Scott Mitchell Putesky, the Fort Lauderdale musician who helped birth Marilyn Manson, died Sunday after a long battle with colon cancer.
Putesky, better known as Daisy Berkowitz, the co-founding guitarist of Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, was 49. Putesky was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2013 and died in Boca Raton, where his parents live.
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Putesky’s name isn’t as well known as Marilyn Manson’s but if Putesky hadn’t crossed paths with Brian Warner, the man who became the title character of the South Florida shock-rock group, the world would never have met the “Antichrist Superstar.”
The two met in 1989 at The Reunion Room in Fort Lauderdale. Warner told Putesky of his vision for a rock band that would take the theatrics of acts like Kiss and Alice Cooper but add a darker, gruesome gothic twist. Together, they created the concept by which each member took a stage name that would combine the first name of a female glamour figure with the surname of a serial killer.
Putesky became Daisy Berkowitz — Daisy after Daisy Duke from television’s “The Dukes of Hazzard” and Berkowitz after New York killer David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz.
Warner’s portmanteau merged Marilyn Monroe with Charles Manson, the California cult leader behind the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate and others.
But it was Putesky’s musicianship, songwriting, and industrial guitar that gave early Marilyn Manson its musical credibility on songs like “Lunchbox,” “My Monkey,” “Dope Hat,” and “Cake and Sodomy.”
Rob Elba, who, with his band the Holy Terrors, played the same local clubs as the fledgling Marilyn Manson, told South Florida.com that Putesky was a dominant talent.
“Brian may have been a good lyricist, but the whole music part of Marilyn Manson was 90 percent Scott.”
Putesky developed his playing and songwriting after moving to Coral Springs at 13 from New Jersey. “It’s a rough time to be separated from your friends and your environment. Florida is so drastically different,” Putesky told Noisey in 2014. “I was a misfit until pretty much my junior year. I had a few cool friends, most of which turned me on to really good music and were in bands and I could play with them.”
He started playing guitar at 15 and was jamming with others at 16. By his mid 20s, Putesky was on arena stages opening for Nine Inch Nails with the group that now shortened its name to Marilyn Manson.
Despite his outsized role in Marilyn Manson, Putesky left over the usual “creative differences” while recording the band’s breakthrough album, “Antichrist Superstar,” in 1996. Manson and Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails leader who was producing the album, squeezed him out, he felt.
“I left because I wasn’t getting the respect and appreciation and work I deserved,” Putesky told Noisey. “When we started recording I had about 10 or a dozen demos for Brian to listen to so we could develop something. I don’t know if he listened to any of them, but he never wanted to work on any of them. We had a number of unreleased songs that were contenders for ‘Antichrist’ that Brian didn’t want to do or Trent didn’t want to record so I was being slowly muscled out as far as my contribution.”
But it wasn’t quite the end. Putesky sued his former musical partner for royalties for the handful of songs he is credited for on “Antichrist Superstar,” including “Man That You Fear” and the album opener, “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.”
The case was settled in 1998 for an undisclosed amount. After leaving Marilyn Manson, Putesky recorded with Fort Lauderdale rock band Jack Off Jill and released music with Three Ton Gate.
On Monday, Marilyn Manson wrote on Instagram, “Scott Putesky and I made great music together. We had our differences over the years, but I will always remember the good times more. Everyone should listen to ‘Man That You Fear’ in his honor. That was our favorite.”
Putesky documented his battle with cancer on Facebook, with guts, determination, humor, and pathos.
“I’m into junk food now. ‘Eating healthy’ has done little for me. My tumors have only gotten bigger. Mallomars are now classified as ‘organic junk,’ ” he posted on Oct. 6. On Oct. 16, less than a week before his death, Putesky faced the inevitable.
“First off I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all my donors everywhere ever since I started requesting donations. Unfortunately, I have to say I am not doing well. I am running out of options and that means running out of time. My latest chemo, which I stopped two months ago, has done nothing but severely lower my hemoglobin — making me very weak — and the tumors in my liver have grown to the point of putting pressure on my bile ducts causing jaundice,” he wrote.
“I’ve come back from this particular situation before so I know I can do it again,” Putesky continued. “I have a great and positive network of friends and caregivers and simply need help with mundane things like phone bills, transportation, shipping and other non-medical expenses. I feel your LOVE and support — THANK YOU!!”
Todd Anthony, who wrote film reviews for the Sun Sentinel and features for Miami New Times, paid tribute on Facebook to Putesky, a friend with whom he bonded over a shared love of film. “Scott had an opinion about everything, usually delivered with a laugh or a wry smile,” Anthony wrote. “I always got a chuckle out of how a soft-spoken Renaissance guy like Scott played in so many bands with scary names.”