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Marilyn Manson Biography

Love him or hate him, the self-proclaimed´Antichrist Superstar´
Marilyn Manson was indisputably among the most notorious and
controversial entertainers of the 1990s. Celebrated by supporters
as a crusader for free speech and denounced by detractors as little
more than a poor man´s Alice Cooper , Manson was the latest in a
long line of shock rockers, rising to the top of the charts on a
platform of sex, drugs and Satanism. Though widely dismissed by
critics, his brand of metal nevertheless struck a major chord with
the youth market -- on the strength of a masterfully orchestrated
marketing campaign, he became a mainstream anti-hero, much to the
chagrin of conservative politicians and concerned parents. Manson
was born Brian Warner in Canton, Ohio; at the age of 18, he
relocated to Tampa Bay, Florida, working there as a music
journalist. In 1989, he became friends with guitarist and fellow
outsider Scott Mitchell; they decided to form a band, with Mitchell
rechristening himself Daisy Berkowitz and Warner adopting the name
Marilyn Manson .
With the addition of bassist Gidget Gein and keyboardist Madonna
Wayne-Gacy , the group -- originally dubbed Marilyn Manson and the
Spooky Kids -- begin self-releasing cassettes and playing gigs,
their gothic stage show notable for Manson´s elaborate make-up and
homemade special effects. Jettisioning their drum machine in favor
of one Sara Lee Lucas , the band´s sound began taking on a harder
edge, and by 1992 they were among the most popular acts in the
South Florida area. In 1993, Nine Inch Nails´ Trent Reznor came
calling, offering both a contract with his Nothing Records label
as well as the chance to open for NIN the following spring;
Manson accepted both offers, and the group´s debut LP, Portrait
of an American Family , appeared during the summer of 1994.
With new bassist Twiggy Ramirez replacing Gein , the group´s
notoriety began to soar -- most infamously, during an appearance
in Salt Lake City, Manson ripped apart a copy of the Book of
Mormon while onstage. The Church of Satan´s founder Anton LaVey
also bestowed upon him the title of´Reverend. ´While some
onlookers dismissed Manson´s behavior as crass audience
manipulation, his cult following -- comprised almost entirely
of disaffected white suburban teens -- continued to swell, and
with the release of the 1995´s Smells Like Children EP the band
broke into the mainstream, propelled by their hit cover of the
Eurythmics´´Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). ´ Berkowitz quit a
short time later, and was replaced by guitarist Zim Zum ; their
next LP, 1996´s Antichrist Superstar , debuted at the number three
spot on the pop album charts. As Manson´s popularity grew, so did
the furor surrounding him -- his concerts were regularly picketed
by civic groups, and his music was the subject of widespread
attacks from the right-wing and religious fronts. Again, however,
his quick embrace of the media spotlight called into question
the true sincerity of his revolutionary aims -- with a cover
story in Rolling Stone and a best-selling autobiography, The
Long Hard Road Out of Hell, some onlookers doubted whether Manson
had sold his soul to Satan, or just sold his soul, period.

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