Marilyn Manson (band)

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This article is about the band. For the person, see Marilyn Manson.
Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson Live in Moscow 2012.JPG
Marilyn Manson performing in 2012.
Background information
Origin Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Genres Industrial metal, industrial rock, glam rock, alternative rock, alternative metal, shock rock, gothic rock[1]
Years active 1989-present
Labels Cooking Vinyl,[2][3] Nothing, Interscope
Associated acts Nine Inch Nails, Satan on Fire, Jack off Jill, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Rammstein, Slayer, Slipknot, Eminem, Godhead, The Prodigy, Danzig, Korn, Monster Magnet, Rasputina
Website www.marilynmanson.com
Members Marilyn Manson
Twiggy Ramirez
Past members Daisy Berkowitz
Olivia Newton Bundy
Zsa Zsa Speck
Madonna Wayne Gacy
Gidget Gein
Sara Lee Lucas
Ginger Fish
Zim Zum
John 5
Tim Sköld
Chris Vrenna
Fred Sablan

Marilyn Manson is an American rock band from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Formed in 1989 by frontman Marilyn Manson and Daisy Berkowitz, the group was originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids with their theatrical performances gathering a local cult following in the early 1990s. The band's lineup has changed between many of their album releases; the current members of Marilyn Manson are the eponymous lead singer (the only remaining original member), bassist Twiggy Ramirez, guitarist Tyler Bates, drummer Gil Sharone .

Until 1996, the name of each member was originally created by combining the first name of an iconic female sex symbol and the last name of an iconic serial killer (e.g. Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson).[4][5] The members of the band dress in outlandish makeup and costumes, and have engaged in intentionally shocking behavior both onstage and off. In the past, their lyrics often received criticism for their anti-religious sentiment and references to sex, violence and drugs. Their performances have frequently been called offensive and obscene, and, on several occasions, protests and petitions have led to the group being banned from performing.

As this controversy began to wane throughout the 2000s, so did the band's mainstream popularity. Despite this, Jon Wiederhorn of MTV.com, in June 2003, referred to Marilyn Manson as "the only true artist today".[6] Marilyn Manson has garnered much success: four of the band's albums have been multi-platinum, and 2 more have been gold, and the band has seen seven of its releases debut in the top ten,[7][8] including two number-one albums. VH1 has ranked Marilyn Manson as the seventy-eighth best rock band on their 100 Great Artists of Hard Rock.[9] Aggregate site AcclaimedMusic.net lists Marilyn Manson number 723 in their artist rank for greatest of all time.[10] Marilyn Manson has sold over 50 million records.[11][12][13][14]

Band history[edit]

Origins[edit]

The Spooky Kids (1989–1992)[edit]

A 1992 flyer for a Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids show, with artwork by Marilyn Manson. It parodies Baphomet.

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.[citation needed] He met Scott Putesky shortly afterward and, after showing him some lyrics and poems he had written, proposed that they form a band together.[15] Warner, guitarist Putesky, and bassist Brian Tutunick recorded their first demo tape as Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids in late 1989, taking on the stage names of Marilyn Manson, Daisy Berkowitz and Olivia Newton Bundy, 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 good 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".[16] 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 in the area 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; and because of the band's highly visual concerts, which drew from performance art and used many shock techniques. It was not uncommon to see onstage "naked women nailed to a cross, a child in a cage, or bloody animal body parts";[17] Manson, Berkowitz, and Gein variously performed in women's clothing or bizarre costumes; and, for lack of a professional pyrotechnician, 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 that era's children's television 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 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.[citation needed]

The Nothing years[edit]

Portrait of an American Family and Smells Like Children (1993–1995)[edit]

Marilyn Manson performing at Nothing Records' "A Night of Nothing" industry showcase.

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. However, it was not 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 all the band's members 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".[17] At the same time, the band was having difficulties with Gidget Gein, who had begun to lose control of his addiction to heroin. While reworking the album the band played two shows in South Florida under the name Mrs. Scabtree. Not much is known about the complete lineup, except that Manson performed on the drums, Gacy on keyboard, Berkowitz on guitar, and Jeordie White of Miami thrash band Amboog-a-Lard and Jessicka of Jack Off Jill sharing vocal duties. Four other local musicians, bassists Mark Dubin of Sister Venus and Patrick Joyce from The Itch, guitarist Miles Hie, and violinist Mary Karlzen, were also involved.[18][19]

Album version, as it appeared on Portrait of an American Family

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Album version, as it appeared on Smells Like Children

