Lawrence, Kan., may not be as big as New York City or as glittery as Los Angeles, but
come Sunday, the thriving Midwestern college town will have something neither of those
metropolises has: Marilyn Manson.
But that doesn't mean everyone in town is happy about it.
"We will attempt to hold the promoter responsible for any illegal acts," said Assistant City
Manager Rod Bremby on Thursday (Oct. 22). "It's quite likely that there will be illegal
Although the official launch for Manson's Mechanical Animals tour
takes place in Kansas City, Kan. on Monday, Lawrence inadvertantly become
ground zero for the outing with the announcent of a show at the town's
privately-owned Granada club Sunday night.
And while one of the Lawrence's most famous residents was the late beat
writer William Burroughs -- whose expermental work was a clear influence on
Manson -- these days, citizens are probably less likely to read Burroughs
than to work for the city's largest non-education employeer: Hallmark, the
manufacturer of innocuous greeting cards.
Lawrence, with a population of 80,000 and an economy dependent upon the University
of Kansas, is not a big city by any means. Its residents are still struggling to establish a
public transportation system, and the local Barn Dance Association still hosts a country
promenade the third Saturday of every month.
So the presence of the newest godfather of glam and the sultan of shock rock, Marilyn
Manson (born Brian Warner), is something that doesn't quite sit well with everyone in
"We're just going to try to manage this event, just as we would any event at the Granada,"
Bremby said, also noting that residents have already started complaining about the
controversial rocker's presence in town.
Bremby attributed the fact that his office has thus far received only a few
phone calls of protest about the Manson show to the short notice given for
the concert. It was confirmed Wednesday morning
that Marilyn Manson, who is known for his rebellious stage antics that include tearing a
Bible, had scheduled a secret gig to kick off his North American tour.
The club show sold out in 12 minutes, according to the Lawrence Journal-World
Although the Mechanical Animals tour
has yet to hit the road, it has already
encountered opposition in two other cities.
Officials in Charlotte, N.C., held a hearing
Wednesday about an upcoming concert after
a venue board member expressed
disapproval of Manson's stage show. During
the meeting, the city decided against trying
to block the show but promised to explore a
ratings system for future concerts.
The mayor of Syracuse, N.Y., has said he
would consider denying an entertainment
permit for Manson's show there. One county
legislator has proposed withholding funds
from the city-owned venue where the shock
rocker is booked.
Bremby said that he spent part of Wednesday researching Manson's tour history. While
he said he hadn't heard of any specific details of Manson's upcoming stage show,
Bremby said he was concerned about possible sex acts performed by Manson and his
namesake band onstage.
In 1997, while acknowledging that he had in the past performed sex acts onstage "on a
few occasions," Manson told CNN such instances were rare and have since been
eliminated from his concerts.
"The show does have sexual elements to it but there's no sex performed onstage at any
time," he said. "Otherwise I would be in jail every night and tired as well."
Granada manager Pat McDonald said he had received five calls in two hours Thursday
protesting the concert by Manson, who this week filmed a video for his next single,
Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (RealAudio excerpt). McDonald
added that he could not recall any illegal incidents from Manson's previous show at the
Granada in 1996.
Meanwhile, tour producers and the band are busy at a West Coast rehearsal space
preparing for the full-blown tour. Although the 20-date outing is geared toward theaters
rather than arenas or stadiums, fans can expect a concert full of showmanship and
effects, according to John Huddleston, general manager of the Upstaging lighting
company, which is working with designer Ethan Weber (Rolling Stones, Rush).
For Manson, as with many performers, nothing for the show will be set in stone until final
rehearsals are complete.
"They change so many things around at the last minute and move things depending on
how the rehearsals go," Huddleston said.
While Bremby said Lawrence city commissioners had considered legislative means to
block Sunday's concert, he said there was not enough time to pursue such tactics.
Bremby added that despite Lawrence's reservations about the show, visitors shouldn't
think of the city as a naive heartland burg.
"It's not a hick town," he said. "It's a very cultured community."