The following is a reprint of of Revolver's Feb./Mar. 2015 feature story on Marilyn Manson. You can pick up the issue here.
by Dan Epstein
It's New Year's Day, 2000, and Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp are on a mission. Having spent the night ringing in the new millennium with fireworks explosions and absinthe toasts at Depp's villa in the south of France, the rock star and the actor are now driving crazily around the streets of Nice in a desperate, brutally-hungover search for some American-style fast food.
"We can't find a McDonald's Anywhere," Manson recalls. "But we find a grocery store that says, 'Groceries—Serpents.' They sell snakes there!" Suddenly hell-bent on purchasing a snake or two, Manson and Depp are crestfallen to learn that the serpent area of the shop is closed for the holiday. Groceries, then, it will have to be...
For nearly 15 years, the fireworks, the absinthe and the unsuccessful fast-food-and-serpent run were about all that Manson could remember from his and Depp's little Y2K party. But last summer, while moving into his new home in the Hollywood Hills, Manson unpacked a box that contained his forgotten copy of French poet Antonin Artaud's Heliogabalus: Or, the Crowned Anarchist. "Johnny gave the book to me on that trip," Manson recalls.
"But I think the fireworks, the absinthe and our little adventure derailed me from reading it at the time."
Heliogabalus is a surrealist biography of the Roman emperor Elagabalus, a.k.a. "The Pale Emperor," whose penchant for debauchery was impressive even by Roman emperor standards. The book reappeared in Manson's life at precisely the right time, inspiring both the title of, and some of the lyrical content on, his new studio album, 'The Pale Emperor.'
Created primarily with assistance from Manson's new musical collaborator Tyler Bates (a soundtrack composer best known for his work on such films as 'Guardians of the Galaxy', '300' and Rob Zombie's 'The Devil's Rejects'), The Pale Emperor is pretty much every- thing you could want from a Marilyn Manson album. From the sleazy opening stomp of "Killing Strangers" to the haunting coyote yips that bring the curtain down on "Odds of Even," Manson's ninth studio missive is an alluringly cinematic epic of darkness and decadence, with music that is equal parts goth-industrial atmospherics and cocksure glam-rock swagger. There's a real immediacy to the album, too; not only are songs like "Deep Six" and "Cupid Carries a Gun" infernally catchy,but they seem eminently more relatable—or, at least, more human—than the twisted fan- tasies that have populated some of his more recent albums.
There's an interesting sense of duality running through 'The Pale Emperor's' lyrics, as well, something that's perhaps best exemplified by the track "The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles," which is both a middle-finger salute to the celebrity-besotted culture of Manson's current hometown ("Lazarus ain't got no dirt on me!") as well as a grudging acknowledgement that he may well have sold his soul to it. "I think this album is probably me struggling with the two sides of myself," he tells Revolver.
REVOLVER The last time you spoke with Revolver you were living in an apartment above a liquor store. It seemed designed for maximum creativity, with a home studio and a space for painting. Now you have in a house in the Hollywood Hills. Why did you move?
MARILYN MANSON I was acting on 'Sons of Anarchy' [Manson portrayed white supremacist, Ron Tully] and I needed a place that didn't have any distractions. So I bought a house that was next to one of Johnny Depp's houses. I bought it the day before I started work on 'The Pale Emperor.' It's haunted—doors slam behind me a lot, and I'm always hearing people walking up and down the stairs—but I ain't afraid of no ghosts.
Is it the ghost of a former owner, perhaps?
Yeah, it was owned by a silent film actress from the 1920s. I don't want to say her name, because she'll probably try to come out and give me a Satanic ghost blowjob or something one night. [Laughs] But it's good to have different sanctuaries. When I was recording the last album, I'd have to be dragged into the studio around two or three in the morning—unless it was the studio in my house, which made it even worse because there's something very important about leaving your everyday environment to create. But I hate normal studios, because you have to say "hi" to the person at the front desk. And then you go into the studio, and there's a second engineer in there that you don't know, and then you're stuck in a glass box with some- one talking to you through a walkie-talkie.
Was it a more pleasant experience working with Tyler Bates?
