The band Marilyn Manson (Marilyn from Marilyn Monroe and Manson from Charles Manson - the Satanic Killer) appeared in 1989, in the city of Fort Lauderdale, in the state of Florida, USA. All the members are men, and their first names drive from a glamour woman of the North-American society and the second from a serial killer. The main creators are Marilyn Manson himself (a Ohio journalist named Brian Warner) and Daisy Berkowitz. Many lies run around loose about this band. For instance, that Manson was Paul (John Saviano) in Wonder Years.
This is not the only rumor about the band, there are others that you can check in another section, but let's get back to business
The first name of the band was Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids, and their formation was: Manson, vocals; Daisy Berkowitz, guitars and programming; Olivia Newton-Bundy, bass; and Zsa Zsa Speck, keyboard. Their first release was the tape Meat Beat Cleaver Beat Big Black Bus. One of their first shows would be a serious influence in the future of the band: they opened for Nine Inch Nails.
In 1993, "Spooky Kids" disappears from the name as Marilyn Manson realizes the promotion he could make for the band with his own name, but that brought some confusion, and the leader vocals was no longer called Marilyn Manson but Mr. Manson. Promoting the band brought a lot of word those days, as they start to sell t-shirts and stickers. Manson's influence in local press helped a lot in making some songs from their tape Meat Beat Cleaver Beat Big Black Bus reach the radio. The band managed to attract a legion of rockers and curious that attended their gigs to see a kind of theatrical show, with caged girls, big posters with satanic type words and sexual orgies, band members tearing their instruments apart, and so on
With time, the band gained popularity and awards, as they were more then known in Florida. That much exposure in the local scene made the band more popular among the teenagers. Seeing the potential of their new fans, the band turn the little paper regular and created a direct line between them and the fans. In an interview, Manson said he cared about what he said, as he knew how much that could influence his fans. They started to call him "Father".
The tapes went on till 1992. The last one was The Family Jam's. In it were some tracks that would be in their first CD, Portrait of an American Family, as Cake And Sodomy, My Monkey, Cyclops, Dope Hat, Lunchbox and Dogma, named Strange Same Dogma. Daisy Berkowitz produced all the tapes and Manson took care of the graphic layout. The tapes were sold only in their shows and today are considered rarities. A good example is the tape Refrigerator, with 100 copies made.
In January 1994, in Florida, the first official CD with a national label was released. It was Portrait of an American Family (POAAF). Recording didn't start very well. Trent Reznor was preparing his legendary album The Downward Spiral, and pointed producer Roli Mossiman to work with the band. He would make the band sound heavier. They didn't like the result. Reznor didn't like it also and produced the album himself. They spent 7 weeks mixing the album at L. A. Record Plant. Reznor credit on POAAF is only executive producer.
But before the release, in December 1993, Gein was no longer part of the band. According to Manson, Gein became a drug addict and "he was more worried about drugging than playing bass with the band". Twiggy Ramirez enters the band after this episode and Gein's name doesn't even appear on the sleeve of POAAF. This sleeve had two photos censured: one of them was Manson as child naked. Promoting the band was, now, of national proportions and it wasn't as easy as before. The first single, Get Your Gunn, was boycotted in several radio stations and MTV played the video at crazy hours, as late night Monday to Tuesday. Opposite the rest, Florida received this album very well and the band won another award: the Slammie for Best Band. This time, Manson won Best Vocal award.
What promoted more the tour was not the show, not the stage, but the confusion surrounding it. Slt Lake City is the best example. This is a well known conservative town. Some people went to see the show in Las Vegas some days before. In order to act in the city, Manson would have to make some adjustments in the show like no comments between songs, change lyrics, change his stage, not selling any promotional material during the show. The band agreed with the terms. However, during NIN show, Reznor invited Manson to step on stage. He brought a Mormon Bible (the dominant religion in the area) and ripped it page by page saying "Fuck you God! You don't love me, fuck you!". In October, Manson meets Anton LaVey, creator of the Church of Satan (CoS). During the visit, Manson was ordered Reverend. To Manson, that title is an honor, and he shows it in his second CD, Smells Like Children, where his name stands as Reverend Manson instead of Mr. Manson. According to Manson, his visit to LaVey was important because he had inspired many of their songs (My Monkey is adapted of one LaVey's song). Another known incident happened in the last day of the tour. It's tradition that the closing band tricks on the opening band. However, NIN didn't make it for less: after the show, NIN spread a mixture all over the Marilyn Manson members. The NIN security guys grab all Manson members and lock them in a truck. As we know, their looks in concerts is not very conventional (Manson sings almost naked, Twiggy and Berkowitz dress like women). Security dropped them in the other end of Philadelphia (were the show took place) with just 1 dollar. With luck, they convinced two college guys to give them a ride to the place of the show. Manson said he respected the attitude of NIN, as it was a bigger cruelty than he had ever thought of. Tour was over, but not the problems. When returning from a series of shows in Florida, the band Marilyn Manson was known as problem where ever they went. In Jacksonville, Manson was arrested for "violating the adult entertainment code", the same as saying, public nudity.
POAAF second single, Lunchbox, had already been released and the band went on a short tour in early 1995. This time they were closing and Monster Voodoo Machine was opening. Another element was added to the mythology of the band: the chicken. An accident in January broke one of the cages, with a chicken in it, and the animal was hurt when it felt on the floor. Some papers said they sacrificed the chicken, although they didn't even kill the chicken. In the last show, in March, the band had to fulfill the tradition. So they toss eggs, tomatoes, flour and vinegar at the Monsters Voodoo right in the middle of the show. Their respond was much worse than the Greek salad Manson toss them. They left the stage filled with pieces of chicken, making Marilyn Manson play in a stinky slippery stage. The show was a disaster, but Gacy made some improvise samples with Kill The Chicken. Many shows still have the fans yelling it.
In the previous night, also happened something that would mark the history of the band. Manson and the drummer Sara Lee Lucas weren't getting along for quite some time (in several shows, Manson toss bottles to Lucas and he toss his sticks to Manson) and Manson was frustrated because some elements of the show were forbidden where they were playing. In that show, Manson would (as usual) burn his head off. The problem was that he also set the drums on fire with Lucas behind it. All the exits were blocked but he managed to escape. Lucas was not injured, just lost a bit of hair. Obviously, Lucas left the band. Manson said it was because he was always late.
After 7 months on the road, they stopped 2 weeks to pick a new drummer. The chosen one was Ginger Fish. They met Fish in the Las Vegas show. He's in the band since then. Another tour began. Now they played between Korn and Danzig. The tour lasted from March till May 1995. As usual there were problems between Danzig (the closing band) and Manson. In order to destroy Danzig performance, Manson made heavy and quick performances: after 3 or 4 songs all the stage was almost destroyed. After these presentations, the number of fans increased rapidly. Another well known character in the band's history appears around this time: Tony Wiggins, who re-mixed many of the songs in Smells Like Children and Remix & Repent. The relations between Marilyn Manson and Danzig just improved after he saved Manson, Pogo and a rodie's lives backstage where they were attacked.
All the fans waited for the new single, Dope Hat, to be released in June or July, but the band stopped to rest after recording the video for this song. The band also recorded the B side of this single. The recorded tracks were so many that they released not a single but an EP with 15 tracks called Smells Like Children. This mini album debut no. 53 in Billboard. POAAF was already golden record. Once again Dope Hat's video was played after hours with low audience. When Smells Like Children was released, Marilyn Manson was already a famous band. Although it was not regular on the radio or MTV, they appeared in several important magazines, like Circus and Metal Edge. Daisy Berkowitz even got an interview in Guitar World. Seeing that the band had good growth possibilities, the Nothing Records promotion department released this note to the press: "See them now before they are arrested, killed, or the best band in USA".
The Smells Like Children Tour begins. Now Clutch is the opening band. Lasted from September 1995 to February 1996. The weather between shows was so bad that they changed the tour's name to Snow Tour. Manson was so sick he needed an oxygen tank backstage to recover him after each show.
The most known episode of the Snow Tour happened in January. After playing in Philadelphia, the band would go to Washington D.C. by plain. But the airport was closed and they had to go by car. The trip would last almost 3 hours, but due to the snow they were on the road for 8 hours. When they got to the hotel, the band had a surprise: Orlando Magic basket team and Vila Sesame were staying there as well and one of Orlando players said the hotel looked like an alien convention.
On the side, the official billboard about the release of the second CD, Smells Like Children. The band members were, now, Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Daisy Berkowitz, Madonna Wayne Gacy and Ginger Fish.
