by Lexa Vonn (courtesy of Rock City News)
photos by: Cyndee Arroyo, Saryn Angel, and Coy Kohler.
Halloween was just around the corner and I was looking for someone to interview in honor of it. Bands from every corner of the country were scheduling shows in L.A. Every pseudo-spooky act you could imagine came forth to milk the holiday in search of extra publicity. Why not choose one of them? I thought about it... Having been raised by a family of witches and magicians myself, I decided upon a better idea. Why not interview someone who held a more authentic connection to Halloween? After running through my personal database, I decided to call upon my old friend and grandson to Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, Stanton LaVey and his Satanic pin-up model fiancée, Szandora. Graciously, they insisted that we do the interview in person and immediately invited me to their home in an undisclosed location somewhere in the greater L.A. area. I showed up around 2:00 am after getting lost several times along the way. Eventually, I found the creepy dirt road that curled around past some old meth-lab looking trailers, a dog pen, a tree house and finally, the gargoyle fountain that let me know I had arrived at the right place. Stanton greeted me in the driveway and led me to a rustic cabin where the interview would be conducted as the moments of the still night passed before us. Inside was a small entourage consisting of dogs, cats and a few friends including a one-week-old baby. And no, we DIDN’T eat it!!
Lexa: What was it like growing up as a member of the LaVey family?
Stanton: I grew up in a household that was considered to be the real life Adams Family. Halloween was every day of my life. I lived in such a spooky environment as it was that I’ve been desensitized to what other people view as extreme for a really long time.
Lexa: How old were you when you realized you were different from the other kids?
Stanton: As early as pre-school. When I was about 3 or 4 years old in pre-school there was a Xerox of a picture of Burt and Ernie digging a hole in the dirt and the kids were suppose to draw what they thought Burt and Ernie would find in the hole. All the other kids drew little faces, trees and stuff. I chose gray, black and brown crayons and drew skulls and bones and dirt. I thought it was just obvious common sense that Burt and Ernie were grave robbing.
Lexa: What did you dress up as for Halloween?
Stanton: There were a lot of great homemade Halloween costumes. One year I was a werewolf and my mother glued fur to my face and all over my arms. I had ripped up jeans and looked just like the original Wolfman. Another year I was a satyr and I went shirtless to school with panpipes and curly hair. When I was 10 years old, I dressed up as the Zodiac killer and went trick or treating in Beverly Hills with John Aes-Nihil, of the Archives of Aesthetic Nihilism.
Lexa: Was it hard for you to make friends growing up?
Stanton: No. It’s interesting; so many kids who are attracted to the spooky element of Satanism and what it represents socially are outcasts and often dorks, losers, kids that are picked on… For me, growing up with Satanism, my beliefs and my family background always just served as ammunition for me being the bully. I never got picked on in school. There is a strange cultural difference between the way I grew up and seeing what kinds of kids are usually drawn to spooky stuff. The kids that are usually drawn to spooky things are passive wimps, where as I grew up to be a more strong domineering fellow. If most of these kids came to the Black House, they’d probably shit their pants!
Lexa: You’ve recently denounced the Church of Satan in the press. What’s going on with the C.O.S today?
Stanton: First off, Peter Gilmore who owns the C.O.S. and the whole business is a total crackpot who is not even a qualified black magician. He bought his way in by means of ass kissing to my grandfather late in my grandfather’s years and basically purchased himself a priesthood. My grandfather knew the clock was ticking and said, “why not, if the right people approach me generously enough, I will appoint them a priest.” Meanwhile, all these C.O.S and Anton LaVey followers take this priesthood with the utmost seriousness. So, while my grandfather was just throwing titles around, Peter Gilmore is basking in whatever smalltime glory there is in being a priest in an elite organization of mostly dungeon and dragon playing super-geeks. Then, when my grandfather died, there was no one to step in to take care of the organization as a business. Nothing of any interest has really been done to preserve my grandfathers name since. Now more than ever, there is a huge and growing interest in my family background, the truth about my grandfather, and the controversy between me and the C.O.S. We’ve got some pretty fun plans for the near and distant future of Satanism worldwide.
Lexa: What are some of those plans? A new church?
