JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
Visions: Twiggy, can you remember the first time you met Manson?
Twiggy: Sure, it was around 1990. I was playing guitar and bass in a thrash metal band, and he had his own band. After seeing each other we started to meet from time to time to hang around in the mall to throw cat shit at other people. When we started to know each other better and became friends, we decided in 1993 to get together and I became a part of his band.
Visions: What did you think about him? Some people say you preferred a normal jeans outfit in your band, Amboog-A-Lard, while Manson was already doing stage experiments with swimming suits and other unusual stuff.
Twiggy: I thought he was a cool guy.
Visions: Did his attitude inspire you to make art out of a musician *and* music?
Twiggy: Well, that happened later. We hung around together a lot, so it was easy to combine our likes.
Visions: There is obviously more that connects you to Manson than the band. Is it important for you to be friends with the other band members?
Twiggy: Manson and I are a really good team, in the musical area as well as the private one. It's difficult with the rest of the band. It would be fine to have a nice "relationship" with them. The only problem is that people start getting egotistic. They forget who they depend on, who their leader is. That doesn't scare them, but the result is that they are fired. That's why I don't want to be involved too much with them in other things.
Visions: This phenomenon could be watched a few times in the past few years and proves that it's not always easy to be a member of Marilyn Manson. Did you ever think about quitting?
Twiggy: When there are problems within the band, I'm the reason most of the time. So why should I leave the band? The only thing I have besides my musical career is my tendency to cause trouble. So, if I quit, there's nothing but my will to destroy.
Visions: Now that you're here, you don't look angry. Well, let's say, sick. Are you talking about your drug consumption?
Twiggy: Of course drugs have been the reason for some problems in the band. But, on the other hand, this band wouldn't exist without drugs. They are important for any kind of good music. It's about sex, drugs and rock n'roll. These three things belong together. If you take away one of them, the rest starts to suck.
Visions: Talking about rock slogans, what about "Live fast, die young?"
Twiggy: That's about self-destruction. That's something else. You can take drugs, have sex, play rock n'roll and live forever. Look at Lemmy from Motorhead, he's the perfect example. There are people who are so into staying healthy, taking care of themselves, etc., and they are physically and psychologically 25 years older than I am.
Visions: Do you take care of your health?
Twiggy: That changes every day. I don't take care of food or something like that, but I'm not trying to do more than I can bear.
Visions: Can you remember the first time you took drugs?
Twiggy: I smoked pot when I was 14. But I didn't like it from the start. It's not my type of drug.
Visions: What happened?
Twiggy: I cannot remember. I was too stoned. (laughs). I didn't vomit as far as I can remember. That happened when I consumed chewing tobacco for the first time.
Visions: What would you be if you'd never taken drugs?
Twiggy: I'd be broke and miserable.
Visions: You seem to be the only one, because in real life it's the other way around.
Twiggy: I don't believe that. There are alot of human beings for which drugs can be positive. Everyone has the demand for something that can take you to another state of consciousness. In church, people eat the body of Jesus and drink his blood - as a symbol - to get to another state of mind. If kids take drugs it's like that. Human beings want to trust in something. The church has disqualified itself for this job, so people concentrate on music and drugs. Many people have said Jesus was the first rock star! Long hair, a beard, women who wanted to die for him. We are giving the kids something to believe in and repeat an old story. The drug and music consumers form a modern religious group.
Visions: Isn't that naive? You can feel a positive influence caused by drugs, yet a lot of people lost their minds, property and lives through them. If you aren't a rock star, it might cause more problems.
Twiggy: I don't want to encourage anyone to take drugs. I just wanna explain why drugs are so popular.
Visions: As you can read in a lot of interviews, Manson has got a surprisingly uncomplicated relationship to his parents. You seem to be a welcome guest there, too.
Twiggy: Sometimes my parents go out to eat with his parents. They get along pretty good. We all have a good relation to each other.
Visions: That sounds as if your parents are very liberal.>
Twiggy: I grew up at my mom's, who has always been very liberal. Manson's parents started to accept him when he became famous.
Visions: Your family seems to be very important to you.
Twiggy: Absolutely. It should be like that for everyone. That is the only thing you can count on.
Visions: Can you imagine yourself a father someday?
Twiggy: Only when I'm ready. At the moment it would be very selfish. But if I want to stop what I'm doing now, one day it might be possible. There is nothing as horrible as parents that don't pay attention to their child. A lot of these kids are in our audience and we are like an ersatz for their parents. There are 3-year-old children growing up in front of the TV. My childhood wasn't like that and I don't want it to be like that for my child.
