Salt Lake Tribune interviews the Twins of Evil

Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson team up for the Twins of Evil USA and European tour dates

On October 1 the Twins of Evil hit Salt Lake City for another show of sounds, sights and extremities.  Before the show both artists sat down to chat with the Salt Lake Tribune to discuss their work, staging and more.

Brian Hugh Warner — better known as Marilyn Manson — is now 43, and many dismiss him as a musician past his expiration date.

But when Manson’s album “Born Villain” was released in May, it debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart and broke iTunes’ Top 10 album lists in 22 countries.

Those numbers prove that Manson, who will headline the “Twins of Evil” tour with Rob Zombie on Monday, remains a commercial force.

Zombie, who debuted his new film “Lords of Salem” at the Toronto International Film Festival, will bring an elaborate, multimedia production to the Usana Amphitheatre. Look for animatronic robots, oversized LED screens, a collage of “psychotronic” monster film clips, a light show, pyrotechnics and a gigantic flame-shooting robot.

While Zombie’s staging will be impressive, for Manson there is only one area in which he tries to compete with his co-headliner. “Success is how many girls you get backstage after the show,” he said.

Manson, who once named an album “Antichrist Superstar,” has a controversial history with Utah.

In 1994, Delta Center officials booted him off a bill that featured Nine Inch Nails. To retaliate, NIN singer Trent Reznor brought Manson onstage at the end of the night, where Manson ripped pages out of The Book of Mormon and threw them at the audience.

Two years later, Utah State Fairpark officials were sued for going back on a verbal agreement to let Manson perform at the Coliseum.

“It’s always interesting to return to a place where I was once banned,” Manson said. “I never meant to be shocking. I want to be a question mark.”

But during an articulate and engaging conversation, Manson was full of shocking comments such as: “The best horror novel ever is The Bible.” And “Jesus was a pimp.”

More interesting was his commentary on modern-day villainy, and why he decided to call his latest album “Born Villain.”

“The villain in any story is the most important person in a story,” he said. “The villain is a rebel. The guy is most appealing [because] he’s not afraid to die.”

While Rob Zombie’s persona is more tongue-in-cheek than Manson’s, the 47-year-old said touring together is appealing.

“It’s hard to find a good tour partner,” Zombie said, noting there aren’t many bands or acts that fit his style. With Manson, “we’re similar enough.”

Indeed, both men claim inspiration from glam-shock rock spectacles such as KISS, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne.

Zombie, with his meld of horror and hard rock, has sold more than 15 million albums and been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, when not behind the cameras on film sets.

His most recent album, “Mondo Sex Head,” was released in August and features 13 remixes of his best-known material, including reimagined versions of “Thunder Kiss ’65,” “More Human Than Human” and “Dragula.” It is questionable, though, to call it a Zombie album, since all of the remixes were done by other people, with little to no involvement from Zombie.

“I didn’t want to be involved,” he said. “I let them run wild.”

At the time, he was busy working on “The Lords of Salem,” which is due out in 2013 and has earned Zombie good reviews for his directing and writing.

While details of the “Twins of Evil” tour have leaked out, including the aforementioned flame-shooting robot, Zombie was loath — but polite — to describe tour specifics.

He also doesn’t like to talk about his personal life.

“The less you know, the better,” he said.