Paul Wiley came on to the scene as a virtual unknown but quickly made himself at home in the Los Angeles rock world. Paul grabbed hold of one of the most coveted and taboo gigs ever, the touring guitarist for Marilyn Manson. We sat down with Paul to break bread and let him tell his story of making a deal with the devil himself.
- Stepping into a band like Manson sounds like a dream and a curse. There are some heavy shoes to fill. Take us through the process of becoming the guitarist of one of rock’s most controversial acts?
I was on tour with another show and Tyler and Manson called me on my birthday in 2014 to tell me that the position was mine if I wanted it. It was a very good gift. I started rehearsals with Manson after a week of being home. Then it was on to Russia for the first show with the current lineup, but we didn't play because of bomb threats in Moscow. We were on side of the stage about a minute from the show starting when military police came and took us off stage to a tent where we waited to see if we were going to play. Needless to say we didn't. I also got eggs and holy water thrown at me on the way to venue. So first show with Manson for me, we didn't play. So asking what it's like - it's never boring.
- You had a previous relationship with Tyler before joining the band, how did you two meet?
Tyler was my favorite guitar player in Chicago in the early 90s. He was in a popular band at the same time that I was in a band trying to figure out stylistically what I wanted to do. Fast forward to when I moved to LA in 2011, and I hit him up asking for advice on breaking into the scoring world.
He also was nice enough to invite me to some sessions for some of his scores, and from there we just started hanging out more and more. I remember the day he told me he was going to be working with Manson on a record. Never for a second did I think he would be touring in the band and he would be gracious enough to recommend me to join the chaos as well. But music aside, I consider him to be a great friend, mentor, and genuinely real.
- Were you a fan of Marilyn Manson before joining the band?
I was a huge fan of Manson from the start. When the debut came out in ‘94 it was such a great presentation visually and sonically, I was sold! I was never a huge fan of the Seattle thing, so Manson was a band that instantly grabbed my attention. Finally a band with some colorful danger. I'd say Mechanical Animals is still in my top 5 records. I almost auditioned in ‘96 when they were looking for a replacement for Daisy, but in an Alternative Press article there was mention of them smoking Ketamine and human bone from a pipe. I thought maybe I was a bit too pure at the time. Ketamine can be fun, but smoking human bone didn't appeal to me. Since being in the band I've found out that the story is actually true.
- How did the fans take to you as the new guitarist?
Lucky for me, Manson really does have the most devoted fans I've ever seen. On the first run of Europe in 2014 they would glance at me like "who the fuck is this guy", but as it went on they opened up.
- You’ve been playing Schecter since you joined the band, how did that transpire? And how has that relationship bloomed since being in Manson?
The Schecter relationship started great and has blossomed into true friendships with some people there. It's amazing to have an idea and watch it come to life exactly how you envision it.
- Give us a run down on your Schecter guitar collection, as you seem to have some amazing customized, one of a kind guitars.
I've had some great guitars come to life. I had an idea for a cracked mirror tele which is so well constructed its sick. Others include the Heaven Upside Down cross etched and then burned into a Solo-II. I have a Solo-6 that changes colors depending on the lighting, and the first one Schecter ever made for me and still my favorite is the 666 hash mark distressed Solo-6.
- You have now switched most of your guitars to Schecter USA Custom Pickups as well, how have they been working out?
I love the sound of the Schecter pickups, my tone is more of a razor like midrange thing. So those pickups through a Marshall JCM 900 have added more definition to my sound in Manson.
You had some big shoes to fill with the Manson guitarists of the past being such huge characters in this band. How do you approach playing live in a band like Manson and standing out on your own?
It's more about filling my role than standing on my own. I think it's more about being prepared for anything Manson can call out at any time, and then you're playing a song you haven't played as a band, or he might give you a signal with his hands that means bring it down or stop to involve the crowd. So basically I have one eye on the crowd, one eye on him.
- Watching footage from the last tours it seems to get a little violent onstage. Is that just part of the show or is that how intense playing live in Marilyn Manson gets?
Some nights it's more about vibe, but there is always a chaotic element in every show. Things get thrown, broken, and you definitely get bruises, scars. When I first joined it felt like playing a show in a war zone. Now it feels natural to me. Now I can't see playing on a stage that would be warm and comforting.
