MARILYN MANSON REALLY IS THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE
In a hotel suite overlooking London's exclusive Park Lane, Marilyn Manson is making merry. He has a long-legged, hot pant-clad admirer in attendance and a selection of highly intoxicating cocktails for company. In the lobby, journalists being kept waiting to meet him are getting ever more annoyed. Even so, a female writer who is eventually admitted to his inner sanctum claims he was very welcoming.
Three hours after our scheduled interview time, Manson appears in reception, a towering figure in biker boots with a heavily made-up face leering and grinning under a zipped-up hoodie.
"Are you sure you want to ride in the car?" he says, while swigging from a glass containing a strange luminous rust-coloured drink.
"It could be very dangerous."
I throw caution to the wind and, after MM has posed for a photo with some fans outside on the pavement, we're soon driving across London.
His latest album The High End Of Low finds Manson hauling over the ashes of relationships with young actress Evan Rachel Wood and ex-wife Dita Von Teese.
When I ask him if he's heartbroken over these relationships he just looks at me and says, "No - wallet broken."
Originally a journalist known to his mum as Brian Warner, he has sold 44 million albums since emerging from South Florida in the early 90s and rechristening himself Marilyn Manson. Apart from his musical persona, Manson has written a highly entertaining autobiography and raked in cash from his sidelines as an artist and actor.
"I'm acting right now," he smirks.
"Acting an asshole."
"Everything is acting. The new record is very centred around movies. I say on it, "I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies".
"Am I directing, acting or watching? Who cares. The point is that life for me is not going to be the way it is for everyone else. I have a fog machine and movie lights in my bedroom."
Despite the shock horror persona, Brian is a dutiful son to his parents, and his father can sometimes be found signing female fans' breasts at Manson shows.
"My dad loves what I do and I support my parents financially because they didn't have a job that gave them a pension," he says.
"It's a pretty good relationship, although it's hard to understand how to relate to your parents.
"I did pay for a lap dance for my father once, at the Crazy Horse bar in Fort Lauderdale. But I had to look away. I averted my gaze."
When did you last cry?
"About two hours ago Steve [his tour manager] wouldn't get me any drugs. My eyes watered. Then he asks me if I am OK! It's ridiculous. It should be, 'Here's the mirror - and now are you OK?"
Manson's alcohol intake seems to be making up for the drug void. He reportedly breakfasts on absinthe, so is he an alcoholic?
"Not according to the statistics that I read," he answers.
"I went to one AA meeting and I got asked for an autograph. I got pissed off. I think you should be able to go in there wearing a mask and say I'm an alcoholic, I'm anonymous. That's a real alcoholic.
"They told me that the definition of an alcoholic is someone who drinks, screws up their life and knows it, but continues doing it. Well I screwed up my life up before I drank!"
The car slows in traffic and two striking Italian girls and a bloke go by. Manson winds down the window to make some crude gestures at them. In return, the guy almost manages to throw his lit cigarette right through the car window.
Manson finds it hilarious and the passers-by do too. There's no doubt he's a real entertainer.