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Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson

by David King on October 25, 2012 · 13 comments

GLENS FALLS CIVIC CENTER, OCT. 23

Marilyn Manson informed the crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Tuesday night that the police had warned him not to advocate drug use and “anal sex” but the only people that bought that were likely the people who were on more drugs than Manson, and that was likely a very few people. Manson was an odd, withered and simultaneously bloated version of himself. I would be surprised if the Glens Falls Police know that Manson still exists.

I was actually surprised that the 14-year-old kid in front of me knew who he was and that he was horrified when I told him that Manson was actually going on before Rob Zombie.  I felt for the teen because there was a time in my life I would have been enraged by such an indignity for Manson—that the one-time, seemingly-intelligent fame manipulator with a hard-on for Bowie would wind up opening for the cartoonish Zombie.

But for that I apologize; see, in 1996 I was a fan of Marilyn Manson. There, I said it.

I was a part of the adoring teenage throbs that idolized Manson when he stormed into town to play the RPI Field House back in the day, followed by hordes of protesting religious groups, groupies and law enforcement. I heard the cries of parents who were sure someone was going to die, or that Manson was going to force himself on their young son and daughter, or who had heard that Manson killed chickens, manifested Satan, fellated his band mates or otherwise did very illegal and horrific things on stage. I was in on the joke even then—I just fell easy for provocateurs with guitars.

The only real equivalent to what Manson was exists today not in music but in film. Manson was what Sascha Baron Cohen was briefly—a man who taps into the core of America’s dirty laundry and turns it back on them to make mom and dad terribly uncomfortable.

Having said that, we know that Mr. Cohen ran his course—his latest movie, The Dictator, is proof that Cohen could only get away with the act for so long before everyone caught on. Now he has to tell stories about how the police chased him because everyone, including law enforcement, is on to the shtick.

Both men could have continued at the very highest levels of stardom if the work they produced after their outings had been thoughtful, well-constructed and original. Neither man’s work has been. Did I just say “has been”? Because that is exactly what Manson was on Tuesday night as he croaked and spoke through a series of B-sides, covers and a couple of hits.

A review of the set as a whole proves that Manson never actually wrote a good song in his life. His hits have come from covers, two of which he played that night: Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” and the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” His other hits, like “Mobscene,” is the re-purposed Faith No More Track “Be Aggressive,” and “Beautiful People” was from the Antichrist Superstar album, predominantly written by Trent Reznor.

The only thing frightening or dangerous about Manson’s performance on Tuesday was just how inebriated or drugged-out he appeared to be. His words were slurred, he stuttered and stammered while talking to the audience, and his segues between songs came off as non-sequitors, like a crazy person coming up to you on the street and saying, “I killed the president! Nice weather we are having, isn’t it.” Manson had set and costume changes for every song but, as they say, “you can dress up a turd. . .” Manson seemed trapped in a show that should have ended a long time ago.

The only bit of honesty crept out of Manson’s broken voice when he introduced “The Dope Show.” “Don’t do drugs, stay in school, I swear to god!” I felt like he really meant it, lost up on stage. If Manson was, in fact, on drugs, it didn’t seem like they could have been good ones. Probably something like bath salts—not a good high. At one point, Manson commented that “this is the part where the guy from the newspaper says I forgot the lyrics,” adding that it was his song and he can make up any lyrics he wants. Manson was actually a journalist and reviewer at one point. So, if the drugs aren’t working all that well, he probably has a decent idea of how badly he is sucking each night, and how horrible his last few albums have been. It must really hurt to be Marilyn Manson. I felt genuinely bad for him—not the way you want to feel at a glam, arena rock show.

Rob Zombie took the stage with better sound quality and fancier props—big digital screens, a robot/zombie monster thingy—some poor jackoffs dressed as monsters with pumpkin heads. If Manson is Sascha Baron Cohen then Zombie (who is actually a film director) is Kevin Smith—a dumb fan boy who is so steeped in a culture of fandom that he can regurgitate working parts of that culture at will. Zombie’s formula—make reference to a horror film, reference serial killer, deliver four-word catch-phrase, say “Yeah!,” add more “Yeahs” to taste—went off without a hitch. A hitch or two would have been more exciting.

