Scott Putesky, who played guitar under the pseudonym Daisy Berkowitz after co-founding Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids with the shock rocker, has died at the age of 49.
Jessicka Addams, Putesky’s longtime friend and former bandmate in Jack Off Jill, confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone. In August 2013, the guitarist was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer. Six days before his death, Putesky posted a photo on his Instagram of his eyes yellowed from jaundice, a side effect of the cancer.
Putesky met Brian Warner, who would later assume the Manson persona, in the late Eighties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Like Manson, Putesky took a stage name that was a portmanteau combining America’s fascination with blonde bombshells and serial killers: Daisy Berkowitz combined the names of Dukes of Hazzard‘s Daisy Duke with David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz.
With Putesky serving as lead guitarist and main composer, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids gained a cult following in the early half of the Nineties, leading to a record deal with Interscope and Trent Reznor’s Nothing; the Nine Inch Nails frontman also produced the band’s 1994 debut LP Portrait of an American Family.
Putesky is credited with writing the music for early Marilyn Manson singles like “Lunchbox” and “Dope Hat” as well as playing guitar on their cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)” from the 1995 EP Smells Like Children. The track would become the band’s breakout hit and remains one of their most popular songs.
However, just as Marilyn Manson were ascending into the mainstream, Putesky left the band during recording sessions for 1997’s Antichrist Superstar, where friction between the guitarist and Manson and producer Trent Reznor led to Putesky’s exit.
“When we started recording I had about 10 or a dozen demos for [Manson] to listen to so we could develop something. I don’t know if he listened to any of them, but he never wanted to work on any of them,” Putesky told Noisey in 2014. “We had a number of unreleased songs that were contenders for Antichrist that [Manson] didn’t want to do or Trent didn’t want to record so I was being slowly muscled out as far as my contribution. And, that’s pretty much it.”
Putesky later sued Manson over royalties from Antichrist Superstar as he was credited for six songs on that album. (The case was settled in 1998 for an undisclosed amount.) Further legal issues stemmed from Putesky’s ownership of the early material he recorded with Manson prior to the Interscope deal. Some of this material appeared on the 2003 Spooky Kids compilation Lunch Boxes and Choklit Cows compilation, while much of it remains unreleased.
“Scott Putesky and I made great music together,” Manson wrote on Instagram following Putesky’s death. “We had our differences over the years, but I will always remember the good times more. Everyone should listen to ‘Man That You Fear’ in his honor. That was our favorite.”
Following his Manson tenure, Putesky joined the Manson-affiliated act Jack Off Jill and worked with Three Ton Gate as well as his own solo work.
Putesky ruminated on his battle with cancer in his interview with Noisey. “I got a lot of support,” he said. “Ultimately though, I fight it alone. It’s tough. I’m doing well with it but sometimes it will be the middle of the night and I’ll be trying to sleep and I’ll start thinking negative thoughts. It just happens.”
“He was one of those people who changed the way you looked at things,” Addams tells Rolling Stone. “He remained positive and his creativity, talent, uniqueness and humor exuded from him even when he was battling cancer. It was my honor to take the stage with him and the other members of Jack Off Jill in London one last time October 23rd 2015. He will never be forgotten.”
A memorial for Putesky will be held on Saturday, November 4th at Brooklyn’s Bossa Nova Social Club at 7pm. “Please dress in costume, be loud, and bring posters, banners, puppets, art, noisemakers, lunch boxes, pots and pans, and musical instruments to send off a one-in-a-billion creative genius, our friend, SMP,” organizers wrote in a statement.