Goon Moon Is On The Rise
By Pat Douglas

Eleven years ago, Jeordie White was immersed in one of the most controversial bands in rock and roll history. In addition to the unprecedented media attention the band received, White was enjoying successful peaks few artists ever see as a key member of Marilyn Manson.

Known as Twiggy Ramirez during his time as a primary songwriter for Marilyn Manson, White penned many songs while playing bass in the band, including the hit tunes "The Beautiful People" and "The Dope Show."

No longer a member of Manson, White has his hands in numerous projects these days and is celebrating the release of Goon Moon's "Licker's Last Leg." Goon Moon is a collaboration between White and Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age contributor Chris Goss.

Being a key part of Marilyn Manson wasn't all good for White, who knew it was time to move on after noticing a change in his personal behavior, even when not on stage.

"(Manson's) competitiveness wore off on me, so it was very super competitive," White said in a recent interview with the Tribune from his home in Los Angeles. "Like a negative tour. Everything else sucks except for what I do. Anybody else would be competition to me."

It was a meeting with Josh Homme, the multi-talented front man of Queens of the Stone Age, that convinced White to explore other avenues in music.

"When I got out (of Manson) and started being around these musicians and (saw) how everyone treated each other with respect and openness ... and everyone supports each other and tries to help each other out, that was really refreshing, because I wasn't used to anything like that," said White, who left Marilyn Manson in 2002. "It definitely rubbed off on me and now I'm a better person for it."

"The work I did in Marilyn Manson was great and I'm totally proud of it, but at the time it was like I needed to do something new," White said of his decision to leave Manson.

White played bass for A Perfect Circle, a band fronted by Tool's Maynard James Keenan, on the album, "Thirteenth Step." He is also the current touring bassist for Nine Inch Nails as they promote a new album, "Year Zero."

Wearing so many hats gives White the chance to explore different avenues of creativity, whereas with Manson he had to consistently be Twiggy.

"You definitely get to express yourself in a different way," said White of performing in so many different bands. "When we're on tour with Nails for awhile, it's almost like a football game or something. It's very in your face (with) the lights and theatrics. With A Perfect Circle, the music was a little more laid back and almost sexy. It affects your life in a different way."

"I'm interested to see what it's like with Goon Moon," he continued. "It'll probably be the most rewarding because it's my band."

White was introduced to Goss through Homme, who suggested the two get together for a project. In addition to his work with Kyuss and QOTSA, Goss fronted the stoner rock band Masters of Reality. Shortly after the two began working together, the music became a way for them to experiment in ways they hadn't before in previous bands.

"I was just thinking I should be in a band with Chris because we work really well together," explained White, who once auditioned to be a member of QOTSA. "It's a lot of fun trying to keep the ego thing of having a lead singer out of this. We both wanna sing. It's just a free-for-all of our ideas."

People expecting to hear the low-tuned, chugging riffs found in White's other compositions will be surprised to hear the style on Goon Moon. Sounding closer to a QOTSA project, Goon Moon centers on a vibe far removed from heavy metal.

"Obviously in music and art, if you want to call it that, it should be an expression. Not something that you have to cater to your audience for," White said of the difference in style. "Like saying you've gotta make this type of music and this type of record because that's what sells or that's what people are expecting from you."

"Licker's Last Leg" includes a cover of an old Bee Gee's tune "Every Christian Lion-Hearted Man Will Show You," and as White explained, a lot of people don't know about the pre-disco era Bee Gees recordings and their influence on some of today's modern British bands.

"I went on and became friends with the Oasis guys and they were saying that (Bee Gees) record is the record that totally influenced Oasis completely," White said. "I just thought, I wanna cover that song because it's one of my favorites. It has that swagger to it. It's kind of cool."

Although it appears that White maintains a steady schedule of work, he finds himself idle more often than he'd like.

"With my resume, you'd think I'd be really super busy, hard at work with all the bands I've been in, but I find myself doing nothing a lot," said a modest White, who was also featured in the documentary, "Some Kind of Monster," trying out for the then-vacant Metallica bass position. "I'm really lazy and I don't do much, but it appears I get a lot done, somehow."

When the current Nine Inch Nails tour winds down, White plans on putting together a touring band for Goon Moon before taking the show on the road.

"Once it gets to a touring thing, it's definitely gonna be challenging for sure," White said. "I want Goon Moon to be an open place for Chris and I to be as creative as we want to and just be able to grow and shine."