MARILYN MANSON believes that entertainment doesn't have to end when he walks off a stage, and art doesn't have to hang in a museum.
In his world, he says "you can live your art and you can be a work of art." '
Consider the most famous work of ever-morphing pop cultural icon Marilyn Manson, the 34-year-old shock rocker born Brian Warner.
Since his creation a decade ago, Manson has steadily rattled the establishment with his shock-rock persona by assuming different roles, including the Antichrist Superstar and an adrogynous space alien named Omega. His latest, a cross between cabaret performer and dandy, is now stirring up its own controversy.
Manson is banned from playing Rochester, N.Y.'s Ozzfest Aug. 11 because, according to Six Flags Darien Lake spokeswoman Lauren Spallone, "several people in the area expressed an uncomfortable feeling about having that artist in our area." '
No worries. He's still part of the rest of the tour, which stops at Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen on Saturday.
Manson is promoting his new album, "The Golden Age of Grotesque," ' his follow-up to 2000's "Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)." '
Like a throwback to the late '80s industrial metal mash of decibel-crunching guitars and electronic noise, the album made its debut back in May at the top of the Billboard charts and won its share of high praises.
Rolling Stone claims "never has there been a rock star quite as complex." ' Kerrang! raves Manson's latest "may well be his best album yet." ' Meanwhile, Revolver sums it up as "pure rock ecstasy." '
But music is only half of "The Golden Age of Grotesque." '
According to Manson, the album was inspired by radical art movements from the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as prewar German cabaret, the pretentious wit of dandyism and the all-out brattiness of dada.
Manson, who describes himself as a voracious reader and moviegoer, was drawn to this period in time after experiencing a few bumps along the way.
In 1999, he came under attack by the religious right who blamed him for inspiring two boys to carry out the Columbine High School shooting rampage (to which he later responds in the Oscar-winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine" '). He was slapped with various lawsuits, watched 2000's "Holy Wood" ' bomb and went through a very public breakup with his fiance, "Charmed" ' actress Rose McGowan.
The final straw could have been his longtime collaborator and friend Twiggy Ramirez's departure from the group over creative differences, but it wasn't.
In fact, things were starting to get better for Manson.
He was getting movie work (he plays a transsexual nightclub singer in "Party Monster" ' and is scoring the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" ') and had begun a new relationship with Dita Von Teese, the fetish model and burlesque performer. Producer Tim Skold (formerly of the industrial rock group KMFDM) even offered to double-up on bass for the new album.
It was also around this time that Manson began collaborating with Austrian multimedia artist Gottfried Helnwein, who in a Kerrang! interview refers to the singer as "a true artist" ' who reflects the state society is in.
Together with Helnwein, the pair created a series of controversial photographs, most of which were banned by the label as too risque to be album art, including one of Manson dressed in Nazi regalia and clutching a gun as a young girl looks on.
"I think the contrast is nice," ' Helnwein tells Rolling Stone.
These album cover shots that never were, however, were seen earlier this year when Manson took his images on tour as part of his "Grotesque Burlesque," ' which included a stop in L.A.
It was this artistic and musical pairing that has inspired Korn frontman Jonathan Davis to follow suit with his own exhibition of collected art at Ozzfest.
As for Manson's art, he has no intention of exhibiting his photos this time around.
"I don" t think that environment really lends itself to an art display as much as artistically putting it into your show,'' Manson says, adding "I" ve made a greater attempt to make my show not just the most theatrical thing on Ozzfest but the most theatrical thing I've done. It's in a vaudeville, cabaret way that it's not just about entertaining the audience, it's about interacting with them, and not in the cliche rock 'n' roll way where you get them to hand-clap.
"No, it" s about creating a circumstance where people are a part of the show.''