Neil Strauss Strips the Sheen Off the Celebrity Interview


Strauss on the meanest star he's ever interviewed: "Joni Mitchell: she's so bitter. She doesn't feel like she's gotten enough credit for her work. She's an icon in music but if you don't compare her to Picasso and Mozart -- that's how she wants it, Picasso, Mozart, Joni Mitchell -- she's not happy. And you see her in the '60s and she just seems like a daffodil."

An 18-year-old Paris Hilton on breast implants and posing for Playboy: "I had a breast job when I was 14, but my mother made me take them out. … I'm thinking about posting for Playboy. They love famous people's kids. … And the only reason I'd do it is because when my dad finds out, he'll pay me double the money not to do it."

(A representative for Hilton told, "The claims are totally false. Paris Hilton has never had breast implants." In his introduction to Hilton's quotes, Strauss writes, "Maybe she said what follows for provocation and shock value. Maybe she didn't. You decide.")

A 19-year-old Christina Aguilera on her guardian angel: "I used to see my guardian angel when I was very young. My mom and I were playing hide-and-go-seek one time. I ran up the stairs and my mom was saying, 'I'm going to get you, I'm going to get you.' And all of a sudden, I looked up and stopped dead in my tracks. There was this guy and he was in an all white outfit, just kinda glowing. He was looking down at me. He had a white beard."

Strauss on watching Motley Crue get arrested: "The first time I met Motley Crue, I went back to meet them as the police were getting backstage and I tried to run backstage and beat the police and say, 'Hey guys, you're getting arrested … Evidently, it happens to them so often that as Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx were arrested, the singer Vince Neil was still blow drying his hair the whole time like it was nothing."

Hugh Hefner on Viagra: "I think they're underselling Viagra, because it's more than an impotence drug. It's a recreational drug. It eliminates the boundaries between expectation and reality. It permits a level of pleasure that is otherwise just something you hope for. I think it's as important, in its own way, as the birth control pill."

Cher on Hollywood: "Boy, you know, I gotta tell you something, if this business doesn't f**king kill you, then you can just come back and hopefully be the best person you're ever going to be, because it's the only business that eats its young."

Marilyn Manson on how people perceive him: "I have people come up to me and ask if they can cut me while I cut them or if I can put out a cigarette on their face. I can understand that people are trying to make a first impression, but I think that a lot of people think that because in the past I've cut myself, that I'm into sadomasochism and I like to do that to other people. They don't understand it was just an expression of what I was doing onstage. It was a piece of time. They can't comprehend that it's not what Marilyn Manson is about (pauses, reflects). It has to be the right circumstance."

Neil Young on modern musicians: "The pessimistic outlook that bands have today and the angst, this is part of what we created for our children. They're reflecting it back at us, and now we have to live with it. And they have a right to be pessimistic. It's not as easy to grow up now as it was in the '60s. The world is much more dangerous place. There are a lot less dreams being realized."

Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor on longevity, long before winning an Oscar: "When you think about the rock world, there's a window of time where what you do has pertinence and meaning. I hope ten years from now I'm making soundtracks or producing something. I don't want to be putting mud all over myself at the f**king Sands lounge in Las Vegas."

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