By Paul Gargano

Paul Gargano: A great place to start would be Antichrist Superstar. You contributed quite a bit of the writing to the album, was it difficult writing music to go with Marilyn's lyrics?

Twiggy Ramirez: Marilyn and I, while we were on tour for Smells Like Children, we were having the same dreams at night-that's when we were sleeping. We were going through sleep deprivation, staying up for five or six days on end. We began writing these songs together. We almost spoke by mental telepathy, we knew exactly what each other was thinking and what we wanted for each of the songs. The creative process went really well.

P: Sleep deprivation? How did that help the creative process?

TR: We pulled influences. For inspiration we did everything from movies and drugs to music. Eventually we ran out of movies, the music got boring, the drugs wore off, and we had to go to other means. It's almost like a near-death experience after four, five, six days without sleep. Obviously, you start hallucinating after a while and you start to see things differently. You actually see things how they really are, and it's pretty scary. You lose sight of everyday problems.

P: With the lineup changes, was it more difficult recording the album?

TR: Zim Zum, new guitarist joined the band after we had recorded this record.(Daisy Berkowitz, Marilyn Manson's original guitarist) only contributed a few things on this record, he ran out of ideas and I was left to pick up all the slack alone. It was pretty hard for me. Luckily, Trent (Reznor, Nine Inch Nails frontman and a Superstar co-producer) was there to help me, because he was the only other string musician, besides Manson, who plays guitar as well. It gave me a different opinion. Writing the songs was nothing, but going in and recording them we made some changes; it was nice to have another musician there, like another member of the band to help me have another outlook at some of the stuff, because Daisy just did not contribute whatsoever. I think the more unsure of myself I was in the recording process, the better off I was. This led me to not really have a solid grip on everything, and I could steer myself to be able to record two different parts so it wouldn't sound like it came from the same person.

P: So you had to step up and play a significant role in the writing. What was that like creatively?

TR: The first album I had nothing to do with, I joined the band shortly after it was recorded. The first album was a band, it was a recording of a live performance. “Smells Like Children” was mostly covers, I contributed one piece of original music to that "Scabs, Guns and Peanut Butter" that was the first thing I did for Marilyn Manson. On this album, Marilyn and I had this weird link together during the writing. We didn't talk to anyone else for awhile, we isolated ourselves, and while we were on tour, the shows really didn't matter, we were just writing this record, staying up for days on end. We would speak for hours and hours and hours just about a song before we played a chord, before we wrote a note.

P: It's amazing how well the music matches the lyrics, it's not like listening to a record, it's like watching a horror movie.

TR: That's what it is, it’s like a play. I look at the music more as a score to this movie.

P: Were you surprised at the immediate success of the album, debuting at #3?

TR: We knew it was going to debut at #3 because 3 was a very popular number on the record. There were 3 of us who contributed-myself, Marilyn, and Madonna Wayne Gacy-there are 3 parts to the record, it's divided into 3 sections, as well as Antichrist Superstar, as introduced, there's another side to Marilyn Manson. Plus there are alot of other things that we really can't talk about. 3 has just been showing up a lot on this record. We're glad it debuted at 3.If it debuted at 1,that would have been wrong.

P: How about the explosion in your fan base?

TR: We all knew this was going to happen, it's all part of the big plan. For my personal self, there hasn't really been a moment of arrival for me yet, because we're not there yet. I'm not ready to settle down.

P: With "Beautiful People" being all over MTV, following the commercial success of "Sweet Dreams" does it feel like your audience is getting watered down as you enter the mainstream?

TR: No, we're here to change the mainstream because it's very bland. Grunge music was very exciting for awhile, but it made music seem very boring, there were no rock stars, everyone was "Poor me, I don't want to be a rock star, I'm so depressed"-which is a bunch nonsense. It's Hootie and the Blowfish, there's nothing exciting out there. So I'm proud to be a part of the mainstream because somebody has to change it. It has to get more exciting.

P: So you're comfortable with the success? What do you see as the purpose of the band?

TR: Absolutely. Someone's got to raise the kids out there, because if their parents raise them, they're going to end up like us.

P: How do you want to raise the kids today? What do you hope for them?

TR: To grow up and be responsible Christians.

P: Christians? I'm confused. Can you explain?

TR: Confusion is the best form of communication. It's left to be unexplained.

P: Then we must be communicating really well! Marilyn is affiliated with the Church of Satan, are you a Satanist?

TR: No.

P: Are you a Christian?

TR: No. I was raised with no religion at all. I have never stepped foot in a church. I'm nothing, why would you put a label on it? But I wouldn't be in the band if I didn't believe what it stood for.

P: What was your upbringing like?

TR: I was born on the road, I'm not exactly sure where because my mom used to dance in a cage onstage for Mountain, Leslie West. So I was born on the road, I'm not exactly sure where. She used to dance for the Kinks as well. When I was growing up I was around music constantly. My aunt, who I was living with, was a groupie as well, as my mom was. She was friends with the Ramones, they used to come over. She used to date one of the Bee Gees.

P: How did you get involved with Marilyn? I know you initially met in a mall, right?

TR: Me and Marilyn used to be in side projects together. We had a band called Mrs. Scabtree, where he played drums and I dressed up like a black woman and sang. Then we had Satan on Fire, a Christian death metal band. We wanted to infiltrate all the Christian nightclubs, so I played guitar and sang, and Marilyn played lead bass. We had a number of side projects together. We met in a mall one day while shopping for a Twisted Sister album, or something.

P: When were the side projects?

TR: During Marilyn Manson, before they were signed and I was in the band. That's how I got in the band, we were in side projects together. He played drums and bass just to give him something different to do. Practicing that, that's what taught him how to play guitar. He played some guitar on Superstar as well.

P: How about before that, you were in a band called Amboog-A-Lard,right?

TR: Yeah. Amboog-A-Lard was a death metal band.

P: You've mentioned Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show before, what were they like?

TR: I was in them briefly, that was really early on. I played violin. They were a country-western, disco band, with a little rockabilly. They released a few albums, but nothing ever really happened.

P: Violin? What made you start playing that?

TR: I was in elementary school. I wanted to learn how to play the violin after going to see Star Wars. When I got older, and became a teenager, it became Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil, Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry, Iron Maiden, stuff like that. Right now, I'm trying to pull all my creative influences from home video games from the 70's and 80's. I've been collecting Atari, Intellivision, Coleco, Pong, I'm trying to steal music from them, actually. As I'm playing them, I record them. Sometimes the sound effects, while you're playing, remind you of songs.

P: Have the games been tough to find?

TR: I mentioned it in an interview, and a lot of kids have brought games and controllers to shows. Maybe more will read about it here.

P: Speaking of fans, I brought some of the mail we've been getting, regarding you guys, and I can't tell you how many people are picking you for Best Female Performer.

TR: Did I win!?

P: The Reader's Choice Poll just started, but it looks like you'll give Sean (Yseult, White Zombie) a run for her money! How do you feel about being in the running for Best Female Performer?

TR: I think I got my first erection when I was wearing my mother's underpants growing up. It's just a side of me that I feel comfortable with, and other people seem to feel comfortable with as well. I want to continue to try and break the barrier between male and female. I'm obviously not a hermaphrodite, but people seem to think so. There's an area between the two sexes. You don't have to be heterosexual, bisexual, or gay. It's just sort of everything.

P: What does the future hold for you guys? I've heard the next leg of your tour will be arenas?

TR: If we last that long, which I think we will. We almost self-destructed during the recording of the record. It was almost over because several of us were going a little crazy, but we got through it. During the writing process of this there were many attempts, or thoughts, of ending the band, ending everything, and trying to destroy the world. The record was therapy, but I can still feel that back in my head, it's making me feel the same way. It's not a tension between members, it's a tension all together. We'll see what happens.