Marilyn Manson (band)
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- For the musician see Marilyn Manson
|Also known as||Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids|
|Origin||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|Genre(s)||industrial metal, post-industrial, glam rock, alternative metal, synth rock, shock rock, thrash metal, gothic rock|
|Label(s)|| Cooking Vinyl|
Marilyn Manson is an American rock band based in Los Angeles, California, in the United States. The band was formed in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids. Its uniquely theatrical performances gathered a local cult following that subsequently developed into a worldwide fan base.
Marilyn Manson's reputation has likewise grown, with the band now considered one of modern music's most widely-known and most controversial; this has been due, in large part, to eponymous lead singer Marilyn Manson — born Brian Warner — and his frequent clashes with religious and political figures. The name of each band member was originally created by combining the first name of an iconic female sex symbol and the last name of an iconic serial killer, doing so to demonstrate of the odd dichotomy of American society as a critical and, simultaneously, laudatory appraisal of America and its peculiar culture. The members of the band dress in outlandish makeup and costumes, and have engaged in intentionally shocking behavior both on stage and off. Their lyrics often receive criticism for anti-religious sentiment and references to sex, drugs and violence. Marilyn Manson's music and performances have frequently been called offensive and obscene, and, more than a few times, protests and petitions have led to the group being banned from performing.
As this controversy began to wane, so did the band's mainstream popularity. Nonetheless, its many devoted fans have made Marilyn Manson a consistently high-profile group: three of the band's albums have been awarded platinum certification and three more have been awarded gold, and the band has seen six of its releases debut in the top ten, including two #1 albums. In June 2003, Jon Wiederhorn of MTV.com referred to Marilyn Manson as "the only true artist today".
- 1 Band history
- 1.1 Nothing Records and the first albums (1993–1996)
- 1.2 Protests, Mechanical Animals, Columbine, and Holy Wood (1997–2001)
- 1.3 The Golden Age and "farewell" (2002–2005)
- 1.4 Celebritarianism, Eat Me, Drink Me, and line-up changes (2006–2008)
- 1.5 The return of Twiggy, The High End of Low and the Present (2008-2010)
- 2 Band members
- 3 Discography
- 4 Videography
- 5 Controversy and criticism
- 6 Marilyn Manson on the Internet
- 7 Musical style
- 8 External links
- 9 References
In 1989, Brian Warner was a college student working toward a journalism degree, and gaining experience in the field by writing music articles for a South Florida lifestyle magazine, 25th Parallel. It was in this capacity that he was able to meet several of the musicians to whom his own band would later be compared, including My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He met Scott Putesky shortly afterward and, after showing him some lyrics and poems he had written, proposed that they form a band together. Warner, guitarist Putesky, and bassist Brian Tutunick recorded their first demo tape as Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids in 1990, taking on the stage names of Marilyn Manson (Warner), Daisy Berkowitz (Putesky), and Olivia Newton Bundy (Tutunick), respectively. They were soon joined by Stephen Bier, who called himself Madonna Wayne Gacy; Bundy was replaced by Gidget Gein, born Brad Stewart. In 1991, drummer Fred Streithorst joined the band, with the stage name Sara Lee Lucas.
The stage names used by each member were representative of a concept the band considered central: the dichotomy of goodness and evil, and the existence of both, together, in every whole. "Marilyn Monroe had a dark side", explained Manson in his autobiography, "just as Charles Manson has a good, intelligent side". Images of both Monroe and Manson, as well as of others equally famous and notorious, were common in the band's early promotional materials.
The Spooky Kids' popularity grew quickly, largely because of radio DJ Scott David of WYNX-FM, an early fan who eagerly played songs from the band's demo tapes on the air; also because of the band's highly visual concerts, which drew from performance art and used many shock techniques. It was not uncommon to see "naked women nailed to a cross, a child in a cage, or bloody animal body parts" on stage. Manson, Berkowitz and Gein variously performed in women's clothing or bizarre costumes, and for lack of professional pyrotechnics, they would occasionally set their own stage props on fire. The band would dramatically contrast these grotesque theatrics with elements drawn from the culture of the members' youth in the 1970s and 1980s. Characters from children's television of that era made regular, often somewhat altered appearances on Marilyn Manson flyers and newsletters, and were frequently sampled in the music. They continued to perform and release cassettes — shortening their name to simply "Marilyn Manson" in 1992 — until the summer of 1993, when the band drew the attention of Trent Reznor, who at the time had just founded his own record label, Nothing Records.
Nothing Records and the first albums (1993–1996)
Trent Reznor offered Marilyn Manson a contract with his new label and the opportunity to support Nine Inch Nails on their upcoming headlining tour. The band accepted both offers, and recording sessions for its national debut, Portrait of an American Family, began in July 1993. Working with producer Roli Mosimann at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, the band recorded a selection of new songs along with material from their Spooky Kids repertoire and, by the end of Autumn 1993, had completed the first version of their debut, titled The Manson Family Album. It was not, however, well-received. The abrasive sonic "rawness" that Mosimann's production had brought to such groups as Swans had failed to materialize on The Manson Family Album. Reznor and the band found it flat and lifeless, and poorly representative of Marilyn Manson's dynamic performances. "I thought, 'This really sucks'", Manson explained, "so I played it for Trent, and he thought it sucked". At the same time the band was having difficulties with bassist Gidget Gein, who had begun to lose control of his addiction to heroin.
In October 1993, Reznor agreed to rework the production on Marilyn Manson's album, taking them and their tapes to The Record Plant in Los Angeles. Gein, who had been hospitalized after an overdose, was not invited. After seven weeks of mixing, remixing and rerecording, the album — now titled Portrait of an American Family — was ready to be presented to Interscope Records. Even as the first single "Get Your Gunn" was beginning to receive radio airplay, Gein received a letter declaring his services "no longer needed" by Marilyn Manson after he overdosed on heroin for the fourth time. He was replaced by Twiggy Ramirez (aka Jeordie White) of Miami thrash band Amboog-a-Lard.
