When you win, you saunter to the party. When you lose, you bolt to the bar, hopefully in designer clothes and a black stretch limo stocked with candy bars, fat joints, imported beer, and a TV tuned to the stultifying awards show you just fled with disgusted delight. So you can bitch. And dish. Bitterly.
"Born to loooose, I lived my life in pain," croons Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson, mocking her own pathos like Ray Charles's pouty little sister. She wraps a white, fake-fur Contempo Casuals jacket around her zebra-print Versace dress. Earlier tonight, Manson was teetering giddily atop rainbow-sequined high heels (It's my choice to be posh, I never get to be posh, I want to be posh!") outside New York City's Madison Square Garden before the 39th Grammy Awards. Now, hours later, after losing Best New Artist (to big voiced country virgin LeAnn Rimes), Rock Song (to boarding-school bard Tracy Chapman), and Rock Performance by a Duo or Group (to worldbeat goobers Dave Matthews Band), she's switched into plain -Jane, orange-and-white Nike trainers. Her feet hurt.
"We suck, we're shit, I'm shit, and I can't believe we're such losers," she sighs, looking like a bedraggled commuter on the 7:15 to Massapequa. The 30-year-old, Scottish alt-rock heroine, who hit MTV last year claiming she was "only happy when it rains," crosses her still-fishnet-stockinged legs and takes a slug of beer. It's drizzling outside, but not even that seems to perk her up.
On the limo TV, Grammy's closing moment, the Waiting to Exhale diva extravaganza, is in full swoon. Whitney Houston, Brandy, CeCe Winans, and Mary J. Blige emote ardently to the blue seats. A voice, way on the other, darkened end of the limo, drily intones, "I'll bet Clive is, like, totally erect right now." Clive Davis, president of Arista (Waiting to Exhale's label), is the legendary industry ego who, it was once said, thought CDs were named after him. Butch Vig, Garbage drummer/studio whiz, settles into the low-key sheen of his high-buttoned Paul Smith suit, and reminisces wryly about how in the mid-'80s, Davis wanted to sign his indie-pop band Spooner. "Clive was hot to give us all his money to do an EP with [Def Leppard producer] Mutt Lange," says the legendarily ego-free Nirvana producer in his ingratiating, Midwest talk-show drone. "Obviously, he is a man of great vision."
While Whitney wails, Garbage guitarist/bassist/studio whiz (and Vig's former Spooner partner) Duke Erikson, pimp-natty in a turquoise Paul Smith suit with yellow snakeskin boots appeals to no one in particular: "Best New Artist is, like, the kiss-of-death, anyway, right? It's cursed; I think we're better off without it. It's the Milli Vinilli award," Steve Marker, Garbage guitarist, studio whiz, casual in all-black Dolce & Gabbana, slumps beside his wife, Cindy, on a cushiony banquette, and murmurs, "Fuck it; fuck the schmooze." Vig, shifting from talk-show to soothing-anchorman drone, concludes: "For what was once such a genial band, Garbage has turned incredibly ungracious."
An eccentric symphony of beeps, honks, firetruck sirens, and police whistles interrupts the sullen reverie. "St. Regis Hotel!" announces our limo driver, and we piled out onto Manhattan's East 55th Street. Inside the famed King Cole Bar (supposedly the birthplace of the Bloody Mary), cigar smoke is in the air, a Maxfield Parrish mural is on the wall, and spirits flow gently-Manson orders the general manager of the band's record label to fetch her a Myers's and tonic with a twist; Vig and his girlfriend, Beth, chat in the corner; Marker and Cindy commandeer bar stools; and Erikson chaperones a stylish 18-year-old woman, a dead ringer for actress Mary-Louise Parker, who I'm informed the next day is his daughter ("So you thought I was the jailbate date, huh?" she cracks). Quietly, Erikson ducks out to call his mom.
But a couple of "Grammy Shmammy" toasts later, the mood again turns shady. "She's singing all these romantic, dramatic songs now," says Manson of LeAnn Rimes, waving her glass. "Then after she grows up, she'll be like, 'What the hell happened? It's not at all like I thought!' " When I mention that Rimes seems prepped for massive pop success, Manson answers, sarcasm dripping into her cocktail, "Success is a seduction that loosens your resolve and corrupts your soul; unless, of course, you're elderly and embittered like us!"
