Marilyn Manson Is It Only Rock 'N' Roll or Armageddon?

Article excerpt

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

tonight.

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 shows.

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

ask.

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

Superstar."

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

shows). …

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