There's nothing half-hearted about the new album from Marilyn Manson, The High End of Low, which explores love, hate, revenge, loss and despair. Off stage, many find Manson's passion disconcerting, but the singer/songwriter considers anything that veers towards apathy to be inherently "worthless." It's therefore not surprising to hear that during the recording process Manson pushed himself and his band to extremes, the resulting album returning him to the kind of form he's not seen in a decade.
Very personal lyrically, and more melodic than past efforts, the album is the result of the much-anticipated reunion of Manson and Twiggy Ramirez -- the pair's last studio collaboration being the concept album Holy Wood, which came out in 2000. The lineup for the album was rounded out by longtime Manson drummer Ginger Fish and producer/drummer/keyboardist Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails and Tweaker (who joined the band in 2004 when Fish was injured and moved from drums to keyboards upon his return to health).
The reunion with Twiggy wasn't the only emotionally charged ingredient in The High End of Low mix however, the period of recording, from November 2008 to January 2009, also coincided with the very public disintegration of Manson's relationship with Evan Rachel Wood, whom he dated following the failure of his marriage to Dita Von Teese. The 15 tracks on the album, which appear on the finished product in the order they were written, therefore chronicle Manson's emotional journey during this gut-wrenching time.
SuicideGirls caught up with Manson on the eve of a European tour to promote the new release. When asked about the album during our interview, it's hard for Manson to separate the music from the emotions and events that lie behind it. He also talks very candidly about the identity crisis that was sparked by this emotional turmoil, and his battle to figure out exactly who Marilyn Manson is.