Yeah, it was surprisingly easy. He invited me over to his home studio, where he does all his scoring work. While driving from my house to his studio, I told him, "You know that scene in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me with the pink room? Strobe lights are flashing, Laura Palmer is getting eaten out, and it's in Canada?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "I have something like that in mind." And by the time I got there, maybe five minutes later, he'd already put up a basic sketch of it. We sat face to face, and I said, "Put up the mic, and just play it." So "Birds of Hell Awaiting" was a first- vocal take, and he was playing the guitars while I sang. I didn't know where it was going, but I started realizing that it was really going to take us to a different place. The themes that started coming up—and the record happened very rapidly—were based around the Faustian tradition, relating either to myself as the devil, or to my own devils or to just the metaphorical idea of selling your soul to become who you are. I think that, for the past couple of years, I've been hearing a knock-knock-knock on my door—the hellhounds on my trail, saying it's time to pay up. And this record is my payment, and my payback. It's both sides of the coin.
Which brings us to "The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles." Are you the Mephistopheles of Los Angeles? Is Los Angeles your Mephistopheles, or is it both?
I think you're the first person to realize the double side of that song. That is exactly what I intended. That song was, originally in my mind, the title or theme for the record, though I hadn't completely decided on
a title. But then I was unpacking boxes after moving into the new house, and I came across the first book Johnny Depp ever gave me, which was Antonin Artaud's Heliogabalus: Or, the Crowned Anarchist—the biography of the first Roman emperor to deny the existence of God. He was young, in his teens, and his complexion was pale, so they called him "The Pale Emperor." He liked to have peasants cut up in the middle of the street, and then he would pour wine over them and make their families drink from their dying relatives. He also castrated all the men around him—which is the ultimate form of cock-block, I must say— and made them dance for him. And I thought, "This reminds me a little bit of me, too..."
In other words, "The Pale Emperor" became a persona or concept that you could wrap the album around?
Well, it just so happened that I found the book on the day I'd finished "Mephistopheles of Los Angeles" and played it for the record label. I noticed that one record label person... it wasn't a speech impediment, but he was just really not capable of saying "Mephistopheles of Los Angeles." [Laughs] I didn't change my concept because of that, but I thought making the album simply about Los Angeles—and, as you say, the two ways of looking at it—was far too regional. The record unconsciously follows the tradition of the blues in that I'm telling a story, and the story is about the listener as much as it is about me. The images you conjure up while hearing it could be the same ones as mine, or you may be manifesting mine into your own version of it, like when you read a book. There was Flannery O'Connor, there was Baudelaire, there was Faust... there were a lot of things rolling about in my head while I was making it. But it was a record that, once it started rolling after that first song, it had a certainty to it—and I knew exactly what I wanted it to be.
You've talked about this album being blues-influenced, but I think the bluesiest aspect of it is that there's a sense of universality. On some level, everyone can relate to the stories you're telling here.
Thank you. That's what I was intending. When I listened to the record with my father, it sounded like it was a lot about him. When I listen to it with my girl, it sounds like it's a lot about her. And that's when I realized that it's about where you're at when you're hearing it. And I feel that's the greatest achievement of this record.
Your mother passed away while you were making this record. Did that influence it in any way?
I think "Odds of Even" was probably influenced by it, since it was written after that, and she died in the house that we lived in. While I was in the studio, I heard some coyotes outside tearing apart a small animal. The story [of the song] had already formed itself, in the sense that you take on the world, and you stand up and fight, and then maybe you meet somebody, a romantic sort of situation—and you think you can win, but in the end you always die alone. It's not really a sad story, but it is the reality story. We all die alone. It's what you do when you're alive that counts. And if you make a deal with the devil, don't try to outrun him, because in the end, he's always going to be there. Hearing that animal being torn apart made me think of how I'd been ganged up on before in life—verbally, personally, physically, and things like that.
How did her death affect you personally?
I think a lot of people were worried that I would crumble after my mom's death; instead, I went sort of in the other direction. I stopped drinking absinthe—mostly for vanity purposes, but it also clouded my temporal lobe. Making this album, I would wake up and go running—not from the police, but for exercise purposes. And I was doing fight training, because I was on Sons of Anarchy, and I thought, "I don't want to ever end up in jail and be on the receiving end of what my character does on that show!" When you're sweating and doing physically active things, your brain synapses fire off entirely differently. I would go to training, and then immediately want to go to the studio. So I had a lot of testosterone going through my bloodstream when I was making this record! It's not angry, it's not aggro, but it definitely has a swagger and a certainty about it—a sureness, a positivity. I think that there's a sense of masculinity on this record that isn't on any of my other records. I might have been angrier or louder in
the past, but I know who I am on this record.
Who else played on the album besides Tyler?
I will be very, very specific: Tyler Bates made the music, and I did the singing and wrote the lyrics. I played some percussion—tambourine and pill bottles—and then we brought in Gil Sharone [from Stolen Babies] to add live drums after- ward. Tyler also brought in some musicians to play saxophone, and he also used some live strings—he sort of cheated and took some of the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' score that he recorded at Abbey Road and snuck some strings in there from another session. [Laughs] The only other person was [actor] Walter Goggins—he's the preacher at the beginning of "Slave Only Dreams to Be King." I worked with him on Sons of Anarchy, and he has the sort of deep Southern accent that would be just perfect for a tent revival.
Who will be playing in your band on this tour?
The same band that I played with at my Halloween shows— Paul [Wiley] on guitar, Tyler on guitar, Gil Sharone playing drums, and Twiggy playing bass.
Can we expect anything unusual for these shows?
Absolutely! This will be a whole different ballgame. We've developed it into some- thing newer and more biblical, though not religious—and, strangely, not anti-religious. Imagine a church tent revival, and combine that with the evil part of the deep South... I think I'm bringing both elements of that to the stage. As far as the performance goes, I want to create an atmosphere, and use 5.1 sound and imagery and shape and form to transform the stage from one thing to another, as if you're watching a movie. But not in a big-budget, overblown sort of way. I want to create a structure out of the stage where each stage becomes my place. The stage will transform into what I want it to be, rather than me having to adapt to the stage. So it's a very chameleon-like stage show, and it's not going to end like people would guess, based on the past. But there will be some glorious elements of the past which I wish to revive. I'm not going to make it a tour where I play only new songs.
You talk about the stage show being biblical, yet not religious. Can you elaborate?
The album is all biblical or nautical or funereal. It has a burial element to it and a resurrection element to it as well. Lazarus was raised by Jesus from the dead, which made him the first zombie in the Bible. A lot of people don't think about it, but the Bible has every horror element that you can imagine. It's got the devil, the Antichrist, Lucifer, and Satan—which are four different characters. It's got the end of the world. You've got zombies, giants, demon possession, a lot of murder. So there are elements of the album that are very biblical, but I don't think it's about me trying to speak out about religion, like I have in the past. It's more about me seeing it from both sides. Both sides are always going to be a part of me, because I grew up around religion—whether I want to hate it or not, it's still a part of me.
It's interesting: Music is such an integral part of most religious services, yet the religious establishment has often tried to suppress secular musical expression.
The church wouldn't have tried to suppress music if there wasn't so much power in it. When you listen to a mass in Latin, it sort of hypnotizes you. When I was making this record, I got the Latin phrase "Solve et Coagula" tattooed on my hands, which refers to breaking something apart and putting it back together stronger. It's really all about alchemy in the end. It's about turning lead into gold, and that's what making music is. And they fear that—that's really the thing. It's not, "Oh, that evil rock and roll music— it makes the kids go out and have sex!" It's, "They're stealing our market! Those are our customers! Give them back!"
Shattered Sun have kicked off their tour with Testament and Exodus. As the band continues to tour in support of their latest album, 'Hope Within Hatred,' which is out now via Victory Records, they will be blogging about their experiences for Revolver. Watch their lyric video for "Hope Within Hatred" at the bottom of the post.
Entry by guitarist Daniel Trejo.
Heading out from our practice pad in Alice, T.X. We are getting ready for a 27 hour drive to San Francisco. Let me say, packing a 15 passenger with nine dudes and one merch girl is pretty time consuming. So, as we travel along, at about 8 mpg, every stop takes a good awhile. So in saying all of this, a 27 hour drive turned into 36 hours in a van. After frying our breaks on the grapevine and getting overpriced at a hotel, we head to Testament's rehearsal space, and FUCK, they have a lot of gear and lights. We got to meet with the band and talk gear with Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick. We spent the night at Chuck Billy's house and saw tons of memorabilia on the walls. The tour began in San Francisco at the Regency Ballroom, which is a killer venue but shitty parking if you're in a van and trailer. Our driver drove around for two hours because of that. I would have to say from living in south T.X., that SF crowd is intense. But after hearing two large pizzas were $75, you're like, "What happened to two large for $20??"
