Marilyn Manson is a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States-formed alternative metal band led by the singer also named Marilyn Manson (born Brian Hugh Warner on January 5, 1969). Warner chose the name, a combination of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, to illustrate what he considered to be the extreme dualism of late 20th century American culture. The stage names of each band member were originally created by combining the first name of an iconic female sex symbol and the last name of an iconic mass murderer or serial killer, though this naming convention has not extended to new band members after the mid-‘90s. Along with Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper he is currently one of the main performers of the shock rock genre.
Formed in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids, the band’s uniquely theatrical performances gathered a local cult following that developed over time into a worldwide fan base. By the late 1990s the band was considered one of modern music’s most widely-known and controversial acts; this was due, in large part, to Manson’s then-frequent clashes with religious and political groups. Manson’s lyrics often receive criticism for their anti-religious sentiment and for references to sex, drugs, and violence (albeit typically in the abstract as opposed to any specific depiction). The band’s music and performances have frequently been called offensive and obscene. Protests and petitions have sometimes led to the group being banned from performing.
Each Manson album has tended to have a distinct image and sound, with Manson himself often recording and performing each record in the guise of a different adopted persona. The musical differences album to album are also due, no doubt, to the fact that the band experiences frequent personnel changes. Since keyboardist Madonna “Pogo” Wayne Gacy left the band in 2006 Manson himself was the only remaining original band member. In 2008 Twiggy Ramirez (previously a member of Marilyn Manson as bassist/songwriter), drummer Ginger Fish and multi-instrumentalist Chris Vrenna also joined Manson for the upcoming album.
After the 1990s, both the controversy and the band’s mainstream popularity have waned. Despite this, its many devoted fans have made Marilyn Manson a consistently high-profile group; three of the band’s albums have been awarded platinum certification and three more have been awarded gold. The band has seen three of its releases debut in the top ten, including two number-one albums. In June 2003, Jon Wiederhorn of MTV.com called Marilyn Manson “the only true artist today”.
Marilyn Manson’s sixth studio album, Eat Me, Drink Me, was released worldwide in June 2007. The album spawned two singles, “Heart-Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides The Hand)” and “Putting Holes in Happiness.”
The two most recent albums are The High End of Low (2009) and Born Villain (2012); the new CMYK logo was uploaded to their website in May 2011 to signify the change the band is going through following the resignation of Ginger Fish in February.
Manson has gained some of his fame with his dark covers of ‘80s hit singles, like “Sweet Dreams” (by the Eurythmics) and “Tainted Love” (originally performed by Gloria Jones and brought to fame by Soft Cell). Apart from the fame, he gained probably even more notoriety with the band’s bestselling album Antichrist Superstar, which contains the songs “The Beautiful People” and “Antichrist Superstar,” among others.