Also Credited As:Brian Hugh Warner
|Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Music, Other|
|Brian Hugh Warner on January 5, 1969 in Canton, Ohio, USA|
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Manson was born as Brian Warner in Canton, OH on Jan. 5, 1969. His mother was a nurse; his father a former Vietnam soldier that went into furniture sales. As a grade school student at the private Heritage Christian School, Warner became enamored with the theatricality and dark sides of rockers like David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. The lanky and pale Warner often felt socially isolated from his classmates, but always the driven creator and marketer, he enjoyed selling them tapes of his own strange, sexually-expressive songs and prank phone calls. He also made money selling albums by musical artists that the school had banned. Eventually his distaste for the school's Christian values and his interest in continually stirring the pot led the administration to expel him. He went on to graduate high school from the public GlenOaks High School instead.
In 1987, at the age of 18, the Warner family transplanted themselves to Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Warner - now out of high school - spent a year attending Broward County Community College, majoring in journalism and theater. He then began to write stories and music pieces for a local magazine called The 25th Parallel. In 1989, he met a local musician named Scott Putesky at a party. The two held a similar outlook about American celebrity culture and decided to form their own band. Taking the idea to fuse beautiful pop icons with mass murders, Warner christened himself Marilyn Manson and Putesky became Daisy Berkowitz. The two recruited musicians Sara Lee Lucas, Gidget Gein and Madonna Wayne Gacy on drums, bass and keyboards.
One evening, while doing a story on the band, Nine Inch Nails, for The 25th Parallel, Warner interviewed Nails mainman Trent Reznor and mentioned his own band, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. Reznor took a shine to Warner and later decided to help further shape and refine Marilyn Manson's act. Dropping "the Spooky Kids" from the name, Marilyn Manson was later signed to Reznor's major-label imprint, Nothing Records, in 1993. Along with new bassist, Twiggy Ramirez, in tow, the band headed to California and recorded its debut album at Reznor's Beverly Hills home; coincidentally, the mansion where the real Manson - Charles - had murdered actress Sharon Tate and several of her friends in August of 1969.
The first release - Portrait of an American Family (1994) - made something of a rumble, mostly due to Manson's headline antics as the tour openers for Nine Inch Nails. In October of that year, he ripped up a Mormon Bible onstage in Salt Lake City, UT, leading to a permanent ban. Manson was already taking the heat for his recently acquired title of "ordained minister" in the controversial Church of Satan, bestowed upon him by church leader, Anton LaVey, himself. Two months later in Jacksonville, FL, he was arrested for indecent exposure and onstage simulated sex. In February of 1995, Manson, Ramirez and Gacy - as newly-minted media targets - took their show to a panel of guests on "The Phil Donahue Show" (1970-1996).
Manson was wholly committed to the band's rallying cry and was not afraid to keep things running as smoothly as possible. During one show before the end of the tour, he informed original drummer Lucas of his termination by setting his drumkit on fire during the set. Lucas was promptly replaced with drummer Ginger Fish, and the Manson juggernaut charged ahead a year later with 1995's Smells Like Children EP, in which Manson eerily crooned over a slower, brooding version of The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." The band's cover took off on the charts, officially making Marilyn Manson the band - as well as Marilyn Manson the man - ones to watch.
Marilyn Manson released its second album, Antichrist Superstar in 1996, with Reznor producing once again. Co-founder Daisy Berkowitz was let go towards the end of recording and replaced by newcomer Zim Zum. Arguably its crowning achievement, the album yielded an anthem in "The Beautiful People." The subsequent tour found Manson scaling back on the outrageous behavior that had landed him in legal trouble two years earlier, but he still did not have to do much to court controversy, as the American Family Association out of Mississippi had decried the band as a threat to morality.
In 1997, Manson added a track, "Apple of Sodom," to Reznor's score for David Lynch's film, "The Lost Highway" (1997). By the end of the year, Manson's personal life had settled down somewhat, as he began dating the actress Rose McGowan. The 1998 release of Marilyn Manson's third album, Mechanical Animals also found the band in a less confrontational; more straightforward mood, with second guitarist John 5 added to the mix. The album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, moved more towards a rock sound than the band's previous industrial tones - although some markets were banning the cover art, with Manson posing nude as a pale androgynous alien. The year 1998 also saw the release of Manson's autobiography, The Long Hard Road out of Hell, co-written with The New York Times writer Neil Strauss. The book's curt recollections of Reznor, however, put a severe strain on the relationship with his one-time producer.
Touring in support of Mechanical Animals as openers for Hole, the band lasted nine dates on the tour before Hole pulled off, with bandleader Courtney Love claiming she was being forced to shoulder half of Marilyn Manson's elaborate production costs. On Valentine's Day of 1999, Manson and McGowan were engaged. Five days later, McGowan's film "Jawbreaker" (1999) - in which her fiancé had a cameo - was released in theaters. In the fall of 1999, ABC passed on a David Lynch pilot for a series called "Mulholland Drive" (2001), which would have featured a recurring role for Manson. He was exorcised from the project when Lynch later extended the pilot into a feature film. And then the gloves came off. In early 1999, Manson's public image was further maligned when two high school boys, who went on a killing spree at Colorado's Columbine High School, cited him as a musical influence. Several people died in the massacre. A shaken Manson expressed his disgust and remorse over the tragedy, even as legal pundits lined up to on conservative talk shows to malign him and his music.
Choosing instead to move on from the painful connections to the Columbine tragedy, Manson and Co. drew from his past in a different way with their 2000 release, Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), which marked a fusion of the band's two different sounds. Now as the sole credited songwriter, Manson merged his industrial thrash of Antichrist Superstar and the rock sounds of Mechanical Animals to form a concept album about Manson's trademark themes of alienation, with John 5 now the main guitarist following the exit of Zim Zum. By early 2001, Manson and McGowan had officially split, but Manson was already in the throes of a new relationship with another brunette beauty, burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. In April, another unfortunate tragedy came back to haunt Manson when David Lynch's former assistant Jennifer Syme died in a car crash on her way back to a party at Manson's Hollywood Hills home. Manson was then sued by Syme's mother, who claimed he enticed Syme to return after she had already been driven home in an intoxicated state.
Manson headed back into the studio for 2003's Golden Age of Grotesque. He had shifted the band's - as well as his own - image to more of a goth version of 1930s Hollywood glamour, as influenced by his relationship with Von Teese. Though Marilyn Manson was still charting well, Manson himself no longer seemed to be the purveyor of cultural outrage, with his brand of outspokenness seemingly becoming a benign fixture within the mainstream. He was now at the point of expanding his media influence through acting - and did so by taking a part of a transsexual in the indie drama, "Party Monster" (2003).
By 2004, Scott Putesky, who had legally won the rights to much of the old Marilyn Manson material, had released the rarities album Lunch Boxes & Choklit Cows under the band's old "Spooky Kids" moniker, offering fans a taste of the original Marilyn Manson tracks. Later that year, Manson appeared in another art film, Asia Argento's "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things" (2004). In December of 2005, Manson and Von Teese married at Castle in Ireland, though the marriage was short-lived however, ending just one full year after it began. Much to the delight of celebrity blogs, the shock rocker-turned-actor took up with the very young actress, Evan Rachel Wood, leaving Von Teese to deal with this information in a public and painful way. In typical fashion, Manson was not fretting about the split; he was already off acting in the vampire movie "Rise" (2007) and creating his next gory world - a fully-realized endeavor in which he would direct himself as the author Lewis Carroll in a feature film, "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll."