Clown takes us in­side the mag­got­in­fested movie Day Of The Gu­sano – and the ’Knot’s new mu­sic.

Slip­knot’s mad pro­fes­sor opens up on the band’s epic new con­cert film, Day Of The Gu­sano

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contests - WORDS: DAVE EVERLEY

WHY DID IT TAKE SLIP­KNOT SO LONG TO PLAY MEX­ICO?

“It’s fi­nances, it’s the right time, it’s won­der­ing about that so­ci­ety. It’s very dif­fi­cult for kids there to pay for tick­ets. They have to work months and months and months. So it’s just not easy to pick up and go to Mex­ico City and do a show.”

WHY DID YOU FILM THIS SHOW IN PAR­TIC­U­LAR, THOUGH?

“We’ve heard from day one in our ca­reer how crazy Mex­i­can peo­ple go off at a show, how uni­fied they are. You say ‘jump’ and they all jump, and you can feel it. So we thought, ‘Why not make this show a Knot­fest?’

And we doc­u­mented it, be­cause it was a re­ally spe­cial thing.”

WHAT WAS YOUR EX­PE­RI­ENCE OF MEX­ICO CITY?

“I came in about a month or so early to do press and I hung out with all the pro­mot­ers – they took me to all the food places. I ate all the au­then­tic stuff. I ate crick­ets, I ate ants, lar­vae… I will eat any­thing you want. I love all that stuff.”

WERE YOU CON­CERNED ABOUT GO­ING TO MEX­ICO, GIVEN IT CAN BE DAN­GER­OUS?

“I’m into go­ing any­where, man. I’ve been told not to go into places, got­ten there and they’ve be­come my favourite places. So I’m very blessed with rock’n’roll push­ing me into sit­u­a­tions that feel scary or I’m a lit­tle in­se­cure about or I don’t know. Rock’n’roll is not pol­i­tics – I’d never want to be in pol­i­tics be­cause it’s not my thing, but who doesn’t like rock’n’roll? The po­lice like rock’n’roll. The army like rock’n’roll. Re­li­gious peo­ple like rock’n’roll. You go into th­ese ter­ri­to­ries you’re scared of, you’re usu­ally pretty much wel­comed with open arms be­cause ev­ery­body loves mu­sic.”

THERE ARE SOME SE­RI­OUSLY OB­SESSED FANS IN THE FILM. IS MEET­ING THEM STILL IN­SPIR­ING FOR YOU, EVEN AT THIS STAGE?

“It is, man. It makes me re­think a lot of things. I look at it now, at my age, as be­ing my fam­ily, my cul­ture. So if the world con­tin­ues to be fucked up, I wanna be with my fam­ily.”

WHERE ARE WE AT WITH THE NEW SLIP­KNOT AL­BUM?

“The Gray Chap­ter was pretty much the fi­nal learn­ing ve­loc­ity of our ca­reer. We had to re­place a bass player, we had to re­place a drum­mer – one of them was walk­ing the earth, the other was buried in the earth. It was a very hard time. Peo­ple were telling us, ‘How is the band gonna write, Joey and Paul are gone?’ Fuck you. We made a fuck­ing awe­some al­bum that we love.

And we’re gonna con­tinue to do that. I ac­tu­ally have a date that some of us are gonna get to­gether in a stu­dio and get things go­ing for the next one…”

RE­ALLY?

“My­self, Jim [Root, gui­tar] and Jay [Wein­berg, drums] went to LA and or­gan­ised ev­ery­thing we had writ­ten out on the road. We wrote 50 fuck­ing ideas. We spent two weeks or­gan­is­ing all that, and also adding some stuff that was writ­ten a year ago. We have over 27 ideas ready to go – seven or eight of them are full songs. Th­ese songs can change, they can be writ­ten over, noth­ing is in stone. But it’s great that we have con­crete ideas to be­gin with. So the fu­ture has never been sweeter for Slip­knot mu­sic. I don’t know what Corey’s got in mind, be­cause he will bring his own songs, too, but we’re just writ­ing mu­sic and get­ting ideas and moods and sound­scapes – get­ting it all fuck­ing to­gether.”

WHAT ABOUT THE ART SIDE OF IT, YOU’RE USU­ALLY VERY IN­VOLVED WITH THAT PROCESS. ANY IDEAS FORM­ING?

