And the rest of the band are all blondes. Well, except for one of them, a brunette, who flew the coup...
Because, in May 2002, a band bombshell was dropped, when Twiggy/Jeordie was officially replaced by Tim Skold. Manson commented: 'I think his relationship in the band became old to him ... It was a tough decision, but we decided it was best that he go somewhere else so he would have his interests fulfilled. Hopefully, some day I'll have my friend back.'
I expect there was a little bitching and hurt feelings going on inbetween the mature conversation, but things settled down again quite quickly. After all, the new album was on its way, no time for brooding. And the 'Did he jump or was he pushed?' online speculation was something I never got into, but I did think 'Both!'.
For the new era, religious mysticism and conspiracy theories are chucked out of the window. Manson says:
There's no politics. There is no religion, because I realized finally that art and music, that is my politics, my religion. That is what I stand for. This album is me.
Foremost influences for the new album include the decadence, hedonism, overt sexuality and latent fear that swirled around 1930s Berlin - and Mickey Mouse too. He hasn't gotten away from politics altogether though, the social atmosphere and change of the pre-WW2 1930s were very affected by political upheaval.
In September 2002, his focus was on the three day art exhibition of his watercolour paintings. He was pleasantly surprised at the mostly favourable response by reviewers and critics to the quality of his artwork.
In February 2003, he took the official bbs/message forum away and gave us the Oracle instead. But what with the tour being in full swing, there's not been any questions answered just lately - maybe never again?
March 2003 was about vignettes, elephants and rockette style dancers, all part of the video he co-directed for the first Golden Age single, mOBSCENE. Which is rather good.
April 2003 is where the album prelaunch publicity machine really kicks in with Manson and then the band too, setting out on a Grotesk Burlesk mini-tour. Many radio, TV, newspaper and magazine interviews take place at this time.
(more in here up to December 2003 and more quotes.)
Marilyn Manson in March 2004
Outside of music, painting, literature, the cinema and nookie, I'd say the areas of interest most explored by MM are individualism, society, religion and social Darwinism. He may feel removed from previous hobby-horses but they're an important part of the story.
Talking about hobbies, whilst at school, he was a very keen roller skater, and a pretty good one too.
Snippets from the Beliefnet interview - linked to below - help to illustrate his thoughts on religion. Despite the media and Christian-Right hype claiming otherwise, he's not all out anti-religion or anti-god. He just says: '...I refuse to be forced to believe in other people's interpretations of God. I don't think anyone should be. There's no one person that can own the copyright to what God means'.
Of Satanism, he said: '...initially,when you rebel, you go for the obvious choices - heavy metal, Satanism. To me, Satan ultimately represents rebellion.'
But Manson has never been the devil worshipper he's been portrayed as. His first meeting with Anton LaVey in October 1994 (founder of the Church of Satan) comes across as admiration for the man himself, and a sense of daring at exploring another taboo. When LaVey made him a Reverend in his church, many detractors misinterpreted this as more than an honourary title.
A voracious reader, the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was an early major influence. So yet again we have admiration for a figure who has been reviled or mistrusted. Nietzsche, after all, held Christianity in contempt and thought that the masses, the 'herd', should be controlled by a small dominant master-class of 'supermen'.
That's an over-simplification of Nietzsche, and he wasn't a nazi as such - just dismissive of the human race - but his stern, right wing image is the dominant one in popular memory. It's the headline grabber.
In the podium part of the stage show, Marilyn has certainly used dictator-style symbolism to great effect. But he does so as an irony and satire, not by way of tribute to totalitarianism, or to that other great form of mass manipulation, televangelism. His version is an entertaining spectacle that's also a warning against the people who do such things for real.
With a penchant for social commentary and wry observations, Manson still is in some ways the journalist he first set out to be. Such a flamboyant artist and entertainer may be IN the news rather than jotting it down, but his spot in the limelight allows him to communicate in a more telling way than most reporters can ever do.
The person that Brian Warner has become has gathered many titles, aliases and pet names over the years. Some are a bit dated now but you'll occasionally see them in use, even on this site. The first three are the more obvious ones:
Marilyn - Manson - Mr Manson - Mr No Name Manson - the Rev or Reverend - Daddy - Antichrist Superstar - the God of F*ck - Omega - Mercury - Arch Dandy - Herr Doktor - Arch Dandy of Dada - Doctor M. Manson - Leader of the Club.
What have I missed?
Me thinking out loud: MM albums have much to be discovered in the music and lyrics and by way of influences. And yet Manson recently expressed disquiet at the way his work is scrutinised - is that why The Golden Age of Grotesque songs are less lyrically complex? Or is it unfair of me to say they are?
Past albums contain interwoven stories or little puzzles for us to solve in our own way. And although The Golden Age of Grotesque is in a new style, it still has many influences to enjoy. So, Marilyn, don't be sad at being analyzed. If we want to be detectives searching for truth or if we seem to look for guidance towards some sanctuary of the mind - where's the harm? And, as Oscar Wilde once quiped, The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about.