Stanton: We are moving away from the religious position. This is a lifestyle movement and a philosophical state of being and we plan on capitalizing and mass marketing Satanism in a classy way that is effective and tasteful, sexy and interesting, fresh and new. We want to appeal to a new and more open-minded generation of potential Satanists. Christianity has never been as dumbed-down as it is today and right now is the best chance for us leaders and spokespeople for Satanism to take control of the situation. There are a lot of kids who are looking for a straight answer and there is no straighter answer than Satanism, one that comes from pure common sense and logic.
Lexa: When most people hear the word Satanism they think of this Hollywood-fied devil worshipping, animal sacrificing, baby eating type of thing. Explain what real Satanism is about.
Stanton: I see Satanism as being the generalized alternative to anything conservative. It is a spiritual system or code that one lives by, a substitute for what we all see today as generalized programmed spirituality.
Szandora: It’s about looking inside yourself for the answers as opposed to looking outward. It’s about being your own god. It’s about living your life and loving it. It’s self-empowerment.
Stanton: Never did the C.O.S present ideas of violence or sacrifice to the public. The public presented those ideas as an explanation for Satanism to itself. Their fascination lies in the morbid and sordid and they want to blame us as the scapegoat for their own kicks. People that commit those crimes are devil worshippers and psychopaths and are the minority.
Szandora: When hurricane Katrina hit it was called an act of God, yet no one blames God for killing 1000’s of people. But one animal gets murdered by some idiot and suddenly its Satan’s fault.
Lexa: Would you like to see Satanism as an accepted norm?
Stanton: Absolutely. So many people and trends are taking on the classification of Satanism, it has branched out into every avenue of pop culture. There are Satanic rap artist and pop groups and punk groups and metal groups galore. Satanic art is popular and prevalent in all forms ranging from multi-media and underground art to fine art with people like Stephen Kasner. We’ve got a great future ahead of us. This is all pre-determined Satanism. We will be the leading para-religion of the future.
Lexa: Would you say Satanism is kind of like each person designing their own religion for themselves?
Stanton: Absolutely, it breaks down to how you feel at the end of the day. Do you feel like what you’ve done today is the right thing for you personally spiritually? It’s doing whatever you need to do to make sure that when you die you are as satisfied as you can be.
Lexa: I think a lot of people feel that way but they won’t call it Satanism because of the bad rap the name gets.
Stanton: People often ask me if I convert people. I say, no I don’t convert them. What I do is I find people that don’t know that they already are Satanists and I inform them. My big problem with the C.O.S is that a religion based on ass kissing the next guy up in some pyramid of black clad nerds is not what my grandfather was shooting for.
Lexa: Do you think you and the C.O.S will ever join forces for any reason?
Stanton: I actually am a Satanic high priest for what its worth to certain people and I am working on a deal with Peter Gilmore right now to get position as high priest and commissioner of the C.O.S Bowling League.
Szandora: We’d like to have some other cults sprout up so we can have some other bowling teams.
Stanton: We have Team Satan and The Partridge Family Temple Team so far. We’d like to have a Manson Family Team. We’re going to have cheerleaders, too. And it will all be united under the C.O.S Bowling League.
Lexa: What other projects do you have in the works?
Stanton: I am starting my own multi-media production company. We are currently putting together a band and a really low-budget, extremely tasteless television show. I am also working on our website which will have fundraisers to help animals in need and the first ever Satanic personals so all the spooky kids can find each other and have one big orgy to produce more Satanists. Szandora and I actually met each other on MySpace.com after several missed encounters of looking for one another.
Szandora: On Oct. 29th we are doing a memorial show with The Dwarves for the 8th anniversary of Anton LaVey’s death. I will be hoola-hooping live. We’re also getting married next year.
Lexa: What kind of wedding are you going to have?
Szandora: We’re going to have a public Satanic wedding and sell tickets. We’ve booked Alkaline Trio, who are a Satanic band, to play at the wedding. We’re going to have live performance art including my anti-burlesque troupe, The Satanic Witches Revival which was inspired by the topless review that Anton LaVey once had featuring Susan Atkins of the Manson Family.
Stanton: Boyd Rice is going to marry us.
Lexa: Any last words to the public?
Szandora: If you have questions about Satanism seek the answers out for yourself, get the Satanic Bible and read it, don’t ask anyone. If you get it the first time, then that’s all you need. Don’t idolize it or make it your complete life. If you conform to Satanism, you might as well be a Christian.
Stanton: Look out for merchandise, billboards and propaganda. Check out the website, www.stantonlavey.com. Satanism should become the worldwide norm. People need to give up, because Satanism is the only true way.
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