The first night was a good one. Zetro from Exodus said, "Just go out there and kill 'em all." He said, "There's going to be haters, so grab your dick, and say 'fuck you!'" which hyped us up. Right before we went on, Chuck came out and said, "Kill it" and my reply back was "Into the Pit" as we walked out to the stage. After an intense performance and having eyes all on you, we all watched how Exodus and Testament got set up right before they played. Shared some beers with Gary Holt and cheered Phil Demmel before Exodus went on. Got to see how Eric Peterson got ready before stage which is pretty fucking metal as he shredded and looked fucking metal just thrashing away. Watching both bands on stage was killer and seeing their crew work was sick. After a kickass show from both bands and a lot of beer, we went backstage and hung out with Jonny Z and Marsha Z. We got to hear a lot of stories about how Metallica would drink 'em all under the table and how Testament opened up for Overkill, which were all very cool stories to hear. They said, "Do your thing and don't worry. People will start to follow. Once the CD comes out on there's going to be a lot more people singing the songs and raging to them." So we said our goodbyes as we loaded up and got ready for an eight hour drive to LA. Another adventure unfolds as we head to House of Blues.
Two of the World's Loudest Month Festivals have announced set times for bands at their festivals. Check out Welcome to Rockville and F0rt Rock below.
Welcome to Rockville
Saturday, April 25
Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage
12:30 PM Stars In Stereo
2:00 PM Hollywood Undead
3:30 PM Of Mice & Men
5:15 PM Halestorm
7:10 PM Slayer
9:35 PM Korn
Jack Daniel's Metropolitan Park Stage
11:45 AM Like A Storm
1:15 PM Nonpoint
2:45 PM Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts
4:15 PM Queensrÿche
6:15 PM Ministry
8:20 PM Marilyn Manson
ReverbNation Stage powered by Hundred Handed
11:55 AM Red Sun Rising
1:05 PM Sons Of Texas
2:15 PM Fozzy
3:25 PM Exodus
4:55 PM Testament
6:45 PM Suicidal Tendencies
11:20 AM World Gone
12:30 PM Sangre
1:40 PM Upon A Burning Body
2:50 PM Beartooth
4:10 PM Periphery
5:50 PM The Devil Wears Prada
Sunday, April 26
Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage
12:20 PM We Are Harlot
1:40 PM Surprise Guest
3:00 PM In This Moment
4:50 PM The Pretty Reckless
6:35 PM Papa Roach
8:40 PM Slipknot
Jack Daniel's Metropolitan Park Stage
11:40 AM '68
1:00 PM Young Guns
2:20 PM Motionless In White
3:50 PM Breaking Benjamin
5:40 PM Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
7:30 PM Godsmack
ReverbNation Stage powered by Hundred Handed
11:10 AM Shattered Sun
12:15 PM ReverbNation Winner
1:25 PM Starset
2:35 PM Butcher Babies
4:05 PM Hatebreed
6:15 PM All That Remains
11:40 AM From Ashes To New
12:50 PM Islander
2:00 PM VAMPS
3:20 PM Tremonti
5:10 PM In Flames
Monster Energy Main Stage North
11:40 AM ReverbNation Winner
12:55 PM '68
2:05 PM Young Guns
3:15 PM Starset
4:25 PM VAMPS
5:45 PM The Pretty Reckless
7:25 PM Papa Roach
9:40 PM Slipknot
Monster Energy Main Stage South
12:20 PM Lola Black
1:30 PM Butcher Babies
2:40 PM We Are Harlot
3:50 PM Motionless In White
5:00 PM In This Moment
6:30 PM Breaking Benjamin
8:25 PM Godsmack
Swedish hard rock act Smash Into Pieces recently released their new album, 'The Apocalypse DJ,' via Gain. In celebration, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere their new music video for "Stronger." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
As announced earlier this year, Motörhead's Motörboat will return again this year. Now, they have teamed up with Revolver for a special offer: A $75.00 (USD) per person onboard credit when you book your stateroom for Motörhead's Motörboat, sailing September 28 thru October 2, onboard the Norwegian Sky from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in The Bahamas!
All you need to do to take advantage of this offer is to enter promo code REVOLVER when making your reservation, and the credit will be applied directly to your onboard spending account for the cruise!
For more information and to book rooms, click here!
"The Loudest Boat in the World" will feature performances from Motörhead, Slayer, Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Exodus, and more.
Oceans Ate Alaska's guitarist Jibs enjoys toying around with bartending and makes drink recipes with band themes. Check out his The Dillinger Escape Plan-inspired recipe for "One of Us Is the Killer" below.
"One of Us Is the Killer"
- 4 parts rum. Bacardi, Sailor Jerry, Appleton vx and Havana Especial.
- Pineapple juice
- Lime juice
- Shake and strain over cubed ice
- Add a straw and trickle a tiny amount of grenadine down it. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. The name of this cocktail inspired me to use four parts rum as the 'suspects.' I also like how it's disguised as a Tequila Sunrise but the ingredients are completely different.
Oceans Ate Alaska's new album, 'Lost Isles,' is out now via Fearless Records. Check out their music video for "Vultures and Sharks" below.
Daily lineups and activites have been announced for this year's Rock on the Range. The current daily Rock on the Range music lineup is as follows:
Friday, May 15: Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Breaking Benjamin, Live, Falling In Reverse, Yelawolf, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Apocalyptica, Hatebreed, We Are Harlot, Young Guns, Beartooth, VAMPS, Dangerkids, Islander, Dorothy, Highly Suspect, Shaman's Harvest, XFactor1
Saturday, May 16: Judas Priest, Godsmack, Papa Roach, Ministry, In This Moment, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Of Mice & Men, In Flames, BABYMETAL, Tremonti, The Devil Wears Prada, Nonpoint, Saxon, Sabaton, Like A Storm, From Ashes To New, Red Sun Rising
Sunday, May 17: Linkin Park, Rise Against, Volbeat, Halestorm, Tech N9ne, Anthrax, The Pretty Reckless, Hollywood Undead, Motionless In White, Rival Sons, Periphery, You Me At Six, Starset, Upon A Burning Body, Crobot, New Medicine, Unlocking The Truth, Marmozets, September Mourning, Santa Cruz
New in 2015 is an interactive graffiti art installation by RISK. Kelly Graval, the multi-talented fine artist, illustrator, and graffiti artist known as RISK will be curating an interactive art exhibit to be displayed on site. The exhibit will showcase multiple live demonstrations by RISK and will allow ROTR artists such as Slipknot's M. Shawn Crahan (Clown), and fans the chance to interact and add to the exhibit.
The Rolling Rock Comedy Tent will feature sets from rock-influenced comedians, including: Rob Schneider, Brian Posehn, Jim Norton, Don Jamieson, Jim Florentine, Rod Paulette, Jeremy Essig, Brent Terhune, Joe Howard, Bill Squire, Jay Snyder, Bill Arrundale, Jake Iannarino, Kenny Smith, and Craig Peters.
The Ernie Ball presents the Rock on the Range Battle of the Bands is back for 2015, offering unsigned bands a chance to perform on the Ernie Ball Stage at Rock on the Range and receive over $15,000 in gear and prizes, along with an all-expenses paid trip to Columbus, OH.
Other activities include:
Monster Energy: Monster Energy will help fans celebrate the weekend with artist autograph signings at the Monster Energy Hospitality Rig. As always, come by the Monster Hospitality area for an ice cold Monster Energy to refuel and keep the party going all weekend long!
Jack Daniel's Experience: Jack Daniel's will bring a "Taste of Tennessee" to Columbus as an official sponsor of Rock on the Range. The Jack Daniel's Experience, a mobile museum, is bringing a little of the much-loved distillery from Lynchburg. The Experience is open to all folks, 21 years old and up, for tours free of charge throughout the festival.
Jägermeister: Jägermeister is excited to host some of the best bands in rock on their mobile stage, as well as signings with some of the biggest names in music. Stop by Jäger-World, grab an ice cold shot and come join the party!
The Crazy Dave's Music Experience powered by Musicians Institute: The Crazy Dave's Music Experience is a free, interactive "rock star" exhibit where fans can get hands-on interaction with tons of musical equipment, much of which is used by their favorite artists performing on stage at the show.
Zippo Encore Music Experience: Throughout the festival weekend, Zippo Encore Music Experience will feature a pop-up retail shop that will have limited edition Rock on the Range lighters for sale. There will also be a "spin it to win it" game to win daily prizes, as well as an onsite lighter design contest and the one of a kind Zippo car on display. www.Zippo.com
The festival takes place on May 15 - 17 in Columbus, Ohio. For full festival details and to purchase tickets, visit RockOnTheRange.com.
Orlando rock act Anyone's Guess recently released their EP, ' March in the Dark: Chapter Two.' In celebration, the band ha steamed up with Revolver to premiere their new lyric video for "Akrasia." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Metal comedian Steve Terreberry, or Stevie T, has released a new A Day to Remember parody video, "A Night to Forget." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Stevie T will release his new album, "Album Of Epicness," through Artery Recordings on April 28.