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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 the band after he overdosed on heroin for the fourth time; he was replaced by White, of Amboog-a-Lard,[20] who undertook the alias Twiggy Ramirez. In December 1993, Ramirez first performed as the band's new bass player on a week's worth of headline dates through Florida with Jack Off Jill opening. While playing Club 5 in Jacksonville, Florida Manson was accused by the town's Christian Coalition of violating the town's adult entertainment codes. Jack Off Jill singer Jessicka was accused of solicitation and offering to engage in lewdness. Both singers were arrested and charged with misdemeanors.[21] On the first date of a fourteen-week national tour opening for Nine Inch Nails, Ramirez made his national touring debut. 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, as with a priest or minister. Manson would use this title in album liner notes, citing himself as "Reverend Marilyn Manson."

In March 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 next-to-last 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 lighter fluid and set it ablaze – with Lucas still attempting to play on behind it. (Manson apparently forgot that the band had one more date to play.) Lucas quit the band after the final gig the next night. Less than two weeks later his replacement, Kenneth Wilson, better known by his stage name Ginger Fish, 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 & the Chocolate Factory, the proposed single for "Dope Hat" eventually developed into an hour-long EP, Smells Like Children. The album'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. It was also around this time that the group began to experiment with goth makeup, and more bizarre outfits.

A seven-month headlining tour followed, from June through February, during which the band began to debut new material including "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", "Minute of Decay", "Tourniquet", and "Smells Like Children" (an early incarnation of "Kinderfeld"). 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".[22]

Antichrist Superstar (1996–1997)[edit]

Twiggy Ramirez live in Argentina during the "Dead to the World Tour".

Marilyn Manson's second full-length studio album, Antichrist Superstar, was released on October 8, 1996. The rock opera concept album 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 Spooky Kids 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, auditioned for and was given the position. Breaking with the six-year tradition of icon / killer naming structures, the newest member was dubbed Zim Zum – a name derived from Kabbalah,[23] one of the major sources of inspiration for the album.

Album version, as it appeared on Antichrist Superstar

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Album version, as it appeared on Antichrist Superstar

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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.[24] The band's frontman was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine who also awarded the band their Best New Artist accolade for 1996.[24] "I've always felt in my heart that we were going to get there," remarked Manson. "I don't think there's any reason why someone with as much to say as me should be limited to saying it to a few people. I should be on the same scale as the Spice Girls or Michael Jackson."[25]

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-ranging tour yet, and included Marilyn Manson's live debut in Alaska, Hawaii, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, South America, Asia and Australia as their fame spread to all corners of the world. 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 go on to refer to Marilyn Manson as "perhaps the sickest group ever promoted by a mainstream record company".[26] In addition, nearly every performance on the tour was picketed by religious organizations, pleading with fans to not see the musician who once said "I think every time people listen to this new album maybe God will be destroyed in their brainwashed minds."[27]

On November 10, 1997, the band released a remix/live EP, Remix & Repent, featuring new versions of Antichrist Superstar's four singles, "The Beautiful People", "Tourniquet", "Antichrist Superstar", and "Man that You Fear", alongside songs recorded live on the U.S. leg of the Dead to the World Tour. Two unreleased songs from the Antichrist Superstar recording sessions were 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 February 1998, along with another live document of the world tour, a home video entitled Dead to the World. It also came to light around this time that Antichrist Superstar would be the first installment in a concept album trilogy and that the release of the follow-up 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.

Mechanical Animals (1998–1999)[edit]

Marilyn Manson singing "The Speed of Pain" live.

On September 15, 1998, Marilyn Manson released the second part of his triptych, Mechanical Animals, an album strongly influenced by David Bowie and his 1974 album Diamond Dogs. 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 chart.

Album version, as it appeared on Mechanical Animals

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Album version, as it appeared on Mechanical Animals

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The band had recast itself in a new image for this album; Marilyn Manson were now a glam rock outfit, setting aside the bleak darkness of the previous record for a more concealed morbidity and 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 "Beautiful Monsters Tour" with Hole and Monster Magnet as support. The tour, however, would be a problematic one: on March 1, 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. The tour was then renamed the "Rock Is Dead Tour" and both Jack Off Jill and Nashville Pussy were asked to take select remaining opening slots on tour.[28] Less than three weeks after the tour resumed, two students (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold) at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado killed thirteen people, and then took their own lives; early media reports declared them fans of "violent" music and video games. Substantial attention was directed at the frontman. On April 28, out of respect for the victims, the band canceled the remaining dates of the tour, and would not reappear in Denver until the 2001 Ozzfest.

Holy Wood (2000–2002)[edit]

The latter half of 1999 and much of 2000 was a period of relative silence for Marilyn Manson. The band spent over a year quietly writing and recording in a studio in Death Valley, with only the single Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes — an outtake from Antichrist Superstar[29] — 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 abrasive sound of Antichrist Superstar, much of the album's content was written in response to the Columbine massacre. The album's third single, "The Nobodies", was directly inspired by the shootings.

Album version, as it appeared on Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)

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Described by the band as the third part of the 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 international "Guns, God and Government 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.

The band also revealed that within Marilyn Manson's massive concept album trilogy,[30] Holy Wood serves as prequel to Mechanical Animals and Antichrist Superstar despite the latter two preceding Holy Wood in release date.[31][32] Each of the three albums contain its own storyline distinct from one other but also linked together abstractly in a fourth larger overarching storyline encompassing all three.[32] Manson has offered this much in the way of an interpretation: "[Holy Wood is about] wanting to fit into a world that didn't want me, and fighting really hard to get there. [The album's deepest elements] are idealism and the desire to start a revolution. If you begin with Holy Wood, then Mechanical Animals really talks about how that revolution gets taken away from you and turned into a product, and then Antichrist Superstar is where you're given a choice to decide if you're going to be controlled by the power that you created or if you want to destroy yourself and then start over. It just becomes a cycle."[31]

On May 16, 2001, Manson announced on the band website that he 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".[33][34] On June 21, 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").

This tour was documented in a DVD release of the same name, released October 29, 2002 and described by Manson as "This will help you see what it's like to be nailed to this wrecking ball" on the DVD packaging.[35][36] In addition to a compilation style concert from the tour [songs from multiple individual shows edited to appear as single performance], the DVD includes a short thirty minute film titled "Death Parade" in the style of an All Access Pass for the tour.[36]

Seven years later it was followed by Guns, God and Government – Live in L.A. Released in Blu-ray on November 17, 2009, it depicts the sixteen song set of the Los Angeles performance in its entirety.[37][38]

The Golden Age of Grotesque and "farewell" (2003–2005)[edit]

Marilyn Manson performing at Ozzfest in 2003.

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 invited Marilyn Manson into a studio to record vocals on a track he wrote titled "Redeemer". The song, produced by both Jon and Richard Gibbs, was then released on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack. After finding inspiration in the decadent Swing era of the 1920s, the band recorded The Golden Age of Grotesque that year and the album was released on May 13, 2003.

Album version, as it appeared on The Golden Age of Grotesque

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Eschewing the lyrical depth and volume of symbolism and hidden meaning 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. 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 was frequently impugned[by whom?] as derivative of KMFDM and lacking the originality that Marilyn Manson had become known for.[39][40] The album debuted at No. 1 on the album charts, selling over 118,000 copies in the US its first week of release.[41] It won a 2003 Metal Edge Readers' Choice Award for "Album of the Year".[42]

Another world tour, the "Grotesk Burlesk Tour", followed, which furthered the album's Weimar Republic-inspired theme by adding elements of German Kabarett to the group's performances. Elaborate artwork by Gottfried Helnwein appeared in the band's stage dressing, and the members began appearing both on-stage and off- in designer suits and with fashion superstars.

Lest We Forget: The Best Of was released on September 28, 2004. It was referred to by Manson as his "farewell" album[43] when earlier that month, coinciding with Trent Reznor leaving New Orleans for the west coast, the Nine Inch Nails website officially announced "nothing studios: 1994–2004", suggesting that Nothing Studios was closed. This later proved to be the end of the associated vanity record label, as well as Manson's business association (effectively then shifting the band to a full Interscope contract) when Reznor successfully sued co-founder John Malm for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty (amongst others). Lest We Forget 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 including a performance on MADtv;[44] at one of these, the Comet awards show in Germany, drummer Ginger Fish fell from his drum riser, fracturing his skull and wrist.[45] Former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna replaced him; after recovering from the accident Fish had been recording and performing with a new band, Martyr Plot, before rejoining Marilyn Manson.

