He’s obscene, he’s violent, he’s profane. He’s Marilyn Manson.
Since 1994, this “strange and disturbing force” in the music world has sold over 5,000 records and has delivered some shocking concert appearances.
“I consider myself an artist more than a musician,” says Manson of his music. “I think the music and how people are affected by it and my performance, all that together adds up to what Marilyn Manson is.”
And he isn’t wrong. From looming over the audience from a podium on stage to dressing like a Nazi, he’s managed to bring rock ancestors and rock critics alike to tears.
By 1996, Manson had officially earned the title of “the voice of angsty youth.” He truly lived by the Golden rule: shock sells. And while fans and the media saw him as “the only guy who gets it,” the rest of the world saw him as evil.
“I’ve always asserted myself as a villan,” says Manson of himself. “Because the villan is always the more interesting character in any story that I grew up reading. And because the villan in any walk of life is the person who refuses to follow blindly and always wants to question things. So for me, art always leaves a question mark. So I’m merely asking questions.”
In the mainstream media, Marilyn Manson was seen as “the shock rock king,” but at the same time, he was also living under a microscope with people constantly picking at him. And on April 20, 1999, they had a new reason to. On that say, a stunned nation watched the disturbing news of the School shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. After killing 13 people, the gunmen took their own lives. Shortly after the tragedy, the media immediately pounced on the entertainment industry.
“I was in Chicago and I was watching the news,” Manson recalls “and I joked at first that I would get blamed for it. And when I did, who knew that it would be so ridiculous? Because the initial report is that these kids were wearing make-up and they were dressed like me.”
Ironically, the two assailants involved were not Marilyn Manson fans. Personally, I think the connection between Marilyn Manson and the massacre is somewhat mysterious. Since then, the controversy surrounding the two subjects has died down.
But in 2002, Manson was interviewed for the film Bowling For Columbine. When asked “What would you have said to those kids at Columbine?” He responded, “I wouldn’t say a single word. I would just listen to what they have to say. And that’s what no one did.”