No amount of props, fire, confetti and costumes could cover for Zombie’s pencil-thin voice. That deep growl you hear on Rob Zombie tunes on the radio? Yeah, about that . . . it doesn’t seem to actually be his.

The backing tracks would thunder a guttural “Hey yeah!” during “Super Beast,” but when Zombie actually sang, he sounded like a member of the Chipmunks. His stage routine consisted of doing a move you may have seen Mark Walberg deliver in his underwear in Boogie Nights, half “I know Kung-Fu” and half show-girl kick.

A good section of Zombie’s set relied heavily on his first solo disc but he couldn’t keep up with the rap-rock-influenced vocal delivery, shooting the microphone out to the crowd for help. “Living Dead Girl” and “More Human Than Human” came quickly and got the crowd moving but the tunes seemed mostly propelled by backing tracks—opener DJ Starscream of Slipknot could be seen in the wings with his mask still on, apparently DJing.

It seemed to make himself feel better about his performance that at one point he reminded the audience: “This is the smallest crowd” of the entire tour. They cheered. “Why are you cheering that?” Zombie asked, laughing. He then made a deal with the crowd that this show would be a Halloween party. The crowd responded heartily like Zombie was doing them a favor. That wasn’t enough for Zombie. He demanded everyone stand up and cheer. He declared that he would take it as a message that anyone standing was down to party and anyone sitting down was basically saying, “Fuck you.” I remained seated.

{ 12 comments }

neraknerak October 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

To say that Marilyn Manson did not put out a great concert- fine. But to insult his life by saying it is ‘a joke’ disgusts me. I don’t give up on people I love because they get older. You were smarter in 1996 and at least, had some heart.

BV15 October 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This guy is scum. Journalists (and yes, I use that word loosely) like him, pretend they were once a fan of people like Manson so that the weight of their criticism would seem greater. This guy was never fan. He hasn’t been a fan of anything. He speaks of people like Manson, who have achieved much more than he could possibly imagine let alone accomplish, in this way because that’s all he can do. He hates winners because he is a loser. And he knows nothing about what he is saying. Reznor wrote very little of Antichrist Superstar and he did not touch The Beautiful People. Look at the liner notes. You will not see Reznor’s name. Also Manson’s most successful record was Holy Wood released in the year 2000 which Reznor was nowhere near. And Manson’s new record, Born Villain is sensational and his label has celebrated its Global success and its debut on the Billboards 200 at #10. And Manson was fantastic that night. Manson has helped thousands if not millions of people, young and old alike to get over their fears and love themselves. What have you done? Scumbag. I hate people like you. And yes, I can take criticism of my favorite band but I won’t tolerate hate speech.

David King October 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Lol!

Gabs November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Dear David, it’s nice that you are so easily amused. However, you have to admit that this article was a bit “piss poor”. Nothing wrong with saying Marilyn Manson delivered a bad concert, I’ve met him a few times during my own journalistic career, you’re aware that he was a journalist, I guess (since you claim to be an ex fan), he’s got a better way with words than you showed in this article. And nope, I’m actually not a fan, if I’m honest I never really liked his music but was always quite amazed how smart and articulate he is. Never really met a journalist worth his or her ink or keystrokes who managed to fail to write a killer piece. The concerts I found quite entertaining, but as I said, not really my personal taste. However, my personal taste was not what I got paid for. A concert review is not an opinion piece. I’m quite surprised your editor didn’t point that out.

This whole stick with “I’m so much better and smarter than the audience who paid for their tickets while I got one for free” doesn’t really give you much credibility. Yes, Manson’s concerts are big costume shows, that’s what his audience likes, get over it. And please, get over the fact that he’s a journalist who really made it. As much as it might annoy you that he possibly earned the equivalent of your yearly pay check in that concert, being bitter about it won’t change that!

As you said, you can’t dress up a turd, and giving the quality of this article, you might want to stick with writing about agriculture. Take a step back and read it again yourself. You sound a bit bloated with your own (perceived) importance here. Let me guess? Times are hard and you had to freelance a bit and you deem it beneath your dignity to cover a concert a lot of people enjoyed… Can’t have that, can we…

Well, good luck with your writing…

David King November 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Dear Gabs,
Being a success as a journalist does not mean becoming a shock rock icon and making lots of money. Becoming a successful journalist means writing articles that people care about, respond to and doing something for the public good. I don’t consider myself a journalist because I cover shows but because I am a reporter in my full time job. I reviewed this show because it is something I expected to enjoy–I did not and my review is a reflection of the conflict and betrayal I felt. If you’ve never met a journalist who “failed to write a killer piece” then you probably haven’t met many full-time journalists. If you think a review is “not an opinion piece” I’m not quite sure what your “editor” told you it should be? Would you prefer to read something dishonest?

