Brian Hugh Warner, better known by his stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, painter, multimedia artist, and former music journalist known for his controversial stage personality and image as the eponymous lead singer of the band Marilyn Manson, which he co-founded with Daisy Berkowitz and of which he remains the only constant member. His stage name was formed by juxtaposing the names of two American cultural icons, namely actress Marilyn Monroe and Manson Family leader Charles Manson. He is perhaps best known for his songs and albums released in the 1990s, such as 1996's Antichrist Superstar and 1998's Mechanical Animals, which along with his public image earned him a reputation in the mainstream media as a controversial figure and a negative influence on young people. In the US alone, three of the band's albums have been awarded platinum and three more went gold, and the band has had seven releases debut in the top ten, including two number-one albums. Manson has been ranked number 44 in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.
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We're still gearing up for The End Times Tour, and I just got back from a bunch of European tour dates, the Cannes Lions where I spoke and I got a lifetime achievement award from Kerrang! magazine. And then we played Hellfest, the biggest festival in France.
Victoria's helping me out tonight. AMA.
Well, it's not that long before The End Times Tour starts in two weeks. And then we're going to do some even more shows on our own after that, because I'm enjoying seeing the fans and getting to meet them. We'll be doing a lot of meet n' greet situations. But I'd like to make those a little bit more along the lines of church tent revivals.
So everybody, be prepared for that. Some Deep South old time religion-style.
And I'll thank everybody with my performances, thanking them for coming.
So, I saw you in NJ last year and caught one of your towels. I'd like to know what you secrete that makes your sweat so alluring to cats. Why am I asking this? Because I brought that sweat towel home and my cats started beating the SHIT out of each other to "own" your sweat towel.
Also, you rock!
edit Holy fuck, that show was in 2012. I am losing my mind. Here's a pic from where I stood!
Maybe it was because I was holding my cat Lily White earlier before I went onstage, and I still had some of her cat pheromones on me. Or...it might be that I exude the scent that attracts pussy.
He says sarcastically.
You kinda walked into that one.
Hey, You grabbed my boobs when we met! So glad you're doing an AMA.
My question is:
Ass or boobs?
It's always about the nipple.
It's not the boob, itself.
I'm very specific what kind of nipples I like. Not the shape of the boob, or the size of it.
And that will remain a secret, my preference.
Are you and Trent Reznor cool?
I know I'm cool.
I mean, are you asking are we cool with each other?
I mean, I don't have a problem with him. I have a problem with some of the things he's done to me in my career. But at the same time, I have to give him credit where credit is due, as being inspiration when I was starting out and giving me my break.
But we're not at odds with each other. I just don't have interest in being friends anymore.
What is your favorite untrue rumor you have heard spread about you?
Well, there's always - I never can really pick one. But the one that never goes away, and it's never been my favorite, is that I had a rib removed.
The other one is even more strange, just the idea that people don't - it's not so much a rumor, the idea that people will never really know or understand me from afar.
It's a one-dimensional thing. Sometimes people treat me like I'm a cartoon character, or I'm something that isn't a real person, and they don't realize that I'm actually a human being.
Maybe that's not one of the worst ones, but someone has to have some sort of emotions to be an artist in the first place.
Or at least pretend that I do, when it comes to it.
Next year Antichrist Superstar turns 20. This was a landmark album. Is there any chance of a concert where you perform this album in it's entirety?
Thanks for all the music & clever lyrics over the years.
Yeah, Twiggy and I were just talking about that a few days ago.
I think that might be something we'd really want to do.
I've always really enjoyed that time. The idea of doing that, even when we first put the album out, we played nearly all of it, back in 1996. So I think that there's a very strong possibility that that's going to happen.
When life gets to be too much, what or where is your happy place?
I'd say with Lily White, my cat. When I'm sad, or if I just need alone time, she'll come up to me, and she knows, and she'll usually lie on my head. Or she'll come up and meow, like she did just now - like she knows it's dinner time.
But I like to distract myself by watching movies. It takes my mind out of my own world, and puts it somewhere else. And it's helpful for me.