In December 1993, Ramirez first performed as the band's new bass player on a week's worth of headline dates through Florida with then-girlfriend Jessicka's band Jack Off Jill opening. Ramirez made his national touring debut on the first date of a fourteen-week national tour opening for Nine Inch Nails. It was during this tour that Manson had occasion to meet with Church of Satan founder Dr. Anton LaVey. After a cordial meeting, LaVey honored Manson with the title of "Reverend", meaning, in the Church of Satan, a person who is revered by the church, and not necessarily one who dedicates his life to preaching the religion to others. The band ran into minor trouble with their record label over the inclusion of two photos deemed to have pedophilic overtones that were prohibited from the record sleeve. It was during the tour with Nine Inch Nails that Manson appeared on stage in Utah and tore apart the book of Mormon, a retaliation against a performance ban placed on the band in the evangelical heartland. Before going on their first headlining tour, the band played four dates at Jacksonville's Club 5, during one of which Manson had his first run-in with the law when he was arrested after a show for "violating the adult entertainment code". The singer spent sixteen hours in detention before being released.
In March of 1995, the band began its first national headlining tour, a two-month outing with Monster Voodoo Machine as support. This would be drummer Sara Lee Lucas' last tour with the band. Tension between Lucas and Manson had apparently grown as the tour wore on, and on the final night of the tour, Manson secretly decided to end the show with a flourish: during a performance of the then-current single "Lunchbox", he doused Lucas' drum kit in butane and set it ablaze with Lucas still attempting to play behind it. Lucas quit the band immediately. Less than two weeks after his replacement, Ginger Fish (born Kenny Wilson), joined the group, Marilyn Manson was touring again, this time on a bill with Danzig and Korn. That tour ended in summer 1995, after which the band relocated to the new home of Nothing Studios in New Orleans, Louisiana to begin work on the third single from Portrait of an American Family, "Dope Hat". Accompanied by a music video which featured Manson in the role of Willy Wonka in a shock-horror version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the proposed single for "Dope Hat" eventually developed into an hour-long EP, Smells Like Children. The EP's fifteen tracks of covers, remixes and bizarre sonic experiments also included the band's version of the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", which would prove to be Marilyn Manson's first legitimate hit. The video was placed in heavy rotation on MTV (in stark contrast with the "Dope Hat" video, which MTV had banished to late-night airplay only a few months before) and the mainstream music press was suddenly clamoring to cover the group. A five-month headlining tour followed from September through February, during which the band began to debut new material like "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", "Minute of Decay", and "Smells Like Children". Rumors of a new album circulated widely during this time, and were confirmed when the band returned to Nothing's New Orleans studio in early 1996 to perform what Manson termed "a musical ritual designed to bring about the Apocalypse".
The band spent six months in the studio, some of which was spent researching numerology, Hebrew, Kabalism, and computer technology. Manson explained, "We had to put [the songs] in the right sequence so that they would have the most powerful impact. It all makes sense once you listen to the record."
As a stop gap to the release of the bands second studio album, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" was released and a promotional video for the single became a favorite on late night MTV, giving the band greater exposure.
Marilyn Manson's second studio album, Antichrist Superstar, was released on October 8, 1996. It was recorded at Nothing Studios with Trent Reznor himself acting as executive producer. The process of making the album was reportedly a long and difficult one, highlighted by experiments allegedly involving sleep deprivation and near-constant drug use in an effort to create an environment suited to the album's moody and occasionally violent content. During this time, antagonism between band members was high, which caused the departure of guitarist and founding member Daisy Berkowitz. With Berkowitz out of the band, Twiggy Ramirez performed lead guitar for much of the recording of Antichrist Superstar, and the group placed an ad seeking a new guitarist for its upcoming tour. Timothy Linton, of Chicago band Life Sex & Death, auditioned for and was given the position, and breaking with the six-year tradition of the icon/killer naming convention, he was dubbed "Zim Zum".
The album's first single, "The Beautiful People", made a fairly major impact on the alternative rock charts and created enough anticipation for Antichrist Superstar that the album debuted at number three on the album charts while the group was hailed Best New Artist of 1996 by Rolling Stone magazine. The year-and-a-half long Dead to the World tour in support of the album followed. It was the band's longest and widest tour yet, and included Marilyn Manson's live debut in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and South America. In the United States, however, the band was receiving more attention than ever before, and not all of it was positive.
As the tour was getting underway, the band found itself the target of congressional hearings led by Senator Joseph Lieberman, to determine the effects, if any, of violent lyrics on young listeners. Lieberman would later refer to Marilyn Manson as "perhaps the sickest group ever promoted by a mainstream record company". In addition, nearly every performance on the tour was picketed by religious organizations, pleading with fans not to see the musician who once said "I think every time people listen to this new album maybe God will be destroyed in their heads."
Protests, Mechanical Animals, Columbine, and Holy Wood (1997–2001)
In mid-October the band showed a different side to both their musicality and image with the song "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" that appeared on the Spawn soundtrack. On November 10, the band released a remix/live EP, Remix & Repent, featuring new versions of three singles from Antichrist Superstar, "The Beautiful People", "Tourniquet", and "Man That You Fear", alongside songs recorded live on the U.S. leg of the Dead to the World Tour. Two Antichrist Superstar outtakes were also contributed to film soundtracks: "Apple of Sodom" to David Lynch's Lost Highway, and "The Suck for Your Solution" to the Howard Stern biopic Private Parts. As the year ended, Manson made the announcement of the upcoming publication of his first book, the autobiographical The Long Hard Road Out of Hell; the book was released in April 1998, along with another live document of the world tour, a longform video entitled Dead to the World, later that year. The release of the follow-up to Antichrist Superstar was, according to the band, also imminent, accompanied by early rumors of the involvement of Billy Corgan and The Dust Brothers with the as-yet-untitled album. These proved to be unfounded but Manson hinted at his new style and influences in April 1998 with a cover of David Bowie's song "Golden Years" on the Dead Man on Campus soundtrack.