All dressed up with nothing to show for it, Garbage is, on some essential level, sincerely disappointed. For all their self-deprecating, Midwestern ah-yep-ness, Manson's jokes, and Vig's alt rock legacy, this is a proud, new, state-of-the-art pop band, i.e., they're in it to win it, now. As Vig says, "We're not going to do this forever. We're too fucking old, man." ("The Boys," as Manson calls them, are all 40-ish.) "I mean, we'll do, like, two or three more albums, but come on, we've gotta enjoy this before it's too late.
"We were total media whores in Europe; we did everything but German puppet shows. And of course, it's ludicrous and taxing. But when you spent the '80s touring Racine and Omaha with bands that failed miserably like we did [Spooner and the rootsier Vig/Erikson project Firetown], talking to the press in Tokyo isn't so bad. To have this happen to us now, where the chemistry's so right, we can't just take it for granted.
That wise-eyed ambition is heard all over Garbage's self-titled debut, which went platinum and still lingers in the Billboard 200 after it's fall 1995 release. A pristinely recorded crunch-up of sinister new wave, industrial fuzz-buzz, clubby beats, and despite-all-my-rage guitar, Garbage flashed hot pink against the colorless, Better-than-Silverbush, fake-grunge horizon. With Manson emerging as a singular voice-sexual but understated, fuming but mature-Garbage gradually shed their tag as the alt-rock Ronettes (directed by Butch "Spector," shadowy, Girl Group-like puppeteer). "We're just really into messing around with pop songs," says Erikson, "and if that seems contrived to people probably don't like or understand pop music.
Garbage are now the definitive band of alternative's second wave. Their big-winking, '80s glamour-pop, described as "trashy" so many times Manson has grown a tad testy (It's like we're sex workers or a Cyndi Lauper cover band or something") was the most entrancing, forward-thinking music on the charts this past year. While the Chemical Brothers' nutso breakbeats and the Prodigy's cash-from-chaos techno are handicapped as the pop link between rock and electronica, Garbage have already built and crossed that bridge. Expect a caravan of bands that sound just like them.
So the Grammy's were the perfect spot for Garbage to kick off their 1997 as their Year of Being Talking Seriously. Except that the industry had a far more pressing agenda-the coronation of Beck as alternative's likeable, bankable "visionary" (and he's on Nirvana's label! Synergy!). Lamely gussled up with blue-and-gold streamers over the ticket booths, giant ferns looming over cheesy red carpets, and Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" blaring on loop over the sound system, this year's Grammys was an over-budget pep rally, with Beck the designated "cool" guest. So Garbage sat politely, their view of acknowledgement blocked by Dwight Yoakam's cowboy hat. Spying Manson's dress, one journalist summed up the musical appreciation for the band on this starry, starry night: "Doesn't she know that animal prints have been dead since 101 Dalmatians!"
Alternative rock, for all the generational hoo-ha, has never been much more than it's name claimed-a rock alternative to other rock. In other words, young, mostly white men expressing angst for other young, mostly white men. And as producer (at Smart Studios, which he and Marker, a University of Wisconsin film-school buddy, founded in 1984 in Madison) of touchstone postpunk records for indie labels Touch and Go and Sub Pop, then as therapist/technician for Nirvana's "Nevermind" and the Smashing Pumpkins "Siamese Dream", Butch Vig was the genre's sonic scientist. He found the pop gleam buried in the noisy muck.
"I think he's had more to do with how people subconsciously perceived music, and how they created it, than anybody else in the past six or seven years," says Flood, the influential producer who's worked with U2, PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, and the Smashing Pumpkins. "He brought this whole style of music, the raw energy and melodies, right into everybody's front room."
And then he got bored.
"I think it's ridiculous, this whole notion that success of "Nevermind" meant that the world was going to be taken over by "coll" music," says Vig, sharing post-grammy beers at the Soho Grand Hotel with Marker and Erikson while Manson submits to a photo shoot. "There was no big victory with Nirvana-they wrote killer hooky songs, Kurt was a great singer, that's it. Very few bands that followed them endured. For all of us in the '80s who wanted to hear the Replacements and got Whitesnake and Poison shoved down our throats, the fact that Nirvana exploded didn't make up for that. It didn't mean shit except that Nirvana was a great fluke."
