He prowls the stage in pancake makeup and a costume complete
with back brace, looking for all the world like a character from
your latest bad dream.
His music churns, roils and blares as he intones lines like "We
Hate Love/We Love Hate," and "When you get to Heaven/you'll wish
you were in Hell."
He's shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, and he's coming to your town.
He'll cue up his garish stage show at the Jacksonville Coliseum
First things first. Marilyn Manson, in music industry terms, is
on a roll. His recent album, Antichrist Superstar, has sold more
than a million copies. He has graced the cover of Rolling Stone
magazine, and was voted one of SPIN Magazine's "20 Most Vital"
artists in music.
That hasn't appeased Manson's critics, who claim his music is
immoral, lewd and, ultimately, dangerous.
It isn't like he doesn't court the controversy. His stage antics
include ripping up a Bible and he has a "friendship" with
Satanist author Anton LaVey. (Satanism, Manson says, is merely
an updated version of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.)
Conservative and religious groups have protested shows in
Alaska, Massachusetts and Texas. Dates in Salt Lake City and
Richmond, Va., were canceled and there have been bomb threats at
Some of that scenario has been repeated here in Jacksonville.
Mayor John Delaney has gone on record as opposing the concert,
even though spokeswoman Susan Wiles acknowledges that his legal
avenues are limited.
His office, meanwhile has received more than 5,000 calls from
residents expressing outrage at rumored anti-religious and
pornographic elements in the show.
They've even heard from People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals, which is responding to rumors (untrue, in fact) that
Manson abuses animals as part of his show. Some residents have
planned to mount a protest outside the Coliseum.
But public protest or no, a show is a show, especially when
dealing with a public facility and a popular artist.
"As managers of a public facility, we book entertainment for
all aspects of the community, be it a family show, a concert or
a sporting event" said Tiare Bevan, marketing manger for
Spectacor Management Group. "The best way for residents to make
their disapproval known is to not attend the concert."
So is Manson the Dark Lord incarnate? A perverse pied piper
leading youth down the road to destruction? Depends on who you
A lot of Manson's background is surprisingly routine. In fact,
the album Antichrist Superstar can be seen as a loosely retold
version of his life: a lowly character achieves a cathartic
sense of belief in himself and transforms into "Antichrist
Manson was born Brian Warner in Canton, Ohio (his family later
moved to South Florida), and had from accounts, a relatively
normal childhood. Relatively because he recalls being troubled
by nightmares as a child and also recalls discovering an aborted
fetus in a coffee can across the street from his house.
He also acknowledges that his father, a furniture salesman, had
a bad temper (today, his father regularly attends Manson's