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Born Brian Warner on January 5th 1969 in Canton, Ohio, the man who would become MARILYN MANSON has managed to incite a storm of controversy surrounding both records and live shows as the Shock Rock band of the 90s, loved by fans and loathed by moral rights campaigners and religious bodies. Manson has been the subject of rumour mongering ever since the group made the big breakthrough. There were stories claiming that Manson (Warner) had been a child actor, appearing in 'Mr. Belvedare' or 'The Wonder Years'. More outrageously, a story claimed that the singer had undergone surgery to have his two bottom ribs removed so that he could perform oral sex on himself!

As a child, Warner attended the Heritage Christian School in Canton (much to the embarrassment of those running the facility now) before his family moved to the sunnier climes of Florida. Warner began hanging out at Fort Lauderdale's Squeeze club, eschewing a potential career as a writer and stand up poet in order to form a group, adopting the guise of Marilyn Manson in the process.

The group originally went under the name of MARILYN MANSON AND THE SPOOKY KIDS. Besides Manson, this group included guitarist Daisy Berkowitz (a.k.a. Scott Putesky), bassist Olivia Newton Bundy (Brian Tutunick of COLLAPSING LUNGS) and keyboard player Zsa Zsa Speck, known otherwise as Perry Pandrea, backed with a drum machine.

The group eventually settled on a roster consisting of, Manson, Berkowitz, keyboard player Madonna Wayne Gacy (Stephen Bier Jr.), bassist Gidget Gein (real name Brad Stewart), drummer Sara Lee Lucas (Freddy 'The Wheel' Streithorst) and one Missi Romero. The latter individual best described as a 'performance artist' within the context of the band's show but was also Marilyn's girlfriend.

Gein, a dreadlocked heroin addict, was eventually replaced after the bassist had nearly died from an overdose. (He would turn up in 1999 fronting DALI DAGGERS on the 'Just Ad Nauseum' album). Enter one Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White), with whom Manson played in a spoof Christian side band called SATAN ON FIRE and had also worked with in the 'joke' South Florida group MRS SCRABTREE alongside would be JACK OFF JILL vocalist Jessicka. White had also featured as a member of Heavy Metal act AMBOOG-A-LARD, a group for which Manson had designed gig flyers for.

After opening up for NINE INCH NAILS in Florida during 1990 Manson presented the headline act's Trent Reznor with a demo. This tape eventually led to MARILYN MANSON signing to Reznor's Nothing label and releasing debut product in the form of the 'Portrait Of An American Family' album which featured recordings made with Gein. The album was eventually released in 1994 following lengthy delays due to the original inclusion of a track entitled 'Mr. Monkey', an adaptation of a song penned by the notorious Charles Manson

MARILYN MANSON's first nation-wide tour of America came in support of NINE INCH NAILS the travelling freak show the Jim Rose Circus. By the time the group went out on a further trek with DANZIG, drummer Sara Lee Lucas had been replaced by Ginger Fish (Kenny Wilson).

In 1994, whilst on tour with NINE INCH NAILS, Manson met former porn star Traci Lords and, perhaps significantly, was introduced to Satanist Anton LaVey and later made certified minister in LaVey's Church Of Satan. Manson would claim in his autobiography to be one of the most controversial things he had been involved in to that point as the singer became a bigger target for America's moral majority to rally against him. He did not exactly helping himself when he chose to tear pages from the Book Of Mormon whilst repeating the phrase 'he loves me, he loves me not' in a guest appearance during NINE INCH NAILS' set in Salt Lake City, Utah. Manson and band had previously been removed from the bill that night after protests from locals.

The group played their first shows in Britain during 1996 with new guitarist Zim Zum (Timothy Linton) in tow and faced the same kind of storm that ALICE COOPER had been faced with over twenty years previously.

MARILYN MANSON teamed up with Pop outfit the SNEAKER PIMPS to record 'It's A Long Hard Road Out Of Hell' for the 'Spawn' soundtrack.

Manson cut a version of DAVID BOWIE's 1975 hit 'Golden Years' as part of the soundtrack to the movie 'Dead Man On Campus'. Ramirez also put in an appearance, quite bizarrely dueting with his namesake English 60's model Twiggy on a rendition of DUSTY SPINGFIELD's 1963 smash 'I Only Want To Be With You'.

Erstwhile guitarist Daisy Berkowitz (real name Scott Mitchell-Putesky) filed a lawsuit against the group alleging breach of contract and unpaid royalties from record sales and merchandising. The suit followed one filed in 1995 by original bassist Gidget Gein (neé Brad Stewart) that was still pending at the time.

Berkowitz (now using his real name) formed a post MARILYN MANSON project, the more Pop oriented THREE TON GATE and released an independent album titled 'Vanishing Century' in late 1997. Olivia Newton Bundy (Brian Tutunick) has since formed NATION OF FEAR. He, too, has reverted to using his real name.

As Manson began working on the group's third, full album, assisted in part by SMASHING PUMPKINS' Billy Corgan as a playing guest, the man's eye-opening autobiography, 'The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell', was published in April 1998 in America. All was not well within Manson's band though as it was announced that Zim Zum was out and in his place came former BONE ANGEL, DAVID LEE ROTH and TWO guitarist John Lowery, now renamed JOHN 5. A joint headlining tour with HOLE was pulled when HOLE's firebrand lead singer walked out after a mere handful of shows.

The debut live album 1999's 'The Last Tour On Earth' featured a new studio track 'Astonishing Panorama Of The Endtimes' plus a limited edition bonus CD with acoustic tracks, another new song 'A Rose And A Baby Ruth', a rendition of GEORGE HAMILTON IV's Country & Western hit, and a further cover of DR. HOOK's 'Get My Rocks Off'. Manson's track inclusion on the hit movie 'The Matrix's soundtrack 'Rock Is Dead' would also be released in the UK as a single backed with 'I Can't See Why' and 'Television' by BAXTER.

Manson's name once more evoked media hysteria in America after the senseless slaying of thirteen children by supposed Manson fans Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at a school in Columbine, Colorado. Many detractors firmly pointed the finger at Manson for exercising an influence on the perpetrators although once the media frenzy had died down the singer was found not to have caused any incitement.

Manson courted controversy once again when his website featured a downloadable track 'Sick City', a song written by the man's namesake cult leader Charles Manson. The potential impact of this move was dampened though by media critics pointing out that GUNS N' ROSES had beaten Manson to this coup by recording Manson's 'Look At Your Game Girl' as a secret track on their 'Spaghetti Incident' covers album.

2000 found Ramirez guesting on ex-RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and JANE'S ADDICTION guitarist DAVE NAVARRO's solo album 'Spread'.

Manson guested with GODHEAD on the track 'Break You Down' included on the 'Dracula 2000' movie soundtrack.

Summer touring throughout North America in 2001 witnessed a watershed show in Denver on June 21st. Manson made his first appearance there since the Columbine high school shootings in spite of a local media campaign to stop the Rocker performing by local religious leaders. Around 30 anti-Manson protesters handed out flyers and food. A defiant Manson performed the song 'The Nobodies' despite requests by organisations such as Citizens For Peace and Respect not to play it.

In November of 2001 Manson contributed his off beat version of the Gloria Jones penned SOFT CELLs 80s Dance anthem 'Tainted Love' to the movie soundtrack 'Not Another Teen Movie'. As work on a new album began in earnest it was revealed Manson was collaborating with SLIPKNOT drummer Joey Jordison from and ex SHOTGUN MESSIAH man Tim Skold. Meantime leading German Gothic Rock act LOVE LIKE BLOOD would cover 'Great Big White World' for their covers album 'Chronology Of A Love Affair'.

