Saturday, November 13, 2010


Single Release Date: Nov 7th 2000
Directed by: Samuel Bayer

On the opening sequence Manson emerges from a black lagoon possibly signifying the birth of a new identity, as this one was already stated with the inclusion of the Mercury symbol. For those of us who aren't highly familiarized with the Occult and Alchemy, Mercury is the conjunction of both male and female forces, an idea already explored during the Mechanical Animals era and reinforced by the usage of Marilyn (Hollywood actress) and Manson (notorious serial killer).

The singer adopts several other characters during this video, such as a pope (compare to the Hierophant Card in the Holywood booklet), Manson sporting a rare two-headed sheep skin, a scene with policemen and many other rich symbolism reminiscent of the Last Supper that surpasses the meaning of the song.

Single Release Date: February 2, 2001
Directed by: W.I.Z and MM

A football riot in a goth high school? Hell yeah. The opening scene  features a billboard that reads, "Happy to Live In America" injecting sarcasm into the mood. Two teams, Holywood and Death beat the Hell out of each other while the 'band´ plays along the chant or "fight song" with the same name. Notice how Manson and the rest of the football players have the number "00" on their backs. In the original Holywood booklet is a Tarot Card, The Fool which bears the 0 meaning the beginning of a journey or cycle, yet another hidden meaning is ignorance.

Single Release Date: October 6, 2001
Directed by: Paul Fedor

Resembling a darker fairytale ambient two children escape from the clutches of white clerical characters only to be seek refuge in a Manson dressed as a sort of witch or sorcerer who later turns the captors into a pie. One of the most symbolic representations is the Wood or Tree Demon in the middle of a snowy forest. In fact, Manson has used this element for a long time, including one of his oldest tattoos which is a scary tree.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


by Beli Cantu.

July 3rd, 2001.

I was out of luck and left alone to die. I was struggling through my last year of college and still lived with my parents. I had taken a modest job to gain experience as an industrial designer; a career that I still don't know what the Hell it means, and because of that I wasn't doing exactly that well. Just when I felt that I had nothing to hold on to a beacon of hope arrived when I found out about the upcoming Ozzfest featuring my dearest rock and roll crush Marilyn Manson. That summer would be my first encounter with the infamous shock rocker so I set my mind to it and fulfilled my wish.

Now did I mind that I was pissing my dad off? No, I told him a while later about my mischievous journey. He was the only one who never really got my passion for Manson, probably because he had never been that involved into that kind of music. My mom, on the other hand openly admitted that I adored him: in fact she once said he was "very creative" after having watched The Beautiful People video.

So there I went all by myself with a bunch of metalheads I hardly knew all the way up to San Antonio, Texas, more specifically in a small town named Selma.

Without bluffing you could perceive very clearly that there was a lot of expectation to see Manson despite all the controversy generated after Columbine as this time they were part of a new tour called God, Guns And Government, inspired by the The Love Song lyrics:

"Do you love your guns, yeah, your god, yeah, your government? Fuck yeah!"
We were also highly interested in seeing Ozzy Osbourne's reunion with Black Sabbath and all the other nü metal bands that were just starting out there such as Linkin Park, Mudvayne, Slipknot, Papa Roach and many more. There was one other band that rock awesomely hard though, Otep, lead by Otep Shamaya that caught my eye.

But that was only the beginning. Everywhere I turned around there were Manson fans who openly expressed their passion by simple things such as sporting the ever so scandalous tees or even dressing up like him. To my surprise I even saw an old lady with a tattoo on her back that resembled a bald-headed Manson with wings on each side. I just thought to myself; "Alright!"

It took Slipknot's frontman Corey Taylor to introduce Marilyn Manson as the next act. The stage went completely dark and the crowds swarmed in to take their seats. One by one the members emerged out of a foggy stage, starting with Madonna Wayne Gacy, aka Pogo with a sort of bouncing, deranged keyboard, lead guitarist (at that time) John 5 , bassist Twiggy, Ginger Fish and in the end the man of the hour. The crowd roared as he paraded wearing an over the top outfit consisting of a leather tight corset, high platform army boots, a sort of black war painting that resemble a thick black streak underneath his nightmarish eyes and the tail of a dead horse hanging from his left arm.

He acted liked he owned the place, no doubt about that. One of the most impressive acts was him rising attached through a crane to the tune of Cruci-fiction In Space. A rusty sign HOLYWOOD stood in the background. It became awfully hard to stop looking as one moment suddenly got more exciting than the last one. A medley of all his best eras was flawlessly performed including The Antichrist Superstar, the decadent glam sound of Mechanical Animals...The closing  number The Beautiful People, an all-time favorite featuring Manson standing on an orange colored podium with the emblem that they had at the time; a cross made out guns and rifles. And as he swung from side to side like a broken doll in the heat of the moment I screamed my heart out and called out his name. For a while he stopped and so did the beating of my heart for I truly thought that there was a response.

He came confident and vanished triumphantly but exhausted; so was I, but pleased. I had never experienced someone so devoted to his performance. We enjoyed every single moment of it and proved once and felt demystified and I gladly encouraged others who had the chance to go without prejudice. Because, at the end of the day, wasn't that just entertainment? I believe it was...

Of course, this experience only did wonders for one thing; to stay more and more engaged with the Manson universe.This wouldn't be my first time and it certainly wouldn't be the last one...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"When I wrote Antichrist Superstar, it came from some dreams that I had of where I might be in the future, and it was a sort of, obviously, grandiose vision of my world to come," Manson said. "As a person, I felt the need to live that out. So I started down a path of self-destruction, trial by fire, seeing if I could put myself through any test to become a stronger person. And luckily, I feel like I made it out alive from that." 
         (Marilyn Manson).

