The Rise and Fall of Twiggy Stardust
by Noemy Langlais


[Translated by Ezekhiel]

Marilyn Manson is back with Twiggy Ramirez, his old troublemaker partner. From this explosive duo, “The High End Of Low”, the album of redemption, was born. While in Paris, Twiggy, who nowadays officiates as the guitarist of the band, answers our questions.

A few days after our phone interview with Marilyn Manson, we had an appointment with Twiggy (who now prefers not to use his Ramirez moniker) in a suite of a luxurious Parisian hotel. Unlike Marilyn Manson, the guitarist is a more reserved and on the defensive kind of man. Talking about music is not something natural for him, and even less when it comes to more personal subjects. He will kindly answer all our questions though, despite the tiredness due to jet-lag and the previous night's party. “I’m happy to be back, play music, be here in France and get into trouble”, he jokes. He goes on: “Can you tell me what day and time it is ?” This meeting keeps its promises!

About him returning to Marilyn Manson:

Twiggy Ramirez: I was tired of playing that kind of music and above all I wanted to explore new things. My heart wasn’t in it anymore. We parted ways just to find ourselves again. I knew it was now time for me to come back, as I knew back in the days that it was better for me to leave. All happened quite naturally. We had a chance meeting in an hotel hall and we talked. After that we exchanged e-mails on a regular basis and got back in touch by phone. Then he finally asked me if I would be interested in working on the next album and I accepted.

Marilyn Manson: There were times in our lives during which we would have needed each other as old friends but we weren’t there for each other. The fact is that I betrayed myself in the past. It’s easier for me to express my feelings to strangers than to people close to me, so that it may be difficult for them to understand me.

About his relationship with Marilyn Manson:

Twiggy Ramirez: We lost touch for about four years. Since then we became closer than ever and it’s a lot easier to work together because we now understand how each other operates. I believe that we are more focused on what we have to do. He says that he considers me as his little brother, because he is older that I am, but I think we should rather reverse the roles (laughs). But I think that we take care of each other like some brothers could do.

About the making of “The High End Of Low”:

Twiggy Ramirez: I wasn’t under pressure to write this record, I just had fun and things came naturally. Nowadays it is a lot easier for me to write music. In the past I was struggling a lot more. Now it’s more flowing. You cannot force creativity, in my opinion things have to come out by themselves. We didn’t set ourselves any directives. We started to write thinking it would inevitably lead us somewhere. From all the songs I wrote, we kept the fifteen ones that fit the album the most. To make it simple, I wrote all the music in three months about a year and a half ago, Manson wrote the lyrics and Chris Vrenna did the programming. Sometimes I have just fragments of songs and Chris compiles them into a single song.

Marilyn Manson: During the writing period which went from November until my birthday in January, I was at the lowest. This record starts with a feeling of despair, of confusion, and then goes into a feeling of anger tied to the loss of something. Then it becomes sarcastic, trying to hide my embarrassment and not understanding what I could do to change things. The songs on the album are in the exact order in which they were written, in the same order that the events happened in my life. On my birthday, I realized that I couldn’t love like I did in the past anymore. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes done during the first songs of the album, I don’t want to do them again out of kindness, love temptation, hope or weakness. I am not the same romantic person that thought we could be like Romeo and Juliet. It was just stupid. I told myself that I couldn’t engage myself in such a story, giving up my wings and trying to become more adult or moral. In a ways this record symbolizes redemption, a story that introduces a new modern era.

About the musical direction of the new record:

Twiggy Ramirez: I don’t think that “The High End Of Low” is close to “Antichrist Superstar”, or to any other Marilyn Manson album. It is just a natural progression of what may have happened after “Holy Wood”. I don’t know why people persuaded themselves that this album would be close to “Antichrist Superstar”, but it may be due to the fact that we’re working together again. Anyway it wasn’t our intention at all to create something similar. This one’s got less riffs, before we had up to ten guitar parts, and now you just have one or two. Here it’s mainly songs with a progression.

About his musical influences:

Twiggy Ramirez: When I’m writing songs I don’t want to be influenced by bad memories but only by the music I love. I can understand that Marilyn Manson uses his personal experiences to write the lyrics, but for the music it’s not necessary. I’m doing music for fun and because I like composing, so I don’t want it to be something unhappy and dark.

Marilyn Manson: I have seen movies like “The Love Machine” that I can relate to. It’s like the album is some kind of film making where a woman would try to seduce a serial killer. I have a room in which I’m painting. It inspired me much because it is a place where I live with my thoughts written on the walls. And those who come to my room must see them and face that dark side. This record is literally positive because humiliation becomes so self destructive and frustrating that you end up to find yourself again. I chose my own transformation.

About “Four Rusted Horses”:

Twiggy Ramirez: That was an old song written for Goon Moon that I had in storage, and the day I started to wonder what I would write I told myself that this one could fit Marilyn Manson well. “Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon” was also written before my return to Marilyn Manson. I must have written it seven years ago. Music is all about collaboration and those songs where tied with Marilyn Manson, that’s why I’ve consciously decided not to use them for Goon Moon.

About Goon Moon:

Twiggy Ramirez: For now I’m only focused on this album and the following tour. But I hope to record a new Goon Moon album once the “High End Of Low” period is over. It’s my wish anyway. Honestly I think I can easily manage being in both bands, so I’m not at all worried about Goon Moon’s future.

About the new bass player:

Twiggy Ramirez: His name is Andy Gerold, he’s from Billy Howerdel’s (A Perfect Circle guitarist) new band Ashes Divide. I’d never heard of him before he joined us but he was recommended to us. Despite the fact that Chris played drums on the album, Ginger will play drums live. So Chris will be playing keyboards. As for me, I’ve always played all guitar and bass parts on the previous albums that I’ve worked on. But when Marilyn Manson asked me to play guitar this time I immediately accepted because it’s my favourite instrument.

About his new look:

Twiggy Ramirez: When you grow older, your tastes change, you try new things. I won’t dress up in a funny way anymore for sure, because I’ve changed. I’m too old to wear a dress now! On stage I will wear some more elegant and sober clothes.

Three last words:

Twiggy Ramirez: Marilyn Manson is crazy, smart and drunk, and I’m just like him !