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 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
"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)" href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/Marilyn_Manson/Irresponsible_Hate_Anthem.ram">"Irresponsible Hate Anthem"
Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"(RealAudio excerpt) and
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
"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
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."