Marilyn Manson would love your attention.
Marilyn Manson would love your attention.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez.

Marilyn Manson Tries to Turn His Bad Month Around With a Gun

Most shock rockers move into the middle and late stages of their career gracefully. That sounds weird, but consider:

*Alice Cooper became a golfer who still decapitates himself on stage and was awesome in Wayne’s World.
*Gwar have become an institution, a band that you’re almost required to see if you like rock music, rather than a novelty act that once appeared on Jerry Springer. Oderus Urungus (Rest in Power) was a regular on Fox News in 2009.
*Glenn Danzig is putting on music festivals and reuniting with the Misfits, proving that on a long enough timeline everyone gets back together (other than the Smiths).

All of these great boogeymen and weirdos are out on the road regularly, putting on great shows and keeping their fans happy after decades in the game. They’re safe, because nothing about rock music is particularly shocking these days.

Then there’s Marilyn Manson, who is having a rough go at it the last few weeks. This should have been a moment of triumph for him, with a new album that most think is pretty good and plenty of positive press to go along with it.

But then he was almost crushed to death by a piece of his stage setup. He had to fire his bassist, who had been accused of raping an ex-girlfriend. And now he’s had to offer up an explanation about a new part of his stage show, where he sings into a mike attached to a rifle aimed at the crowd.

It’s always nice when The Onion predicts the future.

Manson says of the gun mike:

“My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world.”

There was a time when describing his music as “a reaction to popular culture” rang true, but like so many of his contemporaries he’s been reduced to putting out largely boring, paint by numbers records for a decade now. His new record has a song on it called “Say10” because the devil is real creepy, you see. In reality, the statement reads as a pre-written press release ready to be sprung the second someone complained.

Which is why it doesn’t have any reference to what happened in Sutherland Springs, the Texas church shooting that killed 26 and happened hours before Manson took to the stage in California. Had Sutherland Springs not happened, it’s not impossible that Manson would have performed and no one would have said anything about it. Kelli Skye Fadroski wrote in a review of the show some people thought the entire thing was lame and no one seemed put out by it.

Lame or not, it’s still something of a bad look. If that’s how Manson wants to try and shock these days, more power to him; it got him his headlines at least. But with the amount of gun violence in this country, you can’t help but think it’s only a matter of time before he performs the stunt in front of someone who was involved in some sort of mass shooting, and Manson doesn’t strike me as the type to put a trigger warning on his show.

Also, not for nothing, but Manson is decades behind the curve on this sort of thing. Enjoy this video of the Butthole Surfers shooting a shotgun over a crowd.

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