In 1993, after helping Billy Corgan envision Siamese Dreams' symphonic plea for sympathy, Vig started to receive calling-Dr. Grunge remix offers. So he, Marker, and Erikson, who'd been goofing around in a variety of pseudo-bands (the unfortunately named Rectal Drip, for instance), formalized themselves. For these old friends, it felt like a second life ("or an eighth life, jokes Erikson). Their first job was a reworking of House of Pain's hip-hop beer bust, "Shamrocks and Shenanigans."
"They were like, "Yo, make our CD player rock like Nirvana," says Vig with a grin, shaking his lank hair, which along with his goatee and slight frame give him the appearance of a little-theater Hamlet. "And, of course, it didn't," deadpans Marker, who'd been doing time local hip-hoppers from Madison and Chicago. Remixes for U2, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails followed, and the groundwork for Garbage was, quite literally, pierced together. Stripping others' original songs to nothing but vocals, the trio went sample-happy-drum loops, fuzz bass, riffy guitar noise, keyboard atmospherics-reflecting their love for the dubby, electronic pop of Massive Attack and Bjork. "Whatever happens in the studio, whether it's an accident or not, you can incorporate it, instead of coming in with untouchable songs, "says Erikson. "It's not like a rock band at all."
Having amassed their own songs-"noisy loops with dumb, distorted vocals," as Vig puts it-the group realized it not only needed a singer but a creative personality to stir the mix. Appealing to the strong-willed Manson after seeing her sing with Scottish alt-rock also-rans Angelfish on MTV (the Schwab's drugstore for the '80s-'90s), the Boys played a hunch. And they got lucky.
"You know, if we hadn't met Shirley, it's quite possible there would have been no Garbage, we wouldn't have put a record out, and we would've gone back to producing," says Vig. "Our ideas were so obvious and literal, and Shirley really helped give us more of a context." Says Erikson: "We didn't want to hire someone to sing our concept. We really needed someone to steer us in a direction."
As it turned out, their phone call to Manson turned the alternative nation on its aching head. Before, Nirvava-derived alternative rock had been all about a rush of boyish heat (which Courtney Love then gleefully doused with period blood); afterwards, alternative pop has become a reflection of Manson's cagey, adult, female cool. Over music that was all spooky, shiny shadings-echoes of Chet Baker, Leonard Cohen, Joy Division, the Jesus and Mary Chain-her ambiguous vocals and lyrics (yes, she wrote them!) brimmed with a moody wit that suggested all sorts of scenarios. As with the best pure pop, you could project yourself into the songs, and fantasize. While teenagers fatally swooned to the Romeo+Juliet melodrama of "#1 Crush," and adults got woozy over the coded passive-aggression of spent lovers in the band's cover of Vic Chestnutt's "Kick My Ass," my favorite review of Garbage's debut came from an incorrigibly repressed friend, who said, "I like the way their songs leave me feeling colder."
"The beauty of pop music is that all these different ages of people impose their own needs on it," says Marker. Adds Erikson: "I think it's very heartening that kids my daughter's age, and younger, can appreciate our record, for a lot of the same reasons as 35-year-olds." "And at the shows, it's like, 50-50 male female, which is also a nice change," says Vig.
Though Marker, a stocky, chain-smoking stoic, grew up in suburban Mamaroneck, New York, and attended his first concert at New York City's Lincoln Center ("I got Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Gunther Schuller's autographs"), Vig and Erikson came of age in isolated small towns where pop music was all they heard. Vig (short for Vigorson), the son of a Norwegian country doctor in Viroqua, Winsconsin, begged his parents to join the Columbia House Music Club so he could order Grand Funk Railroad when they sent off for Tijuana Brass. Erikson, a soulful sort with a long, elastic, comic's face, was born in Lyons, Nebraska, a town of "like, 800 people tops." He had to go to an appliance store to buy records. "We're from an era and area where pop music was this weird thing on the radio coming in from another planet," says Vig. "And now we're on that planet."
Vig was blown away by a Steppenwolf concert in sixth grade ("They all had long, scraggly hair, leather jackets, were smoking pot, and John Kay was whipping the stage with a chain") and he wants Garbage to dazzle the kids with a "mess of fucking cool noise." Live, that means all three guys playing instruments and triggering samples. On record, it means layers of clever bites (from the Clash's "Train In Vain" to the New Zealand experimental pop band Headless Chickens), and the appearance of Madison's resident and mid-late-'60s James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield, the original "Funky Drummer" and possibly the most sampled man in hip-hop history. Or remixes by Rabbit in the Moon, Todd Terry, Adrian Sherwood, and Danny Saber (whose pop-techno treatment of "Stupid Girl" the band has played in concert).
