Manson Mechanical Animals Tour Hits Roadblock

Concerned with shock-rocker's 'attacks on religion and attacks on youth,' mayor threatens to block show.

With just seven days before the launch of his tour in support of the recently released

Mechanical Animals, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has encountered the first of

what are likely to be many protests against his namesake band's live show.

With the 20-date tour set to kick off Oct. 26 in Kansas City, Kan., songwriter/frontman

Manson (born Brian Warner) is already encountering opposition from the mayor of

Syracuse, N.Y.

Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi threatened last week to block Manson's Nov. 19 stop at

the Landmark Theater on the grounds that the rocker's shows are immoral.

Landmark manager Dennis Snow, however, said Monday (Oct. 19) that Manson's

concert is on and vowed to fight any efforts to cancel it.

"We will definitely oppose [attempts to ban the concert]," Snow said. As of Monday, more

than 2,300 tickets had been sold for the show in the 2,850-seat Landmark.

The Syracuse protest is business-as-usual for the shock-rocker considered among the

most notorious and controversial entertainers of the '90s. The newly glamorized rocker

has built his notoriety around his controversial stage antics such as tearing up Bibles

and using the American flag as toilet paper.

David Miller, the national affiliate director for the American Family Association, a group

that opposes Manson, said that while he hasn't heard of AFA pickets planned for

Syracuse, he does expect the upcoming tour to engender just as much opposition as

Manson's last outing.

"I'll encourage our affiliates to educate the police departments and the elected officials

as to what kind of act he has put on in the past," Miller said.

A spokesman for Mayor Bernardi said that his office received 266 phone calls about the

concert on one day last week, 78 percent of which were strongly opposed to the show.

The mayor, who has the authority to deny a permit for the concert, is particularly

concerned about what his spokesman termed Manson's "attacks on religion and attacks

on youth."

"We have to influence not just children directly, but the world they live in," said mayoral

spokesman Jim Parenti on Monday.

Critics have charged songs such as Mechanical Animals'

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Marilyn_Manson/I_Dont_Like_The_Drugs_But_The_Drugs_Like_Me.ram">"I

Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (RealAudio excerpt) and

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Marilyn_Manson/Irresponsible_Hate_Anthem.ram">"Irresponsible Hate

Anthem" (RealAudio excerpt) from Antichrist Superstar (1996) promote

nihilism and anti-Christian attitudes.

Last year, Manson's tour in support of Antichrist Superstar met opposition in

numerous states, including Virginia, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan and South

Carolina. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart and Kmart stores refused to stock Mechanical

Animals because it carries a parental-warning sticker that alerts parents to potentially

offensive material. In August, The New York Times refused to publish an

advertisement for that album, saying that Manson's androgynous nudity on the cover

violated the Times' decency guidelines.

The decision over whether to grant the Landmark a local entertainment permit -- which is

required for every event at that venue -- rests in part with Syracuse police. They are

currently investigating Manson's tour history to decide whether the concert can be held

safely, according to Parenti.

Police also will take into consideration the number of protest permits that have been

requested.

"The question here is whether [the band] has a right to participate in a concert in a public

theater if [Snow] doesn't have the ability to deal with the sideshow that accompanies the

tour," Parenti said.

Increased security for the Manson show has already been arranged, Snow said.

Provided that the security team is licensed by New York State, police have indicated they

will approve the permit, which Bernardi has the authority to overrule, according to

Parenti.

The concert also could be blocked if the Onondaga County legislature registers its

opposition to the show by withholding funds from the Landmark Theater. Because the

theater is registered as a historical landmark, it receives $30,000 in county funding.

Legislature chairman William Sanford was out of town and unable to comment on the

possibility of withholding funds.

Snow said that legal action allowing the concert to continue was not yet necessary.

Venue representatives are continuing discussions with the mayor's office, and Snow

hopes a resolution can come as soon as Monday afternoon (Oct.19).

In 28 years of booking and managing Syracuse venues -- including the supervision of

concerts by '70s shock-rockers Alice Cooper and Kiss -- Snow said he'd never

experienced the volume of protest he's gotten from Manson opponents, who have

registered their discontent with faxes, phone calls and letters to the Landmark.

"We were forewarned that we would get opposition from politicians and the religious

right, but I didn't quite expect this," Snow said. "I never once had a phone call about an

act from a legislator before."