NOTE: Okay, I've written quite a lot. And it's now divided over five pages. Grouped as follows:
rom a middle-America family background, Brian's parents considered he'd get the best education at Heritage Christian School in Ohio. However, the fear instilled there in a sensitive youngster by certain, 'educators', was a strong influence in shaping his later attitudes and behaviour.
The more they terrorized him about what to avoid in life (or be forever damned) and how to conform to their extreme version of Christian doctrine, the more he was attracted to expressing his individuality and seeking out the taboos they had so clearly identified. They should've seen it coming shouldn't they?
Convinced by one particular teacher that the end of the world was nigh, he suffered from nightmares but finally realized he'd been had. That's when he also realized the value of thinking things through for yourself, seeking your own answers and helping others to do the same. Marilyn Manson was nigh...
Not all of his teachers were nuts of course ;)
He joined a new school in Canton, GlenOak High, graduating in 1987, then moved with his family to Florida. There he studied Journalism and Theatre at Broward Community College. It was an upheaval for the 18 year old to leave friends and familiar surroundings behind in Ohio but, after the first year in his new hometown, Fort Lauderdale, he began to find his way again.
Whilst at college, Brian/Manson was Assistant Entertainment Editor for Broward's student paper, The Observer. After college, he successfully applied to be a Staff Writer at Fort Lauderdale's 25th Parallel Magazine, later advancing to Associate Editor.
Around this time, he was also taking his first steps to forming a band, christening it Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. The 'Spooky Kids' part of the name was dropped in 1992.
In his book, Marilyn said part of the reason he adopted the Marilyn Manson persona was because, as a music-critic, he wanted an alias to perform under so that he could write about his own band! Marilyn's stage name is taken from Marilyn Monroe the Hollywood filmstar and Charles Manson the infamous 'guru' to a group of 1960s killers.
The name really describes everything that I have to say. Male and female, beauty and ugliness, and it's very American. It's a statement on the power that we give to icons like Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. It's about paradox - diametrically opposed archetypes.
Whilst a journalist, he interviewed Trent Reznor of the industrial metal band Nine Inch Nails. Trent became a role model for Brian and also a close friend. They fell out after Antichrist Superstar was recorded but did come to their senses again. But now they can't decide.
After playing as openers for NIN one night in July 1990, Manson hands Reznor one of their self-made promo tapes. Trent must have liked it well enough.
Aside from Mr Reznor and naked ambition (that sounds a bit homo-erotic but you know what I mean), Manson once cited rap group 2 Live Crew as his biggest influence to actually starting a band. Best known for their explicit lyrics and attitude, 2 Live Crew were often in the news. This set him thinking about whose buttons he could push with his own band, as well as all the other things he could achieve.
Early musical influences for him include: The Beatles, KISS, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Black Sabbath, David Bowie and Gary Numan. He said his first memories of music were of The Beatles' White Album on his parents 8-track. The White Album was one of the first records to be implicated in later violent acts - just as Marilyn's work has been. Jim Morrison's life, work and attitude had a great effect on him too.
In 1979, he saw his first live show: Kiss on their 'Die-nasty' tour. His dad, Hugh - dressed like Gene Simmons complete with Kiss facepaint - took him to the show. The 'Alive' album by Kiss was the first one he ever bought.
Non-musical influences? The 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is certainly one. In February 2001 he said of it:
It's a great movie. If they remake it and ruin it, I'm gonna be very upset, unless I get to play Willy Wonka, because I could play that role like nobody else could.
I really see that movie as a metaphor. I see Willy Wonka as satan because he presents people with the temptation of picking good and evil, and they all pick evil. It's such a powerful statement to put into a children's film. The chocolate's a metaphor for sin. He's always tempting them with that and they always pick the bad thing. That just shows you man's nature.
[Charlie and his grandfather] redeem themselves. Charlie wasn't giving up the Gobstopper so that he would win the chocolate factory, he was giving it up because he thought it was the right thing to do. He did a good deed that didn't revolve around his own greed. He actually did an honest deed, which is a rare thing. It had a beautiful message.
Literary references for him include, "philosophers like Nietzche, Freud, Darwin, Crowley, LaVey, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and even the King James Version of the Holy Bible."
Before forming the band, his first public performances were at the Squeeze club in Fort Lauderdale, reading his own poetry at open-mike spots. Favourable comments from regulars encouraged him to do more and, soon after meeting guitarist Scott Mitchell Putesky (Daisy Berkowitz), they were experimenting musically.
They were briefly joined by Brian Tutunick (Olivia Newton-Bundy), a friend from theatre class, and Perry Pandrea (Zsa Zsa Speck). Perry was the original keyboardist but both he and bassist Brian Tutunick only played a few of the very first shows. Stephen Bier (Madonna Wayne-Gacy or Pogo) took over on keyboards and Brad Stewart became new bass player, Gidget Gein.
Marilyn met Jeordie White soon after this but it was several years before Jeordie was to join the band as Twiggy Ramirez, taking over from Gidget.
Manson soon tired of the drum machine and, in July 1990, enlisted drummer, Freddie Streithorst (Sarah Lee Lucas). But after four years of steady improvement as a band, Marilyn decided that Freddie just hadn't kept up. And so, at the end of the show on 10 March 1995, he sprayed lighter fluid over Freddie's drums, setting them and the drummer alight. Freddie took the hint but returned to play the next night's show, the final one of the tour. What a trooper!
Throughout the 1990s, Marilyn became notorious for inflicting damage onstage to equipment and band members. Freddie's replacement, Kenny Wilson ('Ginger Fish'), has suffered most often. Ginger's mum should've boxed Manson's ears. At least some of the set-trashing and missile throwing is attributable to Marilyn's temper tantrums when things don't go to plan - he describes himself as a perfectionist after all.
Now I'm not sure when this happened but because he thought his earlobes to be too large, he had surgery to have them reduced. I've looked at older photos and they seem okay to me but he must have felt convinced that they needed 'trimmed'.
The early part of Manson's career contains what I think of as his cat-in-the-hat 'cartoon satanism' phase. But - following the release of Portrait of an American Family and Smells Like Children - it was to lead on to something more diabolically focussed than ever.