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Marilyn Manson the group originated in 1990 in the bowels of Fort Lauderdale when front man Manson met guitarist Daisy Berkowitz. A former journalist, Manson wrote poetry and had participated in many local open-mike nights, but he'd never thought about joining a band until he heard some of Berkowitz's demos. Keyboardist Madonna Wayne Gacy, bassist Gidget Gein, and drummer Sara Lee Lucas rounded out the band's original lineup. (Gein left the band around the time they recorded their first album, allegedly owing to a heroin problem, and was replaced by current bassist Twiggy Ramirez. Drummer Ginger Fish recently took over from Sara Lee Lucas, who quit abruptly at the end of the band's last tour after Manson set his drums on fire in protest of Lucas's timekeeping abilities.)
Initially, I was out to shock people," contends Manson. "We were created in an era of 2 Live Crew, and I really wanted to test the boundaries more than anything and find out exactly how far you could go. As we grew as a band, I learned to do what I like to do. Some of those things are shocking, some of them aren't, but in the end I did what made me happy. It's not that I'm always looking to shock people, but it seems to me that in the age we live in, if things don't hit you in the face, I don't think people pay attention."
The band will close its 70-date tour (which began in mid-September) in January; they then plan to start recording Antichrist Superstar. This tour will make two straight years on the road for the Mansons (following stints with NIN, Voodoo Monster Machine, and Danzig). "We're kind of homeless at this point," says Manson, alluding to the fact that the band moved from their most recent base in New Orleans at the beginning of their current tour. They still consider Fort Lauderdale home, he adds, even though after two arrests (for simulating sex on-stage in Jacksonville and for indecent exposure in Miami), Manson doubts that he should or could live in the Sunshine State. "One more arrest," he mutters, "and my home will be jail."
Wherever his home is, Manson will no doubt continue to ponder the big questions and filter the answers through his music. "People are always feeling bad and never thinking about themselves," opines the brooding front man. "If everybody thought about preserving themselves, then there wouldn't be so much junk. I think it's important to try to bring about a strong society, but I just don't know whether to help preserve it or to further its destruction, push that fast-forward button to Armageddon. It's the question I'm faced with every day: Should I help, or should I help destroy?"
Marilyn Manson performs with Clutch on Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17, at the Edge, 200 W Broward Blvd, Ft Lauderdale; 525-9333. Tickets cost $14. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.