Would you ever release a full acoustic-only album, whether covers or new songs, even if just online releases? Your voice works beautifully alongside an acoustic guitar.
I've found a bunch of old recordings form when I was making "Holy Wood", I was rehearsing for the album, and I was doing a bunch of different covers and John Lennon songs and Elton John, just various Johnny Cash, and assorted things, the Doors also, things that I could use to just warm up my voice. And I think my voice was really raw at that time, because I think the physical stress I was putting on myself (and mentally) when I was making that record. But that is my favorite record, "Holy Wood," it's one of my favorite moments of music, and it does have a lot of moments. So yes, I think there will be some things dug out of the past when we get to that point. But I like doing things acoustically. I actually like to - I'm not afraid to sing in front of other people with a microphone, acoustically, which was something I was shy to do in the past. I would never want to have people in the studio, I would want to sit in the sound booth. But now I don't have a problem with it at all. In fact, I wouldn't mind performing live acoustically as well. I even crashed some innocent strangers' bachelorette party karaoke a few weeks ago! I don't know if they wanted a concert or not, but they got it.
Tell us about working with Die Antwoord? What was it like? You were a pleasant surprise in their video.
Also massive respect for your music, self awareness, and empathy in the face of haters.
I've known them for a few years now, because we share the same management, and didn't really get a chance to work so much together musically. I really enjoyed the brief experience of being in their last video. They didn't tell me my ex-wife was going to be in there, that was a little prank they played on me, but we get along fine, so it was okay. And I did do a performance on Halloween, and Ninja came onstage and sang "Beautiful People" with me. And that was a little chaos. So yeah.
And thank you.
Do you plan on writing a new book anytime soon (or releasing Holy Wood)? Thanks!
In one answer.
I'm a huge fan of your work... and your makeup! Mind sharing your go-to products?
One thing I do when I do my makeup is I use my fingers a lot. And I can do my own makeup probably in less than 5 minutes, depending on what type of makeup I'm doing. I usually use a combination between M.A.C. and AquaColor and Makeup For Ever. And Christian Dior.
I usually use Christian Dior foundation, and AquaColor blue-whatever, and then when it comes to black, I like to use a mixture of different things.
But I like to try to use things that stay put, and I find that Makeup For Ever does a pretty solid job of that. So does M.A.C., for different things.
What was it like collaborating with Eminem on the remix of The Way I Am?
I actually only collaborated with Danny Lohner, the guy who did the remix. I didn't physically work with Eminem in the studio. But I was in his video though, and I was only there for about 30 minutes, for the making of the video. I walked in, and walked back out. But we performed onstage a couple times. I haven't seen him in many years.
Can I have a hug?
Is that a question on the internet?
Well, when I meet people, if they are nice enough to me, I'm usually the hugging kind of person.
I like to treat people with the same courtesy that they treat me.
If they are courteous, I can be that way as well.
I'm a person that hugs.
Any cool stories about The Matrix set?
I never went on the Matrix set! I do recall meeting the Wachowskis that directed it, and they had me into their strange office-building that they were working out of, and it seemed very much like something that would be in a movie. And I'd not seen the movie. And they asked if they could put "Rock is Dead" in the original one, and the timing when the video came out, there were clips in the film of Keanu wearing a trenchcoat with a gun, and then Columbine happened, and we all know how that turned out... And then ironically this year, Keanu Reeves comes back this year, with JOHN WICK, also gun-oriented, and put my song "Killing Strangers" in the film twice. So I think that sometimes, once again, life comes around full-circle. And one door was closed, and so you throw a rock through a different window, I decided.
Who are some artists that you would like to collaborate with?
I have some plans to do more work with Shooter Jennings. He and I recorded for his album a cover of David Bowie's "Cat People," and we also wanna do some more music together. I did a couple songs with Johnny Depp recently before he left to go to Australia. And I plan on starting, maybe this week or next week when I've got some time, with starting with Twiggy on going back to the core of where Marilyn Manson started. And there's a strong possibility of doing something with Billy Corgan, while we're out on the road together. And Jonathan Davis from KORN and I plan on doing something together.
