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Portrait Of An American Family era - 1994 to 1995

Marilyn Manson
"White trash get down on your knees..."
Twiggy, Daisy, Sara Lee, Pogo and Marilyn
Twiggy, Daisy, Sara Lee Lucas, M W Gacy/Pogo
Marilyn Manson

Portrait Of An American Family - debut album, July 1994

Openers for NIN and Danzig - own headliner shows, USA and Canada

Now with a recording contract from Nothing Records - Trent Reznor's label, an offshoot of Interscope - they release their first single, Get Your Gunn, on 9 June 1994.

Before the Portrait album can be released, however, record label Interscope insist that certain photos be left off the album cover. This includes one of Marilyn discretely nude as a boy - but which would still be deemed illegal in many states in America - and also fake murder scene photos he took of his girlfriend. Manson is unhappy about the censorship but, to avoid further delays, agrees to the changes. This is his first experience of record company 'interference'.

Another delaying factor is that the band are unhappy with the results from their recording studio sessions with producer Roli Mosimann. The sound isn't right, it's almost too polished and over-produced. Trent Reznor agrees and they spend weeks reworking POAAF to make it sound theirs again.

Also, according to Kerrang magazine, legal problems over the song 'My Monkey', an adaptation of a Charles Manson song, had to be resolved. Kerrang are the first UK magazine to interview Manson, just after POAAF's release.

On 3 July 1994, the album's release is marked by an After-Slammie party where the band and 1200 or more revellers celebrate. This is after the 1994 Slammie Awards in Florida where MM headline the show and win their second Grand Slammie for Band of the Year. And Manson collects the year's Best Vocalist award plus a free tattoo (from Outrageous Tattoos?).

In the sleeve and promotional photos for POAAF and its singles, Manson is still wearing blue contact lenses in both eyes. But it seems to be sometime this year that he begins wearing only one blue lense.

Having already opened for Trent Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails (NIN) on 3 July 1990, they play a few Miami shows with NIN in May and July 1994. Then, along with the Jim Rose Circus, they play support for NIN from 29 July to 11 December on the Self-Destruct tour. This is the beginnings of their fame outside of Florida.

As well as producing/co-producing their albums up to Antichrist Superstar, Reznor serves as something of a role model and mentor for Manson.

The band are barred from performing in Utah, but Reznor still invites Manson onstage, where he makes a short speech before tearing pages from the Book of Mormon.

In December 1994, Marilyn is jailed for sixteen hours in Florida for 'nudity violations' during one of their shows.

I'll just add in here that it's during the Self-Destruct tour that Jim Rose (lovely boy) devises a competition to see who amongst the girls can receive an enema and hold it in the longest. Manson administers the enemas.

11 March 1995 at the Alcatrazz club, in Columbia, is the final night of MM's small headlining tour with support band Monster Voodoo Machine (MVM). It's also the night that Sara Lee Lucas/Freddie leaves. It proves even more eventful than the night before when Manson sprayed lighter fluid over Freddie's drums and set them ablaze.

Before MM arrive, MVM cover the entire stage and MM's equipment with pieces of slippery raw chicken. MM enter the dark stage to begin playing and realize that everything is lumpy and greasy.

This was MVM's revenge for the Manson road crew pelting them with eggs, tomatoes, flour and vinegar during their opening set. MVM's singer, Adam, also tries to get the crowd to chant: 'We hate chickens - chickens hate Manson!'

Many chicken references stem from this night, such as Pogo's 'Kill the chicken!' and 'Next motherfucker's gonna get my chicken' by Manson. I don't think he found it very funny at the time though. Pogo's chicken foot necklace was most likely inspired by this evening's events.

Following the release of POAAF, the band tour virtually nonstop, both as openers for other bands and as headliners.

Some time from March to May 1995, whilst on tour with Danzig and Korn, Manson becomes involved in an 'experiment' where compliant fans allow themselves to be tied to a homemade rack and filmed. Noone was physically hurt but in his biography he now seems a little unnerved by the memory. Danzig's driver, Tony Higgins, was the plan's instigator.

POAAF themes and influences

Trent Reznor was a definite influence during the tour, as were the beliefs of Anton LaVey. Also in there are creepy humour, 'Freak Supremacy', Charles Manson, gory props and The Great Hoodoo. And The Chicken remarks begin. I'm sure I have other things to add.