On September 15, 1998, Marilyn Manson released Mechanical Animals, an album strongly influenced by David Bowie. Interscope's promotion of the album was massive, including an enormous billboard of singer Manson as an androgynous extraterrestrial over Times Square, and repeated appearances on MTV and other networks to promote the album and the single "The Dope Show"; propelled by the success of Antichrist Superstar and by this press push, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The start of September had also heralded Marilyn Manson's embracement of the electronic age as MarilynManson.net went live.
The band had recast itself in a new image for this album; setting aside the bleakness of the previous record, Marilyn Manson was now a glam rock band, borrowing its visual presentation largely from Bowie, and from Roxy Music and its contemporaries. By this time, the band had permanently relocated to Los Angeles, and Zim Zum had been replaced by glam-influenced guitarist John Lowery, who joined the band as John 5. After a brief promotional tour, the band set out on the Rock Is Dead world tour with Hole and Monster Magnet as support. The tour, however, would be a problematic one: on February 28, 1999, the three bands played the first show in Spokane, Washington; by March 14, Hole had left the tour and Manson had broken his ankle, forcing postponements of some shows. Jack Off Jill and Nashville Pussy were asked to take select remaining opening slots on tour.
Less than three weeks after the tour resumed, two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado killed thirteen people; early media reports declared them fans of "violent" music and video games.
On April 28, out of respect for the victims, Marilyn Manson canceled the remaining dates of the Rock Is Dead tour, and would not reappear in Denver until the 2001 Ozzfest. Manson stayed tight-lipped over the incident but did respond with a thought provoking essay on the subject and violence in general that Rolling Stone published entitled "I Don't Like the Media (But the Media Likes Me)" and followed this piece with a further essay entitled Is Adult Entertainment Killing Our Children or Is Killing Our Children Entertaining Adults? distributed via his website.
By February 1999 it was clear that Manson wished to diversify announcing the video for "Coma White" as a trailer for the concepts of his forthcoming movie and his next album was also announced as a coffee table art book or a novel.
The rest of 1999 was a period of relative silence as Manson grew paranoid over his phone being tapped, FBI tracking and the possibility of been shot or poisoned. He became a recluse and his relationship with his fiancé Rose McGowan was put under much pressure and the couple ultimately separated. In November 1999 the band released The Last Tour on Earth (a live album with an Antichrist Superstar outtake included) and God Is in the T.V. (a VHS tour periodical similar to the Dead to the World VHS).
The band spent over a year quietly writing and recording in a studio in Death Valley prior to Manson taking three months out and not leaving his house to write his as of yet unreleased novel Holy Wood, with only the single "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" — an outtake from Antichrist Superstar — appearing during that time. On November 14, 2000, Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) was released. Returning to the darker, more visceral sound of Antichrist Superstar with the help of producer Bon Harris who Manson dubbed "the sixth member of the band." The album had largely been recorded at the mansion of Houdini, the band turning out more prolific than ever writing one hundred pieces of music, thirty of which were turned into legitimate songs and nineteen of which ended up on the album. In spite of the events in Denver it had always been Manson and the bands intention to record a more visceral, uncomprimising follow-up to Mechanical Animals. At the end of Holy Wood the listener hears a revolver as it turns around on the song "Count to Six and Die (The Vacuum of Infinite Space Encompassing)". Some have interpreted this to mean that we never hear the sixth bullet because we have already been executed — a highly nihilistic message — but the obverse is true. The shot is not heard because it never comes, as Manson himself said, "when that song ends, it is not the ending. The "chamber" was empty and seeing death in the face was what made life so much more precious. Everyone is afraid, you are not alone."
Also in October 2000 David Diaz, a security officer from a concert in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 27, 2000, sued for $75,000 in a Minneapolis federal court. The federal court jury found in Manson's favor. For a similar incident Manson was charged with sexual misconduct against another security officer, Joshua Keasler, during a concert in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2001. Oakland County originally filed assault & battery and criminal sexual misconduct charges, but the judge reduced the latter charge to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Manson pleaded no contest to the reduced charges, paid a $4,000 fine, and later settled the lawsuit under undisclosed terms.
Despite much critical acclaim, Holy Wood was Marilyn Manson's worst selling album. Described by the band as the third part of a trilogy begun with Antichrist Superstar and continued in Mechanical Animals, its overarching theme is an exploration of the relationship between death and fame in American culture, and its lyrics and artwork contain many references to John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, John Lennon and Mark David Chapman, and even Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. The Guns, God, and Government world tour expanded upon the exploration of America's fascination with violence, and with the tour's logo — a rifle and handguns arranged to resemble the Christian cross — Manson made no attempt to conceal what he saw as the source of that fascination.
On May 16, 2001, it was announced on the Marilyn Manson website that Manson planned to quote the Bible at his next concert, to "balance out" his violent lyrics, "so we can examine the virtues of wonderful Christian stories of disease, murder, adultery, suicide and child sacrifice. Now that seems like entertainment to me". On June 22, 2001, Manson did indeed read from the Bible onstage in Denver, Colorado, presenting such passages as Leviticus 20:9 ("For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death") and Psalm 137:9 ("Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones") as evidence the band's lyrics were, at least, no more violent than the Bible itself.
