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Manson Family Feud

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During another show, Putesky contends, Warner broke one of his guitars and pushed him off the stage.

The final meltdown happened at Reznor's compound in New Orleans, where the band assembled to work on the second Marilyn Manson album.

"At first, I was being shut out of recording sessions. And when they were in there working on songs that I co-wrote," he says with a brittle laugh, "that doesn't make you feel very good."

His bandmates, fueled by cocaine and bad vibes, began a more overt campaign of harassment. First, the four-track machine used on the old demos was destroyed. "Somebody -- nobody will take credit for it -- put it in the microwave at the studio in New Orleans," Putesky says. "And the drum machine, they literally threw it out, or lost it somehow." His monogrammed Daisy Berkowitz guitar picks were mysteriously fused into a melted mass.

During the sessions for Antichrist Superstar, more of Putesky's equipment was ruined. A beat-up copy of a Fender Jaguar was his favorite -- he'd glued it together after it'd been broken, and it was featured in the band's video for "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This.)"

"It was a unique guitar to have," he says. "I was in the studio, and they were all in the control room, and I'm playing guitar," Putesky relates. "At the end, Trent says, 'Do it again, but do it more like this.' We went through this three times, and he says, 'Hold on. I'll come in there. Let me show you what I'm talking about.' So I take my guitar off, hand it to him -- and he smashes it. Just to fuck with me. Then he laughed and left the room."

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?'"

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 Superstar made 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."

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton