A few weeks back, I took in the Twins of Evil Tour, a jaunt that features Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie as the co-headliners. As noted in my recap of the show, the thing that separates Zombie’s performance from Manson’s is that the former never demanded to be taken seriously, while the latter’s peak occurred precisely because people took him at face value.
It’s an important distinction, because it ultimately allowed for Manson to be much bigger during the height of his power. And that was considerable power: Between the premiere of the video for “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and the release of Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Manson was a headline-grabbing, TRL-dominating, album-selling dynamo who, it could be argued, was the most relevant rock star of the late 1990s.
Few people making guitar-based music inspired as much conversation, outrage, intrigue, and passionate fandom as Manson. Though it’s easy to see now that his mainstreaming was calculated (facilitated in part by the edge-smoothing of producer, label boss, and collaborator Trent Reznor), it’s still impressive that Manson managed to sell nearly two million copies of an EP of remixes of songs that nobody bought the first time around, three covers, and a recording of a phone call titled “May Cause Discoloration of the Urine or Feces.”
Manson snuck into the pop consciousness during the vacuum period created following the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. Those three or four years are some of the most fascinating in rock history, as without a figurehead to show the world the way, every weirdo crashes the stage all at once. READ FULL STORY »