Part of me remembers the good old days– the simple times when Marilyn Manson frightened the world. He was the proven scourge of music. He loved it, and constantly made an effort to one up himself. I first encountered the band when they were still relatively unknown. They opened for Nine Inch Nails in 1993 in Baltimore, taking the stage with a chilling version of the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”, scaring and intriguing the entire audience, no matter what their age, and no matter how afraid of Nine Inch Nails people already were. It was creepy– and far creepier than the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow who also shared the bill. A man hung a cinder block from his nipples, and still he failed in comparison to scare the public like Manson would.
I remember trying to buy their tape the following week. It was their debut record entitled “Portrait of an American Family”. I was denied the sale because I was too young, and rightfully so. At age 13, I bought a Soundgarden record instead, but employed my friend’s older brother to buy me the Manson record soon after.
Years later I met the band in Raleigh at a record store signing. My friend Mike Sander and I were the only people who showed up NOT wearing black and NOT carrying a lunchbox. We thought that was pretty cool– and based on the band’s reaction, I think they did too.
Later that night we were treated to one of the most epic performances I have ever seen. After this night, the bar for extreme shock value was raised significantly. Bibles were thrown on stage and subsequently torn apart. At one point Manson asked the entire audience to spit on him, and to the chagrin of the audience members up front, they did. But perhaps the craziest moment I’ve ever witnessed came moments later when the lead singer smashed a bottled on the ground and then began rolling around in the shards of glass until he was completely bloody. I’m pretty sure most of things would be against the health code at this point.
After seeing Manson tonight, I kind of long for the creepiness and decades of premeditated scare tactics. I long for a simpler time. I long for the good ole days when the audience consisted of herds of sheep wearing black to salute their dark shepherd. Today, there is something more scary– seeing what these deviants look like 20 years later.
Instead of the interview I had hoped for– or the show review I had planned on– I bring you what may become a new column for the blog… “The Top 6 Things Overheard at the Show”. And here is the first installment:
1) Audience Member: “I own two Audis, a truck and a Beamer [BMW]. I mean when you buy a Beamer you can only go with black or white. I told the dealer ‘don’t show me anything red or blue, I want black or white'”
2) Audience Member: “I’ve seen Harvery Danger like five times. I mean they are the best.”
3) Audience Member: [shouting] “This is the worst show I’ve ever seen!”
4) Audience Member [different one, seconds later]: “This is the best band I’ve ever seen.”
5) Marilyn Manson: “There are two things I hate more than anything: beer, and stabbing a woman and getting caught.”
and last but not most pathetic:
6) Audience Member: “You mean I put this in my ass?” [I have no idea where this conversation began or ended up]