What a Friend We Have in Marilyn Manson: 18 Years with the God of (Expletive Deleted)
I wrote about some of the best Manson myths on the occasion of his birthday back in January. He's not the snarling, scorched-earth God of Fuck from his parent-baiting '90s heyday anymore, but thankfully those rough edges remain on Villain.
The new album exhibits a playfulness that long-term fans know he had, but had not yet integrated into the music. Lead single "No Reflection" is a ready-made radio anthem in the vein of 1996's "The Beautiful People"; elsewhere, "The Gardener" offers an expert study into the ways of modern love -- or what passes for it these days -- via Iggy Pop circa The Idiot.
On Sunday night he plays the sold-out House of Blues, on Mother's Day no less. Sorry, Mom, I have a date with Manson. He hasn't been here since March 2, 2008, traipsing on the Rape or the World Tour.
Manson has been one of the few modern artists who have grown with their audiences instead of becoming tribute acts to themselves, and the older he gets the more he keeps revealing facets to his art we would have never expected. Lyrically, I would like to think we grew with him.
When we were young and angry, so was he. And when we were depressed and depraved, he was too.
Compared to other rock stars shoved in our faces at the time, like Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder, he offered something outsized and theatrical. From that first video for "Get Your Gunn" I saw on Beavis and Butt-head to his Alejandro Jodorowsky-biting clips today, he's kept me enthralled.
(He once -- unawares -- threw a plastic bottle at my ex-girlfriend's face from the stage in New Orleans at Voodoo Fest, but he made up for it by taking a picture of her the next year in Houston after a gig and sending it to his wife at the time, Dita Von Teese. This was when cell-phone cameras were for rich rock stars.)
A recent piece by my colleague Jef With One F illustrated how much he meant, and didn't, to a generation of Goths. There were some heated exchanges. For me he wasn't Goth, though. That was too easy of a tag, and he was way more pop -- in his own demented way -- to be a Goth "Capital-I" Icon.
He was blamed for everything that supposedly went wrong with my generation, the media-ordained Gen Y. When a bunch of psychotic, troubled kids in Colorado shot up a school, he was the easiest figure to point a finger at.