Rock Is Dead Tour
|Tour by Marilyn Manson|
|Associated album||Mechanical Animals|
|Start date||March 17, 1999|
|End date||August 8, 1999|
|Number of shows||46 (planned)
|Marilyn Manson concert chronology|
Rock Is Dead was a worldwide arena tour by American rock band Marilyn Manson in 1999. It was the second tour launched in support of their third full-length studio LP, Mechanical Animals, which was released on September 15, 1998.
The tour was essentially a rebranding of the Marilyn Manson and Hole co-headlined Beautiful Monsters tour. While it was initially successful, Beautiful Monsters was marked by numerous and well-publicized fracases between the frontperson of each band on and off-stage. The discord caused a fallout between the two groups which resulted in Hole's departure from the playbill. Marilyn Manson decided to continue the tour and gave the opening act, Monster Magnet, equal billing as co-headliner for Rock is Dead.
The tour was recorded for the VHS God is in the TV in 1998 and released on November 2, 1999.
Performance and show themes
"Inauguration of the Mechanical Christ" was created as an intro for Marilyn Manson, who would appear fixed to a crucifix made out of television sets as it rose from beneath the stage.
Marilyn Manson would also pose as an officer during "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" and as a finale, Manson's backup singer would arrive as a second officer with a shotgun. The shotgun would fire into Manson's back, splattering blood unto the crowd. With Manson having been 'murdered', his body would be dragged from the stage.
The podium scene during Antichrist Superstar continued to appear for the track of the same name. This led to a slight controversy during what was to be the original final North American tour date. During the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, show, Marilyn Manson was surprised to find the Antichrist Superstar logo on his podium had been replaced with a smiley face, ultimately leading to Manson walking off the stage and not returning.
Set props included a massive lit sign spelling D-R-U-G-S, as well as golden confetti fired often from cannons.
After Imperial Teen's billing was withdrawn from the tour, Grammy-nominated American psychobilly band Nashville Pussy took over the opening act slot from Monster Magnet beginning at the April 2, 1999, concert at the Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Manson explained to MTV that the initial inclusion of Imperial Teen on the tour was "by Courtney's request. I think we're probably better off, because that would've been an additional torment for our fans that they didn't need." He added that while he enjoyed their music on CD, he felt there was too much difference in their musical and performance approach for their continued inclusion on the tour to work.
Fellow Floridians and longtime friends of the band Jack Off Jill joined Manson's tour for four dates from March 25, 1999, at the Uno Arena in New Orleans until March 30, 1999, at the National Car Center Arena in their shared hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for both groups' homecoming concert.
The renaming caused a minor dispute as Korn and Rob Zombie were already in the middle of a tour of the same name. This particular tour consisted of 45 dates spanning from March 17, 1999 until August 8, 1999.
The first two performances were canceled after Manson sprained his ankle during the final Beautiful Monsters show in Los Angeles and rescheduled for later dates.
Following the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado, the band canceled the remaining dates of the tour out of respect for the victims, explaining, "It's not a great atmosphere to be out playing rock 'n' roll shows, for us or the fans." However, Manson steadfastly maintained that music, movies, books or video games are not to blame, stating,
|“||The [news] media has unfairly scapegoated the music industry and so-called Goth kids and has speculated, with no basis in truth, that artists like myself are in some way to blame. This tragedy was a product of ignorance, hatred and an access to guns. I hope the [news] media's irresponsible finger-pointing doesn't create more discrimination against kids who look different.||”|
A day after the shooting, State Senator Dale Shugars (R-Mich.) attended the band's concert, along with policy advisers, a local police officer and the state senate's sergeant-at-arms, at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan to conduct research for a proposed bill he had been authoring which would require parental warnings on concert tickets and promotional material for any performer that had released a record bearing the Parental Advisory sticker in the last five years. According to Shugars, the show began with the singer wearing "satanic wings" as he leapt from a cross that was eventually set on fire. He then described seeing fans, whom he described as normal kids, "under [Manson's] control" as he performed a sequence that "glorified the killing of a police officer." Finally, he reported the singer recounting a dream sequence in which cops perform sex acts on him before Jesus Christ descended out of a sky made of LSD and told him the real name of God is "Drugs." After which, the band launched into "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)". Shugars expressed concern that these shows had adverse effects on concert-goers, "I think there's something going on that you can't see from the outside." He concluded that "[t]his whole thing is part of a drug-cultural type of thing, with a subculture of violence and killing and hatred, and anti-family values, anti-traditional values, anti-authority" and added that "We're having an alarming rate of killings in schools, and youth violence and an increase in drugs. I would say that though they're not all to be blamed on a shock entertainer like Marilyn Manson, I think he promotes it and can be part of the blame."
