First off, let's dispel the idea that Marilyn Manson is one of us. That's not to say he's altogether inhuman: The Antichrist Superstar began his life 48 years ago as Brian Warner, a wily young man from small-town Ohio with deep-seated passions for music and mischief. Following high school graduation, in the late Eighties, Warner relocated with his family to the Florida coast, where he met a like-minded musician named Scott "Daisy Berkowitz" Putesky. In 1989, they joined forces to conceive Marilyn Manson — an incendiary, all-American demigod moonlighting as an industrial-goth-rock band. And the world would never be the same.
All divine beings, however damned, are blessed with gifts, and Manson is no different. He's a master of culture-jamming, industry trolling and arcane songcraft who nonchalantly shrugs off character assassination attempts, a glass of absinthe in his hand. He's been crushed by heartbreakers, addictions and giant pistols, and lived to tell the tale. He's probably made Justin Bieber cry once or twice. Last but certainly not least, Manson's got a whip-smart intellect and the gift of gab — and with that in mind, here are 20 of his best quotes.
"Don't ever empty the bucket of mystery. Never let people define what you do." — via Revolver
"If you act like a rock star you will be treated like one." — via Manson's 1998 autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
"There should be some sort of 'ugly' law for buying musical instruments. If you don't look good, you shouldn't be allowed to buy a guitar. Unless you're completely ugly, like us. That brings us to a whole different level." — via Guitar World
"The fear of death is promoted in America because it's the greatest motivating factor to get money from you." — via NME
"Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised. Does anyone think the Civil War was the least bit civil? If television had existed, you could be sure they would have been there to cover it, or maybe even participate in it, like their violent car chase of Princess Di." — via Rolling Stone
"Some people say that Christ died of old age, they just threw the crucifixion in as a myth. Who knows how Jesus died? Maybe he died of old age, maybe he died of syphilis." — via NME
"If every cigarette you smoke takes seven minutes off of your life, every game of Dungeons & Dragons you play delays the loss of your virginity by seven hours." — via The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
"You can always escape hell by not believing in it, but you cannot escape death and you cannot escape prison." — via Rolling Stone
"Relationships never break cleanly. Like a valuable vase, they are smashed and then glued back together, smashed and glued, smashed and glued until the pieces just don't fit together anymore." — via The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
"I find that you can't really accomplish anything while you're on drugs, except feeding baboons." — via Q Magazine
"Satanism was never about worshipping the devil. It's about man being his own god on earth. You do not worship anything except yourself." — via Jam
"A model poses. The villain gets shit done." — via Noisecreep
"It is sad to think that the first few people on earth needed no books, movies, games or music to inspire cold-blooded murder." — via Rolling Stone
"Most people, by the standard dictionary definition, are androids. There's no reason to envision a sci-fi world of people with metal inside of them — already, people that walk around look like human beings, but they don't act like it. They don't express any kind of creativity, they don't show any emotions — they've dumbed themselves down with drugs, with television, with religion." — via BAM
"People think older generations are more conservative. No one realizes that our grandparents, they're the one who invented anal sex, S&M, drugs, bombs. They started that shit. It's not us. They're the ones who got the whole thing going." — via MTV Hive
"To me, music is God. The Devil, that's whatever your enemy is." — via NME
"I think guns exemplify man and his other limb that he wasn't born with, that he felt a need to create." — via Rolling Stone
"There's nothing like the feeling of knowing that you've made a difference in someone's life, even if that difference is a lifetime of nightmares and a fortune in therapy bills." — via The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
"As a musician you create a family of your fans, and it's like being a mother. If you start feeding your kids a certain thing every Sunday, you have to keep feeding them that, or they're going to get mad or want to go out and eat at McDonald's." — via Tastes Like Chicken
"I don't want to have a gravestone. I want to have all my friends burn me and then snort the ashes. I think that's the only way to go out." — via Steppin' Out
Below, watch Marilyn Manson perform his hit cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods, with surprise guest Johnny Depp.