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We spent an afternoon with Marilyn Manson and this is what happened

In the midst of what should have been a triumphant next chapter, Marilyn Manson was left reeling by the death of his father. Hammer sits down with the God Of Fuck to talk life and loss

Absinthe everywhere. White powder down our chins. A naked... something in the bed behind us. And Marilyn Manson, gurning like a maniac, his arm wrapped around our neck and his finger wrapped around the trigger of a pistol, currently pressed directly into Hammer’s temple. The pistol’s fake, of course. At least, we think it’s fake. Did we ask if it was fake? Oh, tits, please let it be fake…

Safe to say things have got a little out of hand pretty quickly, but then what else could you expect when you’re given the opportunity to spend a full hour in the company of one of rock’s few remaining, true enigmas? In a world of oh-look-here’s-Nergal-petting-a-llama-on-Instagram, access-all-areas rock stars, Marilyn Manson remains a riddle: a supervillain (or antihero?) come to life; a towering personality that transcends the man named Brian Warner who created it; a throwback to an era where metal was still terrorising the mainstream and you didn’t have to know what sized pumpkin spiced latte Rob Zombie plumped for this fucking morning.

So, as Hammer sits down on a huge leather couch in a dark and cold (but pretty damn lush) top-floor suite in Berlin’s Soho House complex, awaiting the man himself, there are just a few questions whizzing around our heads. Which Marilyn Manson are we going to get today? Is Heaven Upside Down another breakdown album? Are we imagining that naked shape spread over the bed in our peripheral vision? And is that inhumane pile of white powder on the giant coffee table beside us for show, or is shit about to hit the fan?

“That’s not cocaine, I swear.”

A rasping voice from the gloom in front of us makes us jump out of our skin, and suddenly, there he is: imposing, barrel-chested, white face, dark eyeshadow, staring a hole through us with a mischievous smirk that makes you feel like you’re the butt of a joke of which you haven’t heard the punchline. Dressed in a red and black pinstripe suit and cupping a very large tumbler of absinthe, Manson looks like the consummate host of a party plucked from Roald Dahl’s nightmares as he casually slumps on the sofa beside us.

“We’ve met before, right?” he gracefully offers. Actually, no, we haven’t. “Oh, sorry, right,” he shoots back, laying a friendly hand on our shoulder. “You didn’t realise, I was just hiding outside your house that time.”


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