- The band this time around seems more centered and solid, what is different now than before?
What is different is we've been playing together for 3 years. You pick up on certain things over time, even if it goes off the rails, we know exactly how to reel it back in, between the four of us. You learn everyone's habits and even what certain looks mean.
- With minimal props and theatrics last tour, the main focus seemed to be on the music. Will we see a return of the “Big Show” this time around when you return this summer to tour with Rob Zombie, Is there anything new and exciting that Manson will be pulling out of his hat of tricks for this tour?
I personally think we have always brought a big show. But this tour will be a big spectacle with a different approach than the previous tours. We have a new production and show, new set list…the fans will be pleased.
- With the way that the industry has changed it seems the rock fans themselves have as well. Is Manson able to tap into the new ‘fast food’ generation of rock fans?
I personally think Marilyn Manson is one of the only rock bands left that matters and those terms and rules never seem to apply to Manson fans. I've seen die hard kids that are 13 or 14, so they weren't around when Beautiful People or Dope Show or even ‘Mobscene’ were released. Their Manson experience started at ‘High End of Low’ or ‘Pale Emperor’. I think Manson fans don't follow the same mindset as other people that go to rock shows.
- How was the USA Tour?
The US tour was great in the sense that they were makeup dates and the crowds seemed more intense. Chicago and New Jersey were standouts.
- You’re gearing up for our European tour, how does American tours differ from European tours?
Best thing about Europe is the crowds have way less phones out, in my experience European crowds are more into the moment.
- Do you have other projects you are working on or is Marilyn Manson it?
When I'm not touring I score films of a darker nature. Mostly in the horror genre. I recently scored a movie called Terrifier that will be coming out soon. It's the best slasher film I've seen since the early 80s. The vinyl release of my score is coming out soon as well.
JUL 11 - DTE ENERGY MUSIC CENTER DETROIT, MI
JUL 13 - ROCK USA OSHKOSH, WI
JUL 14 - HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATRE ST. LOUIS, MO
JUL 15 - HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATRE CHICAGO, IL
JUL 17 - BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH
JUL 18 - RUOFF HOME MORTGAGE CENTER NOBLESVILLE, IN
JUL 20 - VETERAN’S UNITED HOME LOANS AMPHITHEATRE VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
JUL 21 - JIFFY LUBE LIVE BRISTOW, VA
JUL 22 - KROCKATHON SYRACUSE, NY
JUL 24 - PNC BANK ARTS CENTER HOLMDEL, NJ
JUL 25 - KEYBANK PAVILION PITTSBURGH, PA
JUL 26 - BUDWEISER STAGE TORONTO, ON
JUL 28 - HEAVY MONTREAL MONTREAL, CANADA
JUL 29 - IMPACT MUSIC FESTIVAL BANGOR, ME
AUG 01 - THE FILLMORE CHARLOTTE CHARLOTTE, NC
AUG 02 - HOUSE OF BLUES MYRTLE BEACH MYRTLE BEACH, SC
AUG 05 - PALACE THEATER LOUISVILLE, KY
AUG 07 - NORTHWELL HEALTH AT JONES BEACH THEATER WANTAGH, NY
AUG 08 - XFINITY CENTER MANSFIELD, MA
AUG 09 - BB&T PAVILION CAMDEN, NJ
AUG 11 - THE XFINITY THEATRE HARTFORD, CT
AUG 12 - DARIEN LAKE AMPHITHEATRE DARIEN LAKE, NY
AUG 14 - CELLAIRIS AMPHITHEATRE AT LAKEWOOD ATLANTA, GA
AUG 16 - STARPLEX PAVILION DALLAS, TX
AUG 17 - AUSTIN360 AMPHITHEATRE AUSTIN< TX
AUG 18 - CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL PAVILION WOODLANDS, TX
AUG 20 - PEPSI CENTER ARENA DENVER, CO
AUG 22 - USANA AMP SALT LAKE CITY, UT
AUG 24 - MATTRESS FIRM AMPHITHEATRE CHULA VISTA, CA
AUG 25 - MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA LAS VEGAS, NV
AUG 26 - AK-CHIN PAVILION PHOENIX, AZ
AUG 28 - CONCORD PAVILION CONCORD, CA
AUG 29 - FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE IRVINE, CA