Also, though Nothing's management was still denying the possibility, Manson took the opportunity to drop hints of a joint tour with Hole sometime in the next year . "[I'm planning] a big tour," he told MTV News, "with maybe some people like Courtney Love that I might decide to bring along with me."
On Jan. 5th, the birthday boy left his first 1999 message on the Manson website's bulletin board, this one in friendly response to many posts wishing him a happy 30th. The message reflects Manson's increasing preoccupation with numerology and occult numeric symbolism:
thank you for the warm regards motherfuckers
see you soon mm
And what MM new year is complete without a pending lawsuit or two? On 1/6/99, MTV News reported that "According to Marilyn Manson's attorney, the multi-million lawsuit filed [on] Monday [Jan. 4th] by SPIN magazine executive editor Craig Marks...had made the rocker 'not happy' and could result in a countersuit." Marks, you'll recall, had charged Manson with threatening him and siccing two bodyguards on him backstage after the band's Poughkeepsie, NY show in November 1998 (you can read more on this in last year's installment of this history). Marks' lawsuit leveled four charges at Manson, including assault and battery, and named Interscope, Nothing Records, the bodyguards and the venue's security company as well as Manson himself. Initial estimates of the lawsuit's $24 million pricetag were inaccurate; Marks, it was reported, was seeking only (only!) a total of $6 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages.
Interestingly enough, a few weeks later, on Tuesday Jan 19th, both Marks and editor-in-chief Michael Hirschorn were unexpectedly fired from their positions at SPIN and the magazine momentarily backed down from its support of Marks' lawsuit. (The dismissal offense was apparently nothing to do with the Manson suit but rather concerned allegedly creative bookkeeping and tallying of sales figures.) A spokesperson for SPIN stated that the way the suit read, Marks was the sole plaintiff in the case; meaning it would proceed, but the magazine would not be directly involved. However, later that same week SPIN changed its tune and announced that the magazine did plan to support Marks in his case against Manson. The Washington Post similarly reported that Robert Miller, owner of Miller Publishing (which owns Vibe/Spin Ventures) had declared, "We're going to work very closely with Craig on that. We're very committed." ....Yeah right great, guys, whatever. To our best knowledge, no arrests were ever made, and all action on this suit still remains pending as we near the end of the year 2000.
The first week of January also saw Courtney Love break the news that she and Hole would indeed be touring with MM in 1999. Calling up MTV's "Total Request Live" on Jan. 6th, she confirmed Manson's hints, with the clear suggestion that it was a lot more his idea than hers: "Yeah, Brian wants it," Courtney told "TRL" host Carson Daly . However, she took care to smooth over recent acerbities: "I guess we had a spat but we made up...We like each other." ---The reference is probably to comments Manson had made in the press about Love, the most-quoted one on being name-checked in the New Radicals song "You Get What You Give": "I'm not mad that he said he'd kick my ass, I just don't want to be used in the same sentence with Courtney Love." However, there had been bad blood between the two at least since the release of Manson's autobiography, which contained some unflattering comments about Love and her personal relationships with friends of his.
Continuing to use MTV and "Total Request Live" as their preferred means of getting the word out (Hey, it was good enough for Madonna...) , Manson and Love followed-up her Jan 6th appearance with a joint call to Carson on Wednesday, Jan. 27th. They formally proclaimed their co-headlining tour and announced eight weeks' worth of scheduled dates, beginning on February 28th in Spokane, Washington, and running through late April. Monster Magnet would, as previously reported, be the opening act; ticket prices to be about $30; venues to stay in the 10,000-20,000-seat range. MTV rated this average ticket price - approx. $26.50 - as "the steal of the season", weighing it against Lauryn Hill with Outkast at $45, the all-rap "Hard Knock Life" tour at $32.50, and the double bill of Korn and Rob Zombie @ $29.50 a seat. (In late February the bill was amended. Imperial Teen, the band led by former Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottom, was tapped to take over the opening slot with the April 6 show at East Rutherford, New Jersey, and continuing until the tour's end on April 27 in Minneapolis. The band was quoted as delighted to travel with their old friends, Hole. "Unresolved scheduling conflicts" had developed to keep Monster Magnet from honoring its original commitment to play-out the entire tour.)