Gabs November 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Dear David,

“Being a success as a journalist does not mean becoming a shock rock icon and making lots of money. ”

Well spotted, only that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that Marilyn Manson’s old articles are pretty good and solid. Some of yours might be too, just nothing I could spot on this site, maybe you have to good ones hidden somewhere. Before you hid your linkedin (Why? An award for agricultural writing is nothing shameful) maybe they were somewhere, I just glimpsed at it. Since I looked at your profile, you can see mine. Let’s speak the facts for themselves, I really don’t feel the need to get into a “The publications I wrote for are better than yours” kind of internet dick wagging, maybe I’m just confident enough to win that by a few miles.

Now let me briefly address the not having met many “real” journalists, maybe I should explain to you what I consider real journalists, people I worked together in several countries and 2 continents from such little publications as National Geographic, CondeNast, Rolling Stone, etc. As such I also had several editors – to put it into quotes is not really needed. English is also my 3rd language, so I consider writing for national or international publications quite an achievement, because editors don’t tend to give you breaks for not being a native speaker.

So let’s get back to your reply before I explain where the flaws are with your article:

“Becoming a successful journalist means writing articles that people care about, respond to and doing something for the public good.”

So you mean people care if you’re trying to be as nasty as possible? And if people care about, you reply with a brief “LOL”, aren’t you contradicting yourself there quite a lot? Public good? Wow, you’re doing entertainment journalism, you’re not reporting about corruption in government. Entertainment journalism, the name says it all.

“I don’t consider myself a journalist because I cover shows but because I am a reporter in my full time job.”
Well, good luck in keeping it, done it for 15 years before I changed, possibly and most likely wrote the odd stinker myself, but didn’t try to dress up a turd by calling it journalistic integrity when that is exactly what’s missing through the whole piece.

“I reviewed this show because it is something I expected to enjoy–I did not and my review is a reflection of the conflict and betrayal I felt.”
So you were butthurt, that’s an amateur approach. As a professional you don’t go to a concert you are going to review because you expect to enjoy it and then bleed your personal disappointment all over the piece, as a professional you report, fair and balanced. If you think you did that, I think you are borrowing your idea of fair and balanced from Faux News.

“If you’ve never met a journalist who “failed to write a killer piece” then you probably haven’t met many full-time journalists.”

See above, I met professionals who worked for reputable publications, colleagues and did well enough as a full time journalist to be able to move to Manhattan for 2 years, Green Card sponsored by a major publishing house. I think you could say I met my fair share of full time, highly successful journalists.

“If you think a review is “not an opinion piece” I’m not quite sure what your “editor” told you it should be?”

See above, entertainment journalism, you’re there to report (hint – the word reporter has a clue in it) not to write an opinion piece, an opinion piece belongs somewhere where it is declared as such or an editorial. I attribute that to your lack of experience, but would have thought journalism school and internships would have taught you.

“Would you prefer to read something dishonest?”

You don’t honestly mean that this bit of mean spirited axe grinding was honest?

As for the article itself, one of the fans pointed out some facts, you obviously didn’t read up before you went to the show, in short you didn’t do your research. Seriously, checking billboard ratings would be considered doing the minimum of journalistic research – if one is indeed a professional.

Look with pieces like you publish here, you’re not doing yourself great favors, you apply to an established and respected magazine and they do a quick websearch, how do you think they react to somebody who obviously hasn’t researched, lets his personal feelings get the better of him and then claims it’s journalistic integrity? I used to get most of my work on the strength of articles magazines (mainly print) saw fit to publish, times haven’t changed that much.

David King November 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Reviews are opinion pieces, they are not reporting. Billboard charts have nothing at all to do whether a song is good or not. I don’t think you have actually followed any of the arguments contained in the previous comments. Your logic has been just as oddly flawed as the previous commenters who like you are so terribly upset that I did not like a concert that you have decided to attack me. If you really are a professional journalist I would think you would have something better to do. But if you are an “entertainment journalist” I suppose I can understand because there is no such thing as “entertainment journalism.”

