13 Bands Who Wouldn’t Be Here Without Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson was far from the first person to put the shock into rock – he followed a long line of theatrical subversives, in fact – but the self-proclaimed God Of Fuck offered a uniquely twisted take on American pop-culture, celebrity and society. There was horror, there was glamour and there was always a sharp intelligence and the darkest of humours at play. In musical terms he’s presented a number of different faces, incorporating everything from glam to blues and electronica, but is mostly associated with the often jarring, often anthemic industrial-metal clatter that first accompanied his rise to fame.
As well as invoking the ire of the establishment, Mazza has had an enduring musical and cultural impact on rock music and sometimes beyond. Here are 13 bands who owe a debt to Marilyn Manson…
New Years Day
Could a band who first emerged playing something they described as ‘hauntedmansioncore’ really be as indebted to anyone as much as Marilyn Manson? New Years Day singer (and driving force) Ash Costello is a self-confessed Manson acolyte who has said that her favourite album of his is 2007’s Eat Me, Drink Me – which is hardly the obvious choice of the casual fan. Getting to tour with her idol was also a bucket list achievement. “He hand-picked us to open up on his tour, and that was a huge ‘Holy shit, we’re there’ moment,” she told Inked. “Our manager at the time surprised us with it, and it was like 10 Christmases rolled into one.”
Motionless In White
Chris Motionless and Ash Costello are good friends (and collaborators – see New Years Day’s Angel Eyes) and their mutual Manson fixation no doubt plays a part in that. When Motionless In White first emerged they were seen by many as a sort-of-metalcore Marilyn Manson, and they’ve never been shy about the influence. Back in 2012 the band got the chance to support Manson on tour in Australia and Chris told Kerrang!: “It’s crazy – it’s like it’s something that’s not actually happening to us, especially for me, because I’ve been such a big fan of his. In a way I kind of don’t actually want to meet him. He’s been such an influence on me that I don’t think I’d want to have it all ruined on the off-chance that he wasn’t all that I hope that he’d be.”
Palaye Royale are one of the most theatrical of the current crop of rock bands and there’s a definite dash of Manson to their androgynous glam-punk approach. In a Kerrang! feature just before the world was plunged into lockdown this year, the Canadian-Americans were quizzed by their own fans and were asked to name their favourite moment of any tour. Frontman Remington Leith went for Manson and recounted how they were called in to see the headliner by the tour manager. He said, “I thought I was in trouble or something, then I go in his dressing room, and he’s like, ‘Hey buddy! You want a drink?’ I was like, ‘Uh yeah!’ (laughs). So I was just fangirling the entire time because me and Manson became friends. I grew up watching him on MTV and I idolised him when I was a kid, so that was such a cool moment for me.”
Godhead had already been kicking around for a few years, but it was only when they were picked up by Marilyn Manson that they achieved a modicum of success. Their 2001 full-length, 2000 Years Of Human Error, made them the only band to release an album on Manson’s short-lived record label Posthuman Records – the soundtrack to Blair Witch Project 2: Book Of Shadows being Posthuman’s only other release. Manson and former members Twiggy Ramirez and Daisy Berkowitz made guest appearances on the album.
Brian to crowd: “You don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves. You’re all individuals!” Crowd to Brian: “Yes, we’re all individuals!” We can all agree that Brian Warner is a Very Naughty Boy and he’s also had his share of devoted followers. There were plenty of bands mixing dark imagery with industrial-metal at the turn of the century and Dope were definitely more Manson‑y than most. It also seems that weirdos attract as frontman Edsel Dope also shared an apartment with one-time MM drummer Ginger Fish before their respective bands formed.
3TEETH are a relatively new band harking back to a heavily-distorted past when Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry were the sound of the future. 2019’s Metawar was produced by Sean Beavan, who provided Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals and more with their crunch, and there’s more than a touch of the Mansons to tracks like the dystopian American Landfill or the gun culture critique of Pumped Up Kicks.
In a purely musical sense Avatar’s main initial influences included the likes of fellow Gothenburg melodic death metal luminaries In Flames and The Haunted. As they brought in more groove and avant-garde elements, as well as developing the visual side, other influences started to creep out, with a big old slice of Manson in the mix.
Manson certainly has a way with an arena-sized anthem and serrated hook, but there has also been plenty of jarring, unnerving experimentation, especially in the earlier days. Street Sects hark back to this era of Manson’s evolution, with abrasive noise, unsettling atmospherics and nihilistic lyrics. There’s also something distinctly Manson-esque about the way they link various works, especially in the Gentrification series of EPs (they’re currently up to five) following an overarching theme.
The 69 Eyes
The Finnish band’s take on the darkness is more goth’n’roll than industrial subversion. They had also formed before Brian Warner’s reinvented persona was unleashed on the world, but is it possible to walk the shadow side of rock’n’roll and not take something from Marilyn Manson? Talking about Mazza’s Sweet Dreams cover, The 69 Eyes frontman and self-styled Helsinki Vampire Jyrki 69 told Louder: “By the time this came out, grunge was already over, but Marilyn Manson’s vision meant that anyone could be cool. The gothic look is a beautiful one, but he opened it up so that everyone could become one of the beautiful people.”
The UK’s own Evil Blizzard are the best kind of tribute; one that takes inspiration from a warped sense of invention and runs with it, turning it into a vision that is entirely their own. The name actually derives from Ozzy’s Blizzard Of Ozz and there are hints of everything from Devo to Killing Joke in there, but the spirit of early Marilyn Manson is there in the whisper-to-a-scream vocals and festival of grotesquery style.
In This Moment
It isn’t always there in the music, but Manson’s influence runs through rock’s aesthetic as well and there are a lot of parallels to be drawn there between MM and In This Moment – from broken dolls on the stage to some of Maria Brink’s most iconic looks. And check out the sexless mannequins on the cover to In This Moment single Blood compared to Manson’s Mechanical Animals cover.
Butcher Babies co-vocalist Heidi Shepherd told Dread Central: “Carla (Harvey) and I, when we worked with Marilyn Manson, stood at the sound booth every night. Carla said to me, about Manson, ‘This is one of the last true rock stars of our time.’ And for our names to be attached to that is indescribable.” She wasn’t wrong. Manson is one of the last rock stars standing and his legacy continues to inspire gorehounds and freaks of all shapes and sizes.
Manson’s influence sometimes extends beyond the rock and metal world to unexpected places. Lady Gaga might still exist without Marilyn Manson, but the self-proclaimed Mother Monster almost certainly wouldn’t have had the same penchant for a shocking stunt or dark aesthetic. The pair collaborated on a remix of her song LoveGame in 2009 but the love didn’t necessarily overflow. “I think that she’s very funny and creative… but at the same time I also like when people at least give credit to their inspirations,” he sniped to Artisan News Service a year later.
Marilyn Manson’s new album We Are Chaos is out September 11 via Loma Vista.
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