In early 1996, speculation started around the new album, Antichrist Superstar. The band members considered it the "soundtrack of the apocalypse". According to Manson and Twiggy, the album would show the future, the end of the band, the end of the world. Recording took place at Trent Reznor's Studio in New Orleans. Many said this would be the very last album and that the band would commit suicide after finishing it.
Daisy Berkowitz exits officially in April. He wasn't satisfied with the new sound of the band. It's a fact that Daisy and Manson had problems since the tour with Clutch, where Manson threw Berkowitz out of stage. But nobody thought it was that bad.
Manson said that Berkowitz didn't agree with the musical change in the band and that he wanted to maintain his own style. He wouldn't be that much compromise with the band as well. After getting out, Daisy started a short solo career under his real name, Scott Putesky, and entered Jack Off Jill. He also sued Manson and Nothing Records because he didn't receive his credits.
Before releasing Antichrist Superstar, the second single of Smells Like Children comes out: Sweet Dreams, an original of Eurythmics. The video wasn't discriminated in MTV this time and the number of fans increased a lot. This song played a lot and the older fans started a war with the new ones. The older fans (called Spooky Kids as the name refers to the start of the band) thought that the younger fans (called Sweet Dreamers) didn't understand the band and were just following fashion. After months arguing, both old and new fans started to understand each other, as those who bought Smells Like Children as fashion were already enjoying other stuff.
The first release date speculated was June 6 (an obvious reference to 666) but it didn't come out till August 10. All the reviews were positive, saying that this was a more serious and profound record than POAAF. Antichrist Superstar debut no. 3 in Billboard chart. Fans reacted positively but claimed for that humorist tone of POAAF and Smells.
With Berkowitz off the band, they had to find another guitar for the shows (Twiggy played the guitars for the record). Zim Zum took the place. He was the first member not to have his name officially taken from glamorous stars and serial killers. Zim Zum comes from Kabbalah, an Hebrew mystic system. Press refers to Zimmy as the "angel that made God's dirty work". Kabbalah's term that origin his name is tzimtzum or tsimtsum, referred to the empty space God left in the universe for creation. Some think that Zim Zum refers to the void left when Daisy got out, filled afterward. Zimmy's first appearance was on The Beautiful People video. Once again the band appeared on several magazines, but, this time, the article wasn't small and clean: now the band had cover pictures and giant articles with lots of photos. Some important magazines started to pay attention to the band like Rolling Stone and Kerrang.
Zimmy's first shown was in the Nothing bands only festival. In the end, guitars were broken and Ginger went to the hospital. Trent Reznor thanked the presence of the bands, but didn't refer to Marilyn Manson.
The biggest tour begins: the Dead To The World Tour. It would last 18 months and included shows in places where Manson had never played like Europe and South America. The stage was very impressive: suggesting a broken church with a stained-glass window suggesting the fight between Satan and an Angel. Gacy had a pipe organ in his Pogo's Playhouse and Manson had a proscenium. There were several problems during the tour, not only in the shows, and the record faced many legal problems.
Even though, Antichrist Superstar sold over 1.500.000 copies only in USA, 3 times more than POAAF. Next, two more singles: Tourniquet and Man That You Fear.
By the end of the Dead To The World Tour, the band started recording a new album. In the mean time, Manson released a book with the story of his life: Long Hard Road Out Of Hell. The video on the Dead To The World Tour was also released.
In the beginning of 1997, started some gossip about their new album. Some said it would be called The Suffering Servant and would be darker than Antichrist. After several months in expectation, in August, the name of the album was known: Mechanical Animals, and would be released in September 15. New photos of the band with a new look started to appear all over. Many fans were not very happy with the change. With Golden Years release, a David Bowie cover, the fan's criticism increased. A brand new breed of fans started to appear.
Around that time was also announced that Zim Zum was leaving the band. There are two explanations for that fact: Zimmy says he left the band on his own freewill because he didn't want to be in the shadow anymore and Manson says he had been kicked off because he didn't remember any of Antichrist songs and the band thought that was offensive.
For his replacement John 5 was the chosen one. Nobody knows where his named came from. His real name is John Lowery and he played with David Lee Roth.
The release of the album was a major commercial success. It debuts no. 1 in Billboard chart and many believe that Marilyn Manson is the solution for the crises that rock is living nowadays. As he said in an interview to MTV America, he reappeared to resurrect rock, because, according to his own song, Rock Is Dead.