The Golden Age and "farewell" (2002–2005)
With the "triptych" of the previous three albums now complete, Marilyn Manson was free to begin a fresh project. In 2002, Jonathan Davis of Korn called Manson into a studio to record vocals on a track he wrote entitled "Redeemer". The song, produced by both Jonathan and Richard Gibbs, was then released on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack. Finding inspiration in the decadent Swing era of the 1930s the band recorded The Golden Age of Grotesque in 2002 with Manson quelling lyrics from his fifty-seven notebooks. Manson was much more involved in the musical side of things calling the album 'a unified effort'. The recording sessions, characteristic of the band, were as unpredictable as ever and featured naked girls, burning pianos and the singer being hospitalized for accidental paint consumption.
Though he was largely absent from the release schedule in 2002 Manson hosted his first art exhibition, taking its title from the forthcoming album, at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Center beginning in mid-September.
The Golden Age of Grotesque was released on May 13, 2003. Eschewing the lyrical depth and volume of symbolism and esotericism of Holy Wood, the new album was relatively straightforward; in an extended metaphor, Manson compares his own often-criticized music to the entartete Kunst banned by the Nazi regime collaborating heavily with Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein on the album artwork. New member Tim Skold, replacing Twiggy Ramirez, added a new dimension to the band's sound; he brought with him from KMFDM that band's use of heavy industrial beats — The Golden Age of Grotesque managed a number one debut on the album charts, selling over 118,000 copies in the US its first week of release.
Another world tour, the Grotesk Burlesk, followed, which furthered the album's Weimar Republic-inspired theme by adding elements of German Kabarett to the group's performances. Elaborate artwork by Helnwein appeared in the band's stage dressing, and the members began appearing both on-stage and off in designer suits.
In early 2004 Manson suffered what he describes as a "deep depression". This culminated in both attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, an appointment with a consultant psychiatrist and a five-day stint in rehab for addiction to a painkiller, after absconding Manson claims in an article in Rolling Stone that he stood at the edge of a cliff listening to "Exit Music (For a Film)" and thinking of jumping. Ultimately Manson decided not to give up on either life or music and recorded a duet of "Don't You Want Me" with Shirley Manson. This was originally intended to support the forthcoming best of release but was felt by both artists not to live up to their standards and has yet to see release.
Beginning on September 14 Manson held his second exhibition, Trismegistus, in Paris and Berlin drawing crowds reining from skeptical European art devotees and enthusiasts to curious fans anxious to see what their idol had been up to.
Lest We Forget – The Best Of was released on September 28, 2004. It was referred to by the singer as his "farewell" album; however, he has insisted that it will not be the final Marilyn Manson album. It was supported by a series of "greatest hits" performances, the Against All Gods tour. After the release of the single "Personal Jesus", the band made a number of promotional appearances; at one of these, the Comet awards show in Germany, drummer Ginger Fish fell from his drum riser, fracturing his skull and wrist and was replaced by Chris Vrenna for the tour. John 5 left the band replaced temporarily by Mark Chaussee of Fight took on lead guitar on the Against All Gods tour. Lest We Forget was certified Gold in 2005.
When promotion for Lest We Forget concluded the band returned to the studio and recorded eight embryonic songs, some of which had vocals. Notably one of the songs recorded was a tribute to Andy Warhol.
The Against All Gods tour was marked by one release, a 2005 EP of "The Nobodies" featuring a new mix of the song (by Chris Vrenna) and other remixes from the Lest We Forget era. Initially intended to be solely an American tour the Against All Gods opus expanded, resurrecting old themes and through the band's and particularly Manson's costumes, hinting at the new before concluding in Ireland at the end of August.
With the end of the tour Manson scripted Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll and began pre-production work on the film, Skold and Gacy continued to compose music. By October, with minimal input from band leader Manson, they had eighteen songs recorded. At the end of the month Manson began vocal takes for the album, experimenting with pitch and tone, with lyrics largely quelled from around forty-five different notebooks.
Celebritarianism, Eat Me, Drink Me, and line-up changes (2006–2008)
Manson spoke of numerous projects along with the album and film — a fragrance, a branded absinthe and a children's cartoon — none of these have materialized as of 2007 though the branded absinthe, titled Mansinthe, was produced.
Beginning in January 2006, and continuing for some months, Marilyn Manson's official website was updated several times, adding new artwork and music, and making obtuse references to The Celebritarian Corporation, an art movement led by the frontman. Merchandise has since become available featuring logos such as the "double cross" (a variation on the Cross of Lorraine), and such slogans — possibly new lyrics — as "we will sell our shadow to those who stand within it" and "do not seek death; seek destruction".
In February 2006 at the Berlinale Manson showed a five-minute preview of his film Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll to a generally positive critical reception. Shortly after this he focused his efforts on the band and the sixth album recording in various private studios in California for an unknown duration of time (there were two songs left to complete as of the end of October). Manson completed the script for Phantasmagoria in December 2005, just before his wedding. He is yet to disclose but also co-authored the Celebritarian manifesto at around the same time (there is a secret placeholder for both this and his sixth album on the official website).
The singer has also stated that a compilation of new instrumental music and previously unreleased tracks, as a soundtrack to Manson's upcoming horror film, Phantasmagoria, is forthcoming.
In September, 2006, Rolling Stone revealed that Marilyn Manson had completed "about half an album's worth of music" including a new song to be called "Rebels Without Applause". In October the band appeared with their first publically available new material in two years in the shape of a cover of "This Is Halloween" on The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D soundtrack produced and performed solely by Manson and Skold. The band appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 31, 2006; performing the track, with Manson on lead vocals, Skold on guitar, Gacy on keyboards and synthesizers, and returning member Ginger Fish on drums.
At the October 31, 2006 opening of his Los Angeles, California art gallery, Manson spoke with Rolling Stone, saying "the process of opening a gallery ended up inspiring me to make a new record. . . we're about two songs away from a finished album that we didn't even have a few months ago. It sounds rather pretentious sometimes, but it's easier for me to just call myself an artist — if I decide to do music or if I decide to do a film, it works. I just want to uphold a level of integrity".