On April 25, 1999, conservative pundit William Bennett and longtime Manson critic U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) pointed the group as a contributing factor to the massacre during their appearance on Meet the Press. Three days later, the city of Fresno, California unanimously passed a resolution condemning "Marilyn Manson or any other negative entertainer who encourages anger and hate upon the community as an offensive threat to the children of this community." Councilman Henry Perea, the resolution's author, said, "If people were on the street and engaged in some of the same behaviors that [Manson] demonstrates onstage, they'd probably be arrested." In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, students were barred from wearing Marilyn Manson T-shirts The next day, ten U.S. Senators, spearheaded by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), signed and sent a letter to Edgar Bronfman Jr., president of Interscope Records-owner Seagrams, requesting the voluntary cesation of his company's distribution of "music that glorifies violence" to children. The signatories were eight Republicans and two Democrats, namely, U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). The letter particularly pointed out the band, among others, for producing songs that "glorify death and human destruction" which "eerily reflect" the actions of Harris and Klebold.
Eleven days after the Columbine massacre, Marilyn Manson wrote an op-ed piece for Rolling Stone, titled "Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?", where he rebuked the ensuing political and media "witch hunt" and castigated "the sad fact that America puts killers on the cover of Time magazine, giving them as much notoriety as our favorite movie stars [...] Don't be surprised if every kid who gets pushed around has two new idols."
A few days later, on May 4, 1999, a hearing on the marketing and distribution practices of violent content to minors by the television, music, film and video game industries was conducted before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. It was chaired by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and composed of eleven Republicans and nine Democrats, including U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) and U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) as well as cultural observers, professors and mental-health professionals that included William Bennett and the Archbishop of Denver, Reverend Charles J. Chaput. The band was among those criticized by the participants, besides fellow label-mate Nine Inch Nails and the 1999 Wachowski brothers film The Matrix, for their alleged contribution to the environment that made a tragedy like Columbine possible. Senator Hatch thought that Manson truncated his band's US tour because "he or she or whatever the case might be realizes that he can be tremendously booed and that his work is tremendously offensive." Among the invited guests, the CEOs of four of the world's major music distributors declined to attend. This was denounced by Bennett who said their absence, nevertheless, amounted to a "[p]ublic shaming. My hunch is they will continue to ignore you like they did today." Outside observers such as Nina Crowley, director of the anti-censorship organization Mass Mic, expressed chagrin regarding the hearings, commenting that it was "a very stacked-looking thing." Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA, shared this opinion and thought "it was staged as political theater [...] They just wanted to find a way to shame the industry, and I'm not ashamed."
Senators Brownback, Hatch and Lieberman concluded the proceedings by requesting an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice on marketing practices of the entertainment industry to minors. The following month, President Bill Clinton granted that request adding that "Kids steeped in the culture of violence do become desensitized to it and more capable of committing it." The release of the FTC report on September 13, 2000 would later lead then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman to propose introducing legislation that would levy criminal punishment against distributors who participate in marketing and distributing adult-oriented media to minors. The Media Marketing Accountability Act was introduced by Senator Lieberman on June 2001, co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Marilyn Manson released a live video album on November 2, 1999 titled God Is in the T.V. that contained rare and unreleased footage including a behind-the-scenes backstage look at some of the experiences the band underwent during the Rock Is Dead Tour. He also released a live album on November 12, 1999 titled The Last Tour on Earth that documented curated performances by his band from various concerts during the tour.
- Marilyn Manson
- Marilyn Manson: Vocals
- John5: Guitar
- Twiggy Ramirez: Bass
- Madonna Wayne Gacy: Keyboards
- Ginger Fish: Drums
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