John 5 had also been replaced; Mark Chaussee of Fight took over lead guitar on the "Against All Gods Tour", and was subsequently replaced in the studio by Tim Skold. Though John 5 denied any hostility towards Marilyn Manson following the announcement of his departure, at the band's appearance on the Rock am Ring music festival in 2003 an incident took place between John 5 and Marilyn Manson where Manson kicked and then shoved the guitarist. John 5 responded with anger, throwing off his guitar mid-song and raising his fists to Manson, before resuming the song. Lest We Forget was certified Gold in 2005.[46]

The Interscope years[edit]

Eat Me, Drink Me (2006–2008)[edit]

Marilyn Manson performing "The Nobodies" in Florence, Italy during the "Rape of the World Tour".

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), as well as the slogans "we will sell our shadow to those who stand within it" and "do not seek death; seek destruction".

Album version, as it appeared on Eat Me, Drink Me

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Marilyn Manson's sixth studio album, Eat Me, Drink Me, was released on June 5, 2007, debuting at number 8 in the United States with more than 88,000 copies sold.[7] Released more than four years after The Golden Age of Grotesque, Eat Me, Drink Me marked another change in musical styles that the band has become famous for – opting for a more introspective direction. One remarkable note of the album is that it was written entirely by Manson and Skold in a rented home studio. The album is also the first major label Manson album without Madonna Wayne Gacy (Pogo) as a listed member, making lead singer Marilyn Manson the only original member since Portrait of an American Family. Chris Vrenna, who temporarily replaced Ginger Fish on drums during the Against All Gods Tour, replaced Pogo to become the band's full-time keyboardist. Marilyn Manson co-headlined a tour with Slayer in order to promote the album with Bleeding Through as the opening act and Deadly Apples on select dates.

Rumors also circulated for some time that Marilyn Manson wrote the song "Mutilation Is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery" as an attack on the band My Chemical Romance. He later denied this, stating that it was aimed at people in general who sought to imitate him. In another interview Manson stated that "I'm embarrassed to be me because these people are doing a really sad, pitiful, shallow version of what I've done".[47] In response to this, Gerard Way, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance claimed nothing Manson could say would bring the band down.

On January 9, 2008 Marilyn Manson posted a bulletin on MySpace confirming that former bassist Twiggy Ramirez had rejoined the band, resulting in the exit of Tim Skold. Skold and Manson had apparently began writing new material before the personnel change. Future collaborations with Skold were not ruled out.[48][49][50]

The High End of Low (2008–2009)[edit]

Marilyn Manson performing at Quart Festival in 2009.

The band's seventh full-length studio album began recording sessions following the conclusion of their "Rape of the World Tour" on March 2, 2008.[51] On November 29, 2007, Marilyn Manson fansite "The Hierophant" reported that the frontman planned to start writing songs for the new record on January or February (2008).[citation needed] The actual recording took place at Manson's Hollywood Hills home between November 2008 and January 5, 2009. The last song, called "15", was completed on the evening of Manson's Jan 5 birthday—hence the name.[52]

Manson said, "after my greatest hits album (Lest We Forget: The Best Of) came out I took a long break from music because it was a period where I was not sure who I wanted to be. I left music for a while but that's not an error I want to repeat in the future." He mentioned Kerry King, James Iha former guitarist of The Smashing Pumpkins, and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as likely contributors.[53] During an exclusive interview titled Everyone Will Suffer Now at the now-defunct fansite MansonUSA on January 11, 2008, Manson shared, "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."[54] Since parting company with Skold and reuniting with Ramirez, the band had occupied themselves with work on the album to achieve their target of a February 2009 release. It was soon followed by the announcement of new tour dates. In an interview with Steppin' Out, Manson described the then-nascent record as, "very ruthless, very heavy, and very violent".[53]

On August 14, 2008, Manson announced at a public interview in Seoul, Korea that former Limp Bizkit guitarist and current Black Light Burns frontman Wes Borland had joined the lineup, replacing Rob Holliday on guitars. The band attended the ETP Festival and were wrapping up production on the new album. However, Borland left a few months later to reunite with Limp Bizkit for the third time. Borland told UK's Kerrang Magazine that he quit after seeing none of the nine songs he wrote for the record make the final cut, and was extremely dissatisfied at the thought of being just a hired gun.[55]

On October 5, the band played a special show at the annual Hot Topic managers meeting. The show took place at the Los Angeles International Airport's Marriott Hotel. During an after party for the 2008 Scream Awards, Manson was overheard comparing the new album to Antichrist Superstar and stating the album was "pretty much finished." He expected a new song to be released before the end of the year and expressed desire to release the record by Valentine's Day.[citation needed] In an interview on the February 2009 issue of Revolver Magazine, he revealed the title of two songs, namely, "I Wanna Kill You Like They Do in the Movies" and "Armagoddamnmotherfuckinggeddon". The album's producer Sean Beavan, later posted a Myspace blog revealing two more song titles, "15" and "Four Rusted Horses". Manson told Revolver "I've got my fire back," and the record "really wipes the floor with everything we've done before."[citation needed]

A statement was released by Manson on Christmas Eve in order to dispel rumors that had been circulating regarding his relationship with Evan Rachel Wood and a speculated collaboration with rapper Ne-Yo.[56] On January 12, a new song title was divulged by Rudy Coby, a collaborator and friend of the frontman. The song is called "Devour" and was said to be the album's first track.