It was after opening the gallery that Manson really began his contribution as a singer by working out melodies and structures around Skold's already existing compositions, writing lyrics quickly and usually recording on the same day. One result of this is that the album features six guitar solos from Tim Skold (comprising 3 minutes, 39 seconds of the album in total) and many other guitar moments while bass and keyboards — both played also by Skold — feature much less than on a usual Marilyn Manson release. Sonically the album is predominantly mid-tempo and is said to be Manson's most melodic work to date. Manson has since revealed that he sang most of the album laying down on the studio floor with his hands cupping the studio mic, resulting in a very distinctive vocal sound. Of Skold's compositions a further two are said to have been turned into fully-fledged songs with lyrics, music and vocals completed but were not put onto album for fear of making it overwrought. Manson has raised the possibility of using the two as starting points for his next potential album.
Manson announced via his website in January that the record was 'nearly finished', entitled Eat Me, Drink Me and that the band would be touring the world in support of the record that is scheduled for worldwide release on June 5, 2007. The album's artwork was wrapped up in early February thus bringing an end to the creative process in preparation for the imminent promotion and publicization of details.
The album, produced and recorded solely by Manson and Skold over six weeks in late 2006, features eleven songs and runs for just over 50 minutes. The key tracks are album opener "If I Was Your Vampire", written on Christmas Day 2006, "Just a Car Crash Away" (the first song made for the album), "Putting Holes in Happiness" (the initial choice for lead single for which features a one-minute Skold guitar solo), and "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)", the lead single, inspired by Manson's relationship with Evan Rachel Wood.
Though not a full-fledged concept album nor an exploitation of his personal life the album is 'written to seduce somebody' beginning in 'Christmas at 6am' with the death of Manson's romance with Dita and culminating on Christmas Eve at the point of both the birth of a new romance with the 19-year old Wood and the death of marriage with Von Teese. Thematically, according to Manson, his main inspirations were Lolita, Bonnie and Clyde and The Hunger. Musically he was listening most to David Bowie's Diamond Dogs, Radiohead's OK Computer, and Prince's Purple Rain whilst creating the album.
The return of Twiggy, The High End of Low and the Present (2008-2010)
Initially Manson revealed the recording session's for the band's seventh album would take place between March and May 2008, that two Eat Me, Drink Me b-sides may be included, and that he would again be working with Tim Skold, as well as Slayer's Kerry King, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner and James Iha on the album; a demo of one song was also allegedly recorded, along with written ideas for other potential tracks.
In January 2008, however, it was announced that Tim Skold had departed from the band, coinciding with the return of former bassist Twiggy Ramirez. Manson said in an exclusive interview with The Heirophant that were plans of recording an album together once the Rape of the World tour ended. Though he had yet to divulge any sonic or thematic details of the album, Manson asserted that the four-year gap between the release of The Golden Age of Grotesque and its successor was "a mistake I don't want to repeat in the future," and that "I just feel like there is a big change happening now. It's going to be the one. Eat Me, Drink Me is opening the window and this is going to be the Hurricane Katrina."
In a February 2008 interview with Steppin' Out, Manson described the new album as, "very ruthless, very heavy, and very violent."
In March 2008, a news blog on the official MySpace profile of Twiggy Ramirez's side project Goon Moon stated that "Jeordie is working on a new Marilyn Manson studio album". A week later Manson's MySpace profile was updated with a new banner, showing a spectral analysis of an audio track, possibly referring to the fact that they are indeed in the studio recording new tracks. In addition to this the track "The Fall of Adam" was added the the page's music player, which may imply a reprisal of the Celebritarian theme.
On October 19, 2008, Manson and Ramirez announced at the 2008 Scream Awards' after party that the album will "sound much like Antichrist Superstar" and that the recording sessions are "pretty much done." It was also revealed that live guitarist Wes Borland would remain with the band while they tour in support of the record. In an interview with Spinner.com released the following day, Manson put forth an explanation of Ramirez's experience working on the album: "This record is the record we always wanted to make and [Twiggy] is writing from a point of view that I've always written from lyrically. I don't think earlier on he had the opportunity to be damaged, and his soul to be trampled on by women as much as me. So now that his penis has been cut off metaphorically, and been smashed into fucking Sloppy Joe's, someone shit on his heart a thousand times, we tried to put a musical face to that." A statement by Manson that the band are considering releasing a song before the end of the year implies that the album is unlikely to be released in winter 2008 as Manson had declared in May.
In December 2008, Manson revealed the sonic qualities of three tracks. One is said to feature "a coven of witchy girls," the other "acoustic swampiness that harkens back to when [he] was living in New Orleans," and the song Manson plays guitar on also features him "snorting something — whatever it might have been" as a percussive instrument.
The Heirophant administrator Filicide has described one of five tracks whose title has been revealed as "the next Para-Noir," citing "Instrumental more so in that it's hypnotic..similar, but much longer than Para-Noir."
In February 2009, Manson briefly discussed the album in the monthly issue of Revolver, where he revealed the working titles for two new songs, "I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies" and "Armagoddamnmotherfuckinggeddon". On February 2, 2009, the album's final title was revealed via a blog on Marilyn Manson's official MySpace profile, and it was revealed that a music video would be produced for the nine-minute "I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies". On March 10, 2009, a blog entry by producer Sean Beavan confirmed two additional titles, "15" and the rumored "Four Rusted Horses". "Armagoddamnmotherfuckinggeddon" was alternatively spelled "Arma-God Damn-Mother Fuckin'-Geddon", leaving the official title unclear.
