Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), better known by his stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American musician, songwriter, actor, painter, multimedia artist and former music journalist known for his controversial stage personality and image as the eponymous lead singer of the band Marilyn Manson, of which he is the founder and only constant member. His stage name was formed by juxtaposing the names of two American cultural icons, namely actress Marilyn Monroe and Manson Family leader Charles Manson.
He is perhaps best known for his songs and albums released in the 1990s, such as 1996's Antichrist Superstar and 1998's Mechanical Animals, which along with his public image earned him a reputation in the mainstream media as a controversial figure and a seemingly negative influence on young people. Manson has been ranked number 44 in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.
Marilyn Manson was born in Canton, Ohio. He is the only son of Barbara Warner (maiden name Wyer) and Hugh Warner. Manson is of German and Polish descent on his father's side, and is a fourth cousin twice removed of conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. In his autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, he detailed his grandfather's sexual fetishes, including bestiality and sadomasochism. As a child, he attended his mother's Episcopal church, though his father was a Catholic. Warner attended Heritage Christian School from first grade to tenth grade. He later transferred to GlenOak High School and graduated from there in 1987. After relocating with his parents, he became a student at Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1990. He was working towards a degree in journalism and gaining experience in the field by writing articles for a music magazine, 25th Parallel. He soon met several of the musicians to whom his own band were later compared, including My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, The Perfect, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
Manson and guitarist Scott Putesky formed Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids following conversations at the Reunion Room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1989. The name was later shortened to Marilyn Manson. While with The Spooky Kids, Manson was involved with Jeordie White (also known as Twiggy Ramirez) and Stephen Gregory Bier Jr. (also known as Madonna Wayne Gacy) in two side-projects: Satan on Fire, a faux-Christian metal ensemble where he played bass guitar, and drums in Mrs. Scabtree, a collaborative band formed with White and then girlfriend Jessicka (vocalist with the band Jack Off Jill) as a way to combat contractual agreements that prohibited Marilyn Manson from playing in certain clubs. In 1993, the band drew the attention of Trent Reznor. Reznor produced their 1994 debut album, Portrait of an American Family and released it on his Nothing Records label. The band began to develop a cult following, which grew larger on the Downward Spiral Tour that featured Nine Inch Nails and Jim Rose Circus along with the release of Smells Like Children in 1995. That EP yielded the band's first big MTV hit with "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," a cover of the 1983 Eurythmics hit. Antichrist Superstar (co-produced by Trent Reznor) was an even greater success.
In the US alone, three of the band's albums have been awarded two platinum and three more went gold, and the band has had seven releases debut in the top ten, including two number-one albums. Manson first worked as a producer with the band Jack Off Jill. He helped name the band and produce most of the band's early recordings, and also played guitar on the song "My Cat" and had the band open most of his South Florida shows. Manson later wrote the liner notes to the band's album Humid Teenage Mediocrity 1992-1995, a collection of early Jack Off Jill recordings. Manson has appeared as a guest performer on DMX's album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and on Godhead's 2000 Years of Human Error album — the only album released on his vanity label Posthuman. In 2011 it was revealed that Manson was to appear on the singer Skylar Grey's album "Invinsible" on the track entitled "Can't Haunt Me".
Film and television
Manson made his film debut in 1997, as an actor in David Lynch's Lost Highway. Since then he has appeared in a variety of minor roles and cameos, including Party Monster; then-girlfriend Rose McGowan's 1999 film Jawbreaker; Asia Argento's 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; Rise; The Hire: Beat The Devil, the sixth installment in the BMW Films series; and Showtime's comedy-drama TV series Californication in 2013, in which Manson portrayed himself. He is also currently scheduled to appear on HBO's Eastbound and Down, of which Manson is reportedly a longtime fan, and had lobbied to appear on for years; and ABC's Once Upon a Time, for which he will provide the voice of the character "Shadow".
