Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Marilyn Manson


Viewed with a sense of humor, shock rock group Marilyn Manson do a pretty good update of the old Alice Cooper guts ' gore schtick. But taken seriously, Manson's ghoulish, self-absorbed posturing can be painful to watch. Whichever, the group will be returning to Japan in their current "God, Guns and Government" tour that will take them to Tokyo for two dates at the spacious and modern, if somewhat sterile, Tokyo Bay NK Hall.

Formed in 1989 with the "intention of exploring the limits of censorship," Marilyn Manson's shock tactics have always seemed a bit tame, especially when compared with the truly offensive antics of fringe elements of the punk scene. But despite the cliched aspects of their mischief-making (naming themselves after famous mass-murderers, posing as the Antichrist, etc.), they have successfully upset the Christian-right in the US, who never seem to think twice before jumping at the bait.

Emerging out of their South Florida power base in the mid-'90s, singer Marilyn Manson and his eponymous group were the first signing to Nothing records, the new label set up by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Before a falling-out (recently amicably settled) between the two, Marilyn Manson recorded their debut album at the LA house of the gory Tate murders by the Manson family.

It wasn't until the release of 1996's Antichrist Superstar, however, that Marilyn Manson became a household name, with the single "The Beautiful People" driving the album to number three on the Billboard charts. While 1998's glam-influenced Mechanical Animals failed to chart as high, it did mark a significant improvement in songwriting and signaled Manson's Bowie-like ability to reinvent himself on a regular basis.

Following 1999's Columbine High School murder tragedy, last year's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) was mistakenly pilloried for inciting the outcast killer teens Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (it subsequently was revealed that neither had been a fan of Manson).

Manson's latest video for the new single "The Fight Song", featuring a team of jocks battling a team of goth rockers, might be a comment on the furore - although Manson label Interscope denies any Columbine parallels.

All it takes is one look at Japan's newspaper headlines ("Crazed teen slaughters Mom"), or one visit to Harajuku on a Sunday, where Tokyo's goth tribes gather in their Victorian finery, to understand where Manson's appeal lies in Japan. Pancake and eyeliner recommended.

See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana