August 28, 2009

Marilyn Manson Discusses His Reputation as a Nihilist

[I've long considered Manson among the most intelligent and creative minds in rock and roll history and certainly the most entertaining, but he is also its most misunderstood and rumor-filled figure. Since misunderstanding alienates people, it has always been my goal to seek the truth in all things and listen to what everyone has to say. In the September 2009 issue of Metal Hammer, Marilyn Manson was interviewed while on his US tour for Rockstar Mayhem (which I had the opportunity to attend). In the interview he discusses his reputation of being a Nihilist, and I thought he gave an interesting answer that others may be interested in as well. - J.S.]

"I think I've started to understand, in the midst of essentially having an identity crisis over the past year or two, not knowing or understanding who I'm supposed to be, that there's a part of me that has to go on stage and be in front of strangers, sharing my most intimate thoughts and there's part of me that does the same thing, but with people I know. So it's not two different people, it's more trying to come to terms with exposing your deepest secrets in front of people I don't know, which is kind of fucked.

“It’s a weird thing because I’ve thought about this concept of when someone says, 'I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’ll do whatever I do!' To me that’s a misnomer because I do care what people think in different ways: I care about the people I know and love the most, but I also care about what the people I don’t know think in the sense that I want them to think and understand me in a certain way. I don’t base my life around either one and I don’t change the way I live to please either set of people, but I do care.

“If I didn’t care I wouldn’t be an artist, I’d be a nihilist and nihilism seems very exhausting. There’s no point in being any sort of artist or writer or painter or mime or whatever the fuck you want to be if you don’t care. You have to care in order to be able to put something into the world otherwise there’d be no point. It doesn’t mean that I’m positive all the time or that I’m a humanitarian or democrat or republican or any specific thing, except I can’t possibly be a nihilist because it contradicts art. You can be completely reckless and hate the world, you can be agnostic or many things, but nihilism, if you want to talk about what people define or misdefine me as, is not really possible. Yes, I’m reckless and sometime express no concern for my own well being and I express a misanthropic view of the world, but to have an opinion you can’t be a nihilist.”