Members of shock-rock combo Marilyn Manson went on an arson and property-damage spree over the weekend before and after a show in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Saturday night, according to local authorities and published reports.
Before their show at the nearly sold-out, 3,000-capacity Poughkeepsie Civic Center, unidentified members of the group set fire to a T-shirt in their dressing room, which in turn set carpeting ablaze and brought the local fire department rushing to the scene, Poughkeepsie fire chief Jack Forbes said.
"It was basically out when we arrived," Forbes said of the minor blaze, adding that the group also had apparently destroyed some lighting equipment and "basically trashed" the dressing room.
The mayhem continued at the Sheraton hotel in Poughkeepsie following the show, as bandmembers set fire to carpeting in four hotel rooms and soiled sinks with hair dye, according to the New York Post. A spokesperson for the hotel was not available for comment Tuesday (Nov. 24).
The band's manager, Tony Ciulla, offered a statement through the group's label, Interscope Records, downplaying the incidents.
"When it comes to Marilyn Manson," Ciulla said, "the media has taken a story and given it a life of its own."
Ciulla said the damage to the hotel rooms was "under $1,000" and included a broken hotel phone. "And that was inflated hotel prices," he said.
While he acknowledged that there was some damage to the dressing room, he did not specify the extent of the vandalism. As for the alleged hair dye in the sinks, Interscope spokesperson Jennie Boddy said it was "possible, but that could happen to any person."
Forbes said that the T-shirt fire created enough smoke in the band's dressing room to set off a fire alarm. Three fire engines and two ladder teams responded to the scene. The blaze was put out by the time fire officials reached the venue, and caused "very little damage," Forbes said.
Forbes said the group's members were warned that if another alarm was called in, officials would pull the plug on the show.
No charges were filed because Forbes said it was difficult to determine who in the band had set the shirt ablaze. He added that the guilty party or parties, had they been fingered, likely would have faced either arson or reckless endangerment charges. Forbes had no estimate on the amount of damage caused by the blaze.
The fire chief said it was the first call regarding a rock 'n' roll-related arson in his 28 years on the force.
The ostensible rampage by the band -- the latest album of which, Mechanical Animals, recently broke the gold sales mark (500,000 units) after two months in release -- comes on the heels of an outburst during a show at Syracuse, N.Y.'s Landmark Theater on Thursday.
The show at that historical venue almost didn't happen after Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi objected to its booking, claiming that Manson's concerts are immoral. County legislators threatened to withhold $30,000 in theater funding if the show went on, but they eventually backed down.
Facing a tepid audience response at the Landmark, the band's namesake leader (born Brian Warner) berated the crowd by saying, "I had to go through a lot of bulls--- to play in Syracuse, and I expect a lot more from you f---ers." He also threatened to take a nap for the rest of the evening if the sold-out audience of 2,850 didn't stay on its feet.
Then, Manson derided a small group of protesters outside the Landmark. "A couple of people outside told me that Jesus loves me," he said. "How many of you want to love me? Tonight, how many of you want to come up here and just get f---ed?"
Dressed in red platform boots and garters, Manson then dry-humped the stage and wedged the microphone between his buttocks.
After leading the crowd through a short call-and-response on the phrase "Praise Jesus and praise drugs," Manson said that he had a conversation with God and God had told him that Jesus Christ had invented marijuana, cocaine and LSD. He then segued into "I Don't Like The Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (RealAudio excerpt) from Mechanical Animals.
Officials reported no band incidents in Syracuse similar to the Poughkeepsie outburst and only a few drug-related arrests at the show.
Fearing Manson's potential for destruction and vandalism, the manager of the historical Landmark arranged for Manson's payment to be deferred until after the group's show, according to Jim Parenti, director of communication for the city of Syracuse.
"The building they played in is one of the oldest theaters in town and there was a concern that any damage would be costly or irreparable," Parenti said.
Parenti said the concerns also were based on an incident during an earlier Manson tour when the group allegedly damaged a backstage area while playing the Lost Horizon club just outside of Syracuse.
(Correspondent Jeff Niesel contributed to this report.)