It's 1998, the year of Mechanical Animals, and the Marilyn Manson love affair with glam rock.
Manson's biography, 'The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell', is published in February 1998. It becomes a best-seller and reveals much about him and his family.
Describing aspects of his childhood, teen years and twenties - as well as the story of the band - the book spares few peoples' blushes, especially his own.
Besides being much more than an outline of his thoughts on society and life, his biography promotes his troubling and troubled image to a much wider audience. Disturbing, witty, freaky, profound - all such things and more. When the sequel is written, the two books combined will provide the basis for a potentially great film. But will he have any friends left ;)
Of the Mechanical Animals album, he said:
It's much more vulnerable music that I'm making on this new album. Both sonically and lyrically it's about the depression of alienation, rather than the aggressiveness of it. It's about the emptiness.
Seven of the songs on the album are kind of an homage to what people make me out to be, sort of an icon. The other seven songs are more internal, and because the record was about me putting myself back together again after stripping away all my emotions, I was thinking about my childhood a lot, so the music that I liked growing up was very inspirational on this record.
Many existing fans are taken aback by the new glam and glitter look. How could the demonic dirtiness of Antichrist Superstar be displaced by such a pretty-boy bisexual image?
The highly melodic and accessible rock of Mechanical Animals presents a dramatic change for those already familiar with the band. Manson, the dark brooding unholy terror, becomes the ziggyfied androgynous alien who can teach you a thing or two about perfectly applied eyeliner.
Something else you might notice about this era is the way Manson's tattoos are often covered up.
[put join-up part in here. Notes: your 'drug' of choice - 'drugs as a metaphor for how people suppress being actually human, with religion or with television or whatever you want to choose.' describe his influences for the glam era - bowie etc. lead on to columbine aspect]
The 1998 through 99 glam-inspired era was successful for him on many levels, personally and professionally. Mechanical Animals gave them their first number one album, but, whilst touring to promote their work, something happened that cast an undeserved shadow.
On 20th April 1999, two bullied teenagers in America - with easy access to guns and ammunition - decided to shoot fellow school pupils at Columbine High and then themselves. The American media decided that the two boys acted in this way because they'd listened to Marilyn Manson songs! The misplaced media pressure became unrelenting for Marilyn and, however much he knew he'd been wrongly implicated, the barrage of criticism and blatant shunning which took place did end up affecting him on a personal level.
Remaining American shows were cancelled and, after fulfilling concert dates in Europe and Japan, the band returned to Los Angeles. But, even in Tinseltown, Manson found himself ostracised and villified by sections of the entertainment world.
In the midst of this, Bono of U2 called and suggested their bands get together to tour. Marilyn thanked him, appreciating his support, but he had already decided to work behind-the-scenes. Once more, he had been left with hurt and anger to channel into a creative force.