Do you watch Hannibal? What TV are you into right now?
Hahahaha. Yes I do watch HANNIBAL. And that's why I - as a fan of it - ended up buying a lot of things on an auction that took place today. I find HANNIBAL and a lot of episodic series to be the new form of cinema, because they tell things in chapters. I loved the first season of TRUE DETECTIVE. So far, I love the first episode of the new one. I was worried that I wouldn't, because i was so attached to the first storyline. But so far, I enjoy it.
Your watercolour artwork is amazing - how did you get into using watercolours as your preferred medium? Any specific artistic influences?
I started using watercolors when I was recording "Mechanical Animals" one night when I had some time off in the studio. I was waiting for something else to be recorded. I went to the drugstore, I just purchased a kid's set of watercolors, then started painting. And I found it to be a calming thing for me when I couldn't get my creativity out musically, I was able to paint. And that just became part of my life. I use watercolors because they remind me of stains, like a bloodstain. And I think influences, I would say, Egon Scheille and Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp. All 3 for different reasons.
Sir, how do you eat your eggs?
Sunny side up.
Are you truly a satanist? What's your view on that
I've never considered myself a Satanist. I was a part of the Church of Satan, with an honorary position, simply because it was one philosophy - because I've never looked at it as a religion. Anton LaVey (who wrote the book THE SATANIC BIBLE) taught me a lot of things about life. You know, I've been a scholar - self-taught, self-read - I wouldn't want to limit my view on the possibilities of what there is out there in the spiritual realm to just one thing. Because there's always something new to open your mind. To let you see things from a different angle. I do believe in the power of the mind, and the power of certain things. I think that music definitely has to have some element that back in the beginning - and I'm not talking about once Christianity took over America, blaming Rock n' Roll for bad things - I mean back in the times when music was first invented, and the chords that were used in most rock n' roll music, they were considered evil - because I think when you put those notes together, they have the ability to disrupt or distract the brain from whatever sort of "virus" of language that religion is, in a sense.
If you have things like a Bible from any different religion - it does have a powerful reign over people's minds. And music does as well. So there had to be something - if we go by religion's view of "good vs. evil" - that would be evil, meaning it didn't agree with those views.
What is something you want to accomplish or experience but have not done yet?
I'd like to direct a movie that I'm not in. Not the one I was planning on doing for many years, about Lewis Carroll.
I'd like to get back to writing, I'd like to take from one of my great inspirations, Hunter S. Thompson, to tell my stories. As anyone who knows me knows, I love to tell my stories. And I like writing.
So it's about finding the time to balance the two.
I just did a major acting role that I've never done before. It's in LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR. It was in Tulsa. I played a hitman named "Pope." So that's in the process of being finished up. It was great to try something that was more elaborate than what I've done in the past.
Several years back, I was visiting my girlfriend in Lyon, France. On one of my first nights there, we went into town with her brother, and found a bar. Due to a musical festival happening in the streets, we were the only people in there. In walk two guys who were clearly not french. I overheard them speaking american English and bought them a drink
Turns out, one is Twiggy and Steve (a manager of some sort). They didn't really have a plan for the night, so we invited them to hang out with us since I was already on a tour of the town.
Twiggy is a great guy. He carried around a little figurine of a smurf and, when confronted by a bouncer, would just hand it to him or make it dance in his hands, much to the bewilderment of the bouncer.
We wound up drunk and eventually they ditched us. One of my favorite nights of my life.
Fast forward 2 weeks and I round the corner to my flight back to the US and there is Twiggy, Steve, and everyone else. I spot him and roll up, looking like a guy who was just backpacking through Europe, and throw out a very warm 'Hey Twiggy!!' He's very warm back and asking about my time and what I got into. I thought it was sweet that he remembered me, despite only sharing a few hours together.
