Marilyn Manson (initially Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids) are an American rock band founded in 1989. Most of their early music technically falls under industrial rock with some metal elements (a metal style commonly referred to as Industrial Metal) before deciding to step foot in every genre from straight-up rock to Glam Rock, but the band are best known as shock rockers (a label they resent, as they felt they never were trying to be shocking, but just doing what they wanted), with their graphic imagery and ruthless attacks on the mainstream media winning them a reputation of the kind seldom seen before in music. In fact, the moral panic against them was so great that they were blamed for the Columbine massacre by sections of the media, under the belief that the killers had been inspired by their music (ironically, the killers hated them and saw them as sell-outs, but were KMFDM and Rammstein fans, instead).On the surface, this seems like an easy mistake to make. Throughout their career, Marilyn Manson have made good use of explicit live shows, controversial lyrics and outright bizarre music videos. The songs are cynical, with many lampooning conformism, social hierarchy and the media, amongst other things. Nothing was off limits, including certain members of the band's own fanbase. Despite this, in true industrial metal fashion, several of the songs and most of the videos don't give their meaning up easily, and are open to multiple interpretations.Due to the fact that the band name is also the lead singer's stage name, Marilyn Manson is one of the most notorious examples of I Am the Band in existence. Many people are not, in fact, aware that they are a band and credit all the group's music to the singer alone. This has become more prominent over time, to the point where Marilyn Manson the person has become a household name, yet the other band members are known only by fans, ex-fans and (some) music critics. The number of them doesn't help — Marilyn Manson's line up changes almost constantly, and they have gone through 17 guitarists, bassists, drummers and keyboardists in just 20 years. This has often been attributed by those who have worked with him to (among other things) Manson thinking, well, that he is the band and the others are just there to provide background scenery for him.Current Members
Marilyn Manson- Vocals
Twiggy Ramirez- Guitars, bass, occasional backing vocals at live shows
Ascended Fanboy: A young Manson (real name Brian Warner) appeared on an MTV program talking to a VJ about the band he was putting together. According to his autobiography, he also interviewed Trent Reznor in the late 80s while working as an amateur music journalist.
The cover for Portrait Of An American Family was originally intended to be a picture of a naked baby (Manson himself - the photo was taken by his parents in a non-sexual context, and Manson claims that his genitals weren't showing in the photo), to show that an innocent baby photo can and will be interpreted as "pornographic". In itself this would have been an effective statement; however the proposed cover scared the record label about accusations of child pornography, and was thus not used. The censorship of the image only proved the point the band was trying to make, rather than diminishing it.
Similarly, the cover for Holy Wood depicts a violent and bloody image of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and was thus censored by the band's label. It was originally designed to show how violent the popular scene actually is, and the act of censoring only further emphasized the violent nature of the religious parable.
In life, Marilyn Manson himself. Reading his autobiography is setting yourself up for wanting to give him the biggest hug. Of all time. See also: With Friends Like These...
Call Back: Used all the time. For example, in 1996, there is the lyric "Anti the things I fucked and ate." In Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon, "First you try to fuck it, then you try to eat it, and if it hasn't learned your name you better kill it before they see it." In Heart-Shaped Glasses, "That blue is getting me high and making me low." The next album was The High End of Low. In If I was Your Vampire, "6 a.m. Christmas morning. No shadows, no reflections here." Then, two albums later, there is the Grammy-nominated song No Reflection. Manson is also known to re-use lyrics from pre-Portrait songs, like "Are all your infants in abortion cribs?"
Censored Title: "This Is The New Shit" became "This Is The New *hit" when censored, which is ironically, still fitting. "Pretty As A Swastika" became "Pretty As A $" which is likely the biggest "Fuck you" done via censorship ever.
Cloudcuckoolander: In most of his earlier interviews, bassist/guitarist Twiggy was a Grade A example of this trope. Mostly he sat swaying slightly, fiddling with his clothing and staring at the ceiling, rarely speaking unless addressed directly, at which point he would reply with a nonsensical comment (one interview with Manson and Twiggy had the latter saying only "Whiskey and speed", and only answering a couple of questions with a coherent answer, before going back to "Whiskey and speed"), and in one case, only played an audio clip with a tape player. Nobody knows whether he did this intentionally as part of his stage persona, or whether he was just semi-permanently high.
Cluster F-Bomb: The band's songs generally contain a lot of swearing. The entire Eat Me, Drink Me album was a notable aversion of this.
Concept Album: Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood actually form a trilogy about three interconnected main characters, Adam, Omega and The Worm. Chronologically in the narrative, however, it goes in reverse order.
