After Columbine, Manson avoided the public eye for three months, directing his energies solely into creating an album to show he was yet again going to come out fighting.
The alliance with glam was over but the Marilyn Manson hellfire torch was ready to blaze again.
The coming album, Holy Wood, was to explore themes of identity and status, with references to the martyrdom of Jesus, Kennedy and Lennon. It dealt too with disillusionment and fighting back. All appropriate thoughts post-Columbine, when his own feelings and image had been repeatedly put to the sword.
During the Holy Wood era, he had this to say concerning 1999's turn of events:
After Columbine happened, I was almost in the mind-set of, 'Let's just forget art. This is affecting my life in a much greater way--I feel genuinely threatened leaving the house, there are people that wanna see me dead for something I didn't do.
The media wanted to see my career over. I had to resurrect myself, personally, and realize what's really important to me, what keeps me alive. And that was making music. This record, and the attitude I have right now on tour, is very enthusiastic, very appreciative of the small things in life. I'm excited when I'm in a building filled with people wanting to listen to my music, excited when someone says, 'Hey, I just bought your record.' I don't take things for granted anymore. I feel alive.
Whilst the Holy Wood era seemed less controversial than previous ones, certain people still harboured old grudges. And new notoriety ensued, taking various forms. For instance, he was arrested and charged two separate times for 'teabagging' security guards at the front of the stage.
Got off the first time I think and fined the second time. I wish I had kept a copy of what the second guy's lawyer had written to describe the incident - talk about exaggeration. I never knew one person (Manson) could have such a variety of body fluids onstage. I suspect sweat was the only real one mentioned.
And I remember him saying he was arrested after a show in Bologna, Italy. A swarm of police arrived with a citation of public indecency - for a concert in 1999, two years earlier. The complaint was that he'd torn off his genitals and thrown them into the audience. Amazing!
The day before that, and after a gig in Rome, he was arrested for who knows what. He surmised it was connected to the ongoing trial of the three Italian girls (nun killers) who were said to be his fans. Find Manson and the accusers are never far behind.
Of the album, he said:
Holy Wood is very much about both evolution and revolution. So there's elements of it that are very much a 'fuck you' to the world.
But as the record progresses, you begin to learn that, in your revolution - whatever that may be - you can't change the world around you; you have to change yourself.
So it deals mostly with the beginning of my story and taking things back to growing up, and the resentment I had for not fitting into the perfect world, and Holy Wood is the name that I've given to that.
On this album, because I deal with the subject of evolution, I often use the word 'monkey' or 'ape' because there's always been a struggle between the idea of creationism and Darwin's idea of where man came from.
What I've tried to do on Holy Wood is combine the two, and often replace God with a primate, and to examine the fact that no matter how far we evolve, in some ways we're going backwards.
MM, October 2000
With Manson signing off his website postings as 'The Third and Final Beast', the fans were reminded that the triptych journey was almost complete. And so - as the tour drew to a close - the question became: Where to next? Just as Manson had transformed from Antichrist Superstar to Mechanical Animal's Omega, he was now to make the transition from Holy Wood's Adam to the Golden Age's Arch Dandy.