By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
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By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
Even nastier humiliations ensued, rendered with vivid, urine-stained detail in Manson's book.
Understandably, by this point, Putesky was at wit's end. "And when I brought this to Manson's attention," he says sharply, "he was not available."
Warner wouldn't budge. "By then, it was like having to make an appointment with your spouse," Putesky recalls. He called a meeting with the band and its management. "Everybody was able to be there for that," notes Putesky dryly. "And I said, 'This sucks. I'm quitting.' And the general reaction was, 'We understand. OK, bye.' And that's what really burned my ass. I was like, 'You're letting me?'"
Gidget Gein in rock-god mode
Why the long face, Bri-Bri?
Warner bought Putesky a one-way ticket back home to Fort Lauderdale. "I hate flying too," he says. "And I'm sure I was hung over."
The album Marilyn Manson completed without him, Antichrist Superstar, entered the Billboard charts at number 3. The video for "Sweet Dreams" --which included Putesky --evolved into a hardy MTV staple. The band was able to tour overseas for the first time. "And I had my passport before anybody else in the band," Putesky notes glumly.
And, the story goes, Warner went on to have his ribs surgically removed so he could fellate himself, retroactively star in the hit TV sitcom The Wonder Years, and enjoy sex with toddlers and puppies in ritual on-stage orgies. Somehow, he found time to single-handedly orchestrate the Columbine massacre.
Putesky returned to a small apartment in Fort Lauderdale demoralized. No backup plan awaited. "I was definitely down for a long time. I didn't know what to do next. I initially felt like I'd made a mistake. I felt a certain amount of regret. Yet if I'd stayed in the group, the success of the record wouldn't have improved my situation in the band."
Worse, the achievement of Antichrist Superstar meant that Manson's image was unavoidable. Friends and acquaintances bombarded him with questions. T-shirts and videos taunted him everywhere he looked.
The megasales generated by Superstarmade Putesky decide to extract any and all monies Manson owed him. Because of production costs incurred during recording and touring, Putesky says, he hadn't yet seen a dime. Two weeks after leaving the band, he hired a lawyer, suing for unpaid royalties plus missing or broken equipment and to collect publishing payments. (Repeated efforts to reach Manson and his Miami-based lawyer, Robert Dunlap, received no response.)
Publishing royalties meant that for every Marilyn Manson CD sold, Scott was due a few pennies. Every time a song he performed on or wrote is broadcast on air or used in a movie, like, say, David Lynch's Lost Highway, and someone rents it from Blockbuster, Scott is owed more pennies. "It's a small amount," he admits, "but worldwide, over the course of five years, it's not that small. It's a lot of pennies."
Rumor has long persisted in Fort Lauderdale -- where Putesky owns a nice home and can often be spotted in his preferred pastime of doing nothing -- that he was made a millionaire when the suit was settled out of court in 1998.
"I've heard $15, $20, $25 million," Putesky says, amazed, "and I honestly don't know where these numbers come from. I would never say that."
The mediation took place over three days in early October 1998. During the discoveries-and-depositions, Putesky and his attorneys, Richard Wolfe and Alan Geffin, sat on one side, while Warner, Bier, and a team of six managers, accountants, and attorneys faced them.
"It was a helluva good time," says Wolfe, who still practices law in South Florida. He remembers Warner as a fierce opponent during a nine-hour deposition. "I thought he was one of the sharpest, best witnesses I've ever had the pleasure of deposing. He was smarter than his accountant, smarter than his lawyer, and smarter than his business manager."
Smart or not, Manson was vulnerable. "Even though we were literally outnumbered," Putesky says, "I felt they were showing how insecure they were. On the second day, Warner comes in and he has on the same clothes he had on the day before. I turned to Alan Geffin and said, 'We got him. '"
"What do you mean?" Geffin replied.
"He's still wearing the same clothes he had on yesterday. That means he's been out all night and probably hasn't slept. Obviously, he's worried, probably drinking and doing coke." In addition, the office's air conditioning had broken down. Two hours slowly passed, leaving everyone hot and uncomfortable. "[Manson] starting sweating, it was literally like a bright light was on him," Wolfe says. "It was great."
Putesky also played what he hoped was his trump card. His lawyers were hard-core, and they "were looking at anything, not just legally pertinent stuff," Putesky says. During Warner's deposition, Putesky's lawyers reminded him of an event that had taken place the year before.
"This was about an incident on a tour bus," Putesky tells. "Brian was looking for a cassette, and I hid it from him in the cushions of a couch. And he gets furious right away, looking for it all over the place, going to the back lounge. I took it out and placed it where he'd find it. He comes back, immediately looks at me. I guess I was smiling or something.