“I’m study­ing new forms of art to in­tro­duce to the mag­gots. Be­cause not only will all the old mag­gots need to be in­spired, but what about that whole new gen­er­a­tion that we will grab when we come back out? They need to say, ‘Hey, you guys have had Slip­knot your whole lives, but this new art is made for us.’ New lo­gos, new videos, new masks, new out­fits, new songs, new show. That’s what’s great about Slip­knot.”

“WE HAVE EIGHT NEW SONGS”

“HOW AM I? HOW AM I?! FUCK OFF” MAN­SON IS RARELY IN THE MOOD FOR PLEAS­ANTRIES

ab­sinthe ev­ery­where. White pow­der down our chins. a naked... some­thing in the bed be­hind us. and Mar­i­lyn Man­son, gurn­ing like a ma­niac, his arm wrapped around our neck and his fin­ger wrapped around the trig­ger of a pis­tol, cur­rently pressed di­rectly into Ham­mer’s tem­ple. the pis­tol’s fake, of course. at least, we think it’s fake. Did we ask if it was fake? Oh, tits, please let it be fake…

Safe to say things have got a lit­tle out of hand pretty quickly, but then what else could you ex­pect when you’re given the op­por­tu­nity to spend a full hour in the com­pany of one of rock’s few re­main­ing, true enig­mas? In a world of oh-look-here’s-Ner­gal-pet­ting-al­lama-on-In­sta­gram, ac­cess-all-ar­eas rock stars, Mar­i­lyn Man­son re­mains a rid­dle: a su­pervil­lain (or an­ti­hero?) come to life; a tow­er­ing per­son­al­ity that tran­scends the man named Brian Warner who cre­ated it; a throw­back to an era where metal was still ter­ror­is­ing the main­stream and you didn’t have to know what sized pump­kin spiced latte rob Zom­bie plumped for this fuck­ing morn­ing.

So, as Ham­mer sits down on a huge leather couch in a dark and cold (but pretty damn lush) top-floor suite in Ber­lin’s Soho House com­plex, await­ing the man him­self, there are just a few ques­tions whizzing around our heads. Which Mar­i­lyn Man­son are we go­ing to get to­day? Is Heaven Up­side Down an­other break­down al­bum? are we imag­in­ing that naked shape spread over the bed in our pe­riph­eral vi­sion? and is that in­hu­mane pile of white pow­der on the giant cof­fee ta­ble be­side us for show, or is shit about to hit the fan?

“that’s not co­caine, I swear.”

a rasp­ing voice from the gloom in front of us makes us jump out of our skin, and sud­denly, there he is: im­pos­ing, bar­rel-chested, white face, dark eye­shadow, star­ing a hole through us with a mis­chievous smirk that makes you feel like you’re the butt of a joke of which you haven’t heard the punch­line. Dressed in a red and black pin­stripe suit and cup­ping a very large tum­bler of ab­sinthe, Man­son looks like the con­sum­mate host of a party plucked from roald Dahl’s night­mares as he ca­su­ally slumps on the sofa be­side us.

“We’ve met be­fore, right?” he grace­fully of­fers. ac­tu­ally, no, we haven’t. “Oh, sorry, right,” he shoots back, lay­ing a friendly hand on our shoul­der. “You didn’t re­alise, I was just hid­ing out­side your house that time.”

and we’re off. even with

Man­son in a play­ful mood, it’s hard to know where to start. this is a man who has not only said and done it all, but in re­cent times has had enough ups and downs to give an ea­gle ver­tigo. In the last 10 years alone, he’s ex­pe­ri­enced ca­reer-threat­en­ing lev­els of crit­i­cal an­ni­hi­la­tion (see his sham­bolic string of gigs from 2007-2012),

"SO WHAT HAP­PENS IF I PULL THE TRIG­GER?" “I’VE MADE SOME­THING OPEN, NOT SOME­THING NI­HILIS­TIC OR HATE­FUL” MAN­SON BARED HIS SOUL ON HEAVEN UP­SIDE DOWN

Hol­ly­wood love-ins (bring­ing BFF Johnny Depp on­stage at a gig in Hol­ly­wood in 2014 be­ing a prime talk­ing point), tri­umphant come­backs (2015’s ex­cel­lent The Pale Em­peror) and, on a more per­sonal note, the loss of both his par­ents (most re­cently his fa­ther, who died ear­lier this year). Per­haps, then, we should be­gin with the ba­sics: just how the fuck are you th­ese days?

