By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
The tour was suspended briefly, then resumed. And on April 20 came Columbine. Manson dared to continue wearing a trench coat onstage after the shooting, then canceled the rest of his engagements, fearing that somebody might be hurt amid the media frenzy, and that one somebody might be Marilyn Manson. He says he didn't leave his house for three months.
"I expected to be glared at if I were in the Midwest or something," says Manson, "but I generally felt hated even in Hollywood, where I thought there would be some sort of camaraderie, because everyone was part of the entertainment industry. I don't think people genuinely disliked me as much as they were afraid to be associated with me, because it would jeopardize their jobs. So I had a lot of doors closed in my face, as far as movies and music and things like that. A lot of people were afraid. And now I can have my list of people who didn't stand behind me.
"You know," he says quietly, "I'll remember that."
Never sorry to spend time thinking alone, Manson meditated at the home he'd just bought in Hollywood. "I live in the same house where the Stones wrote Let It Bleed," he says. "It's . . . I don't know if I should say exactly where, but it's in the hills near the big cross that lights up. I almost moved into a house that had that in the back yard, but I thought that would really be a dead giveaway.
"I've never lived in a house before. I grew up in a duplex. I lived in apartments all my life with my parents -- we couldn't afford a house. So I feel fortunate that I've gotten to the point in my life where I can actually have a house, and I don't leave it very much."
During the last half of 1999 and the first half of 2000, while writing and recording Holy Wood, Manson thought a lot about his parents and his upbringing. A Capricorn like David Bowie -- and, according to tradition, at least, like Jesus -- in 1999 he had turned 30, the age when Jesus began his ministry, which would end when the Nazarene was crucified at 33. The year of Manson's birth, 1969, had been the year of Woodstock, of the (Charles) Manson murders, of the Rolling Stones' concert debacle at Altamont and of Let It Bleed's release.
As a devotee of mystical pursuits such as numerology and tarot, on the latter of which the surrealist filmmaker Alexandro Jodorowsky has given him some tips, Manson finds such coincidences interesting. He's always looking for patterns in his life.
"I started reading more about symbolism -- Jung and people like that -- and how symbols are all around us, and if you recognize them, you see the path."
To a large extent, Manson's parents have provided a reverse compass: Remaking himself from coddled nerd to self-mutilating superstar, from devil-fearing schoolboy to visionary Antichrist, has been a single-minded project. It must be gratifying to Manson that for several years his financial status has enabled him to support Mom and Dad, the symbols of his youthful bondage. Still, any obsessive opposition implies a strong relationship, even an attraction. Manson's choice of a cover song for the 2000/2001 New Year's Eve broadcast on MTV -- Cheap Trick's "Surrender" -- is interesting. "Mama's all right, Daddy's all right," goes the chorus, "they just seem a little weird."
Two of young Brian Warner's classmates at Heritage Christian School, Jeff Slingluff and Cathi Slingluff (formerly Miller) -- currently residents of Thousand Oaks, where Jeff designs guitar amps -- remember the parents as non-demonic. "They were extremely cool," says Jeff, relating how they drove Brian, another friend and himself to a concert by Rush (then a fave of Brian's) when they were about 13, and even waited for them in an adjacent bar till the show was over.
Manson's last two long-term relationships, with his Florida girlfriend Missi and with actress Rose McGowan, have been with women whose round, pretty faces look a good deal like old photos of his mother. And considering how little time young Brian spent with his father, the influence of Hugh Warner is substantial.
Dad is a retired salesman -- of furniture, among other things. "He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in a white dress," says Manson. "I think I got a lot from him. I think I inherited his drive, his motivation, and his . . . I won't say dishonesty, but the nature to try and pull one over on someone all the time." Entertainment, he says, has a lot to do with persuasion. And maybe there's some competition there, as well.
In the unauthorized Marilyn Manson biovideo Demystifying the Devil, ex-girlfriend Missi describes Hugh, who enjoys his reputation as the father of the God of Fuck (a term Marilyn borrowed from Charles Manson), as "always trying to be weirder than his son." There's a nice scene in Manson's own docu-video God Is in the TV in which Hugh seizes a pet dog and begins manipulating its penis. From off-camera, you can hear Manson's ostensibly embarrassed voice pleading, "Hey, stop playing with his pecker." But Demystifying features older footage of Manson himself engaging in very similar doggie porn. So which came first?