One of the last true rock stars roaming the land - in my stilted opinion - is Marilyn Manson, who happens to turn 43 years young today. With a new album coming this year, and another book, 2012 should shape up to be a great one for the man who was once the most hated and feared man in America. It's fitting that our last year on Earth will be jam-packed with Manson. Time to crank up "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes", y'all.
Returning to my statement of him being one of the last true rock stars, let me try at least to explain. Manson is the last of the parent-scaring, Christian-baiting rockers that existed. Plus, his music was, and still is, capable of making any bad day I can have all the more better. To me, he wasn't goth as much he was a throwback to rockers like Iggy Pop or Alice Cooper that had already mellowed by the time I came of age.
In 2012, there is simply no one man who makes the genteel quiver with fear the way he could from 1995 until about 2002. Who is out there now to do the same? Odd Future? Lady Gaga? Interestingly enough, Gaga's stage show isn't too far off from his show, circa 1998 and Mechanical Animals sets. There is plenty of blood, fire, religious imagery to go around. Manson was very much proto-Gaga, though Manson preached common sense and self-reliance, and wasn't heavy into the social causes.
With the rise of Manson in the '90s came a number of myths, mostly grounded in fear and dread over his influence. Was this sick, godless bastard really that geek from The Wonder Years? Here are some of the best Manson myths to come to light, with his own explanation, where possible.
MYTH: He got a few ribs removed to be able to suck his own penis.
MANSON: "Some people think I'm one of the rock stars who had surgery so I could suck my own dick. Quite honestly, I WOULD NOT WANT TO SUCK MY DICK.
MYTH: He used to give drugs away for free at shows in the early days
MANSON: "I don't give away drugs for free."
MYTH: As a teen, Manson was either Kevin Owens from Mr. Belvedere or Paul from The Wonder Years.
Neither. Manson was never on any '80s sitcoms.
MYTH: The Columbine Massacre in 1999 was Marilyn Manson's fault.
The kids who committed the massacre at the Colorado high school hated Manson's music, favoring instead KMFDM. Take this up with Sascha Konietzko next time you see him.
MYTH: Manson used to throw live puppies into the crowds at his shows for them to be ripped apart.
Manson was once photographed for SPIN with three cute little guys, that to our knowledge were his own animals and had never been ripped limb from limb.
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MYTH: Manson was a negative influence on children.
Some of the most artistic, funny, and learned kids we knew growing up were Manson fans, who ended up growing out of the cutting and black clothing phase and became artistic, funny, and learned adults.
MYTH: The best Marilyn Manson album ever is Antichrist Superstar...
False. 2000's Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death) is the best one ever, with Antichrist and Animals rounding out the top three. The Golden Age Of Grotesque was awesome, but it went over a lot of people's heads in 2003.