As for their comfort with next-big-hype electronica, Erikson says, a little impatiently, "Electronic music is a very healthy thing. But they're both even healthier when you write good songs."
With this in mind, after the Grammys, the band retreated to the studio on San Juan Island, just off the coasts of Washington State and British Columbia, to start work on their second album. While Garbage had never played a live show and were just getting acquainted during the recording of their debut, now they're vets of more than 200 performances, and Manson is considered a close friend.
"This album will benefit from us actually knowing each other and hopefully that will result in even more expecting ideas," says Vig. "Either that or we'll break up." Glancing up, he laughs his ingratiating, talk-show chuckle.
The first time I see Shirley Manson she's remarkably cordial, considering that she's just been called a "tart" and her lyrics empty in a recent issue of, well, uh, cough cough, Spin magazine. The second time, over lunch, after she's decided that I'm worth the trouble, ballbusting commences.
"If you're going to write that you hate me, the least you could do is explain why," she says, with a mock-menacing smile, puffy lips highlighting her striking face- an alabaster visage about which a horny 19th century poet might have mooned, "Oh, to possess and be possessed!" In person, dressed in a black turtleneck and parachute pants, without her usual mall-goth, raccoon eye makeup-she's still got Bette Davis eyes-Manson looks less like a sex-selling rocker and more like a quick-minded grad student who won't let anybody slide. Her words come in heavily accented rushes, which could just as easily peak with an engaging flourish as peter out in distracting harrumphs. She wants to be liked, but for the right reasons, or you can go fuck yourself, excuse her language.
Spin: So many people, including me, drew the conclusion from your onstage and video persona, and the way that the band got together, that you were this mail-order bitch with an ice-cold heart.
Shirley Manson: I think there's a general perception that the guys are these genius producers and I'm some kind of doltish trollop.
A friend of mine gave me an article about these Scottish meta-fiction writers to give to you, and I hesitated...
Why, because you didn't think that I was capable of reading a book?
Or maybe that you wouldn't be aware of this stuff.
Oh come on, that's pretty fucking harsh, Charles.
[She takes the article and exclaims, "Oh, it's Duncan," after spotting the author Duncan McLean.] Honestly, though, I don't really feel much kinship with this lost-souls-at-the-rave thing, all the violently bleak Scots shagging and destroying themselves. I quite liked the opening of "Morvern Cavern"[Alan Warner's first novel, written through the eyes of a bewildered young woman], but then it fell apart and got stupid. The movie of Trainspotting was so brilliant because it was so ambiguous. It was bleak, but utterly open-ended, and I found that so life affirming.
Why do you think people assume you're not smart?
It makes it more manageable, particularly for men, to think I'm stupid. Like I'm the "face of the clock" and the boys are working the gears, which is complete and utter bullshit. But even to this day, friends of mine will say, "Did you really write anything on the record?" For some reason, even they want to think this is someone else's achievement.
Doesn't that drive you crazy?
It doesn't really. Because I'm not looking to be vindicated by anyone else anymore. Nobody threatens me. I don't need anyone to throw a mirror up in front of me to know who I am.
Do you get along better with men or women?
I could ridiculously generalize and say that women want me to hate men and that men want me to be girly, but I think I get on well with both men and women. I'm not a player on either side, and I think maybe that's why people find my lyrics a little mysterious. I don't think women are superior beasts; we have disgusting impulses just like men, you can be rest assured.
There's a lot of simmering anger directed at both men and women on the album.
I think men need to shut up and learn from women and women need to stop raging so much against the "male dominator." Sure, society is imbalanced and women have to shake things up. But I love men. I love their company, they're not evil. I know there are reasons you do the things you do. My husband [Eddie, a groundskeeper and artist, whom she married last year and now lives with in Scotland] said to me very recently, "If you'd been born with a cock, you'd have no friends and you'd be in jail." So I guess I'm thankful I was born a girl.
The middle child of three girls, Manson was born in Edinburgh to a geneticist dad and housewife/receptionist mom who wanted to be a singer herself ("She was Yum Yum in the Mikado, you know"). A gifted, restless kid, she danced, played music (violin, clarinet, piano), went to theater camp. But hating her "pugly-ugly" looks, the attention lavished on her "much more beautiful" sisters, and the torment she received at the hands of one particular Welcome to the Dollhouse bully, she turned defiant.