On March 11, 2009, The Heirophant user MindRelapse commented on the album, saying "The material I heard did not indicate that Manson has set out to create a sequel or counterpart to anything he's done in the past. More so than "Eat Me, Drink Me" or "The Golden Age of Grotesque", the album sounds like Manson is finding his footing in the post-triptych era. [...] The only parallel I can draw to "Antichrist Superstar" is that they both welcomed in a new era with a heavy, hard around the edges style where you knew something big was about to begin. [...] Another parallel I can draw [...] is to "Holy Wood" when regarding Twiggy's bass. [...] Twiggy gets several chances to shine on the songs I heard which were very bass heavy. [...] On Manson's front, the wear and tear on his voice is still audibly present, but less apparent than on "Eat Me, Drink Me". [...] It's a little hard to pay attention to lyrics when the music is this fast, but I did spot the re-emergence of Manson's wordplay and a general 'fuck you' tone. His vocals sound raw again, this time due to age, but they compliment the music perfectly."
In a recent interview with Kerrang!, Manson revealed that The High End of Low contains 15 songs, "15" being its closing track. He was also adamant that the fourteenth track is a "glorious epic" which Twiggy Ramirez will be most memorable for as a guitarist. Manson also explained that the songs on the album are listed by the order they were written and recorded. He also revealed the title of another song, "We're from America", which was made available for free download through the band's website on March 27, 2009.
Manson himself has talked of an eighth studio record. Writing and initial recording for the album began during the last leg of The High End of Low Tour. Details from Twiggy, Manson's father and a then recent signing to Cooking Vinyl pointed to an Autumn 2011 release date, though it has been disproven, and was to be released in April of 2012; which it had.
- Main article: List of Marilyn Manson members
- Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner) – lead vocals, additional guitar, saxophone, pan flute (1989–present)
- Paul Wiley – live guitar, programming, backing vocals (2014–present)
- Juan Alderete – bass (2017–present)
- Zsa Zsa Speck (Perry Pandrea) – keyboards (1989–1990)
- Olivia Newton Bundy (Brian Tutunick) – bass (1989–1990)
- Gidget Gein (Brad Stewart) – bass (1990–1993)
- Sara Lee Lucas (Fred Streithorst) – drums (1991–1995)
- Daisy Berkowitz (Scott Putesky) – guitar (1989–1996)
- Zim Zum (Timothy Linton) – guitar (1996–1998)
- John 5 (John Lowery) – guitars (1998–2004)
- Mark Chaussee – live guitar, bass (2004–2005)
- Madonna Wayne Gacy (Stephen Bier) – keyboards, percussions, programming (1989–2007)
- Tim Skold (Tim Sköld) – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (2006–2008) , basses, backing vocals (2002–2005)
- Rob Holliday – live guitar, backing vocals (2008), live bass, backing vocals (2007–2008)
- Wes Borland – live guitar (2008–2009)
- Andy Gerold – live bass, guitar (2009–2010)
- Ginger Fish (Kenneth Wilson) – drums (1995–2011)
- Chris Vrenna – keyboards, percussions, programming (2007–2011), live drums (2004–2005)
- Fred Sablan – bass (2010–2014)
- Jason Sutter – live drums (2012–2014)
- Spencer Rollins – live keyboards, additional guitar (2013)
- Tyler Bates – guitars, bass, keyboards, backing vocals (2014–2015, 2016–2018)
- Gil Sharone – drums (2014–2019)
- Brandon Pertzborn – drums (2019–2023)
Most, if not all, members of the band have contributed performances (either live or in-studio) on instruments other than their primary ones. For instance, Gacy had played theremin and calliope, Manson has played pan flute, harpsichord, and guitar, and Berkowitz had been credited with bass guitar and drum machines.
- For a more detailed discography see Marilyn Manson discography.
- Portrait of an American Family (1994)
- Antichrist Superstar (1996)
- Mechanical Animals (1998)
- Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (2000)
- The Golden Age of Grotesque (2003)
- Eat Me, Drink Me (2007)
- The High End of Low (2009)
- Born Villain (2012)
- The Pale Emperor (2015)
- Heaven Upside Down (2017)
- WE ARE CHAOS (2020)
- The Last Tour on Earth (1999)
- Smells Like Children (1995)
- Remix & Repent (1997)
- The Nobodies: 2005 Against All Gods Mix (2005)
- Slo-Mo-Tion Remix EP (2012)
- The Raw Boned Psalms (1989)
- The Beaver Meat Cleaver Beat (1990)
- Big Black Bus (1990)
- Grist-o-Line (1990)
- Lunchbox (1991)
- After School Special (1991)
- Thrift (Unreleased)
- Live as Hell (1992)
- The Family Jams (1992)
- Refrigerator (1993)
- "Get Your Gunn" (1994)
- "Lunchbox" (1995)
- "Dope Hat" (1995)
- "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (1996)
- "The Beautiful People" (1996)
- "Tourniquet" (1997)
- "Man That You Fear" (1997)
- "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" (1997)
- "The Dope Show" (1998)
- "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (1999)
- "Rock Is Dead" (1999)
- "Coma White" (1999)
- "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" (1999)
- "Disposable Teens" (2000)
- "The Fight Song" (2001)
- "The Nobodies" (2001)
- "Tainted Love" (2002)
- "mOBSCENE" (2003)
- "This Is the New Shit" (2003)
- "Personal Jesus" (2004)
- "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)" (2007)
- "Putting Holes in Happiness" (2007)
- "We're from America" (2009)
- "Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon" (2009)
- "No Reflection" (2012)
- "Slo-Mo-Tion" (2012)
- "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" (2015)
- "Deep Six" (2015)
- "Cupid Carries a Gun" (2015)
- "WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE" (2017)
- "KILL4ME" (2017)
- Dead to the World (1998)
- God Is in the T.V. (1999)
- Autopsy (2000)
- Guns, God and Government World Tour (2002)
- Doppelherz (2003)
- Lest We Forget – The Best Of (Bonus DVD) (2004)
- (s)AINT Video (Uncut, Unrated, Banned by Label) (2004)
- Eat Me, Drink Me (Bonus DVD) (2007)
- Guns, God, and Government – Live in L.A. (2009)
- Fourth video album (TBA)
Controversy and criticism
