Scott Mitchell Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz) is the co-founder and former lead guitarist of one of the most controversial bands of the late 20th century “Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids”. While in “Marilyn Manson” Scott recorded multiple gold and platinum albums creating what most fans (and certainly this fan) consider to be the band’s greatest work. After his departure from the group in 1996, Scott has been in various other projects including “Jack Off Jill” and his own solo project “Three Ton Gate”. We are pleased to have Mr. Putesky answer a few questions for us today at BLANKMANinc.com!
BLANKMANinc: How did you first get involved in music?
Scott Mitchell Putesky: “It was in first grade where I learned note intervals on a small marimba. We learned about classical composers and American Pop. I saw musicals on Broadway and listened to the radio while playing on a small old GE electric organ. Through elementary school I played flute, trumpet and snare drum and I taught myself keyboard with an encyclopedia while watching MTV.”
BMi: I read somewhere that David Bowie was an early influence of yours, I’m a huge Bowie fan myself so I gotta ask, what’s your favorite Bowie album?
SMP: “Toss up between Scary Monsters and Let’s Dance. Ashes To Ashes and Fashion were some of the first music videos I ever saw – I was fascinated by the sounds and visual styling. I’ve always been intrigued by art and music and I realized through music video that the two were easily well combined.”
BMi: So, how did you meet Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) and end up forming the band?
SMP:“I met Warner quite simply at a club we used to frequent called Reunion Room and talked more in depth at a mutual friend’s after-party. We wound up building a strong local (Fort Lauderdale, FL) following at Reunion Room. DJ Tim Gallagher was the first to play our (Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids) demos. Warner and I didn’t decide on making a band right away but he did pull me away from the people with whom I was already doing music.”
BMi: The bands early image was a quirky blend of colorful spookiness with dark shades of humanity and it was pretty much the first of its kind. How much of the band’s image was directly your creation?
SMP: “I was proud of our art weirdness and I didn’t think anyone would get it or get into it. The name The Spooky Kids was my idea we shaped the band along the creative lines of us being the actual offspring of Charlie Manson’s family (they did have a few illegitimate children).”
“However, we chose to have the names mimic the Marilyn Manson model but with serial killer names to Manson’s cult leader name. Rather than something too obvious like “Marilyn Manson & The Cereal Killers”. Our general image solidified over the course of 1990. We drew from huge palette of Americana and harmonized different eras and cultural styles.”
BMi: You guys sort of made your first big break when Trent Reznor signed you to Nothing records back in the early 90’s, what was it like working for Trent?
SMP: “It wasn’t that we worked for Trent – he helped us – arguably so. Around the recording time of Smells Like Children I think he began to regret helping us as much as he did. Through 1994, 1995 Manson became more interesting and controversial than Nine Inch Nails and a sub-conscious conflict with Warner began stirring. Reznor didn’t like the original mixes of Portrait Of An American Family (done at Criteria Studios, North Miami) and had us re-record and remix our debut album. I felt doing this was unnecessary and worried it would make us look like a Nine Inch Nails/Reznor spin-off. The final result, however, is a very high quality piece of work.”
BMi: To me your guitar work on the band’s debut album “Portrait of an American Family” was a unique mixture of bluesy grungy goodness, what was your influence for this sound?
SMP:“I wanted to get much noisier with Portrait but I knew that would put a lot of listeners off. For me note selection is a large portion of the process. Many of my phrases and flourishes come from a broad diversity; Andy Summers, The Edge, Alex Lifeson, Elliot Easton, Ron Ashton, Robin Guthrie, Kevin Shields, Steve Albini … (focus?) It took Nirvana’s In Utero to get listeners and labels to appreciate “noise”. This was an interesting effect, because, if you’re faking being into it you will pay the price. So it was more a weeding out process than finding the market for Noise. Kurt Cobain messed with the label heads more than that of the fans. So, to put it simply, my influence – at that point – was anything I found interesting or had grown up with.”
BMi: The band hit huge success after the “Smells Like Children” EP with its rendition of “Sweet Dreams”, did you ever think the band would get so huge so quickly?
SMP: “I didn’t think we would ever even get signed! In 1994 I thought we should do Sweet Dreams and presented it to the band with my slower darker guitar interpretation. When the song was released it divided people – they loved it or hated it. This was good. Just like us, as a band, if loved – you’re loved. If hated, people that hate you talk about you even more so.”
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