Scott Putesky After Daisy Berkowitz
After The Manson Years
"I was in shock for like two or three days. Imagine waiting for anything for two years, I'm looking at it thinking it's gonna evaporate soon," says Scott Mitchell Putesky, the former Marilyn Manson guitarist fresh from settling his lawsuit with the band (allstar, Oct. 9). "I feel good."
Florida-based Putesky, the guitarist formerly known as Daisy Berkowitz who filed a lawsuit in September 1997 for being "wrongfully excluded from the recording" of 1994's Portrait of an American Family (allstar, Sept. 19, 1997), can't disclose the terms of the settlement, but he did say that the $15 million figure that had been tossed around pertaining to what he sued for was grossly inaccurate. The settlement, which was agreed upon on Thursday (Oct. 8), left Putesky "very satisfied." "It's not like I can go buy an island and set up a studio, but it's enough to help me reestablish my career," Putesky, who is currently working with Jack Off Jill, tells allstar. "And, quite honestly, I appreciate their cooperation and their efforts to get everything done and I hold no grudges."
The road to this point wasn't exactly smooth. Putesky says his attorney, Richard Wolfe of Zack Kosnitzky's law offices in Miami, had a hard time getting the documents needed to resolve the case at first. "He would ask for documents just so we can get closer to resolving things, and especially as far as a dollar amount, and he said he wouldn't get any kind of response or an accounting or any documents that would help things progress," says Putesky. "It seemed like they weren't cooperating for whatever reasons -- whether they were lax or they didn't want to expose themselves. It was just a lack of cooperation [at first]."
Putesky and Wolfe finally came to Los Angeles to examine documents in September, with depositions and settlement discussions taking place between Monday (Oct. 5) and Thursday (Oct. 8), which involved Putesky and Wolfe on one side and Manson's team of seven or eight people on the other, which included Manson (Brian Warner) himself, the band's keyboardist Pogo, and attorney David Codikow, among others.
"I can't fully comment on what we fought over," says Putesky. "In making my claim, as to what I wrote and played on, they never countered or contested any of that information because it's there; it's very obvious between both parties what I did and what I was credited for." The dispute was over how much he got paid for what work he did do.
Neither party wanted the matter to go to trial. "I didn't want it to go to court. We had already made this trip out to California, which was expensive enough... If it went to trial it would just be more frustrating; it would just take longer and drag out what was already a black cloud over my shoulder... I'm glad it was resolved. I wanted it to be over with."
During a mediation day on Thursday (Oct. 8), where a neutral attorney helped both camp's sort out issues, Putesky and Manson had their first heart-to-heart since the dispute. "We had a very personal 20-minute one on one conversation, where we got a lot out in the open. It was very tense. I'm sure he felt that way, and I certainly felt that way, because it was a chance to appeal to each other and iron things out and it wasn't quite so legal and technical as it was personal. I wouldn't say we buried the hatched, but we definitely wrapped up old business neatly.
"And, I'm a lot more comfortable with seeing all the merchandise and posters and videos, and hearing it on the radio," he continues. "I'm a lot more comfortable with anything Manson now."
The spilt hasn't exactly been easy on a personal level for Putesky. "It's like being divorced and everyone asking how your wife is doing and how they saw her with Tony last week and Tommy the next week and how she looks good. People call me, 'Hey, did you see Brian on MTV?' 'Y-e-a-h... I did... Thank you.' It's like, I'm not gonna feel that way anymore now. I can even compliment things they're doing. I like the new video ['Dope Show']."
So, does this mean we may see Putesky and Manson palling around anytime soon? "Ahh... slow down," he laughs. "I'm sure if we were to run into each other at a party or at a club, we would be totally civil and might even have a conversation, which I would look forward to that. But, then again, if he were to say 'Let's work on something,' I would be a little suspicious. I would like to be friendly with him again, but I don't want to put myself in this position where I think things are cool and then he smashes a guitar over my head."
[While Manson never actually smashed a guitar over Putesky's head, at the New Year's Eve show in 1996 at the Academy in New York -- which was Putesky's last N.Y. show with the group -- Manson did knock over his amps (onto the guitarist's foot), took off his guitar, and smashed it. "That was the height of my frustrations," he says.]
As for his relationship now with the other Manson boys, after a long pause and a few "hmmm"s, Putesky answers, "I was kind of sad that Pogo had nothing to say to me because when I was in the band and feeling bad, I felt closest to him and ever since the lawsuit started, I mean, I saw him last year here in Ft. Lauderdale and he didn't want to talk to me and I felt really bad. But, that's up to him. I wasn't gonna get into the legal stuff, I just wanted to hang out with him. And, Twiggy. I have nothing but negative things to say about Twiggy, so let's leave it at that."
Now that the Marilyn Manson lawsuit is behind him (allstar, Oct. 15), guitarist formerly known as Daisy Berkowitz Scott Mitchell Putesky can move forward with his career.
Aside from working on the next Jack Off Jill album for Risk Records, Putesky is setting his sights on soundtracks, and surprisingly, the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
"I hate picking favorites because I have such a wide variety of taste and I don't like to leave anybody out," says Putesky. "If you ask me my list of 50 favorite guitarists, my list would still be shy of a couple of really important people. But as a blanket statement, I'd say Squirrel Nut Zippers are my favorite band."
After asking if he's just trying to mess with us, Putesky insists, "No, I'm not. Give me a break. I'm serious. I love them to death. I would totally love to do anything with them." Like what? "Anything. I'd play kazoo for credit, no money, just put my name on it and let's hang out and drink."
Others on Putesky's wish list include Fiona Apple, Cake, Tod A. (Firewater), and ex-Nine Inch Nails member Chris Vrenna (Tweaker). But he's focused more on soundtrack work for now. "I'm looking to produce other bands, and [do] remixes, but I'd be happy just sitting in the studio working on soundtrack music, and eventually go on to scoring," says Putesky, who is managed by Rhian Gittins of Big FD Entertainment, but is looking for an agent for film work. "Anything I do on my own would probably come out under Three Ton Gate. I'd like to co-write with other people, sit in on sessions, and make myself available for guitar playing, of course."
Three Ton Gate released an album, Vanishing Century, on the Internet last year (allstar, Sept. 23, 1997). Check out www.spookykids.com/threetongate or email email@example.com for more information.
Meanwhile, Putesky's playing is also on the Jack Off Jill remix EP, Covetous Creature, which is a collection of electronically reconstructed tracks from the band's 1997 debut, Sexless Demons & Scars, coming Nov. 17 on Risk Records.
The Covetous Creature track listing is: "American Made" by Chris Vrenna; "My Cat" by Synical; "Poor Impulse Control" by Synical; "Cum Dumpster" by Synical with Agent Moulder of Jack Off Jill; "Girlscout" by Susan Wallace of Switchblade Symphony; "Poor Impulse Control" by Morphic Field (which is Joe Faraci and Hans G. of Laughing Us); and "My Cat" by Shai De La Luna of Lords of Acid; and an untitled hidden track by Vrenna.