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Manson Family Feud

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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."

To be fair, Putesky has kept busy since his excommunication from Marilyn Manson. He spends time every day writing and recording his own songs. But except for a brief stint selling guitars at a big-box music store, he hasn't worked a single day since the settlement. That constitutes a victory -- if not against Manson, then against "the man." "Still, I don't like it when people say, 'Oh, you don't work,'" he complains. "I feel the need to be busier."

Although he's tried to make contact with his old lead singer only to be rebuffed, he's trying not to hold a grudge.

"This is his first and only band -- let's make a note of that," he points out. "But I won't say that he's stupid. His is a P.T. Barnum talent. He's very close to being famous for being famous. And that means he sucks."

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton