In Part II of our exclusive interview Zepp Savini, former personal assistant to Marilyn Manson, he shares some more unsavoury tales from his 7 years on the road with the band. Zepp has also given us full access to many more never before seen images from his personal archives, documenting the rise of one of the most notorious frontmen in rock 'n' roll history.
How did choosing the girls from the crowd work, did you get girls for the band members too or just Manson?
In the beginning it was simple. The goal was to ensure that the after show party room was filled with enough hot girls to choose from. So I would grab a stack of after show passes and mingle with the crowd an hour or so before show time. I sized up potential candidates based on good looks and attitude. Black hair and milk white skin was usually a plus and quiet and shy was another. Manson as well as myself became irritated by overly talkative females.
The most difficult part was giving a pass to a girl with her boyfriend by her side. He never got one of course. Manson would say "Go break up some marriages" meaning that the guys would become increasingly pissed off the longer the girls stayed backstage. I witnessed many a dude pacing back and forth outside the bus while his girl was getting drunk with the band. By 3:00 AM their relationship was over!
PART II - INTERVIEW BY ADAM DE VILLE - ALL photography © ZEPP SAVINI
ZEPP GOOFING AROUND IN MANSON'S OUTFIT 1998
Marilyn manson and zepp backstage in tokyo 1999
In the later years someone devised this system of putting the initials of the person handing out the passes on them in order to know who exactly was responsible for letting certain people backstage in case the were too ugly or annoying. There were a few crew members assigned to the task as well as myself, but I had such a bad attitude at that point in the game that I rarely handed out passes anymore because I was like, fuck that, I'm not fucking responsible for some stupid chick's antics or whatever the fuck happens after the show. If you don't like our picks, go find your own was my theory.
Most of the time however, the fans merely wanted to see Manson himself at the after show parties for a picture or autograph and he was the one that came to them the least. More times than not he was a no-show along with Twiggy and Pogo. Sometimes none of them would go to the room and there'd be 20 or 30 very tired and disappointed people. Most of the time I'd tell the fans that me giving them a pass was not a guarantee of anything and that it was quite possibly worthless.
Were you around for some of the more debauched and creative acts with the fans backstage, and what was the weirdest thing you saw on tour?
Well ya know, I'm not so sure it was the fans who brought mayhem to the scene. When Manson's autobiography first came out and I read how he blamed myself and Tony Wiggins for helping to create the most depraved and decadent period of his life, I first thought "Hmm, that's cool, but how is that possible?" Then after many years went by and I had left that life, I realized maybe he was right.
For instance there was this time in Topeka, Kansas that we had a room full of groupies, strippers, The Slashers, as well as my future ex-girlfriend. We had music blasting and the booze was flowing and I had my video camera out. Next thing I know, one of the girls decided to show me her new clit ring and that set off a chain reaction. Soon there were about eight girls with their pants down showing their various styles of piercings. One of the girls, who I believe had some Native American Indian in her blood didn't have a clit ring but she sure had an awesome clit. She had been giving me a beer gargling blow job for some laughs and then I did a little crotch smoochin' on her. It was a big crowd pleaser. But then as always, for me, it wasn't enough. I had to take it one step further and I asked her if she was interested in pissing in my mouth. An oral golden shower of sorts I suppose. She loved the idea and so I laid down on the floor and she squatted over top of me. It was a beautiful view! After a few moments of concentration, her stream began to flow like a water cannon and my cup did runneth over. When she was done and had moved to the side, I spit the urine upward like a human geyser and it went all over everything. Manson quietly came over afterwards and handed me a bottle of Jack Daniels and said "Here, it'll help kill the germs." For the next couple of weeks the crew members called me "Orca."
zepp checking the podium backstage in 1998
You were at the filming for The Dope Show video in 1998, what was it like to be on set?
Again, like the album production, it was boring. Incredibly boring. The video took two days at three locations. The first day of shooting lasted 19 hours and the second took 21 hours. There wasn't much for me to do. I had no real input on any of it so it was enormous amounts of sitting around and waiting. Once, I actually walked into a shot without realizing it and the director yelled "Cut"! I was extremely embarrassed to say the least. There was a positive side for me on the last day when we were next to the L.A. County Courthouse with the pink cops. I hooked up with a gorgeous girl who was an extra on the set. We flirted for a bit and then went down in a drainage ditch to have sex. Afterwards I threw the condom on the windshield of a Los Angeles police cruiser that was parked nearby.
