To help spread the word about their upcoming The End Times joint tour set to kick off in July, Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan participated in an extensive question and answer session in Chicago on Monday night. Over the course of the hour-long talk, the alt-rock icons fielded a wide range of queries about their own favorite songs, the challenge of playing to modern crowds glued to their cell phones and their long, intertwined personal history with one another.
As late as last December, Manson and Corgan weren't on speaking terms and hadn't been for years. It was only through the peacemaking efforts of Courtney Love — who has had her own past issues with both men — that compelled them to get together and bury the hatchet.
In speaking together at the event, they both struck conciliatory tones when discussing the other's impact on their respective lives. Manson credited Corgan as the person who taught him how to play guitar, while Corgan admitted, "Whatever we had in the beginning we still have. It's a mutual respect, or love, or admiration…it's like brothers. We understand each other in a way that very few people understand us in the world."
Lovefest aside, both Manson and Corgan are renowned for their unfiltered opinions and cutting wit. At times, they seemed to treat the intimate gathering as a way to indulge their dry, comedic sensibilities rather than engage in a frank discussion about the state of music and their own careers. Here are 10 of the funniest and more revealing quotes from the Q&A.
10. On being trapped in his rock star persona
Corgan: "I'm pretty wary of who people think I am publicly, which is why I've sort of moved on to other things. Obviously I love rock & roll and I love music, but it's nice to be in a world like professional wrestling where I'm treated like a normal person."
9. On their plan to play Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" together on tour
Corgan: "I believe in the annals of history, he has a better idea of what girls want for fun than I do."
Manson: "You mean in the anals of history?"
8. On Manson rediscovering Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Manson: "This is a guilty confession. You already know this, that when Mellon Collie came out, I really didn't listen to the second CD as much as the first one, so there's a whole bunch of songs on the second CD that are more awesome than I thought than on the first CD and I've neglected them. It was [Manson guitarist] Twiggy [Ramirez'] fault. He kept playing the first CD because we lost the second CD on our fucking bus."
7. On the abandoned Phantasmagoria film
Manson: "I made a joke to my manager that I wanted to self-induce schizophrenia and I think I may have done that while writing it. So let's just say I went a little bit over the wrong…a little South of France brain-wise."
Corgan: (Knowing look)
Manson: "Nice. Or Marseille."
Corgan: That's how we say it around here, 'Marsays.'"
6. After squeaking a random toy placed on the table
Manson: "I gave that to him today. It's a cat toy…despite all his rage."
Corgan: (Squeaks toy)
5. On listening to new music
Manson: "I like to put on Imagine Dragons when someone says something that pisses me off. I just put on Imagine Dragons because it's like a punishment. I like the song, but I hate liking it so I put it on as a punishment to everyone in the room."
4. On Manson's dressing room
Corgan: "His dressing room looks exactly what you'd imagine his dressing room would look like. It's weird. When you walk in, you're like 'Wow, this is very…what I thought it would be.' It's all black [and] all the walls are plastic."
Manson: "I do ask them to put black on the walls, I mean; I did a long time ago. I don't remember when it became part of the rider."
3. On Creating Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals and Smashing Pumpkins' Adore at the same time
Corgan: "He was making Mechanical Animals and I was literally making Adore down the street."
Manson: "I tried to convince him to wear makeup and he tried to make me have more chords in my music."
2. On Manson's pre-show rituals
Corgan: "There's a heavy dose of Justin Timberlake. You have to admit that."
Manson: "I like 'Only When I Walk Away' because it's very sassy and bluesy."
1. On their joint personal history
Manson: "Sometimes you suppress things."
Corgan: "I suppressed Rose McGowan. She's suppressed in my mind."
Manson: "He did write a strongly worded letter, which I'm gonna find, and when I do I want to see if you wrote in cursive. But it was about how you should not be with this girl; she'll ruin your career. And of course being a man, with a woman…that wasn't why we didn't really talk for all those years, but it was one of the factors in our life that we hadn't seen each other."