He was interviewed in Michael Moore's political documentary Bowling for Columbine discussing possible motivations for the Columbine massacre and allegations that his music was somehow a factor. He has appeared in animated form in Clone High and participated in several episodes of the MTV series Celebrity Deathmatch, becoming the show's unofficial champion and mascot; he often performed the voice for his claymated puppet, and contributed the song "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" to the soundtrack album. In July 2005, Manson told Rolling Stone that he was shifting his focus from music to filmmaking – "I just don't think the world is worth putting music into right now. I no longer want to make art that other people — particularly record companies — are turning into a product. I just want to make art."
Johnny Depp reportedly used Manson as his inspiration for his performance as Willy Wonka in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Manson himself expressed interest in playing the role of Willy Wonka in the film.
He had been working on his directorial debut, Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, since 2004, with Manson also set to portray the role of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Initially announced as a web-only release, it was later decided to give the estimated $4.2 million budget film a conventional cinema release, with a slated release date of mid-2007. The film was to have an original music soundtrack with previously unreleased songs. Production of the film had been postponed indefinitely until after the Eat Me, Drink Me tour. In 2010, studio bosses shut down production on the project, reportedly due to viewers' responses to the violent content of clips released on the internet. The film was later officially put on "indefinite production hold". However, according to an interview with co-writer Anthony Silva about the hold, the film was still on and the talk of it being shut down was just a myth. In a June 2013 interview, Manson stated that he had "resurrected" the project, and that Roger Avary would direct it. In a separate interview during the previous year, he said a small crew similar to what he used for his Slo-Mo-Tion music video would be used, and would rather film the movie on an iPhone than rather not film it at all.
Manson stated in a 2004 interview with i-D magazine to have begun his career as a watercolor painter in 1999 when he made five-minute concept pieces and sold them to drug dealers. On September 13–14, 2002, his first show, The Golden Age of Grotesque, was held at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Centre. Art in America's Max Henry likened them to the works of a "psychiatric patient given materials to use as therapy" and said his work would never be taken seriously in a fine art context, writing that the value was "in their celebrity, not the work". On September 14–15, 2004, Manson held a second exhibition on the first night in Paris and the second in Berlin. The show was named 'Trismegistus' which was also the title of the center piece of the exhibit – a large, three-headed Christ painted onto an antique wood panel from a portable embalmers table.
Manson named his self-proclaimed art movement Celebritarian Corporation. He has coined a slogan for the movement: “We will sell our shadow to those who stand within it.” In 2005 he said that the Celebritarian Corporation has been "incubating for seven years" which if correct would indicate that Celebritarian Corporation, in some form, started in 1998.
Celebritarian Corporation is also the namesake of an art gallery owned by Manson, called the Celebritarian Corporation Gallery of Fine Art in Los Angeles for which his third exhibition was the inaugural show. From April 2–17, 2007, his recent works were on show at the Space 39 Modern & Contemporary in Florida. 40 pieces from this show traveled to Germany's Gallery Brigitte Schenk in Cologne to be publicly exhibited from June 28 – July 28, 2007. Manson was refused admittance to Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), when he was in the city to attend the opening night. This was, according to Manson, due to his makeup.
Manson revealed a series of 20 paintings in 2010 entitled Genealogies of Pain, an exhibition showcased at Vienna's Kunsthalle gallery which the artist collaborated on with David Lynch.
Manson made an appearance in the video game Area 51 as Edgar, a Grey Alien. His song "Cruci-Fiction In Space" is featured in a commercial for a video game, The Darkness. His likeness is also featured on the Celebrity Deathmatch video game for which he recorded a song for the soundtrack (2003). The song "Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth" was the credits score of the game Cold Fear as well as Spawn: Armageddon. The song "Four Rusted Horses" had an alternate version used in trailers for the video game Fear 3. A remix of the song "Tainted Love" appears in the debut trailer for the game, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and in the launch trailer of Twisted Metal. Manson's song "The Beautiful People" was featured in WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth. The song Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon is also featured in Saints Row: The Third.
Manson launched "Mansinthe," his own brand of Swiss-made absinthe, which has received mixed reviews; some critics described the taste as being "just plain", but it came second to Versinthe in an Absinthe top five and won a gold medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Other reviewers, such as critics at The Wormwood Society, have given the absinthe moderately high praise.