POAAF Timeline

January 1994 - 'Portrait Of An American Family' (POAAF) album tracks finished and presented.

April 1994 - Band open on club tour.

May 1994 - and July, they open for NIN in Miami for a few shows. This precedes the official Self-Destruct tour.

9 June 1994 - first ever single, Get Your Gunn, is released.

29 June 1994 - MM host a listening party at Fort Lauderdale's Squeeze club. They perform an acoustic set of the Eurythmic's 'Sweet Dreams' and Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put A Spell On You'.

Sunday 3 July 1994 - The Edge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hosts the 1994 Slammie Awards, over 1200 people attend. Marilyn Manson win two awards:
  • The Grand Slammie (for Band of the Year)
  • Top Vocalist

As part of the Top Vocalist prize, Manson is to receive a free tattoo from sponsor, Outrageous Tattoos. Perhaps the Uncle Creepy one? The band headline the After-Slammie show, ending the evening with 'an intense 45-minute set'.

12 July 1994 - Portrait Of An American Family (POAAF) debut album is released.

Apparently, the Church of England Synod tried to have the album banned after it's UK release. Was this the first anti-manson protest by a religious group?

29 July to 11 December 1994 - MM, and the Jim Rose Circus, tour with NIN on the Self-Destruct tour.

October 1994 - Manson meets Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey who bestows the honourary title of 'Reverend' onto him. This takes place just a few days before Marilyn rips up the Book of Mormon onstage in Utah.

27 to 31 December 1994 - Headliners! The NIN tour ends on 11 December, allowing the band to play four headlining dates in Florida. Jack Off Jill play support.

On the night of the first set at Jacksonville's Club 5, Manson is arrested on a charge of 'violation of the Adult Entertainment Code', that is, public nudity. He spends sixteen hours in jail and decides to remove his lip-ring for safety.

His arrest probably had a lot to do with the Christian Coalition having already held a well publicized press conference criticizing the band.

The band play a New Year's Eve show at The Edge, back in Fort Lauderdale.

January 1995 - Their first real headlining TOUR - as opposed to dates in one area - spans 11 January to 11 March, with Monster Voodoo Machine in support.

The second single from POAAF is released: Lunchbox. The Lunchbox song and video star Robert Pierce, the young son of a long-time Manson fan. Robert is also on the POAAF songs, 'My Monkey' and 'Lunchbox'.

13 January 1995 - at Trees in Dallas Texas, Marilyn has a caged chicken onstage. The chicken ends up in the mosh pit but survives the various factions trying to grab hold of it. The media later report it was killed but onlookers say it was taken to safety.

Manson had included the chicken on his little request list for the venue - the tour rider - and the venue manager complied.

February 1995 - Marilyn, Pogo and Twiggy appear on the Phil Donahue Show.

10 March 1995 - Marilyn decides that Freddie (Sara Lee Lucas) has to go. At the end of the show, he sprays lighter fluid over Freddie's drums, setting them and the drummer alight.

11 March 1995 - Alcatrazz club, Columbia. The final night of MM's small headlining tour with Monster Voodoo Machine (MVM) in support. It's also Sara Lee Lucas' (Freddie's) last night in the band. MVM cover the stage and equipment in raw chicken before MM arrive.

After almost seven months of touring, the band have a two week break to run drum auditions. Drummer and studio technician Kenny Wilson is chosen and becomes Ginger Fish. He has to learn their songs quickly because a new tour is about to start.

24 March to 14 (or 19?) May 1995 - Out on the road again, the band open for Danzig (with Korn), travelling from San Francisco to Florida.

Spring 1995 - This seems to be the start of Marilyn telling the audience to spit on him. And he spits back. Lovely.

June 1995 - Two headlining dates in Louisiana, 1st and 2nd June, at Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

22 June 1995 - the band appear on the Jon Stewart show. They perform 'Lunchbox' and 'Dope Hat' and, at the end, smash up their instruments and start a small fire.

3 July 1995 - The Edge hosts the 1995 Slammie Awards. Marilyn Manson were not on hand to accept their skulls due to being in New Orleans, filming a video (Dope Hat?).

Marilyn Manson win Slammie two awards, one for their debut album and the other for their second single:
  • Best National Release (for POAAF)
  • Best Single (for Lunchbox)

"Creating what we're hating, it's only fear that is here..."

Smells Like Children era, 1995»