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."


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