At age 46, Marilyn Manson is still the "prince of darkness" you know him as—in a new New York Times profile, he calls himself a "destroying, chaos element in the world"—but some things have changed a bit. For example, during the Times interview, he showed off cellphone pictures of his 11-year-old cat, Lily White, "the one true center of my universe"; sang "The Thong Song"; and admitted he's somewhat of a homebody and enjoys painting. And after much drug abuse in his younger years, he now smokes pot legally, compliments of a doctor's note tied to a broken toe. He even recorded his new album The Pale Emporer, out Tuesday, during daylight hours rather than his typical 3am. That's partly because he collaborated with soundtrack composer Tyler Bates, who was not at all fazed by Manson's persona.
"He realized that him walking in the room and being Marilyn Manson didn’t matter to me," says Bates, 49, recalling that when they first met, Bates asked him, "It's time to reinvent, no?" and Manson agreed. The new album has the same familiar dark lyrics, but, as Melena Ryzik writes for the Times, it also features "crunchy, spare blues rock riffs" rather than Manson's typical "industrial-sounding overproduction." Says Manson, "I do admit to myself, I was not as great as I wanted to be the past couple of years—as a person, as a musician, as an artist." The album is part of a career overhaul, which has also featured more acting (including a recent stint on Sons of Anarchy), and the founder of Loma Vista Recordings, which is putting it out, is enthusiastic: "I really felt that he was having a creative moment later on in his career that most people don’t find." Click for the full profile. (Read more Marilyn Manson stories.)