"I think everybody wanted it to happen, but Courtney and I were afraid and we wrestled a little bit," Manson said the next day. "There was some tussling going on, and then I realized what better role models to lead the youth of America into the new millenium than us two, so it had to be done."
On the 28th, MTV reported an amusing conversation they'd recently had with - of all people to figure into this account- Cher. "Actually I did [call Marilyn Manson]," the durable star told Kurt Loder. "I wanted to ask him [for] some advice... I wanted to ask him who would be good for my video, and then we just started talking. He knows my son, Elijah, so I don't think he was so surprised." Asked what sort of advice she'd gotten, Cher cast some useful light on Manson's hands-on involvement with the video process: "It was very technical, like, 'Don't spend more than this. I think this guy's okay, I think this guy's okay, but what kind of footage...' He knew what kind of footage, [and asked] what kind of film do you want to use, what kind of camera are you interested in? You know I thought I was into it, but he's very, very into it."
And speaking of video, early February saw a flurry of rumors that Manson was considering a role in a forthcoming horror movie. According to a report in the Tuesday, Feb 2nd, edition of "The Hollywood Reporter," Manson was "in talks" to play the villain -asylum director Dr. Vannacutt --in a remake of "House on Haunted Hill". (Note: this was a 1958 Vincent Price horror gem directed by William Castle, and ought not to be confused with "The Haunting of Hill House", based on Shirley Jackson's classic tale, which was also then being -disastrously-- remade) . If this project was ever seriously discussed - by Feb. 4th spokespeople for the film were already saying it was unlikely that Manson would be cast in the picture because of his touring schedule-- it came to nothing in the end. Manson eventually commented that he would only consider roles which would require him to actually act, rather than just playing a version of himself/his stage self.
The entire text of Manson's Feb 4th post to the website may be instructive to add here:
11:53 pm 2/4/99
TO REAL FANS OF ANY KIND
Let me tell any disbelievers, I'm not ashamed to be a success at what I love to do. If anyone thinks I am more successful because I shed my so called "goth" image or sound, you're wrong.
I will always have trouble getting to the mainstream.
I congratulate and thank you guys for getting us this far.
I change because I like to be different than what's around me, when other bands change their eyes like I did 7 years ago (limp dick, psycornica, even my friend rob z.) or do goth covers of 80s songs (orgly) or every person I see has black hair --I just wanted something more interesting to me. I'm not saying I dislike any of those things (my hair is still black by the way), I just wanted something new. I'm inspired by things I liked as a kid and try to bring back true rock n roll. If it becomes a formula then fuck it. I do this because I enjoy it, my band enjoys it and you enjoy it.
Hole? you may ask yourself.
what could be more interesting?
yeah, and I was on the wonder years.
we are making the most beautiful and disturbing video we have ever done--
my gift to you
Events on the website provided considerable drama around this time, as longtime NIN/MM fan Stark - who had abandoned MM after the band developed its own website rather than adopting his popular fansite as the official page, and taken up residence as would-be eminence grise on an AOL Manson message board, relentlessly criticizing the band in general and Mechanical Animals in particular - finally roused Manson's ire. Manson's response post is an epic:
2/5/99 4:00 pm
READ THIS AND SHARE IT
How many of you are familiar with the pretentious few in aol message boards? STARK and his pals?
Let me have a laugh.
isn't it interesting that someone is inspired by you, admires you to the point that they share your ideals. Then one day they think they know more than you, or are "too cool". Or that these were their ideas to begin with. They forget why they are there in the first place. so they just complain about what was or how they have more integrity, blah, blah...ad nauseum.
I encourage or challenge anyone who thinks they can do what I do to just do it. Be my guest.
write an album.
make a video. I'll buy it.
Trust me, I love criticism. I'm a critic.
I just pity and detest uncreative whiners, and armchair rock stars. Be something before you try to challenge someone else's dreams.
Those few "elitist" fans treat us real music fans and music makers just like the rest of the world we fight so hard to smash.
I'd waste my energy destroying manson bashers, manson traitors or every bullshit christian I see. But I go to bed knowing they will wake up everyday and have to live their shitty, miserable lives and THAT is the worst punishment of all.
so someone asked how should we handle assholes?
remind them they're losers and ignore them.
If that doesn't work, find out where they live and remind them in person.
