Few celebrities talk as quickly or are as verbose as Marilyn Manson. The 43-year-old shock rocker possesses a loquaciousness rivaled by just one other Hollywood type: Quentin Tarantino. When the two happened to meet Manson said it was "weird since there were no pauses when we spoke. It was like watching a giraffe fuck a dolphin." But the former music journalist, whose real name is Brian Warner, isn't all talk. With a critically acclaimed album, Born Villain, that came out earlier in 2012, as well as an upcoming two-episode stint playing himself on Showtime's Californication, Manson has engineered something of a comeback. Here, he expounds on his return to his sonic roots, the sad state of backstage parties, and why John Mayer needs to stop boasting about his wit.
DETAILS: You've re-embraced industrial music on Born Villain. Why?
MARILYN MANSON: I was going back to a clean slate. When you see a peacock with its feathers out you realize that its feathers are supposed to be out, and that relates to me. I strayed from my roots, the stuff that inspired me, like Ministry, the Sex Pistols, and the Stooges. I'm thrilled to be back there.
DETAILS: Did you think that moving away from your influences was necessary for artistic growth?
MARILYN MANSON: It's kind of like when you get a C for the first time in school—not that I ever paid attention to grades back when I was going to school. You want to go from a C to an A, but you're doing it for the wrong reason. That was me over recent years. There's a difference between wanting to do better and wanting to please people.
DETAILS: You're still getting an A in backstage partying, though, right? It seems like no one gets crazy on tour anymore.
MARILYN MANSON: Absolutely. And you're right about the backstage scene. I was backstage on a tour with—I won't name names—Linkin Park. Not only were they sober before the show but they were jamming on acoustic. It was heartfelt, too, like Unplugged. I walked in with a pink stripe across my face, looking like someone who shouldn't be around children or acoustic instruments, and said, "I don't want to interrupt you guys. Are you writing a song?" They said, "No, we're rehearsing." It blew me away, since I was getting fucked up and getting my dick sucked. Which is what I told them. It might sound crass but it was accurate.
DETAILS: So, basically, hedonistic rock stars have become an endangered species in the era of John Mayer?
MARILYN MANSON: [Laughs] I met him right after he got in trouble for saying the N-word [in an interview with Playboy]. He was shifty, cagy and weird. He invited me up to his room and proceeded to show me his collection of Rolex watches. They're about $20,000 a piece. Why do you need a watch? I have an iPhone. I was contemplating going into the bathroom, putting whatever metal objects I had in my sock, and just rolling him. When he would tell people, "Marilyn Manson stole my watches," who would believe him?
DETAILS: You obviously didn't succumb to his charms. Did he at least have a sense of humor?
MARILYN MANSON: He would say that everyone thinks that he's witty. But he says that he's witty all the time, if you watch his interviews. He says it so much that we developed a drinking game around it. Every time he says, "I'm witty," we drink. A couple of girls got so drunk. But he thinks he's so witty because he does stand-up comedy sometimes. Well, I do sit-down comedy, motherfucker. I don't stand up for that shit.
DETAILS: You don't have a driver's license. How's that working out for you in Los Angeles?
MARILYN MANSON: I don't need to drive. I have no business driving. I would never be able to find my keys.... I live close to the Chateau Marmont and that makes everything fine, since that place is so fucking magical. It's the epicenter. I met Johnny Depp there and many of my ex-girlfriends. I saw Lindsay Lohan expose her breast there for the first time. I looked away—but not because I'm a gentleman.
DETAILS: Congrats on the Californication gig, by the way. But can you ever hope to top your debut performance as Porno Star #1 in David Lynch's Lost Highway?
MARILYN MANSON: I'll never forget the scene I did with Patricia Arquette. David said, "Okay, Marilyn, I want you to grab the girl and fuck her. Fuck her hard, but don't hurt her." I said, "Okay," and I was standing naked in front of Patricia Arquette, who was covered in blood. I tried to build a rapport with her by saying, "Hey, you were in Dokken's 'Dream Warriors' video, right?" And then I heard "action," and I got down to business.
• • •