While this was going down, you were sitting right next to me completely perplexed about how the hell this guy just rolled into the situation and knew Twiggy. You leaned into him and said "Who the fuck is this guy?" The same reaction the first time I saw a music video of yours.
Years later, I saw a picture of you, him, John Stewart, and Trent Reznor backstage (here) where he was way more into a toy C3P0 than anything else going on.
Does Twiggy always carry around toys?
I know that he collects toys, and it really depends on what you define as toys. He is a fan of science fiction, it started with STAR WARS, and that's actually one of the first ways that we became close back in Florida, because i'd stolen a bunch of STAR WARS toys and I sold them to him.
Hi Marilyn, I loved the photos with you and your father, they were brilliant and funny and touching. I wondered how hard was it for them (your parents ) to accept your image, the gothic look you have and the rumors or if it was something that came easy to them?
Well, my mother (when she was alive and when I was growing up) LOVED Elvis. So that was probably the inspiration behind me dying my hair black, in some way.
My father wanted me to follow his footsteps, and become a salesman.
But after he saw that I was following my dreams, from writing to singing, he loved it. And also, he loved hanging around because then he could hit on girls.
Oh cool! Thanks for hanging out with us!
What's something you wish more people knew about you?
I really enjoy your acoustic material. It sounds so raw. Is there a possibility of you recording an unplugged/acoustic album?
Um...as a matter of fact, that's some of the plans, of the style of music that I'm working on right now.
I don't know what it'll turn into. Some of it will be with Jonathan Davis, I think. Because he has plans of doing something similar as well. Something that might even cross over the boundaries of being more Southern-sounding.
It is strange, when I think about it - I did record "Smells Like Children' in Mississippi, which is where the blues came from. So there might be something more acoustic and blues in my future.
I like the rawness of it.
I definitely like the rawness.
What was your favorite part of being on the final season of 'Sons of Anarchy' and working with Theo Rossi so much in those last few episodes?
I think my favorite part was getting to become close friends with Tommy Flanagan, and Charlie who plays Jax, and Mark, and D.L. - those guys all are really, I guess, like their characters in some way. They all ride bikes, they all took me in, we all became drinking buddies or whatever the case may be. And it was nice to have that camaraderie, because I never really had a lot of best friends other than Twiggy. So I enjoyed that. And as far as the acting went, I guess I liked the challenge of trying to grow a goatee - my facial hair doesn't grow very quickly! So the challenge of growing a goatee wasn't too easy.
And I liked that i got to be part of one of my favorite shows of all time. And kill somebody after I had intimate...what we like to call "the struggle snuggle" in prison. Hopefully I never end up on the other end of it in life.
What was working with Macaulay Culkin like in Party Monster?
He bought me my first pack of cigarettes, which I had to smoke as the character.
And strangely, I have since met the true-life person that he was portraying in PARTY MONSTER - a guy named Michael Alig - he just got out of prison for the murder in that film.
Hi Marilyn, thanks for hanging out with us tonight!
What would you say you are looking forward to most about the upcoming tour? And what was the best experience of the most recent tour you just completed?
I think the best experience was...well, I wouldn't call it the best experience, but one of the most amusing things was I refused to continue playing a song until everybody in the crowd threw their bras at Twiggy, so there were 50-100 bras on his mic stand, that was amusing to me.
But I thought all the shows were great, amazing crowds. And when we did some smaller shows, they were really intense. And I think this one coming up is gonna be interesting, seeing how we meld together, Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins. I'm quite excited if the rumors that Jimmy Chamberlain is back in the band are true. Hearing more of the original songs I first listened to for the Smashing Pumpkins, before I even had a band. Billy asked me if I knew any drummers, I guess he needed a replacement drummer, and on my flight home from France, i had a strange dream that I told him Jimmy Chamberlain, and then I woke up and saw that it was true.
So I don't know if that means that dreams come true, or if the flight was so long that something strange happened, and synchronicity brought it together.
It continues to be one of those years for me and a lot of people that are in my life that special synchronicity keeps happening, and I feel like it's going to continue to build.
What did you have for breakfast today?