Marilyn Manson joined Slayer as headliners for the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival tour in 2009. The press release for the tour stated that "Manson is currently in the studio working on his seventh studio album scheduled for release May 18th on Interscope Records." On February 2, Rolling Stone confirmed the album had been officially titled The High End of Low.

On March 18, 2009, Kerrang! reported that the album contained a total of 15 tracks and that the final song is called "15". They also revealed another new song entitled "We're from America". Manson opined on the latter song, "I think a lot of people will hear the track and initially think it's just political, but it's not just that, it's also me describing a lot of fucked-up scenarios that I'm going through in my personal life. Someone asked me, 'Why are you so fucked up?', 'Well, I am from America.' I hate the fact that so many people have fucked the country up, and so many people fucked up my personal life and I allowed it to happen. So in a way, I feel like America as a whole feels, but in no way does that make me a tree-hugging patriotic freedom rocker." The track was released exclusively on the band's official website as a free download on March 27, 2009. On April 7, it became available for purchase as a digital single.

The album's official first single, "Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon," arrived in radio stations on April 21. It peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.[57] On April 16, 2009, marilynmanson.com was updated with a new splash page featuring the projected album artwork as well as the track listing for The High End of Low. The record was released on May 26, 2009. It debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 with 49,000 copies sold.[8] Despite reaching a higher charting position than Manson's prior studio effort Eat Me, Drink Me, which debuted at number 8,[7] it arrived with the lowest opening week sum of any of Manson's albums since The Last Tour on Earth opened with sales of 26,000 units in 1999.

After much fan speculation and no official announcement, Andy Gerold joined Marilyn Manson in the capacity of live bassist for "The High End of Low Tour" after former bassist Twiggy Ramirez switched to lead guitar duties. Gerold played his first show with the band on June 3, 2009, in Brno, Czech Republic. As of 2011, Gerold is still the youngest musician to play in the band, preceding former drummer Sara Lee Lucas by nearly seven years. During the summer of 2009, the band co-headlined the 2009 Mayhem Festival with Slayer.[58] Later in October 2009, the band headlined the internationally advertised visual kei event, V-Rock Music festival.[59]

The Cooking Vinyl years[edit]

Born Villain (2009–2013)[edit]

Marilyn Manson performing during the Twins Of Evil Tour in 2012.

The eighth studio album by Marilyn Manson entered the writing phase during "The High End of Low Tour" in 2009.[60] Bassist Twiggy projected a release date of 2011 through Cooking Vinyl Records and Marilyn Manson's own label Hell, etc.[61] It is the band's first album since allowing their contract with Interscope Records to expire back in late 2009. Marilyn Manson attested that the lyrical content of the album will be "more romantic" yet "self-abusive,"[60] and described the sonic elements of the record as "suicide death metal."[62]

The prospect of an eighth studio album by the band was first confirmed by the frontman himself during an interview with Metal Hammer on December 3, 2009.[60] He elaborated, "We've just been released from our record contract with Interscope so I think a lot of the creative control on which my hands were tied on a lot of choices—the music videos—things like that. And the first example is the newest video, they clearly wouldn't have allowed me to make that video. So we started writing new songs on the road—a bit like [David Bowie's album] Aladdin Sane—I think people can expect a new record a lot sooner than we [expected]."[60] According to Chris Vrenna, by January 2010, the band was already "talking and coming up with concepts" for the album.[63] On January 24, 2010, Manson confirmed on the band's official MySpace profile that "the new album is officially in motion."[64]

In April 2010, during his appearance at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, Manson divulged that the band had recorded 13 songs, one of which failed to appear in a television series about vampires.[62] He referred to the album as "very death metal" and voiced interest in releasing the album differently from previous Marilyn Manson records.[62] He also indicated his friendship with Slayer as a vague influence on the record.[62] During an interview with Full Metal Jackie, he stated that the album was halfway finished.[65]