I love you and the band thanks you for kicking ass. Let's conquer these shitty radio playlists and start our fucking revolution!
marilyn manson +++++++++++++++++
Perhaps backlash of this sort inspired the following haunting post, sent on Feb 6th:
11:26 PM - UNDERSTAND THIS, TELL OTHERS
in my dream vultures chase me into my burning house. there, they pick out the brains of my family, dismember them--
I emerge from my home and I am burning, skin falling away like a snake as the structure crumbles into a black skeleton.
I cannot fight off the vultures.
a young man or woman emerges from the ashes. he/she doesn't save me, because he/she is holding my cracked and swollen heart in one hand and a piece of paper in the other.
i can read it.
it discusses and compares in great detail the differences between me and the vultures.
he wraps my heart in the paper and tosses it to the ground.
can you see?
By Feb 12th it was back to band business, with the video for "Coma White", the third single from "Mechanical Animals", announced to film in Los Angeles on February 20 and 21. Director was named as Sam Bayer, who had done Nirvana's groundbreaking classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and also directed Hole's "Doll Parts." Manson told fans via a post on his official website (the Feb. 4th post shown above) that the clip would be "the most beautiful and disturbing video we have ever done," and that the final product would make its debut on his homepage, at marilynmanson.net. It was also reported that Manson would be staging another website chat sometime in the next week or two, just prior to the tour's February 28 start date. Questions were to be submitted to the official site, and Manson would answer the ones eventually chosen in a live video format. Nothing Records' Seems Like Salvation news site speculated that the chat would also include another statement about Manson's altercation and/or litigation with Craig Marks.
Also on this date (Feb 12th) MTV reported on the new tourmates' interest in spiritual matters, as previewed when MM, Hole and Korn played the January Big Day Out festival in Australia. Courtney Love explained that "Every time before we go onstage...we do the Lord's Prayer, we do the dharma, yoga prayer ... That's what you just do, you tune in, it's cool. So, we had Marilyn come in a couple of nights and do the Lord's Prayer with us. Then, like, one night Jonathan [Davis] was there, and [I said] you know, Jonathan, this will be really positive, you know, Jonathan from Korn, positive for you." Love says that while Davis didn't seem too familiar with the ceremony of it all, Manson had it down cold, and even led the group in prayer. (Once a reverend, always a reverend...)
On Tuesday Feb 16th, Rose McGowan, Manson's steady date of over a year, announced on Howard Stern's radio show that Manson had asked for her hand in marriage. "I was in the bathtub, he lit candles, it was very nice. It was very romantic," McGowan told MTV Radio News later that day. (He also reportedly presented her with an antique diamond ring.) "It's funny," McGowan went on, "because people think that we're becoming conventional, but I think it will actually give us more freedom to be crazy... and we're the only two people in the world that are kind of as crazy as each other, so we're perfectly compatible." ---A spokesperson for Manson confirmed the announcement but added that no date for the wedding had been set. Whether or not the two have secretly wed and/or are still engaged remains a matter of speculation, as no further public statement has been made on the matter.
On Feb. 19th, MTV ran a substantial report on current matters involving Scott Mitchell Putesky, a/k/a SMP, a/k/a The Artist Formerly Known as Daisy Berkowitz (hereafter known as TAFKADaisy), who had just parted company with Jack Off Jill. "By most accounts," MTV reported, "Putesky lost interest in his new group and wandered off after receiving a multi-million dollar settlement from Manson. Putesky himself is vague, but he tells MTV News that the parting was an amicable one. Jack Off Jill has yet to name a replacement." The report went on to say that Putesky's 1998 out-of-court settlement with the band included an undisclosed amount of cash and ongoing royalties for his part in most of "Portrait of an American Family," and five songs on "Antichrist Superstar." TAFKADaisy also holds the rights to 21 unreleased demos by Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. He was reported to still be deciding what to do with this material, along with other possible projects, which included more Three Ton Gate work, soundtrack music, and "a screenplay about life in Ft. Lauderdale in the early '90s, which includes, but doesn't solely center on, a budding young goth rock band. "
In late February it was reported that Marilyn Manson and Hole were discussing recording cover tunes from each other's catalog and releasing the tunes on a special disc, presumably as a tour promo item. Manson was said to be planning a cover of "Teenage Whore" from Hole's 1991 debut "Pretty on the Inside," while Courtney and Co. remade "Deformagraphy." An interesting project which never saw the light of day...
Meanwhile, probably also bracing for tour season, our old friends in Richmond, VA passed a city ordinance making it ''illegal to give a performance that appears to be pornographic if the performance might be attended by minors." Ticketmaster and the Richmond Times-Dispatch stated that the law focused on bookings for the city-owned Richmond Coliseum, the venue in question during the (failed) 1997 attempt to ban Manson from playing in the city. The description of "a performance that appears to be pornographic" includes the showing of sexual body parts or simulated body parts (which certainly does suggest that someone didn't like the "Mechanical Animals" cover... ) At any rate, Richmond could relax, as no Virginia dates were scheduled for the MM/Hole tour.
On March 1st the tour kicked off in Spokane with minor technical glitches: Manson's set started about 90 minutes late due to problems putting together his complicated set, namely the large cross made of video screens used in"The Reflecting God." The 90-minute MM show otherwise rolled without complications. March 4th in Vancouver was less smooth: MM's set was cut short by an accident midset. According to MTV , "Manson was doing a series of head spins when he apparently became dizzy, lost his balance and fell backwards onto the stage, bashing his hand on a monitor in the process. He initially seemed to be trying to pass off the move as part of his act, but sources backstage said Manson was definitely hurting, and his injury was the main reason he pulled the plug (literally) towards the end of his set and failed to return for an encore."
Vancouver's show was also notable for the opening salvos in what was to soon become open war between MM and Hole, as Manson sniped at Love onstage and she retaliated in various ways: after one particularly rude remark, Love bounded out on stage in mock anger, lifted her dress and jumped on Manson, straddling his back as he continued singing. Although MTV reported that "Insiders say it was all in good fun" and "The two performers gave no indication of ill will backstage", the fun was only beginning. ...
-The accident-prone Manson was not seriously hurt and showed no signs of discomfort in the next night's Seattle show. Manson was reportedly in good spirits despite his and Love's onstage antics in Vancouver, and joked with MTV News about dominating the audience in a region considered to be a stronghold for Hole: "It's a pretty good audience balance you know, with about 85 percent Manson, about 15 percent Hole. Somewhere around there. [Courtney] provides the female icon and I provide... sort of a quasi-male icon."
Meanwhile, on March 3rd, the soundtrack CD to the soon-to-be-smash-hit film "The Matrix" was released, marking MM's latest guest spot in a film score. The track, "Rock Is Dead" from MA, was played full-length under the closing credits, and was a kick-and-a-half to hear in full glorious Dolby. =) Interestingly enough this soundtrack also included a track from MM tourmates Monster Magnet, the wonderfully titled "Look To Your Orb For Warning".
Now a total Internet convert, Manson kept in touch with fans via the website BBS while on the road. In five March 4th posts, the first titled "GREETINGS FROM THE SPACE NEEDLE", he wrote: "I am here in seattle and the weight of rock and roll seems heavier than ever. the pain of this town feels real. the rock is dead tour is underway and i will be keeping you updated. You guys are the best fans and you remind me that we're not as lone as we feel." He reported that "the video for rock is dead will be on mtv next week. it is from our current tour. we also shot coma white which will be released later. i am busy working on the screenplay for my film that we're shooting this summer. i hope this clears up some of the rumours and confusion." He even issued an apology: "sorry i missed the backstage in seattle and vancouver. there wasn't one in spokane. I injured my hand and was soaking it in ice." And couldn't resist a one-line zinger in response to a fan question about Hole's fans: "are there hole fans? Snicker...."
(Around this time it was also reported that Manson had agreed to make a series of cameo apprearances in David Lynch's proposed TV series "Mulholland Drive", but so far no more has been heard of this project.)
Manson's next message was dated March 8th:
"There were extremely serious problems the first week of the tour, the entire tour was almost cancelled because of all the problems, but I worked everything out and I'll see everyone in san francisco." Followed by: "I'm in SF and I'm pleased to say the tour is on track. Due to extreme problems being caused by HOLE, we were unable to attend the aftershows. This has all been fixed. Well, I should say that it appears to be war between us and Hole. I don't expect them to last very long...."
