Time For Goodbye
Following last week's announcement that he is leaving Marilyn Manson, guitarist Zim Zum is finally speaking out about the departure and about his future plans.
"To say we didn't agree musically is far from it," says Zim Zum, who appears on 12 out of the 14 tracks on Manson's forthcoming Mechanical Animals album, due Sept. 15 on nothing/Interscope. "It was amazingly creative in the studio; we wrote a song a day for 14 days, the chemistry and everything was there. It was about as perfect as it can get."
Contrary to rumors that he had been fighting with Manson for some time, Zim Zum offers, "We were probably getting along as best as I can remember ever getting along. Everyone was contributing [to the new album]; it wasn't about one person. There was no elitism or anything."
He also says his departure is a completely different situation than former guitarist Daisy Berkowitz (aka Scott Mitchell Putesky, now in Jack Off Jill). "It's nothing like Scott's situation," says Zim Zum. "With him, it really got beyond the point of even being professional about it... What it comes down to is when I went in the studio and we were recording, that's what I really like to do."
The bottom line is Zim Zum is ready to come out from Marilyn Manson's shadow, capitalize on the exposure being in the band for the past two years gave him, and make something for himself under his own name and record with some of his musical idols.
He says he first realized that touring for the next 18 months or so is not what he wants to do after recording a song of his own in the studio one day. "It was a day where Ginger [Fish], the drummer, and Pogo, the keyboardist, and myself were in was in an empty studio, with Sean Beavan, who engineered, and we recorded songs that were our own. Whether they were on the album, no one knew. But, when I recorded the one song on my own, that's probably when I realized that touring isn't what I wanted to do. The focus is on Manson, and I have nothing against that. But, I felt what I was doing now and had worked for the last 13 years to get to this point, is this. And, I want to use this time to enjoy it and do it like I envisioned it to be."
His plans aren't exactly cemented, but he certainly knows what he wants to do. "I've met some amazing people who I've grown up listening to," he says. "I don't want to say who [I'm working with], but I can say that the people we were emulating and aspiring to be, I really don't have to do that anymore... It's beyond the whole cliche of a supergroup; it's something extremely creative and very positive."
When asked who he would want to work with, Zim Zum says David Bowie right away. Iggy Pop, Dave Navarro, and Trent Reznor are also on his mind. In fact, if Navarro asked Zim Zum to hit the road with his project, Spread, he says he'd certainly do that. Same goes for working with Reznor.
Zim Zum, who lives with Pogo in Los Angeles, has actually been working with Navarro for the past two months on and off. He also jammed with Seal, who was recording with a mutal friend, producer Danny Saber, in the room next to where Manson was recording.
As for his own project, though, he plans to record it under his name and already has about 60 songs penned and hopes to finish it up in three to four months. As far as a record contract goes, he says, "I spent four hours one day going from line to line... I've talked to about five labels so far." He also has several offers to play with other bands or produce them, none of which he wants to talk about yet. "I don't want to draw anyone else into the circus that is my life right now," he adds.
Zim Zum also says the door is still open to work with Manson again. "When I left the house, I said, 'You've got my number.'... You know, I feel as excited leaving the band as I did coming into it. I came into the band talking to Manson on the phone for two hours about Iggy Pop and Bowie and I wanted to go out the same way. So, I met him and we sat down and left it at a point where it's an open door."
If Zim Zum's plans actually come to fruition, then the next year for the recently departed Marilyn Manson guitarist should prove to be an interesting one.
"I basically just sat down and went through my CD collection and said, 'You know, I'd really like to play with this person or I'd like to play with that person.' And then gradually those opportunities started happening." (Though he still won't name names.)
One of those opportunities was with Seal, who was recording his new album next door from where the Marilyn Manson camp were recording their new album (Mechanical Animals, Sept. 15, nothing/ Interscope). "It doesn't seem like a likely combination," says Zim Zum. "But we're all really good friends with Danny Saber, and Danny's doing his album. Seal would come back and forth, and there were times where Seal would just sit down in a room with myself or [with me] and [Manson bassist] Twiggy and we would just play."
"And it wasn't about, 'I want to get on your album' or 'Let's do this,'" he continues. "It was that he had some ideas, and he had gotten to a blocked point, and we just sat down and played with him to give him different angles. I liked it a lot. So, rather than go on the road [with Manson] for 18 months in a sort of non- creative capacity, I just figured I would take it to the next level now."
However, this doesn't necessarily mean that this Seal/ Zim Zum/ Twiggy jam session will ever see the light of day. For the meantime, he's ironing out what projects he wants to take on -- both as a producer and guitarist -- and who he's going to work with for his own self-titled project.
"I don't want to say who the people are because it's just in a friendly capacity now," he says of his potential collaborators, adding that he's interested in doing work for "soundtracks, and one-off songs for other albums to get that I- really- want- to- play- with- that- person out of my system." As for who would play in his own band, he says he hasn't thought about that yet.
His plans don't just entail axe-grinding or producing either -- Zim Zum says he wants to sing as well. "I'm ready to take that step too."
"It's nothing like the last record," says Zim Zum. "It's very far beyond it."
"It's more mature, but in an extremely kid-in-a-candy-store way," he continues. "Anyone who thought of Marilyn Manson, the band, as shock or schtick, the shock this time around is that people who thought there wasn't any talent in the band will have to eat their words on this. It's more accessible lyrically... a little bit more human."
Zim Zum also says the album is more introspective and musical. "It's introspective to the point where I think it could be depressing, but it's reality," he adds. "And it's just a little more adventurous... a lot of different styles. It's still rock; the heavy is as heavy as it's ever been. I think people are ready for this and they definitely need it."
As far as the "different styles" go, Zim Zum says he used several different guitars on the album, including synth guitar, 12-string, six-string acoustic open-tuned, and electric. "I used, like, five different kinds of guitars on one song."
However, the number of songs Zim Zum has contributed guitar parts to is under dispute. While he says he's on 12 of the album's 14 tracks, Interscope says that number might not be correct.