Well, the shape of the music industry had certainly changed since the rise of downloadable media for it seemed that it became decentralized and represented a tougher challenge to grab attention, and fans, especially for rockstars. New channels opened up for small independant bands and got wide promotion through social networks. Even music videos needed to have a different approach; less artsy and more commercial.

And amongst this crisis that would forever turn things around for modern entertainment we also found another huge cultural phenomenon taking place: violence in the media going mainstream. While MTV and its peers opened up their doors for grunge later on it would become a mindscape for the X and Y generations. Marilyn Manson helped in a way to revamp the concept of theatricality in rock that began to wash down since the early 1990s and while others acts adhered successfully to it such as Slipknot, Korn, Insane Clown Posse, Rammstein the concept was already mastered by the likes of Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne and KISS just to name a few.

But was shock rock taken a little bit way too far? Technically the battle of the influence of the violence in teens won't  be entirely proven, just controlled. However there were several accusations  upon Manson's eerie music, such as the case of 15 year old Richard Kuntz, who committed suicide back in December 1997 while playing one of the last tracks of the album Antichrist Superstar, The Reflecting God.

"there is an exit here, I say an instant is true..."

"There is a dream inside a dream,

I'm wide awake the more I sleep
You'll understand when I'm dead."

It was later known that Kuntz was just making an essay about the shock rocker.

Did these events lacerate Manson's image and hurt its credibility on its faithful followers? No, not really, yet it still left some kind of invisible scar that caused family and Christian organizations and the government to keep an eye on whatever the band spawned next. Thus, the controversy continued in the next chapter of his album trilogy, Mechanical Animals in 1998. Visually futuristic and at the same time with Bowie-esque feel to it taking us back to the days of Ziggy Stardust. The imagery of MA was more based upon the concept of the androgynous alien Omega who descends upon Earth to be later manufactured as ultra glam rockstar. It continued to have worldwide success jumping quickly into the mainstream and even taking part in the box office cyber-apocalyptic smash hit The Matrix featuring Rock Is Dead.

But it wasn´t until the middle of the The Last Tour On Earth when Marilyn Manson was threatened to cancel several concerts in Denver due to the school shootings that took place in Columbine High School on April 1999. Two senior students  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down 12 students and one teacher, and hurting other people until they finally committed suicide. The event went under the media spotlight shaking people´s as to wonder who was to blame, and the speculation came about with such factors as drugs, depression, psychopathy, videogames, literature and the most vulnerable spot became the goth subculture, since it was known that the killers formed a secret society dubbed The Trenchcoat Mafia. It was later found that they weren´t Manson fans at all.

Columbine had to be the biggest wound that the band suffered which was in a way healed by Manson coming out and backfiring on a Rolling Stone article on May 1999. The shock rocker was later interviewed by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore for the award winning Bowling For Columbine, which heavily discussed the origins of the American ultra violence.

This taped speech showed a more down to earth Manson highlighting his response to Moore:

"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." (Bowling For Columbine).
The conflict was settled ´peacefully´ in a way with the inclusion of The Nobodies as part of Holywood (in the shadow of the valley of death).

"We´re the Nobodies, we wanna be somebodies, when we´re dead they´ll know just who we are."


Monday, November 8, 2010

Back To Holywood: 10th Anniversary

While the Delorean time machine may not be available yet, we still have the power to go back to the past and rescue a beloved record from the Marilyn Manson vault; 2000's Holywood. Why? Because it has been already ten years since its debut on November 13th.

While the 90s X Generation may have been highly familiarized with Mr. Manson's ultra shocking imagery and music we wonder how these latter generation perceives him with all the Lady Gaga craze (mind you, we're not comparing them).

Originally titled as Holywood (in the shadow of the valley of death) it was a conceptual album intended to be the final (or in Manson's words initial) chapter of the Triptych which began with 1996's Antichrist Superstar. It emerged on an America overpowered by media violence and let's not forget that the Columbine massacre of 1999 turned into the thorn in the band's side.

The tenth track, The Nobodies was also included in some of the footage shown in Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine, along with an introspective interview with Manson himself demystifying most of the bad press fed by angry parents and Christians worldwide. However, as one recent song cleverly suggests;

"whatever doesn't kill you is gonna leave a scar."

Soon after these tragic events the music industry had a radical the face lift. MTV's generation of doomed, grunge-infused teenagers was replaced by a swarm of reality shows, mega pop stars and the internet counterculture of downloadable media. The mid 90s batch of cinematographic quality video directors such as Samuel Bayer, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Mark Romanek, Darren Aronofsky to name a few slowly fled to the movie business having even greater success. The following music genres became softened and with less and less shock value, threatening the old-school rockstars yet they didn't perish; they were just removed from the mainstream opposite to what occurred during the era of Nirvana-esque bands.

But the question is; was Manson prepared to make a successful transition to this new decade without being crucified? Yes Risk of being labeled and narrowed as a goth icon? Probably yes. This was well proven with the following records of The Golden Age Of Grotesque, EAT ME, DRINK ME, and the 2009's, The High End Of Low. Although they haven't been considered as the loudest and most important productions of the last decade in Manson's catalogue according to some music critics, they still remind us he's still an unkillable monster.

The cover song "Tainted Love" and video proved to be a parody of the modern goth culture and rap artists.

Hence, let's keep out chins up for the future. In the meantime let's take a walk around The Valley Of Death and remember what made so such a badass piece of modern rock, shall we?

"Jesus was the first rock star. The cross is the biggest, greatest piece of merchandise in history, bigger than any concert T-shirt. And Jesus was the first dead rock star. Like Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, he became immortal by dying. A dead rock star becomes perfect, and he'll be that forever. He'll never change, never get old, never turn into something less great than at his peak, at the moment of his death. "
(The Dead Rock Star, Rolling Stone interview, 1999).