Marilyn Manson: Recording in the Houdini House
Here is an excerpt taken from "Guitar World" Magazine, "Scenes from Holy Wood", by Alan Di Perna, January 2001, pages 101-102.
Alan Di Perna, of Guitar Magazine, interviews guitarists Twiggy Ramirez and John 5 of Marilyn Manson. They discuss strange occurrences while recording in the Harry Houdini house. Their latest album is entitled, "Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)
... Once the tour was over, the band did some writing and recording at Mr. Manson's own house in the Hollywood hills. From there, the project moved to another infamous Hollywood site - the mansion once owned by legendary escape artist Harry Houdini. People say the place is haunted. John 5 is still trying to figure out whose house is more frightening, Harry Houdini's or Marilyn Manson's
JOHN 5: There's some definite scary things about Manson. Strange things happen in his house. He was living there for a year and a half, and all of a sudden there was a swarm of bees in the kitchen. Thousands of them. You could hear it upstairs. You couldn't even go into the kitchen. Like the Amityville Horror.
TWIGGY RAMIREZ: Scorpions, spiders...all of those are in all our houses anyway.
JOHN 5: But there's definitely some creepy, creepy things about Manson's house. It's real cold. Beautiful, but scary. Definitely scary.
GUITAR WORLD: I know he's fond of decorating with prosthetic limbs.
JOHN 5: Oh yeah. Bones, crucifixes, leather faces, babies...weird stuff. It's a shame no one goes in his house. It's a sight to see. If Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous ever went in there, they'd go whooaaa.
GW: You've told the press that the Rolling Stones wrote "Let It Bleed" at the house where (Marilyn) Manson now lives. How did you know that?
TWIGGY: Because the (Stones Documentary) "Cocksucker Blues" was filmed in that house. You can see Keith Richards shooting up in the living room.
GW: Is this why Manson bought the house?
TWIGGY: I think that was kind of a bonus. I think that made it a little more glamorous for him, that the Stones were there. Of course they're one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
GW: After working at Manson's house, you went over to the (Harry) Houdini mansion?
TWIGGY: We wrote all the stuff up at Manson's house. Then we moved into the Houdini mansion and recorded all the live stuff. Then I think Manson did a lot of the vocals back at his house. But the Houdini house was pretty creepy. I always heard rumors, "Oh, the house is haunted." You say, "Yeah, right." But when you get there, you kinda get the feeling that something's going on. I think there were some murders there. And, I don't know if I believe this, but I heard somebody used to give abortions in that house. So maybe there's a bunch of unborn dead baby ghosts in there. Hundreds of little dead babies floating around.
GW: Were there any actual manifestations? Supernatural experiences?
TWIGGY: I spent the night there once. And in the morning, I heard people downstairs. I heard someone playing the piano. I thought the crew had arrived. I figured it must have been Bon (Harris) - one of the engineers, who used to be in the band Nitzer Ebb - playing the piano. I got up and there was no one down there. Ten minutes later, Bon showed up and I asked him if he was playing the piano. He said, "What are you talking about? I just got here." So I don't know if he was pulling my leg or if some dead babies were playing the piano.
JOHN 5: One time, our co-producer Dave Sardy was in the kitchen, and he was walking back into the living room. There were curtains separating the two rooms. He bumped into somebody behind the curtains. "Oh gee, sorry," he said. But when he opened the curtains, there was no one there.
So there was something going on in that house. There were so many rooms. Nobody in their right mind would want to stay there overnight. But it goes right with the territory, I guess. It was perfect doing this record in that house.
TWIGGY: We picked up on the vibe of both places where we recorded. Between the Stones and Houdini and the dead baby ghosts, I think it all made an impression on the record.
JOHN 5: I took the rug from the room where we tracked and put it in my place for a souvenir. We got a lot of great sounds out of the Houdini house. I'm glad we did the album in a place like that and not just a regular studio. It's got that magic to it.@@@