The Weird World of Interview Discs: Marilyn Manson Edition

MANSON

Interview discs are a weird concept that companies thought they could get away with in the ’90s and mid-2000’s. They usually boasted an all new interview or biography of your artist of choice and included a photo booklet or poster. I feel like these bootlegs were ways to trick fans into thinking they were getting the latest (insert here) CD and instead getting a disc full of talking. Over the years, I have acquired several of these discs at low prices, but for some reason I have four “different” ones on Marilyn Manson. Even though my expectations weren’t high, I decided to give them a listen and see if any of the discs were worth the dollar I paid for them.

First is In the Spotlight with Marilyn Manson, which boasts an “interactive CD-ROM and 100 page color fan book.” Let me just say out of all the ones I checked out, this one is the funniest and most pathetic. The CD-ROM opens up a Manson site that looks more like a Geocities fansite from the ’90s. Horrible stark blue background, lo-res photos, and hard to read text; it’s all there! There are different sections to the site including a photo gallery and weird trivia that seems to be lifted from another Manson fansite. There are also several articles included taken from other sources including Rolling Stone. There are also some blurbs about the band where the grammar is just baffling: “ Manson Joins Nine Inch Nails Onstage in NYC Reznor and Manson kiss and make up onstage touchy-feely moments aren’t the norm Speak of Nine Inch Nails concerts, but the devil that’s sort of what fans got at the band’s-out.” What is this even trying to say?

The bootleg also includes an audio interview, which is more like a collection of interviews others have done with Manson. The first is horrible audio quality from Manson’s first appearance on TRL. You can even make out Carson Daly’s voice. The next comes from an interview Manson did with Kevin and Bean KROQ radio. The last segment is a random game of 20 questions from yet another radio interview. The included booklet is no better. It’s a very rushed biography of the band with about 15 pictures of the band that’s repeated for 20 more pages. To sum up this release, it’s a joke. I guess they put in a good effort, but it’s still pretty shit.

The narrator of the next release, The Interview Sessions: Marilyn Manson, claims to have spoken with the musician during their “late night segment,” but when the interview starts you notice it’s not even the same guy asking questions. While listening to it I realized I heard this interview before; that’s because it’s the Kevin and Bean clip used on the previous release. And there is nothing else. It’s the entire radio interview. What’s even worse is when the narrator returns at the end, he thanks Manson for his time as if he actually talked to him. I guess this company didn’t think too highly on the intelligence of his fans.

The most interesting bootleg is An Interview with Marilyn Manson. At first I was convinced it was an interview stolen from another source, but my research shows it’s a genuine interview. Manson actually spoke with the journalist. Of course the interview is interesting, but the poor audio quality makes it pretty bad. You can tell they’re in a restaurant because you can hear forks clinking and cell phones ringing. Then once the fifteen minute mark passes static takes over. You can’t even make out what they’re saying and this continues til the end of the disc. It’s like the journalist had the recorder in his pocket and never bothered to make sure the audio sounded good. This is a bootleg after all, so what did I expect?

Finally, we have Marilyn Manson Star Profile. This is another release that includes a disc and a color booklet, but instead of a full interview it’s a narrator reciting the history of the band up til 1998, with somewhat relevant interview snippets in between. And guess which interview makes another appearance? The Kevin and Bean one! I guess this clip was the easiest to get their hands on. Other than that, any clip of Manson speaking is culled from at least three different interviews in poor quality. Even the 20 questions segment from the first disc makes an appearance. What’s funny is the clips don’t always match up with what the narrator has set up. In one instance, the narrator mentions drugs and the clip is Manson answering a question about his favorite fetish item. The booklet is very similar to the first release and even uses most of the same pictures. My question is why would they include a booklet with the same band history if they want people to listen to the disc?

Overall, these suck. Even the one that was genuine suffered from terrible audio. At least I got some good laughs out of the first one. For some reason the interview disc was a weird phenomenon that you can date back to the ’80s, it just seemed to pick up speed a decade later. They’re pretty cool if you’re an avid collector, but I feel bad for anyone who paid full price for these, especially when you can find just about all the interviews in better quality on Youtube. It was a fun experiment, but I’m glad I only paid a buck for these.

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