What did I have for breakfast today?
Um, let me think...I think I had grilled chicken.
Really, rather bland, sliced chicken. Haha.
And since I have extreme jet lag, I woke up really early, I think about 6 AM, and so now i'm having a second breakfast.
But this time, it's vodka. Breakfast of champions.
Do you ever think about doing a "throwback" record, one that is similar in sound to Antichrist or Mechanical Animals? Big fan I've always enjoyed the imagery and lyrics of your music.
It's hard to go backwards. But it's always important to stay true to the core of the essence of who you are as a songwriter.
So I think that starting another album with Twiggy, because Twiggy was not involved in "The Pale Emperor" - I think that, if you want to call it, the "throwback sound" - will work its way into there, with a natural way of happening, now that he and I are together. That'll come back.
Who gets you starstruck?
When I see movies that I like, I always identify with the person that I see, and if they're a great actor, then when I see them in person, I still think of them as the character in the movie. So I get excited. I'm not jaded, especially living in Hollywood, you'd think I'd be jaded from meeting a lot of people that are famous, or people that you respect. And I'm not jaded.
Hey Marilyn. i'd like to ask you how is it to work with Billy Corgan? Thanks.
Billy's - he's very similar, I guess. And quite the opposite of me.
Both, at the same time.
He has the childish enthusiasm that I have. And he has a vision of what he wants.
It's two strong-minded heads at the same time. That could potentially be troublesome. Not that we've argued. He's always been very helpful and guiding. He gave me one of my first guitars, and taught me how to tune it. Back in 1998.
When youre in NJ,Will you come over for dinner?
Well, this morning I just was bidding on a bunch of props they were selling from HANNIBAL. So considering that i got some of the more dangerous ones - I don't think you'd want to invite me over for dinner! Because i'd end up cooking you and eating you!
How do you feel about people with marilyn manson tattoos?.
I feel flattered - whenever people tell me or ask me about getting one, I always advise against it. Because I tell them "if you hate me, you're not going to like the tattoo."
So if it's something that makes people happy - it's just another mark on your body, it's just another part of your history or your tale. It's another tattoo that tells a story about you.
Smooth or crunchy peanut butter?
What made you want to become a musician?
I think when I read NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE, the biography of Jim Morrison, it really interested me in his writing, his poetry.
But I would say The Doors, I think, was the first thing that lured me in. And it was more about the lyricism than even the idea of being able to play an instrument - although in grade school, I started taking drum lessons, so I was originally a drum major. But traditionally jazz players play in their left hand, the drumstick is sideways, and I was always more interested in beat-driven music. And you know, my playlist before I go onstage - I spend about 3 hours listening to music. That's my sort of meditation before I go onstage. It really only takes me about 15-20 minutes to physically get ready.
My playlist is quite a strange range of different things. Anywhere from Jay-Z to Johnny Cash and everywhere in between.
I saw recently that you said you were interested in Madonna's new album, Rebel Heart, so, did you ever get around to listening to it?
Also, The Pale Emperor rocks! In an age where everything is bought digitally, the physical CD is badass! I love the black disc!
I haven't actually gotten around to listening to all of the Madonna album. The thing that I wanted to do with the people who collaborated on the album artwork - it's the first album I've never included the lyrics on, and I've just now recorded a visual version of me reciting the lyrics, spoken-word, that will be released soon, and also a video for "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" that was actually recorded many months ago, but that was stopped before we decided to change the order of how it was put out. The CD - I wanted it to be black, because your CD player is thermal, so it turns white, so it starts to fade away. I thought that was a metaphor. And it's also interesting, when you put your hand on it, it will leave a thermal handprint that fades away.
Who played drums on Eat Me Drink Me?
I don't remember. I think that Tim Scroll was responsible for a lot of it. And maybe it might've been Chris Vrenner. I think on that record we used a lot of drum programming intentionally, because we wanted a specific sound. But that record - that was a blurry part of my life, not that i don't remember it, but I felt a lot of different things. Drums weren't on the top of my list.