An energy drink called "Eat Me, Drink Me" was also produced for a limited time, inspired by Marilyn Manson's album of the same name.
Manson was engaged to actress Rose McGowan from February 1998 to January 19, 2001. She often appeared with him at celebrity events at the time in extremely provocative clothing, such as the chain-mail dress and thong she wore to the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. McGowan later ended their two-year long engagement over "lifestyle differences".
Manson and Dita Von Teese first met when he asked her to dance in one of his music videos. Though she was unable to, the two kept in contact. On his 32nd birthday, in 2001, she arrived with a bottle of absinthe, and they became a couple. Manson proposed on March 22, 2004 and gave her a 1930s, 7-carat, European round-cut diamond engagement ring. On November 28, 2005, Manson and von Teese were married in a private, non-denominational ceremony in their home. A larger ceremony was held on December 3, at Gurteen Castle, in Kilsheelan, County Tipperary, Ireland, the home of their friend, Gottfried Helnwein. The wedding was officiated by the Chilean surrealist film director and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky. On December 30, 2006, Von Teese filed for divorce due to "irreconcilable differences." ET.com and People claimed that Manson was having an extramarital affair with then 19-year-old actress Evan Rachel Wood, who is to co-star in his horror film Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, and was featured in the video for his 2007 single, "Heart-Shaped Glasses." The relationship was confirmed by Von Teese in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, "I get the impression he thinks I was unsupportive, but the truth is I wasn't supportive of his lifestyle, and someone else came along who was." Manson's alcohol abuse and distant behavior were also cited as cause for the split. A judgment of divorce was entered in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 27, 2007.
In 2007, attention was brought to Manson's love life again when a relationship with Evan Rachel Wood was made public. Manson and Wood reportedly maintained an on-again off-again relationship for several years. Manson proposed to Wood during a Paris stage performance in January 2010, but the couple broke off the engagement later that year.
In the March 2012 issue of Revolver magazine, American photographer Lindsay Usich was referred to as Manson's girlfriend. The article referenced a new painting by Manson featuring Usich. She is credited as the photo source for the cover art of Manson's 2012 album, Born Villain. It was later confirmed that the two were romantically involved.
In September 1996, former bassist Gidget Gein negotiated a settlement with Manson where he would receive $17,500 in cash, 20 percent of any royalties paid for recordings and for any songs he had a hand in writing and his share of any other royalties or fees the group earned while he was a member. Furthermore, the settlement allowed him to market himself as a former member of Marilyn Manson. This settlement was not honored, however.
Former guitarist and founding member Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz) filed a $15 million lawsuit in a Fort Lauderdale court against the singer, the band and the band's attorney, David Codikow in January 1998 after his forcible departure from the group in the spring of 1996. Berkowitz claimed he was cheated by the band out of "thousands of dollars in royalties, publishing rights, and performance fees." He also filed an attorney malpractice suit against Codikow, alleging that "Codikow represented Warner's interests more than the band's and that he gave Warner disproportionate control over the band's name, recordings, merchandising, and touring proceeds." By October of that year, the suit had been settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
On November 30, 1998, a few days after the band accumulated "[a] total [of] more than $25,000" in backstage and hotel room damages during the Poughkeepsie, New York stop of their Mechanical Animals Tour, SPIN editor Craig Marks filed a $24 million lawsuit against Manson and his bodyguards for allegedly assaulting his person and threatening to kill his family. According to Marks' interview with the New York Post, the issue stemmed from Manson's displeasure with the magazine's decision to renege on a promised cover story of the band for their January 1999 cover. According to Marks, the last-minute change was made because Manson's record wasn't "performing." The Post described the editor as "bruised and battered." Manson for his part issued a statement saying, "I had a conversation with Craig Marks expressing I was tired of Spin's immature business behavior and the series of deals they had broken with me. I told him that I didn't care what he prints or whether or not I'm on the cover. I simply no longer wanted to work with him or his magazine that obviously has a lack of respect for musicians and their fans." On February 19, 1999, Manson counter-sued Marks for libel, slander and defamation. The singer was seeking $40 million in reparation, claiming that Marks' statements were false and "were made ... with actual malice, hatred and personal ill will." According to the counter-suit, Marks' allegations have "greatly damaged and injured [Manson's] reputation and standing in the music profession, in the music and entertainment industries, in his community and in the general public, and has been subjected to great shame, humiliation and indignity." As for the Poughkeepsie incident, Manson apologized and offered to make financial restitution.
