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As a new creative chapter of Marilyn Manson begins in 2011, so does the consolidation of what may be the band's tightest, and strongest lineup. Completing that lineup is bassist FRED SABLAN, formerly of Californian punk-rockers Crack, current collaborator in Goon Moon, composer of his own esoteric Birthday Twin project, and DJ alongside close friend and band-mate Twiggy Ramirez.
Provider Module is proud to present Fred's first interview since joining Marilyn Manson, in which he discusses his influences, technique, musical history and shares some amazing stories!
At what age did you first start playing music, and how did this lead into forming Crack?
"Early... probably 11 or 12 years old. I would plug my Sears guitar into the stereo and and try to play along to songs, didn't even know how to tune a guitar for at least a year. I'm left-handed, but for some reason playing guitar right-handed was easier for me. I started going to shows around then too, saw everything from big rock shows to little punk shows in basements. There were a few bands I played in, but I didn't take them seriously. Went to see Bad Brains with the Butthole Surfers and that's when everything changed for me. They were both destroying the stage and didn't give a shit about anything else... and the music was great. Total expression with zero compromise. I wanted a band like that."
It's difficult to find extensive information on Crack, could you tell us a little about the band and your memories of playing the California scene during that time?
"We played like we were being electrocuted and every show was completely different. Some shows were amazing and some were disasters... I liked both.
We didn't have a myspace profile or any of that nonsense. Played lots of shows, got banned at a few clubs, pissed off other bands... I'm surprised I lived after some of the them. Then one day we sold out a night at our local club and we're on the cover of The Metro, I knew it was all downhill from there because it was becoming something I didn't want to be a part of. I moved two weeks later to LA after playing five shows in four days there. There was a totally different creative scene that I wanted to be a part of. Eventually, we all hated each other and broke up."
Which artists inspired you growing up, and how did that shape your approach to music both then, and now?
"I've always been a fan of Paul Simonon of The Clash. No bullshit and completely cool, he means everything he does 100%. I like dumb pop songs to pure noise, it all mixes together and plays a part as far as I'm concerned. There are main ones for me like The Stooges, X, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Funkadelic, etc...artists that never compromise. That's what I love about Marilyn Manson."
Metroactive's '97 Crack article mentions you watching Twin Peaks and My Own Private Idaho when recording, whilst Birthday Twin focuses on film score. How important is Cinema to your music?
"I've spent most of my life obsessing over films just as much as music. Both can change each other dramatically. I've always wanted to score films and I always write music with visuals in mind."
You're a multi-instrumentalist, but do you have a favoured role?
"Right now it's bass. I'm having the most fun with it at the moment."
Could you talk us through your most trusted/favourite set-ups - i.e.; Amps, Guitars, Pedals, Synths, Mixing/Recording tools?
"Whatever works really. Doesn't matter, just as long as it sounds how I want it to sound. I've got piles of crappy and good pedals/amps/synths/guitars, but you never know what's going to work best for the situation. I spent many years trying to find the 'best' gear and it really doesn't matter. When we tour, I'll be using Twiggy's Ampeg bass amps that he's always used because I want it true to the sound of Marilyn Manson. We'll add some updated extras too."
Where are you most at home, stage or studio?
"Playing shows is what I love most. The studio is where I can spend months creating whatever, it's endless and makes my days more interesting. Live shows make it all worth it, I can't wait."
How did you and Twiggy originally become friends, and did that naturally lead into Goon Moon and DJing together?
"I'd been friends with Aaron North for a while before he joined NIN. Went with some friends to a show in San Francisco in 2005 and that's where I met Twiggy. I spent some time touring with them, just hanging out on their bus for weeks traveling around having fun. We would all DJ together at this dumpy bar in Hollywood where Twiggy and I bonded over loving the same stupid songs. We're very similar in a lot of ways. Somewhere in there, we became great friends. We always go to lunch at the same place at least once a week, literally for years now. He started talking about Goon Moon and the idea of playing shows. I basically talked my way into the band, he'd never seen me play an instrument. Shocked to this day that he had faith in me to do it. We discovered we played alike during rehearsals. So, during the shows we switched between guitar and bass."
