JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
SECONDS: Marilyn and I were talking about sex with famous people. He didn't want to kiss and tell. You want to give us some details about fucking Courtney Love?
RAMIREZ: Is that something to be proud of?
SECONDS: You tell me. Inquiring minds want to know.
RAMIREZ: What exactly is the question?
SECONDS: I've met a lot of women who toy with the image of being wild women. When you scratch beneath the surface a lot of them are really shy gals who are trying to get attention or affirmation or whatever. I want to know if she lives up to her publicity -- is she really a wild woman?
RAMIREZ: Actually, she's pretty sweet underneth all that. As far as her being famous, it didn't make anything more exciting. Maybe more intriguing. Actually it made it more incestuous.
SECONDS: So, how did all of that happen?
RAMIREZ: She used to beat me up when we were on tour together for my per diems. What could I possibly say about Courtney that hasn't already been said? Everyone's had something to say about her, whether its good or bad.
SECONDS: I used to dislike her. Then one day I was thinking, "wait a minute, what is it that you could really honestly dislike about her?" She is exactly what she presents herself as being. If I get "Camille Paglian" I could say she's a living Bacchanalian goddess or Pagan goddess because she really incorporates those values. She's not claiming to be one thing when she's really something else.
RAMIREZ: No, she's very powerful. She's a good woman, if that makes any sense. In other words, she's not bitchy as a friend. She's not how you'd think she would be. She's actually very nice and sweet. Well, she is a pain in the ass. There's a side of her that not a lot of people see that I don't think she wants them to see. Just like everybody else.
SECONDS: I thought, "Here's a woman who's a publicity hound, so she probably wouldn't care what anyone said."
RAMIREZ: I guess its exciting to hear about. But when you're there and you realize that, wait a minute, this guy was just a guy like me, there's nothing really special behind all of this media garbage.
SECONDS: How'd this thing come about, this big mystery concert that everybody went to in New York where it was the guitarist from Marilyn Manson and a member of Nine Inch Nails doing this secret concert and they show up and its you guys backing up Dee Snider doing Twisted Sister songs?
RAMIREZ: Ha, ha, oh that! Ha, ha! Well, me and Robin Finck, who was in Nine Inch Nails at the time, were pretty close. We used to hang out after concerts all the time. We were pretty close. Everybody thought we were gay. We jsut spent a lot of time together. We'd ham. Jam -- I didn't say that word. We would pretend to play heavy metal songs in his room with out guitars on tour. It'd be pretty funny because we'd be pretending to play heavy metal songs to Twisted Sister. Which is pretty strange -- we were on tour doing it for real. Then we started learning all the Twisted Sister songs and said, "Hey, let's do a show consisting of Twisted Sister songs." Then the idea came about to call Dee Snider to see if he would do it. He said he would. Actually, he didn't believe us. He thought it was a joke and it took a week of convincing.
SECONDS: He didn't believe you were who you were saying you were or he didn't believe you would do it?
RAMIREZ: Both. You know, "Why are Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson calling me to do Twisted Sister songs?" It just seemed kind of ridiculous to him.
SECONDS: Some of the songs are pretty amazing, like there's one where at the end he says "You're all week and worthless" -- pretty hardcore stuff in there.
RAMIREZ: Twisted Sister is a little cult legend. Not too many people will admit that they like them. But they had a lot to offer in their time.
SECONDS: Do you still see Dee Snider? Do you pal around with him?
RAMIREZ: I give him a phone call once in awhile. For awhile he was touring with -- the project that we had together, it was called SMF, named after their fan club -- for awhile he was touring under Dee Snider's SMF. So I guess that was what he was trying to do with that.
SECONDS: How'd you get his number?
RAMIREZ: I don't remember. But it's funny that in Details magazine -- no it wasn't Details, it was another magazine -- around Christmastime they had a list of things for people to give for Christmas. You know, for Billy Corgan it was a T-shirt that didn't have a zero on it, stuff like that. Then it came to Marilyn Manson and it said, "Dee Snider's home phone number". They wouldn't have come up with that if they only knew...
SECONDS: So you guys played Howard Stern's birthday party?
RAMIREZ: No, we went.
SECONDS: So you're pals with him?
RAMIREZ: Yeah, he likes us. I think we were doing drugs in the bathroom during the party and he was looking for us and we weren't there at the time. Then we came back. I think he said that over the air, too: "Where's Marilyn Manson?" So, my mom wasn't too happy about that.
SECONDS: I think all of the really major sex symbols of the 20th Century have had some degree of androgyny, like Rudolf Valentino, Elvis Presley, whent The Beatles first came out; I can go on and on. What is it that you think attracts women to androgyny? I mean, you're the most androgynous member of Marilyn Manson and you're certainly a ladies' man.
RAMIREZ: I like to look at it more as: it's not just looking like a woman, but not really being any sexes. I would say asexual, but doesn't that mean that you don't have sex?
SECONDS: I was going to say you're not asexual -- by any stretch of the imagination. Did you ever see this fashion thing that Rudy Gernreich did in the Sixties where he brought out the unisex look? It was men and women wearing these futuristic, science-fiction looking outfits that were kind of sexless. They all had their eyebrows shaved.
RAMIREZ: That's the word I was looking for -- sexless. Not asexual. I'm not sexless but that's the word I was looking for to describe myself as far as the look goes.
SECONDS: I wondered if it was something you guys were drawn to naturally or if you'd consciously thought that all big acts that really, really made it -- like Mick Jagger -- all these people had this sexual ambiguity about them. It's powerful to the audience.
RAMIREZ: It really just happened. It's not like I planned out to dress like a girl to be famous or anything. Speaking for myself and people that I know, who when they were young had the curiosity of trying on their mom's underpants and for some strange reason you realized you got an erection -- I think that was one of the first erections I got, when I tried my mom's underpants on. As far as my personal background, when I was very young my mother always kept my hair long. Everyone would come up and question if I was a boy or a girl at the time because I've had long hair my whole life, basically. I went home from school one day complaining to my stepfather and he was just like "Well, take your pants down and show them your dick." He was kidding. But the next day I was getting teased and I pulled out my dick and I got to stay out of school for a week. That was fourth grade or something like that. It started at an early age. I feel comfortable. It comes natural to me.
SECONDS: What do you think about the new record?
RAMIREZ: Making it was probably one of the most painful things -- ever -- to do. All of us came close to wanting to kill ourselves during the recording, at least speaking for myself.
SECONDS: Why was it so painful?
RAMIREZ: Sleep deprivation. I guess if it wasn't painful it wouldn't be any good. The way I thought of making the record wasn't like this. It wasn't what I thought it would be. I guess any piece of art --
SECONDS: You've got to suffer for your art?
RAMIREZ: If it's good. If it hurts, it'll be good, I guess.
SECONDS: It's like a woman wearing high heels. You've got to suffer for beauty.
RAMIREZ: I had this impression that this was going to be easy. I thought I was just going to glide through and it ended up being one of the hardest things I've ever done.
SECONDS: Hard in terms of what? Just getting inspiration or getting the sound that you wanted?
RAMIREZ: Not physically hard as far as playing, but mentally. Heartful hard. But I guess it turned out good because of that. I hope so.
SECONDS: It turned out great. I was saying to Marilyn, most people, their first album is great and the second one is less great and then they just kind of get into a groove, but you guys have progressed every single time.
RAMIREZ: Thank you. I don't know what else to say about it.