In case you didn’t peruse my concert list, or you’re not one of the people reading this who already knows me, I will reveal a fact about me that might not be something you would assume, given what you know about me thus far.
I ♥ Marilyn Manson.
I probably don’t strike you as your typical Marilyn Manson fan. At least, I like to think I don’t. I’ve been following Manson’s career since their major label debut, and in 11 years I can honestly say I have met very few Manson fans that I can stand for long periods of time. Most of them make me feel at least slightly homicidal within moments.
In these past 11 years, I’ll admit that some of the obsession has worn off. I don’t feel the need to catch every show in a 100 mile radius anymore (indeed, save for the 3 song Jimmy Kimmel performance, I’ve not even seen them live in 7 years), I don’t have to know every little detail of Manson gossip, and I barely cared at all when Mr. Manson kicked Twiggy out of the band. I still haven’t even watched the DVD that came with “Lest We Forget”, which was the sole reason I purchased a greatest hits album. But I still ♥ Marilyn Manson.
It started innocently enough. A friend of mine had been in Florida for a while when Marilyn Manson and the Spookykids were but a mere local band scaring the hell out of retirees and had been somewhat impressed by them at a live show. I was out shopping with him one day when we came across the cassette tape (remember those?) “Portrait Of An American Family” at a record store. He didn’t know that they’d been signed, and after the appropriate amount of flipping out at this discovery, he bought the tape. He popped it into the cassette player for us to listen to on the ride home, and I read through the lyrics as it played. At the time (this was 1994) I was in this strange place musically… I still liked some of the hair metal that only a few years previously had dominated my music collection, as I was still attracted to the glitz and the glam, but I had branched out too. I was listening to music with more substance; music that had lyrics that meant something to me. (I mean, really, “Nothin’ But A Good Time” is still a great party song in my opinion, but it has nothing really important to say, you know?) There was something about Marilyn Manson that appealed to all of these senses for me… a bridge between the hair metal world and the more thought provoking music I’d more recently discovered. They looked like a glam rock band, but wrote lyrics about questioning who you are and what you think. I was hooked.
Now, those of you who have never really listened to Marilyn Manson, or only know of them what you’ve seen on MTV or the news, are probably trying to reconcile this notion that they have substance. I could spend several paragraphs pointing out the wisdom and philosophy that is actually contained in the lyrics to songs like “Cake and Sodomy”, “Get Your Gunn” or “Dope Hat”… but that really would take us a long way away from the story that I actually do eventually want to tell here, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. There’s a lot of deeper meaning behind the freaky ass makeup, scary man poses, and fake boobs.
As an attempt to get to my actual point, we will jump forward about a year in the story now, thus skipping over the first live Manson show, working at a record store where I met far too many Mansonites, and befriending a very strange boy who loved Manson. There’s some interesting stuff in there somewhere… but we’re going to have to skip it for brevity’s sake. (Brevity, in this blog? Ha, I just made a funny!)
By late 1995, I had gotten to know the girl who was running the Marilyn Manson fan club at the time through a mutual friend (the aforementioned very strange boy). She and I chatted online quite a bit, even talking on the phone once or twice. At the time, I was writing reviews for a publication that was put out by the record store that I worked for, and when I mentioned this fact to her, she asked if I’d like to interview Marilyn Manson.
Think of a celebrity that you really admire. Not just the “he’s totally hot!” kind of admire, but someone you think would be really interesting to sit down and chat with. Now imagine that someone was offering you the chance to do just that; to sit down and ask him or her whatever questions might be running through your brain.
I don’t know if you’d do it or not, but I had to say yes.
So I did. Without checking with my editor, I just said yes, and called the PR rep whose number she had supplied me with. Within a day or two I had an interview scheduled with Marilyn Manson. A few weeks after that phone call, I was to be at the Ritz four hours before their show in Raleigh, NC to sit down and chat with the man himself. Almost literally jumping with joy, I called my editor to give her the good news, and without hesitation, she turned it down.
Apparently, there had been some previous issues with the PR company that was handling Marilyn Manson, something about missed appointments and run-arounds, at which point they had pissed her off royally. Also, she claimed that they weren’t really interested in covering Marilyn Manson due to the “nature of his work”, which was deemed too racy for the publication. (They would happily sell the music in the stores, but would offer no press.)
This was a quite the setback. The PR company was already a little leery of me, probably thinking me just some crazed fan who wanted to meet Mr. Manson (which of course, wasn’t so far from the truth really). They had asked for a copy of the publication I was writing for since it wasn’t a big name periodical, and it was implied that without that the interview would be canceled. Sure, I could just lie about it, but I didn’t want to do that (because I do have some ethics) and honestly, I wanted to actually publish an interview.
Luckily, a few friends of mine had recently begun working on a new monthly magazine, and about a week after this dilemma popped up, they put our their first issue. I ran into one of the founders at a club one night, and asked if she’d be interested in an interview with Marilyn Manson for their next issue. I don’t think she actually believed I had this lined up, but she played along with me and said, “Sure, why not?” We talked about it a little more, and as I made it clear that yes, I really honestly had already set this all up, she got very excited about the implications. It would be their first celebrity interview.
And so… it was on. A dream of mine was about to come true. I was to interview one of the most controversial musical acts of the time, someone whom I personally found fascinating, and whom I greatly admired. Or so I thought anyway.
(to be continued soon)
*Update 5/3/05 - Continued here.