"I was unhappy at school and wanted to be bad," smirks Manson. "So I became very truculent and insular and started playing Siouxsie and the Banshees really, really loud and screaming, 'I hate you! I hate you!' I started wearing my dad's clothes all the time and hiding behind black eye makeup. I was getting very violent with my little sister and mutilation myself. It was just not a nice time. My mum lost her singing voice because she got so upset about my delinquence."
Though her family was conservatively middleclass, Manson grew up in Stockbridge, a neighborhood full of 60'bohemian casualties and single-parent families. "I really should have had no complaints about my upbringing considering that all my friends were from these hippie broken homes. We were pot-smoking early on because my friends' parents gave us joints. My friend's mother was a prostitute, another friend's mum was addicted to alcohol and antidepressants. My eyes were opened up quite early."
Flunking out of school at 15, she got a job at a clothing store, started having sex and going out to clubs. She'd see indie-pop bands like the Fire Engines and Orange Juice on Fridays or Saturdays, then go dancing every Sunday. At 17, she fell in love with a boy, joined his band (Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie), and spent the next ten(!) years flipping from idyllic adventure to tortured heartbreak. Eventually, she grew up and moved on.
The experience with you first band must've really made an impression.
Because of those years, I've always attached being in a band with being on an adventure. Music was, quite literally, an escape. When you're 18 in Scotland, you've never even been to London. Not only had I been to London, I'd been to France, Italy, Denmark, all over Europe. Also, there were two other girls in the band; it was very family-like. Unfortunately, it became the bane of my life.
It's a long, complicated story, of course. I'll say this: He was an amazingly talented person, my musical tutor and a wonderful musician, by golly. But he was a lousy fucking boyfriend. I mean, he didn't abuse me or beat me or anything. He did give me a glorious case of VD, though, that's one of the more pleasant things he gave me.
Did you feel you were just his girlfriend in the band?
No, but I did feel thwarted, completely. It's weird. My father was always the greatest example of what I expected a man to be because he treated my mother as an absolute equal. So I never thought for a moment that I wouldn't be equal in the would or that my sexuality would prevent me from being taken seriously. It was never an issue for me, actually, until...
You joined the band?
Is it a lot different with the guys in Garbage?
I was so sick with anxiety at the beginning; I though that they would certainly squash my ideas. But the thing about this band is, they aren't threatened, they're confident in their abilities, and they encouraged me to speak up. They're like, "Whatever fits, we'll use it."
How do you think you've had the most influence?
Well, for one thing, I felt like the songs, which were originally very aggressive, could be sung in a more subdued, trip-hoppy kind of way. I definitely opened them up more to dance music. I was a mad clubber and when we first came to Europe, we went out and they heard lots of techno for the first time, properly, and they were like, "This is amazing!" In the studio, I was always saying, 'We need more techno in here!'
Do you ever still feel like the left-out girl amongst the guys?
Even though the guys in the band try to be aware, sometimes they don't even notice I'm being dissed because I'm female. One time we were in Germany, the bastion of masculinity, and we're strolling down the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, and there's this government-controlled area where it's all prostitutes and no other women are allowed in. Apparently, woman are spat on if they go in. So, anyway, this male creature from our record company takes us down there, insists the boys go in, and they leave me standing by myself out of the Reeperbahn, at midnight! And they were like, "What, you expect us to not go in and look at the prostitutes?" I just thought that was a perfectly grotesque, unfeeling moment... Stuff like that seems so insignificant to a man, but it can ruin you whole confidence in the world.
But onstage, you're the one who seems to have the most confidence.
I have Peter Pan Syndrome. Bands are a different reality for me. See, I am not a happy person. I want to be and I try to be, but I'm not. And the moment I feel absolutely happiest is onstage, and that's really pathetic when you think about it. It's the only time I feel happy about being inside my own body, the only time I feel like I'm not thinking. Performing is such a drug for me. It's kind of sad.
It's like doing Ecstacy. You feel so happy but when you come down, you realize you'll never find that feeling in everyday life. It can be really depressing.
Without a doubt. You see what you can't have and when you come offstage you are so aware that the world is a dangerous and disgusting place. [She pauses, rolls her eyes, and flops back onto her chair.] God, we are so pathetic! I think I'm going to start greeting [crying] in a minute and slit my throat. [Laughs] Wow, ahh, see, now I feel immediately better. It feels so good to finally say something so depressingly indulgent.
That reminds me of a song.
Yeah, by a certain loser band that shall remain nameless.
"I think she's a litter bit dangerous and messy and I wouldn't hold her up as the perfect image of women, but that's what's so great about her." MTV president Judy McGrath is talking breathlessly about Shirley Manson. "She looks like she might have had a bad relationship or two and lived to sing about it. She looks so comfortable with herself, and with the band. There's a confident, self-deprecating wink in there that makes her seem more natural and real."
Which is why Manson was such a welcome Grammy presence. Genuinely excited, genuinely bummed, genuinely charismatic and considerate afterwards, she was everything the event wants to be but never is. For instance, while frightfully intent Celine Dion, rooster-pouf hair immobile, exited through the backstage area, bodyguards clearing a path where one already existed, Manson ran out of the front entrance, laughing at her aching feet. Later, at the opulent after-party thrown by the Universal Music Group at the Four Seasons restaurant, Courtney Loved bulled through the crowd, proclaiming, "I'm the Sharon Stone of rock!" and commanding reporters to "write down what I'm wearing." Manson looked on bemusedly and said, "I love Courtney, I love defending her." And when Brian "Marilyn Manson" Warner, Adam's apple the size of a tennis ball, wandered over and announced, a bit too enthusiastically, "I think it's definitely time for Shirley Manson and Marilyn Manson to join forces and do some crazy collaborations, man," she smiled and punched his shoulder.
It's this easy, off-the-cuff, self-aware style -- she's not afraid to come off as powerful or vulnerable -- that has endeared Manson to MTV and , shockingly to her, to fashion designers. According to Allure magazine, she's the "poster girl for rock's new glamour" because she's unafraid to look not "exactly polished or precise." She's worn Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, and Moschino, in addition to Versace, but her appeal is that she offsets this slickness with restless-adolescent touches -- sloppy lip gloss or inexpensive stuff she buys on a whim.
"There was a lot of talk about the dress I wore in the 'Stupid Girl' video," says Manson. "Everybody was, like, 'Which designer?' or 'What style is that? It's so gorgeous.' I got it for $15 at a teen store in Madison."
Although Manson also bought the Contempo Casuals jacket she wore to the Grammy's, the mass-market, teen-fashion company had already subliminally aligned itself with the singer. A model in a recent campaign was selected because she bore an uncanny resemblance to Ms. Manson. "Shirley is definitely and icon that young girls can say, 'Now, there's somebody I can relate to and look up to,'" says Jamie Gluck, a Contempo Casuals art director. "She's got an edgy kind of bare-bones, cool essence that isn't overpackaged."
The fact that Manson doesn't really try that hard to be fashionable is why she's so cool. In Garbage, the Boys readily defer to her judgment on matters of image and style. "Shirley reads a lot of books, she pays attention to fashion, she just pays more attention to culture in general," says Big. "Except for movies and bands I like, I don't think I necessarily have any idea what's cool or not. She just has instincts for stuff, and we trust her as a band... Every time we sit down to discuss a photo or video or tour, she's very vocal and usually right."
Adds Marker: "Shirley's the one with the bigger vision about what works for the band. She can look at a video treatment and in five seconds go, 'Nope, that's shit.' The same thing with photo shoots. She's able to express her ideas clearly and quickly, while we sit around and worry for days."
Which is not to suggest that Manson herself doesn't sit around and worry for days about everything. During the entire week I spent with the band, she was repeatedly freaking out about the photo shoot for this article. She was afraid that the young French fashion photographer was going to make her look too goth or too waifish. She was concerned that she would have no input on the clothes she wore. "Musicians are not human coat racks like models," she said caustically. Having so much invested in the band's image, she was not about to have it perverted.
Eventually, Manson reaches a tentative accord about the situation. As I walk into the studio on the day of the shoot and loiter by the snack table, she strides out of the photo tent, sighs heavily, and leans over. "Any time I have to do this it makes me feel yucky and defiled and like a prostitute," she says, gulping some grapes. Then she looks up and breaks into a smile. "Of course, I'm psychotic and I hate myself. But you hate yourself too, don't you, Charles?" Startled, I reply dutifully, "Yeah, Shirley, I do." She laughs. "Okay, now I feel better."
With that, she turns on her red heels, and strides back into the flash. A pop star, as they say, who could make a pro blush.