On May 7, 2010, both entertainer Rudy Coby and The Nachtkabarett's Nick Kushner were previewed material from the album, the latter described it on Facebook as "fuckin' hardcore." Elaborating on the band's musical direction, Manson commented on Twiggy being influenced by his touring experiences in 2009, particularly during the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Manson's father, Hugh Warner, described the album,

It will make a vagina wet. What can you say after that? If the vagina's wet, all things are good. That's what he [Manson] told me when I was listening to it. It's very hard, very heavy, very good. Everyone should be extremely excited and happy.[66]

During an interview with Eric Blair on November 3, 2010, bassist Twiggy Ramirez indicated that the new album was "almost done. It'll probably be out next year. [...] It's our best record yet, I think. I mean, everyone always says that, but I think this is our best work so far... It's kind of like a little more of a punk rock Mechanical Animals without sounding too pretentious."[67]

Album version, as it appeared on Born Villain

Problems playing this file? See media help.

For much of the early half of 2011, Marilyn Manson removed himself from the public spotlight and ceased almost all communication with his fans or the outside world.[68] On February 24, 2011, the band's longtime drummer Ginger Fish announced his resignation from the group, prompting a search for a replacement.[69] Meanwhile, on March 18, 2011, Marilyn Manson took a short break from his self-imposed sequestration by appearing in the music video for the song "Tempat Ku" by Brunei pop outfit D'Hask.[68] On March 23, 2011, he uploaded new pictures onto the band's Facebook page, in a different style of previous photos.[70] The new style suggested the 'new era' of Marilyn Manson had begun, further generating anticipation for the upcoming release.

Unveiled on May 22, 2011, the new CMYK-styled logo is used by the band to signify the eighth studio album and their new era.[71][72]

On May 22, 2011, the band's website underwent a complete overhaul. A short 26 second snippet of a new song, tentatively titled, "I am among no one (excerpt from an undisclosed song with an unreleased title)"[71] was uploaded to the redesigned main page along with a new logo to signify their eight studio album and the new era. The logo consisted of the letter M repeated four times in a spiral pattern, each with one long tail. At the end of the long tail is the Chinese trigram ☲ (離 lí) of the I Ching. Read lengthwise or up-and-down, it formed Hexagram 30, "Radiance," also called "the clinging" and "the net". The origin of the character is rooted in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix. The CMYK coloring was also notable with regard to an acrostic formed by Manson, in a journal entry that accompanied the site changes, which spelled out the words "Christianity Manufactures Yesterdays Killers".[71][72]

On June 3, 2011 the Brazilian edition of the Portuguese broadsheet newspaper Destak confirmed that agents for the band had finalized negotiations for the group to tour in Brazil and other South American countries as part of the SWU Music & Arts Festival beginning on the second week of November 2011.[73] The Brazilian music festival also saw a change in venue for 2011.[73] While organizers have yet to finalize details, it was speculated that the event may be held at the São Paulo municipality of Paulínia.[73] Manson appeared live via the Ustream broadcast of Fleischer's Universe on June 21, 2011, where he announced that the new album title will be revealed within a week. He also divulged the following lyrics, "The center of the universe cannot exist if there are no edges", of a yet to be released song.[74] The album title was not, in fact, revealed within a week, but was announced on September 1 as Born Villain via Twitter.

After being impressed by his directorial work on one of Kid Cudi's music videos, Marilyn Manson employed the actor Shia LaBeouf to work on the album artwork as well as create a "making-of" video documenting the album's recording and production.[75][76][77]

On November 22, 2011, it was announced that Chris Vrenna had officially left the band after contributing to the writing and production of Born Villain.[78]

On May 1, 2012, Born Villain was released worldwide. It debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, No. 3 on Top 100 Rock albums, and No. 1 on both Top Independent Albums and Hard Rock Albums.