The close of 2001 brought some relief to Manson as earlier criminal charges of 'sexual harassment' brought by an incident involving a security guard, Joshua Keasler at an 'Ozzfest' show in Clarkston, Michigan in July 2001 were lowered to that of a misdemeanour. Manson could have faced a two year jail sentence if found guilty of the original charge, the maximum punishment doled out for a misdemeanour being a $2'000 fine. This action was set to run though with Keasler later bring a civil suit brought against him. Keasler claimed Manson rubbed his genitalia on Keasler's head during the performance and was seeking $75,000 from the singer, citing assault and battery, emotional stress, wanton negligence and gross misconduct.

Manson would hint at a new Industrial direction upfront of a new album, provisionally billed as 'The Golden Age Of Grotesque', with four instrumental pieces submitted for the 'Resident Evil' movie soundtrack. A new version of 'Fight Song', remixed by SLIPKNOT drummer Joey Jordison, was also donated. An album of the same, released in March 2002 by Roadrunner, included new Manson compositions 'Seizure Of Power', 'Cleansing', 'Reunion' and 'Resident Evil Main Title Theme'. Manson would also have material featured on the March 2002 'WWF Forceable Entry' compilation issued by Columbia Records donating a remixed take on 'The Beautiful People' (WWF 'Smackdown' Remix).

Manson would be chosen as host for Rock legend OZZY OSBOURNE's induction into the Hollywood 'Star Of Fame' elite, the singer giving a brief speech upon the merits of Rock n' Roll insanity before Ozzy's star was unveiled. Manson's artwork would keep him in the news too when it emerged that a nude painting of American comedian Andy Dick was to be used as the cover for Dick's album 'Andy Dick & The Bitches Of The Century'. Studio activity Manson appearing amongst a genuine all star cast donating his take of 'The KKK Took My Baby Away' to the 2002 Joey Ramone and ROB ZOMBIE assembled RAMONES tribute album 'We're A Happy Family'.

The official departure of Twiggy Ramirez from the band was announced in May, his replacement coming as no surprise in the form of Tim Skold. By November it was revealed that Ramirez had united with MASTERS OF REALITY mainman Chris Goss in a new band venture called SNOWBALLS.

Alarming news emerged in early July when it was revealed that the latter stages of recording for 'The Golden Age Of Grotesque' were so energy sapping for Manson that he had hospitalised himself. He would find time however to put in a cameo showing in the MURDERDOLLS video 'Dead In Hollywood' and also the Gary Oldman movie 'Beat The Devil'. Further celluloid action found the DVD 'Marilyn Manson: Guns, God, And Government World Tour' debuting at the coveted no. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. A further DVD, a short film directed by Manson, came packaged with initial copies of 'The Golden Age Of Grotesque' album. Upon release the record shifted 118,174 copies in the USA during its first week of release, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, Manson's second time at the top following 'Mechanical Animals'. The album also secured No. 1 chart positions across Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

MARILYN MANSON formed up part of the summer 2003 'Ozzfest' touring line up. The live promotion ride would be far from easy though as old wounds resurfaced in Italy, with various city officials refusing Manson a license to perform due to the "offensive" nature of his performance. To exacerbate matters the singer contracted a throat infection causing the cancellation of his Milan 'Gods Of Metal' appearance. Continued touring in North America saw the band packaged with JANE'S ADDICTION for shows throughout December. However, these gigs would be duly cancelled with media speculation pointing to low ticket sales.

In March of 2004, two toy figurines of Manson sculpted by Tatsuhiro Fujiwara arrived in Japanese stores, one designed from the 'Fight Song' video whilst the other was a caricature of his persona in the 'Mobscene' video. Manson would also be featured in a cameo role in Asia Argento's movie 'The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things'. Back on the band front it was announced that Johnny 5, claiming he had been fired over the telephone, had vacated the guitar position. The ex-guitarist soon set to work on a solo album billed 'Vertigo'. The remaining band members entered the studio to cut new material, including a cover of DEPECHE MODE's 'Personal Jesus', for a scheduled compilation album. Meantime, Former MARILYN MANSON guitarist John Lowery, as JOHN 5, readied his debut solo album 'Vertigo'.