Asked before the tour how he thought the pairing would work out, Manson had said: "I'm not Nostradamus, but I could tell you that I will make it to the end. That's all I can assure you of because this tour is our big show and we want everyone to see it, so there's nothing gonna' stop me. That's all I can really say because I don't know what Hole thinks or what Hole feels."
--Feeling a bit more like Nostradamus later, though, he had commented to "Alternative Press" magazine: "I predict that she won't get through this tour intact."
He called it pretty closely. On Sunday March 14th, in Los Angeles, Hole walked off the tour, only two weeks into a two-month itinerary, while Manson suffered what seemed to be a sprained ankle but turned out to be a hairline fracture. Courtney Love told MTV News that her band had some "production issues" to hammer out with Manson, a sentiment with which Manson seemed to agree. "The irony is that... the tour, them leaving really wasn't a personal thing," Manson told MTV News' Kurt Loder via phone Monday afternoon. "I think at times it looked like it could have been, and our quarreling back and forth probably added to it all.....I think the bottom line was, it's not an easy slot going on before us. I think they were unhappy with the crowds and the way the crowds responded to them. We expected a certain thing, and it just didn't happen."
It seems clear that anyone who was surprised by the split must not have been paying very close attention. Love and Manson had been swapping increasingly bitter barbs and taunts during their respective sets, fueling speculation of Hole's imminent departure from the tour as early as the end of the first week. Love herself had admitted on Thursday the 11th (again on MTV's "Total Request Live", which doesn't seem to have been minded being virtually hijacked for the personal use of the RID Tour's principals) that she didn't know if Hole would continue through the rest of the outing, again citing concern with those "production issues". Uh-huh. However, the real problems seem to have been rather more personal in nature. Check out these two quotes:
Love to MTV: "I think this was a really great idea, and [now] I think it was a mistake. And I would rather call it [off] now and save myself the wear and the tear, walking around with clown hair and wearing a clown suit and big clown lips, clown nose, and a giant sign that just says 'Bitch.' Or, you know, 'WWF' and 'Kick Me.' Or 'Where's my steroid,' right? [I'd rather] just go out and play the Universal Amphitheaters and the Roseland, and the places like that."
Manson, to the "San Francisco Examiner": "I asked myself what is the last band in the world I would ever, ever want to tour with, and it was Hole, beyond a doubt. But then I thought, I love a challenge, I like to surround myself with aggravation, it helps me perform better. And I thought, well, here's a chance to show Courtney the difference between being a celebrity and being a real rock star. We're just going to blow her off the stage -- my show will be the biggest and greatest rock show of the '90s." And what's more: "She never talked to me until I sold a million records. Sometimes we talk and it seems OK, other times, she's just a bitch. I really don't like her too much."
The sudden lack of support and Manson's cracked ankle forced postponement of the next two tour dates, which would have been San Diego on Tuesday 3/16 and Las Vegas on 3/17: though Manson claimed he planned to spend the time off watching a lot of TV, he must have spent a good deal of it on the phone, as two new opening acts were hooked up by the time the band hit the road again. The tour resumed Sunday 3/21 in Houston with full sets from Manson and opener Monster Magnet. Starting Thursday in New Orleans, old acquaintances Jack Off Jill was signed to join the tour for four dates, through March 30 in their hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Picking up the tour on April 2 in Winston-Salem, NC, was the Grammy-nominated outfit Nashville Pussy (self-described as "doing God's work. It's rock and roll for the righteous." )
--Imperial Teen, who you might recall had been cited back in February as another opening act, was off the tour -Manson, it turned out, hadn't wanted them there in the first place. "That was by Courtney's request," Manson told MTV News of Imperial Teen's slot on the tour. (You'll recall that the band had specifically mentioned their pleasure at going on the road with old friends Hole.) "I think we're probably better off, because that would've been an additional torment for our fans that they didn't need. I like them on CD, but I think that that would've been also something that just wouldn't have worked."
On April 1st it was reported that Manson had signed on to play the 30th Anniversary "Woodstock 1999" festival, but this report turned out to be premature. (MM did not play the show, just as well, as it was plagued by violence and assaults. )
The next day an innocent-looking little update appeared: Manson had added two shows to the US tour schedule, the last American tour dates before the band went to Buenos Aires to play two May dates with Metallica. The new dates: April 28 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and April 30 in Red Rocks, Colorado. File under "little did we know".