In a civil battery suit, David Diaz, a security officer from a concert in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 27, 2000, sued for $75,000 in a Minneapolis federal court. The federal court jury found in Manson's favor.
In a civil suit presented by Oakland County, Michigan, Manson was charged with sexual misconduct against another security officer, Joshua Keasler, during a concert in Clarkston, Michigan, on July 30, 2001. Oakland County originally filed assault and battery and criminal sexual misconduct charges, but the judge reduced the latter charge to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Manson pleaded no contest to the reduced charges, paid a $4,000 fine, and later settled the lawsuit under undisclosed terms.
On April 3, 2002, Maria St. John filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Manson of providing her adult daughter, Jennifer Syme, with cocaine and instructing her to drive while under the influence. After attending a party at Manson's house, Syme was given a lift home; Manson claims she was taken home by a designated driver. After she got home she got behind the wheel of her own vehicle and was killed instantly when she crashed it into three parked cars. Manson is reported to have said there were no drugs or alcohol at the party. St. John's lawyer asked "[if] there were no drinks, no drugs, why would she need a designated driver?" The suit alleged Syme was returning to the party at Manson's request. The case, BC271111, was dismissed on May 29, 2003.
On August 2, 2007, former band member Stephen Bier filed a lawsuit against Manson for unpaid "partnership proceeds," seeking $20 million in back pay. Several details from the lawsuit leaked to the press. In November 2007, additional papers were filed saying that Manson purchased a child's skeleton and masks made of human skin. He also allegedly bought stuffed animals, such as a grizzly bear and two baboons and a collection of Nazi memorabilia. In December 2007, Manson countersued, claiming that Bier failed to fulfill his duties as a bandmember to play for recordings and to promote the band. On December 28, 2009, the suit was settled with an agreement which saw Bier's attorneys being paid a total of $380,000, of which Manson's insurance company paid $175,000, while the remainder was paid by Bier's former business managers, according to Manson's lawyer Howard King.
- Portrait of an American Family (1994)
- Antichrist Superstar (1996)
- Mechanical Animals (1998)
- Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (2000)
- The Golden Age of Grotesque (2003)
- Eat Me, Drink Me (2007)
- The High End of Low (2009)
- Born Villain (2012)
Awards and nominations
MTV Video Music Awards
- Metal Edge Readers' Choice Awards
- Lost Highway (1997)
- "Groupie" (Unreleased)
- Celebrity Deathmatch (1998)
- Jawbreaker (1999)
- Clone High (2002)
- Bowling for Columbine (2002)
- The Hire: Beat the Devil (2003)
- Party Monster (2003)
- The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)
- Area 51 (2005)
- Rise: Blood Hunter (2006)
- Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll (unreleased)
- Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (2010)
- Splatter Sisters (unreleased)
- Born Villain (2011)
- Wrong Cops (2012)
- Californication (2013)
- Celebrity Ghost Stories
- Eastbound & Down (2013)
- Once Upon a Time (TV series) (2013) Peter Pan's Shadow
- The Long Hard Road Out of Hell. New York: HarperCollins division ReganBooks, 1998 ISBN 0-06-039258-4.
- Holy Wood. New York: HarperCollins division ReganBooks, Unreleased.
- Genealogies of Pain. Nuremberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg, 2011 ISBN 3-86984-129-8.
- Campaign. Calabasas: Grassy Slope Incorporated, 2011 ISBN B-00-5J24ZH-S.
- Official website
- Marilyn Manson at Internet Movie Database
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