As far as the prosthetic shoot for Mechanical Animals, it was even more tedious. It lasted three days and myself and Manson's bodyguard were in the studio for 60 hours straight, pun intended! When it was finally over, Manson hopped into his rental Volvo and backed up right into my fender, then sped off. I blew up and began to smash shit. He had this gigantic boom box that I raised up over my head and in one body slamming motion, shattered it against the concrete floor of the studio. The bodyguard, who was still on the scene grabbed me from behind a put a bear hug on me until I calmed down. 1998 was probably the beginning of me becoming a disgruntled employee for various reasons.
Some of those reasons were money related, but there were health issues I had that were going unchecked as well. I had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease a year prior, and I was living with a severe case of depression and sleep apnea that would never be diagnosed until a decade later. In retrospect, both of these ailments contributed immensely to my increasing displeasure with life itself.
Little was really documented about Zim Zum while he was in the band, how was he compared to the other members?
I think he was less of a rock star and more of a regular guy who got caught up in the lifestyle. I think there was a period during the recording of Mechanical Animals where he went AWOL. We were supposed to be making a record and no one could find him for several days. I mean, in his defense, he came along during a period when everything was like a high speed freight train. He grabbed a rung and held on for dear life. He was a very likable dude. No bad attitude and easy going I'd say. I saw him getting a BJ once and he has a big dick so wherever he's at now I'm sure he's doing okay.
Anton lavey signature to zepp
rose mcgowan and zepp
Marilyn manson and zepp backstage in 2001 on
Hawaiian shirt friday for the crew
Zepp and manson during a break on the filming of the dope show video los angeles, california 1998
filming the dope show video los angeles, california 1998
Did you ever get to meet Anton LaVey?
No. The closest I ever got to him was just outside of his home. It was January of 1997 and we were doing back to back shows at The Warfield in San Francisco. Afterwards when we were leaving town and heading for Arizona, we stopped the tour bus smack dab in front of Anton's house on California Street. It looked awesome! The whole thing was painted flat black. Manson ran inside to say goodbye and Traci Lords, who had been hanging around the Manson camp at the time, went with him. Everybody else just hung tight and after about 30 minutes he returned and we left. While he was inside though, his daughter Karla came out to say hello to us and that in itself was very cool.
Two days earlier Manson had joined the LaVey's for dinner at The Black House. He later told me that once inside he was escorted to a room where he was told Anton would greet him momentarily. Then without any doors opening or noise or anything, Anton just simply appeared out of thin air. Manson said there must have been a secret panel somewhere. Anyway, after dinner Manson did something that I never in a million years expected him to do. He asked Anton LaVey to sign an autograph to me. I was humbled at his gesture and felt like I had achieved the nearly impossible thanks to my friend and boss. It's a cherished signature. So no, I never met him, but I do have his autograph made out to Zepp. Rege Satanas! It's quite possible that I may hold the very last autograph he ever signed because sadly, nine months later he died.
What was Rose McGowan like back then? Did she travel on tour with the band too?
I liked Rose. She was always cool towards me personally. Yeah she spent some time here and there on the road with us. Some people called her a bitch occasionally, but I never saw it in her. She had this habit of standing so close to me when she was talking to me that her breasts would touch me sometimes. Gotta love that, right? She was a little flirty with me sometimes it seemed but I never let my mind go in that direction. Strictly business was my mindset. I mean Christ, you don't even look at the boss's woman the wrong way, yet alone flirt or something. That's a death sentence in any world. I spent a lot of time dog sitting Rose's two adorable Boston Terriers, Bug and Fester. I developed a sweet relationship with them in the time I spent living at the Laurel Canyon home with Manson and Twiggy. Those dogs even got their picture in a Rolling Stone article once.
Was it true Manson’s Dad kicked her out of the house when they split up?
I don't know anything about that one. Never heard anything about it. Hugh's a playboy though. He probably kicked Manson out of the house then tried to get frisky with Rose. LOL.
How did the Columbine shooting effect the Guns, God and Government tour and the lead up to it?
Everyone in the band and crew was saddened by the tragedy, but we all knew it was not Marilyn Manson's fault. It conjured up thought of bands in the past like Judas Priest and Ozzy who got blamed for things, but the fact that certain groups of people had already been protesting the shows for quite some time before Columbine made it especially worrisome as far as our safety.
We had already been receiving the occasional bomb threat long before the shooting. We'd be at some venue setting up for a show and someone would call in a bomb threat. Then we'd have to evacuate the building while bomb sniffing dogs were brought in. They always turned out to be false. Merely attempts to try and thwart the concert. Fortunately for us, our schedule right after the school shootings consisted of five more dates in the United States and then we headed off to Europe for a couple of months. Manson said it best when Michael Moore asked what he would have said to those kids. Manson replied, "I wouldn't have said anything. I would have listened."
Keep an eye on the Collide Facebook Page for info on an exclusive project we're working on with Zepp that has to do with his days with Marilyn Manson - more news soon!
a visit to columbine high school while on tour in 2001
How many shows do you think the Westboro Baptist Church turned up to while you were on tour and did you have any conversations with any of them over the years?
Too many to count. In the Antichrist Superstar era, you were guaranteed to see a crowd of protesters at the American shows. I look back on it now and I feel a little disheartened by the interactions I had with the Christians. I would spew blasphemies and vulgarities solely to make them angry. It was unnecessary, pointless, and a waste of my time. I had very few meaningful conversations with any protesters because let's face it, you cannot reason with the mind of an unreasonable person.
Those people are dead set in their ways, close minded and convinced their rhetoric is absolute. You cannot have any sort of intellectual conversations because they are not open to any idea other than what they've been taught. If you make any sense in front of them they'll tell you it's a trick from the devil and if you make a solid point they come back with faith. Faith is always the trump card. If you unveil an absurdity in their message, they hit you with faith. Don't give in to reason and intellect, just have faith. Plus, many of them were just plain crazy loons.
When's the last time you heard a retarded person say "there's no such thing as Jesus", and when's the last time you heard a Mensa member say "there's definitely a God and he's watching you right now!" The best that I could ever do was plant a seed by name dropping the great Richard Dawkins and especially the fantastically awesome Sam Harris, as well as Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. Otherwise known as the Four Horsemen. All I could hope for was that one of those names would take root with those people, because from that would grow a tree of grand knowledge, the ultimate savior.
A lot of Marilyn Manson fans will be interested to know you're now married to Alison, who is the ex-slasher featured in The Long Hard Road Out of Hell and the Dead To The World VHS, how did that happen?
I met Alison very early on. Her and Jeanette (RIP) were outside Toad's Place in New Haven, Connecticut (Connect-I-Cut) a few hours before a show, and they were all bloody from carving Marilyn (Jeanette) and Manson (my old lady) into their chests. The band hotel was about 3 blocks away, and as we were on the bus getting ready to roll to the venue, I decided to walk cause I was tired of waiting. When I saw them out front I ran back to the bus and said to Manson "Quick, quick give me your video camera! There's a couple of chicks up there and they're cutting their fucking tits up!!!" That's how we first met.
They did some serious traveling back them. They turned up at shows 3000 miles from their homes, basically following us around the entire United States and even coast to coast in Canada. Like it says in The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, there was something special about both of them. They were extremely non-invasive and private and you could tell they were not dumb girls by any means. I later found out Jeanette had an IQ of 150. (160 is considered the low end of Genius scale, up to 220)
Anyway, we began to allow them into all the shows they wanted for free and also let them in a few minutes early so they could have the center position at the barricade each time. It's what Manson wanted. Then I began to let them get showers and crash in my hotels room. They were always so humble and resistant to special treatment. Anyway, I slept with Jeanette just a few times, but never Alison. I was such a slut and did an awful lot of disgusting things on the road that both were aware of so I always figured they probably were not very attracted to me sexually, so I never really pressed the issue.
We stayed close friends always and when I finally resigned from the Manson camp and sought a more normal lifestyle, I bumped into Jeanette occasionally throughout the years but lost contact with Alison. Then, in 2004 when I moved back to my hometown from a 5 year stint in Cleveland, Ohio, I went to a Marilyn Manson show in Reading at the Sovereign Center. There, I bumped into Alison, who was actually there to try and find me because she heard through the grapevine that I might be attending the show.
That started off daily phone conversations and before I knew it, she quit her 2 jobs, left her boyfriend who was in the middle of a bad crack habit, and moved some 50+ miles to be near me. We began dating, moved in together, and got married a few years later. It was at this point that she confided in me that she was into me the whole time throughout the years, but never made a move because she was too shy to do so. Ain't that somethin'?! Who Knew?
Lawrence, Kansas - The very 1st day of the 1998 Mechanical Animals Tour
Protesters in San Francisco - 1997
Manson and Twiggy before showtime - Dallas, Texas 1998
The Slashers and Zepp - 1997
L to R - Jeanette, Zepp, Alison
What life lessons did you take away from your time on the road?
Nietzsche was right. "The Earth has a skin, and that skin has diseases: and one of those diseases is called man."
Final question, do you have a favorite Led Zeppelin song?
Heavy Zeppelin? In my Time of Dying, Dazed and Confused, and Achilles Last Stand. Lighter Zeppelin? Ten Years Gone, In the Light, and Tea For One. Now if you had asked, do I have a least favorite Led Zeppelin song, I could have kept the answer to just one song: D'yer Mak'er.
What am I listening to lately? Glad you asked!
Ghost, Cobalt, Amy Winehouse, and Looking for an Answer. If you don't own the album Gin from Cobalt or Eterno Treblinka from Looking for an Answer, go get them!