Somewhat debatable as to the order of the albums. Interpretations of the "Triptych" are an Epileptic Trees forest.
Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: Marilyn Manson is not a goth band, and they have never claimed to be so. It seems as though only reason people think they are a goth band is because the media kept saying they were. The makeup, nail polish, black clothing, and stereotypical "darkness" of the band didn't help much. The music video for Tainted Love also does not help, what with it being filled with goth kids and all (one even wearing a shirt stating "Nothing but a G(oth) Thing").
Creator Breakdown: From their first album, Portrait of An America Family through The High End Of Low. Yes, Born Villain is the only non-breakdown album.
Cut Song: Many from the Spooky Kids era, though most survived via old cassette tapes and bootlegs. Some are... well, let's just say Manson has a good reason for trying to forget about them.
Dark Is Not Evil: His darkness and use of demonic imagery is just part of his image, his public persona. He really is a pretty nice guy.
Death Song: "The Death Song" is not this. "Count To Six And Die" is.
Demoted to Extra: Roli Mosimann was chosen to produce Portrait of an American Family due to his work with Swans, but he turned in a flat and lifeless mix. As an Author's Saving Throw, Trent Reznor (who agreed with Manson that the mix "sucked") brought them to LA for seven weeks of remixing and re-recording, and Mosimann was demoted to "engineer" in the album credits.
Downer Ending: The "Man That You Fear" video has a rather horrifying final image.
Every concept album so far has had one: Antichrist Superstar ended with the Worm going insane, becoming the Antichrist, and destroying the world; Mechanical Animals ended with everybody overdosing on drugs and dying; Holy Wood ended with Adam's revolution being corrupted into exactly what it was fighting against and his ensuing suicide; even the less-conceptual Golden Age of Grotesque ended with "The Death of Art."
Born Villain ended with an Anti-Love Song about a mutually abusive relationship ("Breaking the Same Old Ground"), followed by a cover of "You're So Vain", which does admittedly lighten it a bit.
Feghoot: Manson's autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell featured an entire chapter about a girl he dated who had an unusual circular birthmark around her vagina. Though many events happen during this chapter, he does close it by stating that someone else he knew started dating her and "snatched her away like a greedy little Hobbit and indeed became the Lord of the Ring."
I Am the Band: To the point where many people honestly believe that Marilyn Manson is a solo artist.
Indecipherable Lyrics: "The Beautiful People" is this for many people and all of The Golden Age of Grotesque is this for almost everyone, fans included.
Industrial Metal: Their primary genre, with the exception of a few albums (Mechanical Animals is Glam Rock and Eat Me, Drink Me is just rock, and many of their songs on albums don't care if you can put them in a single genre). They are arguably one of the most popular in the genre, along with Rammstein and Fear Factory.
Intentionally Awkward Title: Many, such as "This is the New Shit", "Antichrist Superstar", "President Dead" and "Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon".
Try telling someone about their cover of Patti Smith's song "Rock N Roll Nigger". Just try.
Metal Scream: No, really? Especially prevalent in "Antichrist Superstar", but pops up a lot.
Mickey Mousing: In the music video for "Antichrist Superstar" (which is just a video of a live performance), Manson manages to be a living being falling straight into the Uncanny Valley by moving like a badly controlled puppet, jerking harshly to the guitar.
Mind Screw: For some people, Manson and Twiggy's appearance when crossdressing.
Also, the Born Villain trailer (which is actually set to Overneath The Path of Misery). If the random Macbeth quotes halting the song and the general insanity don't get you, the eyeball in the vagina will. Also, it was co-written and directed by Shia LaBeouf.
My Country Tis Of Thee That I String: His entire career is built around criticizing the hypocrisy within American society, especially by organized religion, schools and the government. Take a song named We're from America (2009): We're from America, we're from America, where we eat our young.
Not So Different: An argument he occasionally uses in debates with religious fundamentalists and those who condemn him.
N-Word Privileges: Subverted in "Rock N Roll Nigger", a cover of Patti Smith who is also white and therefore subverted the trope.
Ode to Intoxication: "The Dope Show" is, in-universe, serious, and in real life, sarcastic (with a major Misaimed Fandom) and "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)" is anti-drug and serious.
Older Than They Look: until 2009ish, looking like this◊ at age 37. And then he managed to beat decades of anorexia and proceeded to gain an extra chin◊. Thankfully, he's starting to regress in age again, playing a teenager◊ at the age of 43, and looking like he's in his mid-20s while doing so.