- In December 1996, a press conference was called by William J. Bennett, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and activist C. DeLores Tucker, aimed at MCA, the owner of Interscope Records. Calling several albums released by the label — including Antichrist Superstar — "profane", "violent", "filth", and "crap", the group questioned MCA president Edgar Bronfman, Jr.'s ability to head the label competently while profiting from such material. That November 6, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management and Restructuring held a public hearing on the effect of violent rock and rap lyrics on youths. Supporters of the band claim it was merely another salvo in Senator Lieberman's declared war on the band. The hearing, chaired by Representative Sam Brownback, featured the testimony of Lieberman and Tucker, and of Raymond Kuntz, of Burlington, North Dakota, who blamed his son's suicide on Antichrist Superstar, which Lieberman denounced as "vile, hateful, nihilistic and damaging".In addition, the band's performances have come under fire — the Dead to the World Tour, in particular, was followed by protesters at nearly every North American venue it visited. The band's March 10, 1997 performance in Columbia, South Carolina was canceled "in response to growing public pressure by religious, civic and political leaders who criticized the group's image". The owner of Calgary's Max Bell Centre had Marilyn Manson's July 25 show canceled, citing "immorality" and the band's "use of animals on stage." Another concert in Portland was canceled a few days later due to Manson's reputation, and the venue's inability to get insurance for the show. Protesters outside a concert in Greensboro, North Carolina included state senator Mark McDaniel.The New Jersey date of Ozzfest '97, to be held at Giants Stadium, was canceled by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, who cited Marilyn Manson's performance as its reason; the event was only held after Ozzy Osbourne himself successfully sued the state, which compelled the authorities to allow the concert. Legislation was introduced and passed in South Carolina and Utah allowing state-operated venues to ban groups like Marilyn Manson from performing and, in at least one instance, in Florida, local schools have gone so far as to threaten expulsion for students in attendance of Marilyn Manson concerts.
- Following the Columbine High School massacre, there were accusations that killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were influenced by Marilyn Manson's music. When later evidence was presented that neither Harris nor Klebold were fans of the band, many were led to criticize the media for using the band as a scapegoat instead of analyzing the underlying societal problems surrounding the incident. In the controversial documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Manson about the tragedy. When asked what he would say to the two if he had a chance to talk to them before the killings, Manson replied "I wouldn't say a single word to them; I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did". Eminem referenced the controversy in his song "The Way I Am", which contains the line, "When a dude's gettin' bullied and shoots up his school/And they blame it on Marilyn, and the heroin/Where were the parents at?". Marilyn Manson made a cameo in the video for the song, and even contributed vocals to a guitar-heavy remix by Danny Lohner. Despite this comment, Eminem said in an interview with Banger Magazine that he thinks "he is a little off, but that is his poetic license. The makeup and whole gender-confusion thing is weird. Like, man, why he wanna be like that?". Eminem later said that even though he recognized that Manson was not to blame for Columbine, he did not support all that Manson stands for. Despite this, the artists are still on very good terms.
- The controversy connecting Marilyn Manson and American school shootings continued on October 10, 2007 when 14-year-old Asa Coon opened gunfire on his high school in Cleveland, Ohio. SuccessTech Academy went to lock-down status around 1:15pm, when Coon shot four people; including two students, and two teachers, before turning the gun on himself. Police reports, and student interviews claim that Coon was wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt during the rampage. On several occasions, Coon told students and teachers that he did not believe in, nor respect God; instead worshiped vocalist Marilyn Manson. Coon was known for violent behavior, and stood out among a predominately black student body for his Gothic appearance which included black boots, a black trench coat, black nail polish, and rock t-shirts.
Marilyn Manson on the Internet
Beginning in 1998, Manson frequently interacted with his listeners on the band's official website, initially posting text messages and eventually short films of himself addressing the audience and of the band in the studio. His participation in this has gradually declined; from the release of The Golden Age of Grotesque through late 2005, there has been very little activity on the site. The Marilyn Manson BBS was opened up after Mechanical Animals and was a very active forum in subjects other than the band, including art, politics, news and current events. There was much debate on the meanings and interpretations of various lyrics, diagrams, or pictures featured in the band's album cover art, particularly the symbolism of Holy Wood. Manson would occasionally interject on discussions along these lines. For reasons unknown, the BBS was removed, then reintroduced a few months later, and removed again. The user base sharply declined as many members never returned.
Manson also released companion websites spawned from his concept albums. Mechanical Animals was companioned by ComaWhite.com, an interactive online maze which led users to various drug and rose-themed graphics and links to hidden sections of the main Marilyn Manson website. Holy Wood was companioned with the website Celebritarian.com, which featured a provoking questionnaire and a diagram of a human soul growing in size as a child progresses to adulthood. An additional website, ThisAsValentinesDay.com, featured a headline announcing John F. Kennedy's death.
On October 1, 2005, Celebritarian.com became active again; initially, the page featured only a stylized depiction of the Cross of Lorraine and a link to MarilynManson.com. Beginning in January 2006, messages began to appear on the band's websites in numeric codes; these messages, once decrypted, revealed hidden sections of those websites featuring, among other content, new artwork by Marilyn Manson. On January 19, the main pages of all official Marilyn Manson websites were replaced with the Cross of Lorraine and the following text:
- By novel and experimental inquest not the product of abstract speculations nor vindicative legalistic theories this website and all contents therein have been seized by explicit orders from The Celebritarian Corporation. The text is a direct reference to a November 21 1945 statement by Robert H. Jackson during the Nuremberg Trials, in which the Justice described the tribunal as "novel and experimental. . . and not the product of abstract speculations nor. . . created to vindicate legalistic theories." Additional encoded messages have since been added to those websites; their meanings and the future contents have yet to be revealed. In the weeks following, they were replaced on the main website with a Flash animation featuring new music, recorded audio samples from Aleister Crowley and Alfred Hitchcock, and macabre, apparently Lewis Carroll-inspired visuals.
