All this month I’ll be taking a look at scary things from my life that turned me from petrified youngster into horror hound. Today I take a look at the biggest shock rock star of a generation – Marilyn Manson.
I was absolutely petrified of Marilyn Manson when I first saw him. No, not when the “Sweet Dreams” video came out, although that was on the list. No it was his appearance on an episode of Phil Donahue. The crazy thing is that this episode was about the dangers of moshing. Must be that all the name artists of the moment refused to appear. When the producers started looking around for some metal act to appear on the show they must have been crawling over each other to get Manson in the studio. Serial killers and glam. A well spoken front man. Kids love it and parents would hate it. Ratings gold!
For some reason when I was younger I loved day time talk. Too young to really be watching a lot of this. But this was before we had 100s of channels. Sports? No. Country music. No. Infomercials and soap operas and crap and crap. But there was usually something interesting on the golden age of daytime talk. A celebrity I liked, some interesting topic, or in a pinch – boobs. So seeing Marilyn Manson and a discussion on rock music sounded like a great way to waste an hour.
I bought every bit of it. He’s dangerous, a devil worshiper, a pox upon the land. I need to love Jesus harder and maybe through my prayers I can help banish this demon back to hell and save the world from the end times.
I am not kidding. Catholic school was so deeply ingrained in me I couldn’t see past the showmanship.
When Manson broke through and everyone was getting into him I still tried to hold firm. I wouldn’t listen to the albums, I wouldn’t accept it. There’s an early track called “Fuck Frankie” that will do a mind job on you. I got used to the music and still didn’t love it but I became more accepting of it. Having “Beautiful People” as the WWE Monday Night Raw theme song will do that. Hearing him on Bowling for Columbine helped me understand the man if not music. He is intelligent and just because he’s all sorts of twisted doesn’t mean he should be blamed for society’s ills. As a long time comic reader I was already well versed in the Seduction of the Innocent and seeing media that is not understood get blamed for unrelated problems.
As I got older and saw Alice Cooper play golf and Ozzy Osborne become a reality star I started to see Manson as cut from the same cloth. A showman, an artist, but deep down just a guy that wants to play music and have legions of fans. Nothing wrong with that.
Finally on this most recent album, The Pale Emperor, everything clicked. I now saw him as a genius artist who constantly reinvents himself in an effort to stay meaningful. There was an interview, and I’ll never find the link, in which Manson explained that during the recording of this album he saw himself as a god. No, no, stick with me. As a god he created this thing, Marilyn Manson, that did not previously exist. Not just the band but his entire persona. The alter ego. Now he feels this creation has accomplished all that it can. Its time of relevance and purpose has past. He must destroy that which he created and its a very difficult burden to accept.
It all comes together. Sometimes snippets of a piece don’t carry the full meaning. Only through hearing his entire albums, his thoughts, his concepts, does the whole thing come together. The Antichrist Superstar. The Dope Show. Why are people drawn to what they fear? Fame is the most addicting and most harmful drug of all. So much genius.
If Halloween involves dressing like scary things to ward off the real horrors of the world then Marilyn Manson isn’t one to be hated but one to be seen as the guide on All Hallow’s Eve.
This post and hundreds more are part of the Countdown to Halloween.