Article:1997/05/03 N.J. Venue Says Marilyn Manson Is Not Welcome

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N.J. venue says Marilyn Manson is not welcome
Article on Dead to the World Tour: Ozzfest 1997 Leg
Author Ray Waddell
Date May 3, 1997
Source Billboard, Vol. 109 No. 18

At press time, promoters and New Jersey state officials remained stalemated over whether shock-rock group Marilyn Manson would play the scheduled OzzFest '97 bill June 15 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.


OzzFest founder and headliner Ozzy Osbourne has said that Marilyn Manson—which is booked on nine OzzFest dates—will participate in the Giants Stadium show; otherwise, he said, a lawsuit could result from a First Amendment violation.


The New Jersey Sports Authority maintains that it has the right to choose who it wants on the bill, and it doesn't want Manson.


"Right now we're taking the approach that a contract has not been signed," says Bob Castronovo, director of Giants Stadium. "We will offer [OzzFest] a contract with our parameters in them, one of which gives us the right to choose the groups [for the show]."


Paul Cambria, the band's attorney, said at press time that if the issue wasn't resolved satisfactorily, a civil-rights action would be filed in federal District Court. "We hope [state officials] realize they are violating the civil rights of the groups," says Cambria.


In a prepared statement, Osbourne said, in part, "Nobody has the right to tell me who I can perform with. I will not be putting any limits on any of the OzzFests. This is not an issue of taste. It is an issue of civil liberty and freedom."


MUCH ADO


The New Jersey situation was just the latest controversy following Marilyn Manson's touring efforts this year. However, no major negative incidents have been reported from any of the band's headlining concerts.


A show scheduled for May 10 at the Richmond (Va.) Coliseum was canceled April 15. City Manager Robert C. Bobb says that the group "is not consistent with our community standards." By that time, 2,000 of an available 9,000 tickets were sold. The concert was rescheduled April 21 after city officials realized they could be violating the band's First Amendment rights, according to Kent Willis, director of the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union.


Cambria says that the city "retreated from its original position" after Cambria met with local attorneys. "The same thing happened in Oklahoma," says Cambria. "We demonstrated to [city officials] that they would be liable, and that concert occurred without a hitch, as have all of the concerts on this tour."


Aside from picketing and a lot of publicity, Marilyn Manson's headlining concerts, ironically, have been trouble-free. "We had no problems whatsoever," says Bill Holmes, director of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss. There, picketers as well as religious and political leaders called for the show's cancellation. "The show generated a tremendous amount of publicity, and every time an article ran in the paper, we'd sell about 100 more tickets."


Some 4,500 attended the show. "About 30% of them were made up like it was Halloween," Holmes says. "This wasn't a teeny-bopper show. Most of them were in their mid-20s. We did not have one fight-not one unruly deal."


Artist & Audience, Marilyn Manson's booking agency, has been supplying building managers with a list of previous shows and contacts' phone numbers. "We encourage people to do their due diligence," says A&A's Alex Kochan. "Most of the things people are hearing about [the band] are preposterous."


So far, the only cancelled shows have been a Feb. 2 date at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, and an April 20 date at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Both of those cancellations have resulted in legal fallout.


The persona of the band's front man, Marilyn Manson, has generated a modern folklore phenomenon preceding the tour. Holmes says a fake affidavit was circulating around Biloxi prior to the group's show. It accused the artist of committing all kinds of acts at concerts, many of them illegal.


"I asked [Manson] if his people put this out to create controversy, and he assured me they did not. He's a very articulate individual," says Holmes. "As for the show, it did the business it should've done."


Manson was very cooperative, Holmes added. "He agreed to do everything we asked, which included changing the costume he wore," he says.


Not surprisingly, John Malm of Nothing Records, Marilyn Manson's label, says that the label supported the band and its First Amendment rights. What about claims that Marilyn Manson sends the wrong message?


"So did Elvis, so did the Rolling Stones, so did Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne," says Malm. "Marilyn Manson is just the next generation." Malm, whose label discovered and first signed the band, says the group did not generate controversy in the beginning. "It's only happening now because they're popular and selling tickets and records," Malm says.


"There is nothing new about this story," says Cambria. "It's adults trying to understand youth music, and it doesn't work."


Meanwhile, at press time, OzzFest tickets had not gone on sale in New Jersey. PACE Concerts is the national promoter for OzzFest '97, and Delsener/Slater is the local promoter. Marilyn Manson is booked on nine OzzFest '97 dates as part of a bill including Pantera, Type 0 Negative, and a Black Sabbath lineup of original members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, with Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin.