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"Meanwhile, our tour manager has a gun. And Brian actually grabs his gun and points it at me." Putesky looks flustered at the recollection. "What's the first rule any backwoods idiot knows about gun safety?" he barks.
Warner and his attorneys weren't prepared for that tactic, and instead of denying it, Warner's expression seemed to say, "Oh shit, I forgot all about that!"
"It was psychological warfare," Putesky says. "We were using the deposition to wear him down."
Gidget Gein in rock-god mode
Why the long face, Bri-Bri?
Putesky settled for what he calls "an evil number." The number of the beast?
He laughs. Judging from songwriting credits alone (Putesky co-authored most of Portrait of an American Family, plus five tracks on Antichrist Superstar), the guitarist's lump sum was in the high six figures. "We cannot disclose the figure," Wolfe says adamantly. "There is a confidentiality agreement."
"It worked its way down from, like, a million five," Putesky says with a smirky smile.
Is he happy with the settlement? "Yeah, sure. Plus, I still get publishing money. But it's dwindling."
Stewart settled out of court the same year. He can't disclose the sum he lumped either. "I'm not allowed to discuss the specifics of the case. But I know [Putesky] didn't make much more than I made, because the accountants sent Scott's numbers to my lawyers by accident. You'd think we'd be millionaires off of the records we've sold, but no."
In 1999, Putesky's girlfriend won tickets to a huge rock fest in Australia. The guitarist ended up in the audience watching his old band perform. As reported in Alternative Press, Manson found out and became incensed. "Call every hotel in Sydney," he demanded. "Ask for a big boil-faced monkey -- with a lot of my money." Later, he told a reporter, "He took me for a couple of bucks in the lawsuit. He got some ambulance chaser who said, 'These guys are millionaires! Let's sue the shit out of them!'"
Stewart also retained the rights to use the Gidget Gein trademark. "It was a business decision. The name is part of me. What I'm doing now -- that's Gidget Gein doing that." He markets a variety of art under that appellation, much of it disturbing and macabre. In fact, yesterday he drove to Oakland Park to rendezvous with a Czechoslovakian she-male model. "It was like a John Waters movie," he says. "She lived in a trailer park with her lover."
Stewart is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the Palm Beach County coroner, picking up bodies. The excursions prove exceptional fodder for his grisly mill.
Stewart derides Putesky for trying to resurrect the Spooky Kids.
"Nobody even gives a shit about that anymore," he lobs. "It's not that big of a deal -- anybody who wants that stuff already has it."
He says he still speaks to Warner "all the time. We're friends now -- everything's cool." But he just can't imagine the Dark One will give a flying fuck about the Spooky Kids reissue. "I doubt he'll say anything," he says, "but I'll mention it to him."
Scott Putesky lives in a stylin' little bachelor pad, but it's not a cheesy condo on the beach. Instead, he lives right on the edge of downtown Fort Lauderdale in a small but sharp, 1936, Mediterranean-style jewel that has been refinished to the nines. Turns out he's into collecting antique furniture. Evidently, Putesky possesses something Manson has never been closely associated with -- taste. Strolling through his tropically landscaped backyard, he stops to pick up his cat, just waking from a nap under a palm frond.
The inside of the home, with old wood floors and warm, sponge-painted walls, is fireplace-cozy. Putesky's guitar collection is scattered about, and he's saved almost every flier, sticker, photo, and any other Manson memorabilia in hard-bound volumes that sit on a shelf in his office. It's hard to believe that this level of historical significance could be accessed via a rock band armed only with lunch boxes, a drum machine, and a desire to piss people off.
Among the curios: a guitar made from a Ouija board, with little skulls for knobs; photos of Scott hobnobbing with a tipsy Reznor; hugging annoying MTV presence Kennedy; Polaroids of anonymous half-nude bodies on hotel-room beds; candid snapshots of his former friends.
As ridiculous as these old relics now appear, they're tokens of a time when Manson's famed unrealness was slightly more real.
Manson's career simmers slightly less than hot lately. In fact, for one dwelling so close to hell, he's awfully lukewarm: The band's last two albums sold poorly, and the last few tours have been less successful. In September 1997, he'd proclaimed his band "the biggest in America," and his one great album, Mechanical Animals,made that claim temporarily believable. But the consensus among the paying public indicates that his stock has plummeted.
Even Torres, once a self-proclaimed fanatical fan, gradually grew weary of Manson's musical output. She didn't even buy the last two albums. "It's almost past its prime," she says of the band. "The pissed-off teenager thing? They've kind of outgrown that."