Countercultural icons, especially in the music industry, don’t often come out of nowhere. Of course, just 5 years after the release of Marilyn Manson’s debut album, one Brian Warner was in the crossfire of Christian fundamentalists and disgruntled parents alike for supposedly being one of the main reasons the Columbine Shooting happened. As ridiculous as it sounds now, Marilyn Manson’s music was one of the scapegoats for it, though it’s simply not true.
25 years ago today, the release of Marilyn Manson’s debut album, Portrait Of An American Family, was a slow-burner of sorts. A vastly different album than the industrial shock-rock/metal that would dominate future records, part of the record was famously recorded in the same house that Sharon Tate was murdered in by…the Manson Family. The album, which was also produced by Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor, contained more elements of grunge and alternative metal than were evident in subsequent releases. Though not necessarily a commercial success, the album was led by distinct singles in “Lunchbox” and “Dope Hat”, as well as lead single “Get You Gunn”, which provided much controversy early on – as did their stage shows.
Reinvention is both a blessing and a curse for artists. Do you risk following up a platinum record – one that put you in the national consciousness – with more of the same? Do you play it safe or take a big risk, stylistically? That was the quandary facing Marilyn Manson in 1998, as their 1996 sophomore record Antichrist Superstar propelled them to worldwide fame. The response was the David Bowie-inspired Mechanical Animals, which twisted around the band’s industrial metal formula into something even more intriguing.
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Photos By Alex Valentovich (Apocalyptic Demise Photography)
Marilyn Manson has long been known for over 2 decades as a counterculture, shock-rock icon that always challenged societal and religious norms. Though in the 2000’s his career took a bit of a downturn, his last two albums (especially 2014’s The Pale Emperor) have been well-received, much like his iconic albums from the mid to late 90’s.
Marilyn Manson member Jeordie White (who goes by Twiggy Ramirez), who was initially in the band until 2000 (and then again in 2008 until a couple days ago) was with the band and even friends with Manson when the band was first gaining traction. Jeordie, as you likely know, was accused of abuse and rape by Jack Off Jill’s Jessicka Adams a few days ago, in a harrowing post on social media. And Manson’s response to these accusations were as good of a response as you’re likely to get. How hard is it to kick out a band member that you toured and recorded with for many years? Likely nearly impossible, but hats off to Manson for responding the way he did.