur or fake fur you're wearing?
It's real rabbit fur.
So you're not an "Animal Rights" advocate?
No. I think a lot of people have their "Good Guy" badges and they attach themselves to different groups, because they feel they might have some sort of lack in their lives, they feel like they need to do something positive, and a lot of times they don't even really believe in their causes, so you get people complaining about leather coats and fur jackets and abortions and cigarette smoke and drugs and alcohol and pornography and whatever it might be, but they forget that that's what America is founded on - the blood of people and animals and drugs and caffeine and sugar - not about Nutrasweet and everything else everyone's trying to pump us full of nowadays. It's a little too late to take it all back, sorry.
Would you like to have a family of your own someday?
I like the idea - I don't know if it's something that could come true or work out possibly - I don't know if I would want to bring a kid into the world, but I would like to have the opportunity to be a father.
If you had children, would you want them to follow your values, or would you expect them to rebel against you?
I would give them the opportunity to develop their own, so that they wouldn't have to rebel. I wouldn't force anything upon them - I think they would naturally follow the way of thinking that I abide by, because I seem to go with what's natural and what's human - I don't resist my human emotions, I don't feel guilty for feeling lust and greed and hatred. I respect those that respect themselves and I believe in Survival of the Fittest and I think it's basic human instinct.
What would one do to rebel against you?
To rebel against me... well I don't think my way of thinking is a standard that you could rebel against, so I don't know if that's possible. I haven't established a dogma or a standard that people have to obey, so they really can't rebel against it, unless they're rebelling against themselves.
What was your most vivid arrest?
The first one... Jacksonville, Florida. When I was taken away right after I walked off stage and I was strip searched and left in jail for 16 hours to be harassed.
How did you feel performing oral sex on stage in front of your parents?
I hadn't thought about them being there at the time... so I didn't have any exact feelings about them seeing it at the moment, but afterwards I felt very comfortable about it - they weren't really offended - they've learned to be openminded with the things that I do.
So their reaction made you feel comfortable?
Well, they didn't really express a reaction to me, but afterwards I didn't feel uncomfortable.
If there is a God, does He love Marilyn Manson?
I believe that I am my own God, so I am a Narcissist, so yeah - I love myself.
But what I meant by the question was, if there is a God in the other sense, in the sense that you don't believe in...
If there was Christian's God - He has no love for me.
You don't think so?
If God existed in the way that Christianity wanted it to - no, He would have no love for me, because I represent everything that He would teach NOT to be. Not by choice, not by me saying "I want to be 'bad' and I want to be 'wrong'" - just by me being myself and having different morality. My good and evil is different from their good and evil.
But don't you think parents love their children all the same - both the good ones AND the bad ones?
It's hard to say - the Bible as a book sends out a lot of mixed messages - you know, you've got a cruel, angry God and you've got a loving God, so - they can't really make up their minds, so when they get their story straight, I'll read it again, maybe. Their God likes me... I don't know...