Visions: What kind of kid have you been? A shy boy?
Twiggy: Yes, pretty shy. But there were no prohibitions. I was allowed to do anything I wanted. Of course I was responsible for the consequences and I had to learn, more or less, from my mistakes. But there were no strict rules.
Visions: When did you hold an instrument in your hands for the first time?
Twiggy: I started to play guitar at 13 and tried to imitate Van Halen riffs.
Visions: Did you ever think about earning money with that one day?
Twiggy: After getting into music more and more, it was clear that music was the only thing I liked. The last thing I thought of was to earn money with (...) cared about that stuff. Instead I listened to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.
Visions: After moving to LA some time ago you surely have some of your heroes as neighbours right now?
Twiggy: Most of 'em are living in England. But in LA you could meet almost all of these guys from the business, which regularly leads to tough nights with a lot of weird substances. It's a big bunch of crazy guys. We fit in perfectly.
Visions: Do you feel comfortable there?
Twiggy: I can't say a lot about that because I'm on tour most of the time. I think I like it...
Visions: Surely, since "Mechanical Animals", Manson had been inspired by the LA/Hollywood atmosphere. And you had a big influence on the songwriting. It's clear that you are important for this band. But Manson stays the front man and the one on the covers. Do you think that's okay or does it bother you?
Twiggy: I think people know my status in the band by now. I seem to have a great future the way things are right now. I can get acceptance through my songs and I don't have to present myself all of the time. I'm not always on TV or onstage -- and I like that. BUt I have to admit that the guys in the USA pay more attention to me than here in Europe. There, I'm almost as popular as Manson. Here in Europe we never had the chance to give a lot of interviews so people can't know the band hierarchy and think Marilyn IS the band.
Visions: What do you think...why was the band doing less interviews in Europe and why was the tour so problematic?
Twiggy: I think it was a combination of lack of time and luck. We were busy touring the States and when we wanted to play here, like at the Southside Festival, we couldn't.
Visions: The fans had to change, too, with the last album. Do you think it will be like that next time, too? Manson said that you've reached your goal with this album.
Twiggy: People should expect a harder record this time. With the last one we wanted to be less extreme and to make more people listen to us, but a kind of complex has been created through that. The next album will definitely have more "bad attitude". I think "Mechanical Animals" is a key to our world, but a key isn't enough. If you can't enter, you're out.
Visions: Do you think you've gained new fans with this record?
Twiggy: I think yes. We've won more than we've lost. We had to make this record because our fans grew up like us and we have to build something new constantly.
Visions: Strict circles of people talk about you almost all the time, that your band is bad for children and about your bad influence. After the Littleton massacre Manson records had been found in the cupboards of the boys.
Twiggy: You can find our records in almost every cupboard of kids that age! This is a result of the media. They teach kids that High School is the center of the world. If kids feel that they don't fit in, they think it's the end of the world. But it's not bad. Most of the victims are the guys who treat the outsiders badly. They turn into complete assholes or to fat, bald losers that work at a furniture shop. I don't say that they deserved it. But the kids shouldn't care if they're accepted by them or not. It seems that these two boys at this school were quite intelligent. It is sad that their parents' mistakes and their own cost so many lives.
Visions: Are there people you respect a lot?
Twiggy: Dave Wyndorf/Monster Magnet, James Hetfield/Metallica, and Marilyn Manson for their musical success. George Lucas for creating "Star Wars".
Visions: What about respect for other people apart from music?
Twiggy: I don't have to mention anymore than my mom. She had the greatest influence on my life. She was more cool and more rock n'roll than I'll ever be, something I understood bit by bit. When I grew up I never wanted to listen to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Stooges or MC5 and only because my mom liked them. That was fucking death and thrash metal by Celtic Frost or Venom. Today I'm the biggest fan of my mom's heroes.
Visions: Did you want to shock [your mother] with this hard music?
Twiggy: I didn't want to shock but I wanted to be more extreme. What is more disgusting than listening to your parents' music? Kids always want their own thing. The band I play in gives something to the kids -- what my mom had with her bands. Finally a generation has its own band which is strong enough to be political and to have similar topics like the Stones and the Stooges had. We are the new Stones and Stooges. That's something to be proud of.
Visions: When will Jeordie Francis White stop being Twiggy Ramirez?
Twiggy: I want to go on ten years more. I like the fuss we cause and I like what we do. That doesn't mean I can throw the life I have now away like a theatre costume. I'm the filthy bastard. Whoever you want to call him is up to you.