Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 09:39 UK

The mad world of Marilyn Manson

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson: Scary and shocking?

"Do you want a fight? Do you want a fight with me?"

I met Marilyn Manson less than two minutes ago.

I am supposed to be interviewing the dark prince of rock, the grotesque goth who, as legend has it, is vampire, zombie and demon rolled into one.

And it's already the strangest interview ever. I expected him to be a bit weird - but not like this.

I also expected the shock rocker to be highly articulate. From other interviews I've watched, I know he can be the intelligent voice of a troubled generation.

But today, it's clear that Marilyn Manson is just troubled.

He is in a dingy radio studio at the BBC's Maida Vale complex, where he has just finished a shambolic radio session. Our interview is four hours late.

Next door, a BBC Radio 3 choir is singing Karol Szymanowski's Stabat Mater. I just hope he doesn't stumble into their studio by mistake.

Inside, wearing a plain black hoodie and his usual morbid pallor, he's in high spirits, joking with his band and the studio crew.

As we start, it becomes clear that he can't or doesn't want to give coherent answers, except for those that end with comments about sex, violence or preferably both.

His preoccupation is such that I have heavily edited his comments to cut out large chunks that are lurid, graphic and frankly disturbing.

I'm doing the interview with a colleague, Adrian from BBC 6 Music. Manson starts by ripping the foam cover off the end of Adrian's microphone, before being asked about his fans.

Marilyn Manson
That's what I do best, worst - me being Marilyn Manson, rock star, et cetera, that's what I do

"My fans? There's no fans because I was very hot in my room." Adrian tries again, to which Manson responds: "Ceiling fans or standalone?"

There is a glint in his eye. He's toying with us, but his comments are also unnervingly lewd and random.

He carries straight on. "Is that a cellphone?" he says looking at my recording device. It's clearly not a cellphone. "Can I call you?" He then makes the first offer of a fight, not delivered aggressively, but more as a polite, jovial invitation.

Adrian asks him about the Download festival, where Manson is playing this summer. "You said load. And down," Manson interrupts, as if they're the dirtiest words in the world.

I ask my first question, and try to change tack. Can he remember the first time that he performed musically? His weird different-sized eyeballs peer out from under his hood.

"The first time I performed musically I threw up."

When was that?

"Last night. But no, the first time, I had stage fright. I was afraid of the stages and frightening and The Frighteners, which was a bad movie with, what's his name, Michael J Fox.

"So I would say the last time I had… what was the question?"

Next, I try asking where he currently lives. The answer is rambling, peppered with rude words and references to sexual violence. He also starts making weird fluttery whistling noises half-way through.

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson is currently on a European tour

The answer finishes with: "Et cetera and so forth and so on and wow and [more fluttering] I like to speak in those kind of terms."

It's getting curiouser and curiouser. So I ask about the film he's supposedly working on, in which he is playing Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.

"I'm playing him always in life," he replies. "I wrote a script about him because I read his diaries and it was about aphasia to the sky, the sky, left, right, and that's me.

"So I almost quit music because I didn't want to do any more so I want to put it all into film. Right now I'm in love with film. But filming myself. And I'm playing Marilyn Manson."

What stage is the film at? Have you shot any of it?

"No, I shot at someone. But that was a firearm and it was not exactly legal. But I was exonerated from the crime."

I hope and pray that he's joking and plough on. After Adrian asks him about one of his heroes, Iggy Pop, I ask why he didn't quit music but decided to release a new album.

"It was me realising that that's what I do best," he says. "That's not always good, but that's what I do best, worst. Me being Marilyn Manson, rock star, et cetera, that's what I do."

So is the film ever going to… I don't have time to finish my question.

"You want a fight? A film?" he interjects.

The film, I affirm.

"The film," he repeats, before things degenerate again.

Manson manages to answer a question about Motley Crue a bit more coherently, then, thankfully, the interview is brought to a close in less than 10 minutes.

At the time, it was in parts surreal, awkward and amusing. In hindsight, it seems a bit more disturbing. Not scary though. Just sad.

Marilyn Manson's new album The High End of Low is out now.



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