Two months prior to release, the band begun to support the album with the Hey Cruel World... Tour and joint concerts with Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper on the Twins of Evil Tour and Masters of Madness Tour.[79][80]

Ninth studio album (2013-present)[edit]

Marilyn Manson started production for his ninth studio album in 2013. In early 2014, Gil Sharone of Stolen Babies revealed he had been working on the new album since November.[81][82] A new song, titled "Cupid Carries A Gun", is currently being used as the opening theme to the television series Salem. The song was composed alongside music producer Tyler Bates,[83] and had been described by Manson as "the last track we finished for my new album",[84] indicating that production for his next studio album has been completed. On June 25, Fred Sablan confirmed he had left the band, on good terms, and will be replaced by Twiggy for their summer tour.[85] Tyler Bates took over as the bands live guitarist for select shows.[86] The live band also features guitarist Paul Wiley.[87]

Manson's scheduled performance at the Park Live Festival in Moscow on June 27 was cancelled by the event's organisers moments before the band was due to arrive on stage. Numerous bomb threats were received by authorities while hundreds of activists affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church were seen protesting outside the venue. The incident culminated in the assault of several members of the band's crew outside their hotel.[88] Two days later, another scheduled performance in the Russian city of Novosibirsk was cancelled after authorities refused permission for the show to go ahead, who accused Manson of insulting the beliefs of the Orthodox church and of "promoting sadomasochism".[89]

Another new song from Manson will feature in the upcoming film John Wick, which is set for release on October 24, 2014.[90] On September 3, Manson confirmed that the new album is "prepared for landing".[91]

Controversy[edit]

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"[92][93] 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."[93]

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".[94] 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.[95]

The New Jersey date of Ozzfest '97, to be held at Giants Stadium, was canceled by the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition 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.[26]

School shootings[edit]

"I couldn't care less about those kids' reasoning. What reason do we have to go to war? It's all the same. Killing somebody can't be justified by having a reason. I think it says a lot about the [news] media that those two kids were on the cover of Time magazine twice because I'm sure that's everything they wanted. They wanted fame. America sold them the idea that an obituary is just another headline."

—Marilyn Manson on the Columbine massacre.[96]

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,[97] many were led to criticize the media for using the band as a scapegoat instead of analyzing the underlying societal problems surrounding the incident.[98] In the controversial documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Manson about the tragedy. When asked what he would say to the children of Columbine High and their community, 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".[99][100] Manson also submitted an op-ed piece to Rolling Stone magazine [June 24, 1999] titled "Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?",[101] which detailed his opinion on violence as an inherent cultural presence as well as discussing the shootings and his status as an easy target for blame in incidents of this kind. He also said that he expresses condolences to the victim's families. Rapper Eminem criticized 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.

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 1:15 pm, 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 worshipped the band's vocalist, Brian Warner. Coon was known for violent behavior, and stood out among the student body for his appearance—which included black boots, a black trench coat, black nail polish, and rock t-shirts.[102]

Musical style[edit]

Genres ascribed to the band over its career include industrial metal,[1][103] industrial rock,[1][104][105] alternative metal,[103] alternative rock,[106][107] hard rock,[1][108] heavy metal[103] and shock rock.[103][107][108][109]

Influences[edit]

Initially, after being introduced to Big Black's album Songs About Fucking 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.[4] 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 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,[citation needed] 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 Prick.

Evidently, Manson himself is heavily influenced by the shock rock stylings of such artists as Arthur Brown, Alice Cooper, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Kiss and some of Iggy Pop as a young music fan;[4] however, later influences have come from the glam rock of David Bowie (who Manson claims is his biggest influence), 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.[110] Such an influence is exemplified in the similarities between the music videos of Bowie's "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" and many of Manson's videos, such as "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (Floria Sigismondi has directed music videos for both Bowie ("Little Wonder") and Manson ("The Beautiful People" and "Tourniquet").) He also became later fond of The Cure and Bauhaus around the Eat Me, Drink Me period. The hard rock background of John 5 amplified this aspect of the band's sound in live performances; Tim Skold, a former guitarist, bassist, and vocalist in Shotgun Messiah, later blended in that band's mixture of industrial drums and guitars. Influence on the electronic sound of the band has likely came from bands and artists such as Depeche Mode and Gary Numan, the latter of which switched from a synthpop style to more a darker more industrial rock sound which Manson's band performs within. Both Manson and musical associate Trent Reznor who play in this industrial style are likely influenced by Numan as Manson has been quoted with saying "I was always into his apocalytptic fiction lyrics. He pioneered electronic dance music." Whilst Reznor has said "After hearing 'Cars' I knew I wanted to make music with synthesizers. The Pleasure Principle and Telekon are fucking great because they're so cold sounding. Numan's early albums painted an emotional place that wasn't pleasant to be at. It seemed like creepy science fiction in an unpleasant way." Manson's first official recorded cover was "Down in the Park" and Reznor has performed with Numan himself.

Both Manson and Twiggy Ramirez have mentioned the influence of Queen on their more melodic work, particularly on Mechanical Animals and Eat Me, Drink Me, the latter of which Twiggy did not participate in.

Composition and songwriting[edit]

All of the band's lyrics are written by the lead singer, Marilyn Manson, whose songwriting style varies between the band's albums. He uses sharp and inventive word play often making 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"; the album also makes frequent allusions to assassination, and the song "The Fall of Adam" refers to "Abraham Lincoln Town Cars". These witticisms often take the form of neologisms, delivered several at a time in rapid-fire fashion. Concerning Manson's vocal melodies, the lyrics are usually delivered in a spoken, shouting, or melody driven fashion, the latter usually being reserved for the chorus sections.

The instrumental component is primarily composed by the other permanent band members. Until his departure from the band, Twiggy Ramirez was a chief contributor to the compositions, with receiving "music by" credits on every Marilyn Manson album prior to The Golden Age of Grotesque, with the exception of Portrait of an American Family and Spooky Kids material, with Daisy Berkowitz and Gidget Gein sharing songwriting credits. According to the albums' credits, every permanent member of the band has had input, at some point, in its songwriting process.

During the first part of their major label career (1994–2004), Marilyn Manson often recorded cover versions of songs by other artists. All of the officially-released covers the band have recorded are:

Year Title Released on Original artist
1995 "Down in the Park" Lunchbox (single) Gary Numan
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" Smells Like Children Eurythmics
"I Put a Spell on You" Smells Like Children Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" Smells Like Children Patti Smith
1998 "Golden Years" Dead Man on Campus (OST) David Bowie
1999 "Highway to Hell" Detroit Rock City (OST) AC/DC
"Get My Rocks Off" The Last Tour on Earth Doctor Hook
"A Rose and a Baby Ruth" The Last Tour on Earth George Hamilton IV
2000 "Working Class Hero" Disposable Teens (single) John Lennon
"Five to One" Disposable Teens The Doors
"Suicide Is Painless" Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (OST) Mandel, Altman
2001 "Tainted Love" Not Another Teen Movie (OST) Gloria Jones
2003 "The KKK Took My Baby Away" We're A Happy Family: A Tribute to The Ramones
"Mind of a Lunatic" This Is the New Shit (single) The Geto Boys
2004 "Personal Jesus" Lest We Forget: The Best Of Depeche Mode
2006 "This Is Halloween" The Nightmare Before Christmas (OST) Danny Elfman
2012 "You're So Vain" Born Villain Carly Simon

Band members[edit]

Many members have contributed performances (either live or in-studio) on instruments other than their primary ones. For instance, Ramirez has played guitar on several records while his live instrument is bass (though has recently switched to live guitar), Gacy ("Pogo") has played keyboards, theremin and calliope, Manson has played pan flute, harpsichord, keyboards, and guitar, and Berkowitz has been credited with bass guitar and drum machines. Vrenna filled in on drums for Fish when he was injured, and later replaced Gacy on keyboards.

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Awards[edit]

Billboard Music Video Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1998 "The Dope Show" Best Clip (Hard Rock/Metal) Won
Maximum Vision Award Won

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1999 "The Dope Show" Best Hard Rock Performance Nominated
2001 "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" Best Metal Performance Nominated
2004 "mOBSCENE" Best Metal Performance Nominated
2013 "No Reflection" Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Nominated

Kerrang! Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1999 Marilyn Manson Best Band in the World[111] Won
2000 Marilyn Manson Hall of Fame[111] Won
2001 Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) Best Album[111] Won
2002 "Tainted Love" Best Video[111] Won
2005 Marilyn Manson Icon Award[111] Won

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1996 "Sweet Dreams" Best Hard Rock Video Nominated
1997 "The Beautiful People" Best Hard Rock Video Nominated
Best Special Effects in a Video Nominated
Best Art Direction in a Video Nominated
1999 "The Dope Show" Best Cinematography in a Video Won

Miscellaneous awards and honors[edit]

Year Nominated work Award/honor Nominator
1992 Marilyn Manson Best Heavy Metal Band New Times Magazine
1992 Marilyn Manson Best Hard Alternative Band South Florida Slammies
Band of the Year South Florida Slammies
1996 Marilyn Manson Band of the Year South Florida Slammies
1997 Marilyn Manson Best New Artist Rolling Stone
1999 "The Dope Show" Best Video of the Year Rolling Stone
2012 Born Villain Rock Album of the Year Loudwire
2012 "No Reflection" Rock Video of the Year Loudwire

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Literature[edit]

External links[edit]