David King November 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Is your argument that my opinion was dishonest, or that I shouldn’t have given it?

Gabs November 11, 2012 at 10:24 am

Journalism 101 would also teach you reading comprehension, or are you desperately trying to distract and defend something that you do know is at best the equivalent of a ranting blog post?
If you aren’t even aware of the fact that entertainment journalism is a genre (yes, it does exist, look it up, dear), maybe you shouldn’t attempt pieces of the genre.
If you don’t know the difference between an opinion piece and a review, you shouldn’t be afraid to look it up. Journalism has a lot to do with research, again, back to journalism 101, for beginners.
Checking billboard ratings should be done to inform the reader about previous and current releases of the artist being reviewed, claiming something about a release that you haven’t researched is shoddy work. Again, journalism 101.
Since you love opinion pieces, I attempt a brief one:
“The reviewers pre-made opinion and teenage disappointment bled all over the piece, and tears of impotent rage choked not only his vision, but also his writing ability, which at the best of times was overshadowed by the infatuation he has with the sound of his own voice.”

You keep mentioning journalistic integrity, so why don’t you attempt it for a change? It would be so refreshing. Good for you if you get paid for blogging, most of us aren’t that lucky and we have to do real work.
I’m not upset about a bad review, done a few in my time, even one about MM when he wasn’t up to his game, but I did it objective, because my job wasn’t to write about my personal disappointment, hence being a professional. The tour got mixed reviews, some of them quite scathing, the difference is the others I read are actually articles, yours was simply inept and bloated. Maybe you look up some other reviews and try and improve the quality of your work, i.e. become a professional who can be proud of his work. The problems I have with your “review” is that it’s shoddy work, I explained it previously in great detail and I assume you are able to read? In case a concert review isn’t reporting for you, you really skipped journalism 101. Maybe it’s time for an internship, better late than never. In case facts are not important, maybe you want to try your hand at fiction, and yes, that’s a genre too.
In case you still don’t understand why I don’t particularly like your articles and especially this opinion piece, I apologize for apparently not being able to dumb it down sufficiently, but I never aimed for a career in special ed – and that’s education and not editing, had my career there.

Established magazines and news papers are always looking for stringers, since they need a bit of amusement, you should apply to them with your reviews. A particular highlight for the editorial team would be your esteemed explanation that the whole genre of entertainment journalism doesn’t exist and that you believe that a review is the same as an opinion piece.
After glimpsing at your other opinion pieces – the ones you call reviews – you are very much in love with the sound of your own voice, excellent, no rivals for you, but you may want to remember that it takes more skills to write a balanced piece than a hatchet job, does this is this your problem or are you trying so desperate to be above the taste of the “common people” who actually enjoy the shows?
As for your attempts to discredit me, how about letting the facts speak for themselves instead of your pointless internet dick wagging?
My linkedin
http://www.linkedin.com/in/gabys
Your linkedin:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-king/3/982/8a3

Of course you can claim I’m out of touch, coming from the breed of journalists where research, objectivity, knowing the genre and all was actually standard procedure, and hatchet jobs examples of lacking work ethics. Before journalist was a self-appointed title people claimed because that’s all they’re doing all day long, I guess all the people out of work doing nothing else but writing on the web are now all journalists…
During my career as a journalist, the biggest problem I had was that people also considered paparazzi journos, good old times, when not every 3rd rate blogger claimed to be one because it’s on the internet…

So I leave you to have the last word on this, be my guest, obviously I am not the only one who has a bit of time on her hands ;) Excuse me while I am off to a pressing engagement that seems to be much more exciting – I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and leave you with a heart felt thank you for the amusing examples of what you consider journalism, 2nd most enthralling thing I witnessed the past 10 minutes, surpassed only by the bowel movements of one of my dogs, luckily he had some training and does his outside and not on the internet. But then again, he’s also a Doberman and not a toothless Chihuahua with a Napoleon complex.

Gabs November 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

Just wondering if you have the integrity to put it up – as I see it’s all of a sudden “on moderation” but I can seriously recommend the add on “Awesome Screenshot” ;)

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