On November 5, 2006, MarilynManson.com became active once again, boasting new news, artwork, discography, merchandising, and other sections--several of which still appear to be under construction. One area of the site, when properly explored, bared a reminder to subjects that the mysterious codes of January 2006 have yet to be solved; at this time it was unknown if portions of the site would be withheld pending fans' deciphering of the codes, or what the repercussions of their failure to do so might entail. Despite this, in May 2007 Marilyn Manson revealed in a 10-page exclusive interview with The Heirophant that the cause for alarm over the "hidden" code in the site was not his intention, and that his involvement in the Celebritarian era-incarnation of the website was minimal.
Marilyn Manson has come to be known for altering both its image and its musical trappings frequently; the group's sound incorporating, at various stages, elements of spoken-word poetry, glam rock, and — more recently — vaudeville and burlesque. Lead singer Manson was fond of Black Sabbath and Kiss as a young music fan, but every member of the band has brought his own unique style and set of influences to the band's sonic palette. Attempting to blend the typical heavy metal music sound of heavily distorted guitar and kick-drum-heavy percussion with industrial metal's emphasis on electronic musical instruments, Marilyn Manson's alternative metal is also marked by tendencies toward unconventional recording techniques and musical experimentation. As a whole, Marilyn Manson is highly difficult to categorize as each album has a brought with it distinct and individual image and sound.
Initially, after being introduced to Big Black by a fellow Miami clubgoer, who would become his keyboard player, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Manson had the desire to form a rock band that used a drum machine — an uncommon technique outside of dance music at the time. The earliest incarnations of Marilyn Manson used this setup, and produced experimental, drum-heavy compositions similar to Steve Albini's work with Big Black; later, with the addition of a live drummer, the band's composing process, recording techniques, and live performances were by necessity altered. Guitarist Daisy Berkowitz and bassist Gidget Gein, who came from punk rock backgrounds, brought the musicianship and songwriting style of the Jim Carroll Band (whose "People Who Died" was an early favorite song cover for Marilyn Manson) and the showmanship of The New York Dolls to the mixture. The result was something that Nothing Records would initially compare to Jane's Addiction, but which, after the band spent some time at Nothing, would also gather sonic elements from other bands on that label's roster, like Nine Inch Nails and Kevin McMahon. Obviously, Manson is heavily influenced by the shock rock styling's of such artists as Mötley Crüe and Kiss; however, late influences have come from the glam rock of David Bowie, whose chameleon-like ability to shift from one style to another, replete with a new look and musical philosophy, was a characteristic which would also be frequently ascribed to Marilyn Manson by the music press. The hard rock background of John 5 amplified this aspect of the band's sound in live performance; Tim Skold, a former guitarist, bassist, and vocalist in KMFDM, later blended in that band's so-called "ultra-heavy beat" of industrial drums and guitars.
Composition and songwriting
- All of the band's lyrics are written by Manson, whose songwriting style is characterized by a tendency toward misanthropy and attacks on organized religion, as well as by sharp, and occasionally inventive wordplay. He frequently makes use of puns and double entendres in his writing — for instance, a song on the Holy Wood album, which references the shootings at Columbine High School, is titled "Target Audience (Narcissus Narcosis)"; the album also makes frequent allusions to assassination, and the song "The Fall of Adam" refers to "Abraham Lincoln Town Car". These witticisms often take the form of neologisms, frequently delivered several at a time in rapid-fire fashion: the title song from Mechanical Animals includes the lines "We were neurophobic and perfect / the day that we lost our souls . . . You were my mechanical bride / my phenobarbidoll / A manniqueen of depression / with the face of a dead star". Also, in Ka-boom Ka-boom from The Golden Age of Grotesque, the lyrics: "We fly no-class Dumbo jets and drive hardcore-vettes / We fight war with drugs and our sex always formal / We wear lawsuits when we get high, high, high", is an example of Manson's lyrical wordplay. Words like Cruci-Fiction in Space, mOBSCENE, Vodevil, and Para-noir are words with double meanings. His lyrics also revolve around pop culture.
- Music is primarily composed by the other band members.
- Marilyn Manson has also become extremely well-known for recording cover versions of songs by other artists; the band's two most successful singles have been a brooding punk-metal version of Eurythmics' ("Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This))", and a heavily synthesized "Tainted Love" (as popularized by Soft Cell, though originally performed by Gloria Jones). Notable covers the band has recorded have been by Depeche Mode ("Personal Jesus"), David Bowie ("Golden Years"), Gary Numan ("Down in the Park"), AC/DC ("Highway to Hell"), and numerous other artists.
- Manson, Marilyn (1998). The Long Hard Road out of Hell. HarperCollins. pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-06-098746-4.
- "Biography for Marilyn Manson". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001504/bio. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Thigpen, David (1997-02-24). "Music: Satan's Little Helpers". TIME Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985963-1,00.html. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Marilyn Manson Interview on Bowling for Columbine". Bowling for Columbine Official Website. 2002-10-11. http://www.bowlingforcolumbine.com/media/clips/windowsmedia.php?Clip=manson1021LG. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
|Members of Marilyn Manson|
|Former||Olivia Newton Bundy • Zsa Zsa Speck • Gidget Gein • Sara Lee Lucas • Daisy Berkowitz • Zim Zum • John 5 • Mark Chaussee • Tim Skold • Madonna Wayne Gacy • Rob Holliday • Wes Borland • Andy Gerold • Ginger Fish • Chris Vrenna • Fred Sablan • Twiggy|
|Current||Paul Wiley • Juan Alderete|
|Former||Jason Sutter • Spencer Rollins • Daniel Fox • Tyler Bates • Gil Sharone • Brandon Pertzborn|