“I’m... good,” he con­sid­ers in that bul­let-gar­gling bari­tone, be­fore adding, “I don’t like it when peo­ple ask me, ‘How are you feel­ing?’, be­cause it sounds con­de­scend­ing. Some­how, I’ve avoided the whole ‘be­ing my age’ thing. through im­mor­tal­ity, vam­pirism, what­ever it is. So for me, the whole, ‘Hey, how are you feel­ing?’ thing...” he pauses, be­fore flip­pantly waving away an imag­ined au­di­ence. “‘How are you feel­ing?’ Go fuck your­self.”

But peo­ple are con­cerned about Mar­i­lyn Man­son in 2017. We don’t just want gos­sip and con­tro­versy, we ac­tu­ally care about your well­be­ing…

“look,” he sighs. “I’ve been to rehab, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, but I’m a pro­fes­sional. I’ve learned how to be a pro­fes­sional drug user and a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian. I wanna be the best at what­ever I do. I had a cou­ple of years where I said, ‘I’m not the best at what I’m do­ing’,

and the last record – The Pale Em­peror – was get­ting back to be­ing the best, for me.”

If it sounds like Man­son isn’t quite an­swer­ing our ques­tions prop­erly, it’s be­cause he isn’t. Get­ting straight re­sponses out of a mind like his is like catch­ing frogs in a wash­ing ma­chine. While he’s per­fectly lu­cid (if a lit­tle slurry at times – that tum­bler emp­ty­ing through­out the hour we spend to­gether and his pos­ture get­ting just a lit­tle more slumped), he doesn’t so much dodge ques­tions as ma­nip­u­late them to suit his own whim. He’ll send the con­ver­sa­tion down a rab­bit hole of his own mak­ing be­fore throw­ing you off-guard with a witty ob­ser­va­tion, or switch­ing the tone on you so fast you’re not sure whether he’s go­ing to hug you or hit you.

even de­spite that, he makes one very valid point here: The Pale Em­peror wasn’t just get­ting back to his best, it was uni­ver­sally ac­cepted as Man­son’s strong­est al­bum in a decade. team­ing up with Hol­ly­wood block­buster com­poser tyler Bates – now of­fi­cially a full-time band­mem­ber and some­one the front­man is ev­i­dently fond of – Man­son ripped up his own blue­print, di­alled back the in­ten­sity and pro­duced a work steeped in bluesy sleaze and out­law at­ti­tude. It was a fas­ci­nat­ing left-turn that seemed to come up trumps. Which leads to the next ques­tion: why did he sack it all off for the throw­back-heavy, punked-up raw­ness of Heaven Up­side Down?

“Maybe I’m just try­ing to cause chaos,” he an­swers with a shrug and a smile. “But this is the story we wanted to make. It’s close, it’s per­sonal, I feel good about it, I liked do­ing it, and it’s got lay­ers to it. this record, to me, is more im­por­tant than when I did An­tichrist Su­per­star. I know this record is def­i­nitely… me. It’s not like any other record.” ex­plain­ing that they recorded it with him sit­ting

“I NEVER GOT TO PLAY THIS RECORD FOR MY DAD” LOS­ING HIS FA­THER HAS BEEN TOUGH TO DEAL WITH

on the sofa with a mic, while tyler strummed gui­tar – “there was no vo­cal booth” – he ev­i­dently feels a deeply per­sonal at­tach­ment to Heaven Up­side Down. and so he should: it’s a very per­sonal record. While his procla­ma­tion that it’s “not like any other” is a lit­tle off – there are call­backs to classic Man­son all over the joint, far more than on The Pale Em­peror – the gritty, punky vibe that per­me­ates just about ev­ery crevice of the al­bum feels ur­gent and raw. lyri­cally, too, it feels like the God Of Fuck is bar­ing his soul in a way not seen since Eat Me, Drink Me – ‘I’m un­sta­ble, I’m not a show horse’ he croons des­per­ately on Tat­tooed In Re­verse, be­fore scream­ing, ‘You only want me when I’m up­side down / I’m just be­ing me’ on Blood Honey. Hell, even the al­bum cover, de­pict­ing a stark, sim­ple black and white por­trait of Man­son, screams ‘can­did’.

“there is noth­ing ‘shock­ing’ any­more, but you know what is shock­ing?” he re­sponds when we point all this out.

“to do some­thing poignant. to do some­thing that says some­thing with­out say­ing it. I’m not try­ing to make some­thing that’s ni­hilis­tic or an­gry or hate­ful. I’m try­ing to make some­thing that’s an open book. With all the shit that’s go­ing on in the world, this record is not gonna change that, but it’s im­por­tant, be­cause peo­ple need some­thing to grab onto when ev­ery­thing else is dogshit – oh, don’t mind her.”

clearly, Man­son has clocked our ex­pres­sion at a muf­fled, fem­i­nine groan com­ing from the bed be­hind us. We’re just not go­ing to ask. You’ve men­tioned pre­vi­ously that the tracks Heaven Up­side Down and Satur­na­lia – both recorded as late ad­di­tions – have de­fined this al­bum. Why is that?

“the night that the song Satur­na­lia was writ­ten, it was the be­gin­ning of Saturn pass­ing be­fore the moon,” he replies. “I didn’t know my dad was as sick as he was, so I ended up go­ing to Ohio, and he ended up dy­ing the morn­ing that Saturn fin­ished pass­ing over the moon. So it seemed very fated that that song re­ally de­fined the record. and in no way is this a record about sad­ness or loss – it’s about what­ever the lis­tener wants it to be. I just thought it was very su­per­nat­u­ral and strange that it all hap­pened in that se­quence.”

If Man­son has been vague and play­ful in his an­swers so far, bring­ing his fa­ther up seems to sud­denly shift things into a sharp fo­cus. When Hugh Warner passed away in July, Man­son posted a mov­ing trib­ute to his fa­ther, not­ing: “He will al­ways be the best dad in the world. Some­how and some­where, I know he is with my mom now. I will keep my prom­ise and never let you down.”

“We’ve al­ways been close, and af­ter my mother died, we be­came closer,” he notes to­day. “But I didn’t know the ex­tent of how ill he was, be­cause he kept it from me, so it was a lit­tle hard to deal with. But I was there with him at the end.”

there’s a brief pause, be­fore Man­son looks up, that air of mis­chief sud­denly plas­tered back over his face.

“But he died with his hand on his dick.” Wait, what?

“I couldn’t be in the room, be­cause it was too dif­fi­cult. But my aunt was there, and she [said] that when he died, he had his hand on his dick. Straight pimp. that’s my dad, and that’s what my dad would have wanted.”

even in such emo­tion­ally raw ter­ri­tory, Man­son’s abil­ity to sud­denly turn the mood on its head is lit­tle short of ex­tra­or­di­nary. Over the next half hour of much breezier chat­ter, we dis­cover that he hasn’t had a proper hol­i­day in decades (“I don’t know how

“TIME IS SHORT. DON’T WASTE IT FUCK­ING AR­GU­ING” MAN­SON HAS LEARNED SOME HARD LESSONS

to take a va­ca­tion”); he thinks ri­hanna is the most dan­ger­ous mu­si­cian in the world to­day

(“she gave me her phone num­ber once”); he’s a big fan of the TV show The Young Pope star­ring

Jude law; and if we were com­ing over for din­ner, he’d cook us a steak, “Han­ni­bal style”. any time the con­ver­sa­tion floats back around the sub­ject of his fa­ther, how­ever – of­ten by his own di­rec­tion – he goes a lit­tle qui­eter. When we ask what his dad would have made of a record like Heaven Up­side Down, there’s a pause. and a sigh.

“He would have wanted this record to be tri­umphant for me. and I never got to play it for him. He got to hear, like, four tracks of it. But I think that, in­stead of be­ing neg­a­tive or sad about it, I need to chan­nel it into be­ing some­thing stronger. For this record, I had to be a man. I had to say [to my­self], ‘lis­ten, this is how it has to be, be­cause oth­er­wise I’m not gonna fuck­ing sur­vive.’”

He pauses again, and if we weren’t so fazed by this lat­est

“ALL THE PEO­PLE WHO CALLED ME BRIAN ARE NOW DEAD” AF­TER THE LOSS OF HIS FA­THER, MAN­SON HAS NO MORE TIES TO HIS CHILD­HOOD

un­ex­pected turn of tone, we could have sworn we just saw the God Of Fuck wipe a tear from his face.

“and maybe that came from loss. It could be from loss, if I had to an­a­lyse my­self... be­cause you had to fuck­ing make me do it.

I could kick ya!” at this point, he punches Ham­mer on the arm and aims a kick in our di­rec­tion. But it’s by no means threat­en­ing; it reads like a play­ful de­flec­tion from some­thing that Man­son seem­ingly hasn’t had much time to prop­erly digest.

“this is the first in­ter­view I’ve done [talk­ing about this],” he con­firms. “So I haven’t re­ally thought about it in my head. But you know what I’m say­ing.”

Has los­ing your fa­ther changed your per­spec­tive on loss? On death? On life, even?

“On time,” he replies slowly. “time is short. You can’t fuck­ing waste time fight­ing and ar­gu­ing.”

It’s hard to en­vi­sion Man­son as a man with many re­grets. Hell, he’s so per­ma­nently in char­ac­ter that it must be hard for him to iden­tify with that young, gawky kid called Brian in any mean­ing­ful way.

“I iden­tify with him ev­ery day,” he ar­gues. “Brian is just a word.”

and yet you must surely be run­ning out of peo­ple in your life who still know you by it? Isn’t that dan­ger­ous?

“It doesn’t bother me what peo­ple call me now,” he in­sists. “It only an­noyed me when peo­ple used to call me Brian as a way to pre­tend they knew me. Most peo­ple close to me didn’t call me that, and all the peo­ple that called me that are now all dead...” an­other pause, as the re­al­i­sa­tion of what he’s just said hits him. “...that’s kinda fucked up.” and it’s here that a tour man­ager sud­denly walks in, tells us that our time is up and of­fers to take a photo of us to­gether.

“a photo?” grins Man­son, snap­ping right back into char­ac­ter. “Well, we have to make it re­ally fucked up”. and then, he slams his glass down, pulls a gun from his pocket, grabs a fist­ful of white pow­der and shoves both right in Ham­mer’s face.

“So what hap­pens if I pull the trig­ger?” thank­fully, the gun was in­deed fake, and, if our lack of brain-im­plod­ing buzz and sus­pi­ciously sug­ary-tast­ing fin­gers are any­thing to go by, so were the drugs. all part of the show that never ends: de­signed to keep you guess­ing un­til the end as the Great cu­ra­tor con­tin­ues to play the lead role in his own, fucked-up fan­tasy biopic.

“Oh, ac­tu­ally,” he adds by way of af­ter­thought as Ham­mer is ush­ered out of the room. “It wakes me up.”

What wakes you up?

“Well, if I’m asleep, and some­one says, ‘Man­son, wake up!’ I don’t wake up.

But if they say, ‘Brian!’, it wakes me up... I have no idea why.”

For all the con­fu­sion, trick­ery and left turns that an hour with the man will give you, it’s more than a lit­tle sat­is­fy­ing to find that Mar­i­lyn Man­son is still very much a mys­tery to him­self, too.

HEAVEN UP­SIDE DOWN IS OUT NOW VIA CARO­LINE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL. MAR­I­LYN MAN­SON HITS THE UK IN DE­CEM­BER. SEE P.107 FOR DATES

Man­son may not have been born with enough mid­dle fin­gers, but th­ese

two are suf­fic­ing right now

the God Of Fuck back in 1996,

strik­ing fear into Joe Pub­lic

Our Metal Ham­mer Golden God of 2003

an evening With Mar­i­lyn Man­son and tyler Bates at la’s Grammy Mu­seum on Oc­to­ber 15, 2015

Dressed to dis­tress

Sorry, Man­son, Ham­mer doesn’t do cen­tre­folds…

BFFs Johnny Depp and Mar­i­lyn Man­son on­stage at

amoeba Mu­sic, Hol­ly­wood on Jan­uary 12, 2016

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