Indeed, Marilyn Manson (birth name Brian Warner) is the textbook definition of a deranged specimen. Case in point: three of his most cherished household possessions: a canister of Zyklon B (the gas used to exterminate the Jews by Hitler during The Holocaust), an eerie painting of a clown by serial killer and child rapist John Wayne Gacy Jr., and an old abortionist’s chair (covered in a beaver rug which was given to him by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt). He once told Rolling Stone it was a place “where I had sex with certain individuals that may or may not have resulted in my divorce.” Then there are his fabled ‘eccentric’ antics, such as the story of the deaf groupie who his bandmates and he urinated all over, covered in pig’s feet and fucked, his inclination to dig up dead bodies in graveyards and pick out bones “like strawberries” so he could smoke them like methamphetamine, or his torso that reflects a hashtag of scars following years of self-mutilation on stage.
“A lot of people don’t realise, but with the amount of stories out there about me, there’s still so much shit that I’ve done that they don’t know about which is a lot worse. Mainly because a lot of it is illegal and shouldn’t be told,” he laughs wryly. Manson is speaking calmly but with an energised undertone. An hour before our call, he was on stage at the 5000-capacity Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.
“I don’t think that I lead a completely unreasonable life. I like repetition to a certain degree, while being chaotic and spontaneous at times. I don’t seek out trouble specifically, but it does seem to find me. I’m a magnet for broken women, bad people and crazy relationships. Some people think it’s because of drugs. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s just my own stupidity. It’s just how my brain works.”
Last month, for his 46th birthday, Manson’s father gave him a report card that he had kept from his early school years. It read that “Brian shows an enthusiasm for the Bible and is very considerate of his fellow classmates.” It also noted that he was “a very courteous, sensitive and serious young man.”
What the fuck happened?
“I began changing in 1984 when the world didn’t come to an end as I was being told at my Christian school. That’s when I realised it was all bullshit,” he details. “I wanted to find more answers. The Bible is basically a horror film, really. If you look at it carefully you’ll see it’s got pretty much every horror film ever within it from top to bottom. You’ve got the devil, you’ve got god, you’ve got demons, angels, ghosts, killing giants, etc. It’s all in there.”
It may come as a shock to many that Manson has always a maintained a very loving and stable relationship with his father, which is somewhat ironic considering the amount parents have blamed him for causing their children’s rebellion. “My father recently told me that he was once going to become a priest, which I didn’t know. But then instead he went to Vietnam and shot a lot of people,” he laughs. “I’ve learnt a lot about my father recently after my mother passing last year. He’s currently on tour with me, which is something that’s never happened before. I actually brought him out on stage the other night. We’ve bonded a lot more this year. I think he’s currently feeling a lot like me, like a kid again. Maybe that’s why he gave me my report card.”
Manson began 2015 with release of his ninth studio album The Pale Emperor, of which the title refers to Constantius Chlorus, the first Roman ruler to deny god. A departure from his signature industrial and electronically-influenced heavy metal, the record draws influence from blues and sparse hard-rock. However, lyrically, the record highlights Manson’s malevolence in career-best form, with his sinful depictions of religion, violence and mortality painting his most macabre record since 1998’s Mechanical Animals.
“Music has always had evil in it. There was evil when Mozart came up with the tritone,” he notes, referring to the infamous augmented fourth (or diminished fifth) known as the “chord of evil” that was banned in Renaissance church music. “There has to be something in music that stops us from thinking stupid things, like there’s a god who created us which puts us in an eternal loop of foolishness, like a fucking snake eating its own tail.”
Having taken on a role as a white supremacist in Sons of Anarchy, in recent times Manson’s hallowed nocturnal tendencies have been impeded for the need of 6am starts.
“In Hollywood people recognise you because you’re famous,” he notes of his despise of daytime ventures. “Especially when you look the way that I do – which I intentionally do. I think I started to look more masculine this year. I’ve begun wearing this suit with a gold switchblade hanging off the pocket. So now people don’t just look at me because I’m 6”1 and wearing makeup, but now they look at me and know that they don’t want to start a conversation with me. Because they know there’s a chance I’ll bring out the switchblade, which has happened.
“I was in a bar one night and this guy says something to me – who ironically was also an Australian, which is of no fault of Australia,” he laughs. “I was with two guy friends, a director and a producer, just having a beer. A guy stumbles in with a bunch of paid-for escorts and goes, ‘Get the fuck out of my way,’ in some sort of macho sadistic way. I wasn’t even close to him, I was like five feet away. I went, ‘Do we have a problem? Are you looking for a problem?’ He slurred back to me, ‘What’d you say?’
‘I said, do we have a problem?’
‘Are you looking for one?’ he says very aggressively.
He left the bar.”
This month Manson returns to Australian shores on his ‘Hell Not Hallelujah’ world tour, which will see him at the 2015 incarnation of Soundwave alongside a run of headline shows.
“I’m really bad at parties, and I’m really bad around people that I don’t know,” he laughs. “It’s an utter phenomenon that I’m able to go on stage in front of 1000’s of strangers and do what I do. I guess it’s a trade off. A gift, a curse? I don’t know. People ask me, ‘What’s the difference between you on stage and off stage?’ It’s really easy to explain. Off stage, I’m around people I know, on stage, I’m in front of people I’ve never met.
“Oh shit,” he exclaims just before I end our call. “I’ve got something really important to tell you. Please make sure your readers know that the newly single Marilyn Manson will be coming to Australia.”
BY TYSON WRAY