I recently came into some documents—well, one.
The why and the how shouldn't matter, but it came with the cost of a great deal of personal dignity at the hands of the Raleigh Red Hat Amphitheater Stagehands Union. It was worth it.
My source prefers to remain nameless, his family blissfully unaware of his work within the '90s revivalism circuit. What he provided me is a portal into a world of darkness and human degradation I could have barely imagined: the minutes for the "Team Morale Boosting" meeting of "The End Times" tour, co-headlined by Marilyn Manson and The Smashing Pumpkins.
It is reprinted here, without permission.
MINUTES FOR MEETING TO ADDRESS "LOW MORALE" ON THE SMASHING PUMPKINS & MARILYN MANSON "THE END TIMES" TOUR
DATE: Sunday, July 26, 1997 (Note: Date adjusted to reflect that it's still the '90s, per request of both artists. It is actually 2015.)
ATTENDEES: Tour crisis mediator; tour stenographer; Marilyn Manson (the man, the myth, the musician); a young woman with more than a passing resemblance to Evan Rachel Wood but who is not actually Evan Rachel Wood; Billy Corgan; a small kitten; an assorted entourage whose members belong in part to Corgan and in part to Manson, but who are united by a high number of black star tattoos (all fading), from wrist to elbow.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: All parties agree to approval of minutes of previous six meetings, all yesterday. Satisfied with this progress, Corgan places a large satchel, emblazoned with a single star, upon a backstage table. From within, the sound of purring is audible. Also satisfied with the progress, Manson places a brewed bottle of Tazo's "zen," or green tea with a little lemongrass, on the table. Per Manson's rider, said tea is referred to as "absinthe" by all parties present. A number of sugar cubes are placed next to the bottle.
MOTION 1: Tour crisis mediator (also known at one point as Jimmy Chamberlin's defense attorney) pleas again with all parties to end all entourage aggressions, including but not limited to: leaving of anonymous notes stating "D'arcy wasn't the extraneous female bass player"; referring to The Smashing Pumpkins as "not as good as Reigndance"; dipping of Corgan's hand in warm water during eight-hour "drone" naps; placing "Twiggy was the talented one" stickers on numerous guitar cabinets; the intentional washing in hot water of a prized "Jack Off Jill" long-sleeve, causing irreparable shrinkage.
Motion fails to pass.
MOTION 2: Mediator suggests that fake Twitter accounts under Corgan's and Manson's names that have, since day two of the tour, been repeatedly sending direct messages to Courtney Love with offers to "Make things right, baby" be discontinued. All parties immediately begin the Khrushchev-ian banging of numerous multi-inched creepers on the table. The sound of purring from Corgan's bag grows louder. Everyone is very hostile.
Motion fails to pass.
MOTION 3: Manson attempts to turn topic to "really blowing square's minds" by offering up razors emblazoned with swastikas as incentive for tickets sold at the door. Evan Rachel Wood's demi-doppelgänger sighs loudly enough to scare the kitten.
Motion is tabled until tomorrow, or maybe sometime this afternoon if Corgan wakes up from his drone nap early enough.
MOTION 4: Mediator suggests that the tour would be more successful were the two parties to stop sabotaging each other's tour buses through wholesale theft of eyeliner, the drawing of "googly eyes" on autographed and beloved Dave Navarro posters, and the addition of Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd to each bus's respective DVD players. Both artists insist there is no problem and that they are actually bigger and more successful than ever. "Just ask anyone in the room," Corgan half-sings, half-speaks. Respective entourages cheer in agreement, though both Diet Evan Rachel Wood and Corgan's kitten remain quiet. Even Corgan's bag is momentarily silent.
Motion is forgotten in a wave of self-satisfaction.
MOTION 5: Manson puts forth the motion that he "does a lot of fucking drugs." Corgan counters: "I bet not one person alive today knows the words to a single Pavement song." The mediator says that neither position is relevant to the topic at hand and asks for a vote of agreement, which fails by a show of hands. Corgan's cat retires to his lap, and Manson calls Corgan "Dr. Evil." The two parties briefly come to blows. Corgan removes his cat T-shirt to dry his tears; underneath, he is wearing a slightly tighter version of the exact same cat T-shirt.
The meeting is briefly adjourned to disentangle the rat king-like tangle of the entourage's lip-and-eyebrow rings.
MOTION 6: Manson suggests team-building exercises. Everyone agrees cheerfully, until Manson reveals that said exercise consists of "telling the Christian Right to shove it up their asses." Mediator suggests that perhaps trust falls would be more appropriate, but he is ignored as Corgan furiously scribbles in a Trapper Keeper: "Song idea: Trust Falls Blackly? Trust Fails?" Manson grabs Corgan's Trapper Keeper and draws a large phallus with an arrow pointed at the song prospects, with "Jesus" written underneath.
Brief adjournment called again.
After a brief lunch break of Quiznos, which Manson insists on calling "drugs," the meeting resumes. Both sides seem more open to reconciliation. Corgan burps and everyone laughs, even the kitten.
MOTION 7: Corgan suggests that "since we're the two most important rock 'n' roll bands on the planet," they should get along. Manson concurs, adding, "Satan, cock, etc." For the next 40 minutes, they trade stories of Dave Grohl picking on them. He once pet Corgan's cats backwards, for instance, and even told him transmeditation wasn't "real rock." He didn't alert Manson his hair was frizzing. They agree "that guy is really, really mean" and decide that, the next time they're at the Rainbow Room, they're really going to let Grohl have it.
At last, a motion passes.
MOTION 8: Inspired by this sudden accord, Corgan also suggests issuing a joint press release stating that "Kanye West is totally not a rock star and here's why," followed by an extended discussion of not even playing an instrument.
Everyone high-fives, though all parties scold the mediator when he's seen pinching the bridge of his nose and exhaling audibly. He apologizes and says, "Yeah, OK, fine. Let's do that."
Satisfied with himself, Corgan at last opens his satchel and pulls out one kitten after another, each one larger than the last, all the while firing members of his entourage and replacing them with said felines. Manson begins carving a pornographic pentagram on the table, chugs some "absinthe" and loudly expounds on how society is the real devil. The mediator reminds both parties of the no-self-parody clause in their Live Nation tour contracts. Both Manson and Corgan profess a lack of familiarity with the phrase.
MOTION 9: Corgan and Manson assert that the phrase "no self parody" doesn't even sound like English, and they demand the support of their entourages.
With a cacophony of mewling and sieg heils, the motion passes.
ADJOURNMENT: Having successfully settled not very many disputes at all, representatives of The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson (the band) agree that, moving forward, all future disputes will be settled through inter-entourage JT LeRoy cosplay competitions, not band warfare.
After the meeting is adjourned, Manson reminds Corgan that he still wants to take a piss on the ancestral home of Trent Reznor when the tour reaches Florida. Corgan is still into the idea. Neither of them actually knows how Facebook works, but they agree that doing the soundtrack to a movie about it seems really, really lame.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Thru the eyes of Ruby, a backstage stenographer."