Ripped from the Headlines: "Get Your Gunn" was inspired by David Gunn, an OB/GYN murdered by a pro-lifefundamentalist outside of his clinic. He noted that the murder being committed by a pro-life activist was the ultimate hypocrisy he'd witnessed as a young adult.
Recurring Riff: In Born Villain, the opening vocal growl from "No Reflection" is repeated in full in "The Gardener" and partially in "Disengaged".
Record Producer: Manson has had a co-producer credit on every album, but he's always gotten assistance from others - Trent Reznor (Portrait of an American Family, Antichrist Superstarnote This one also included Sean Beavan and Dave Ogilvie, from the NIN camp), MichaelBeinhorn (Mechanical Animals), Dave Sardy (Holy Wood), Ben Grosse (The Golden Age of Grotesque, which was co-produced by bandmate Tim Skold), and others.
Religion Rant Song: "The Fight Song", "Cake and Sodomy" and "The Reflecting God", among many others.
"Heart Shaped Glasses" references the iconic glasses Dolores wore on the poster for Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, and the song itself talks about attraction to a much younger girl (this is also a reference to Warner's then girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood, who is 19 years younger than him and likes heart shaped glasses).
The fandom is still trying to figure out the number of shout outs. There's a lot. The "Born Villain" trailer mentioned under Mind Screw for example, opens with a reference to The Holy Mountain, whose director is a good friend of his and officated his wedding to Dita von Teese.
Singing Voice Dissonance: Manson is quite the calm talker. Listen to the live version of "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)" from The Last Tour On Earth. Calm Manson talking, not-calm Manson singing.
The Something Song: "The Love Song" on Holy Wood, followed immediately by "The Fight Song" and later on, "The Death Song".
Songs of Solace: Mr. Manson has acknowledged their music's usage in this form.
Take That: Usually aimed towards religion, mainstream media, mob mentality, etc. The first actual song on Portrait of an American Family, "Cake and Sodomy" was aimed towards the former two, inspired by Manson watching public access TV and seeing Pat Robertson preach about the evils of society before asking for the viewer's credit card number, followed by a man masturbating on the adjacent channel and asking for the same thing.
Unusually, there was one aimed at a section of the band's own fans. The song "This Is the New Shit" was written about fans who didn't even try to understand the point behind the band's music, preferring to just cheer everything indiscriminately.
Theme Naming: The original band members' pseudonyms are formed by taking the first name of a female sex symbol, and the surname of a serial killer (Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson). This practice stopped with Zim Zum in the Antichrist Superstar era.
Title Track: Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals,Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (the title of the song is just "In the Shadow of the Valley of Death," however), The Golden Age of Grotesque,Eat Me, Drink Me,Born Villain.
Smells Like Children had a title track that wasn't included on the EP; it was performed live several times in the ensuing tour before being rearranged and slowed down to create the lumbering "Kinderfeld," which would then appear on Antichrist Superstar.
"The High End of Low" almost had one, but it was renamed "I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell". The phrase is still there.
‹bermensch: Manson (the person) sees himself as one of these and plays this role in Antichrist Superstar.
Unplugged Version: Many, oftentimes of more emotional songs like "The Man That You Fear" and "Coma White".
Villains Act, Heroes React: This trope inspired Born Villain, with Manson bringing it up in interviews quite often. That's why he chooses to be the villain, because the villain is the one that fights for their beliefs, right or wrong, and tries to make a change.
Vocoder: Used to terrifying effect in the outro of "Cryptorchid" and the chorus of "Kinderfeld."
We Used to Be Friends: Manson was close friends with Trent Reznor, who got them on his Nothing Records label, produced their first two albums and generally helped promote them. Then, at some point they had a pretty drastic falling out, and despite a short reconciliation around 1999-2000 (enough for Manson to make a cameo in the "Starfuckers, Inc." video and play a concert together), they pretty quickly went back to not being on such good terms anymore. Trent took a potshot or two at Manson, mocking his "Personal Jesus" cover when responding to a fan's question, and Manson's still angry because the Nothing people lost the master tracks for his first three albumsnote This wasn't strictly Trent's fault, as he got involved in a lawsuit with his former manager and gave up the label. Also, Rob Sheridan had to completely re-do the artwork for the Pretty Hate Machine remaster because Gary Talpas' original was lost by the Nothing staff as well, so they weren't only incompetent towards Marilyn.. The whole feud's died down somewhat since, even if they're not gonna start being friendly again anytime soon.
Manson's respective friendships with Daisy Berkowitz and Madonna Wayne Gacy also seem to have gone down in flames quite spectacularly. Then again, lawsuits will do that.