Goon Moon fans are keen to see future material, can you say if anything is planned or ready to release at this stage? Similarly, will you be doing more with Birthday Twin in the future?
"It takes about a day for Chris Goss and Twiggy to write 3 songs and have them recorded and done. Ultimately, it's all about getting in a room together and doing it.
Goss has been busy with MASTERS OF REALITY and we've been busy with the Manson album, so it's just a matter of free time. I'm planning some Birthday Twin releases, there's a lot of material. One will be a live performance to a short film, then releasing it on DVD with some kind of download of the music."
How awesome is it jamming with people like Chris Goss, Twiggy, and Vrenna?
"Very. I've learned a lot from Goss, his musical ability and knowledge is unreal and he's the sweetest man around. Twiggy's obviously an amazing bass player and can write endless amounts of songs. He's a fucking great guitar player, I don't know if people fully realize this. I'm constantly blown away by Vrenna, his skills in the studio are better than most and his drumming is pure blood, guts, and power."
Which contemporary artists do you think are doing something fresh and progressive in music today?
"There's a few like Liars, The Entrance Band, The Horrors, UNKLE, Black Mountain, A Place To Bury Strangers, Black Angels, Grouper... always looking for new stuff. John Frusciante's solo career is seriously impressive too."
What have you been listening to most recently? [old and new]
"Been listening to Disintegration by The Cure in my car constantly, it never gets old. Also been listening to this band Dungen, they're Swedish and good."
How closely had you followed or listened to Marilyn Manson before joining? And is there a favourite album, songs or a particular era that resonates with you?
"I saw the video for Sweet Dreams when it first aired and I bought the cd the next day. Always loved the band and bought every album after that. I knew Manson was a genius and he only proved that more and more on each album. I could also tell instantly that Twiggy was the other main musical and visual factor with Manson. He's a great songwriter with the stage presence of 10 rock stars in one. The live shows, visuals, music, interviews, etc... it's all unstoppable. As far as favorite songs and eras, it changes all the time. That's the way it should be for your favorite bands. Right now, it's the new album... obviously.
When I first moved to LA in 1997, I went to Hollywood Lanes to bowl with friends (The Big Lebowski was filmed there). We ended up in the next lane to Manson, Rose McGowan, Vincent Gallo and his young girlfriend at the time. Manson and Gallo just sat there being cool with drinks, telling those girls how to bowl without touching a bowling ball themselves. My mind was blown. I was too nervous to say a word to him. I told Manson that story recently."
Manson broke news of you joining the band. How did this come about? Was there a formal process or was it a natural move from Goon Moon and associated projects to Marilyn Manson?
"I was with Twiggy when he ran into Manson at the Roosevelt Hotel at the end of 2007, they hadn't seen each other in a while. It was a magical moment that led to him rejoining the band and I felt very lucky to have been there. There were numerous times after that when we would all hang out, it was great getting to know Manson and Vrenna on a different level other than music. At one point, Twiggy invited me to the new studio to hang out. Billy Zane used to live there and now it's been converted into this huge space for recording. It also serves as a space for Manson's painting, taking photos, making films, and anything else he wants it to be. Manson played me what they had recorded so far and my jaw was on the floor, they'd only been working on it for maybe a month or two. I was completely into it. A week later, I went there again and we had a crazy night. We made a song on the spot with Manson on the mic singing, the energy in that room was unbelievable. Manson and I talked while he was in Greece for his art show and that's when he mentioned to me about the idea of joining the band. After a month of going to the studio to play music and hang out, he gave me the official word. I can't even describe how happy I was that day."
On the last two Manson albums, the songwriting approach was collaborative between Manson and one or two people. Has your inclusion to the band altered this method at all?
"I don't know about it being altered that much. Manson and Twiggy are the main men, they write great fucking songs... period. The four of us have been working hard to make an amazing album, but it's Manson that takes it all to a whole new level."
Last year on his social networking pages, Manson uploaded images of a painted work-in-progress - Fred The Tree Man. Assuming this was a portrait of yourself, what do you think of it, and do you own a copy?
"That's me... as a tree man. Manson painted it after he told me I was in the band. The idea of the painting came about from one of the first times we hung out and I'm seriously lucky and honored that he did it. It's done and being framed for me."