May found both Marilyn Manson and Madonna Wayne Gacy engaged in legal action against former guitarist Daisy Berkowitz and a Florida record label over the planned release of 'Lunch Boxes & Choklit Cows', an album of archive 1993 material recorded by Manson's early band THE SPOOKY KIDS. The pair claimed damages of at least $500,000 but the action was settled out of court.

As word of a 'Lest We Forget' retrospective collection was in the works, Manson was soon back into the full glare of the media spotlight in August as rumours suggested he was to play the part of a dope smoking Jesus in the George A. Romero black comedy 'Diamond Dead'. On the band front, the first public performance by Manson in 2004 would come with a performance of 'Personal Jesus' on 24th September at the German 'Comet' awards show. However, drummer Ginger Fish was injured when he fell from a raised stage, suffering injuries including a fractured arm and a broken nose. As 'Lest We Forget' was launched it would be learned that a duet recently recorded with Shirley Manson of GARBAGE had been recorded but left off the final running order, MARILYN MANSON claiming he was not "in the best frame of mind" when it was cut.

US road work to promote 'Lest We Forget' would be dubbed the 'Against All Gods' tour. With Ginger Fish still in recovery, former NINE INCH NAILS man Chris Vrenna took over the drum stool. 'Lest We Forget' would shift 79,715 copies in its first week of US sales to debut at number 9 on the national Billboard charts. A 'Mad TV' performance of 'Personal Jesus' on 15th October saw the FIGHT and DANZIG credited Mark Chaussee installed on guitar.

MARILYN MANSON marked his tour's Texan date on 10th December by including a cover version of PANTERA's 'Revolution Is My Name' at his La Villa Real Convention Center show in McAllen in tribute to late DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, murdered just days before. In February 2005 drummer Ginger Fish teamed up with vocalist / guitarist David Scott and bassist James Marino in a new project entitled MARTYR PLOT.

Manson, opening a new art gallery in Los Angeles, also began shooting his movie project 'Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll' in Paris during September 2006. On the musical front a brand new song, entitled 'This is Halloween' was included on the DVD release of Tim Burton's animated film 'Nightmare Before Christmas'. On Halloween Manson opened his art gallery, the Celebritarian Corp. Gallery of Fine Art, located in Los Angeles at 667 Melrose Avenue. The year closed with Manson back in the media spotlight when his wife of one year, Dita Von Teese, filed divorce papers citing irreconcilable differences on December 29th at the Los Angeles Superior Court.

2007 opened on a more optomistic note as a new album title of 'Eat Me, Drink Me', was released.

Twiggy Ramirez re-enrolled during early 2008. MARILYN MANSON pulled in former LIMP BIZKIT and BLACK LIGHT BURNS guitarist Wes Borland during August 2008 and played a first show with new guitarist at the Eerie Taiji People Festival in Seoul, Korea on the 15th.

Marilyn Manson contributed a version of 'This Is Halloween' to the 'Nightmare Revisited' album, a collection of reworked songs from the soundtrack to Tim Burton's 1993 movie 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.

Gidget Gein was found dead, a victim of an apparent drug overdose, at a friend's home in Burbank, California on 9th October 2008.

On 18th May 2009 a 15-year-old eighth-grade student at Larose-Cut Off Middle School in the Lafourche Parish of Louisiana, Justin Doucet, shot himself in the head on school grounds. This was reportedly after a teacher, who he had shot at, had refused his demands to "worship Marilyn Manson". Doucet was in critical condition at Terrebonne General Medical Center. He left behind a suicide note, in which he detailed how he planned to kill others and then himself.

Manson co-headlined alongside SLAYER on the five-week 'Rockstar Energy Mayhem' festival, kicking off on 10th July in Sacramento, California.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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