[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at
1998's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Friday, Sept. 4.]
He has a "1" and a "5" in his name, as printed on the cover of his upcoming album, Mechanical Animals.
The album is set to be released on the 15th of September.
And his website? It's launching this Friday at 1500 hours PDT.
Call it coincidence, or call it a sure sign that the wildly popular rock enigma known as Marilyn Manson is toying with numerology.
Take the official Marilyn Manson website, briefly previewed two weeks ago. The site, found at www.marilynmanson.net, will open for business on Friday at 1500 hours PDT or, in non-military terms, 3 p.m. West Coast time, according to Marc Geiger of ArtistDirect, the company contracted to operate the rocker's Internet home.
"Not 3 p.m., but 1500 hours," Geiger said cryptically, hinting that the numbers "1" and "5" were significant in Manson's current goth/glam cosmology. The numbers appear in almost all the materials for Manson's upcoming album, including the artist's name on the cover, which is spelled Mar1lyn Man5on, and the date of release -- Sept. 15.
"It's all about the '1' and '5,' " Geiger said.
Possible explanations of Manson's "1"-"5" connection varied, depending on what numerology "expert" was consulted.
The owner of Tools of Magick, a San Francisco pagan gift shop and bookstore, said the mystic number "1" represents the "eternal cosmos, the fertile seed from which things sprout."
According to owner Uma, who wouldn't give her last name, "5" is significant because it is a "shifting" number that also represents the "5" senses and, when it comes after "4," is a "stability" number.
The shock-rocker, who is known for his ghoulish appearance and controversial stage antics, such as tearing up a Bible, had ongoing run-ins with members of the religious right last year during his beleaguered Antichrist Superstar tour, which fundamentalists and parents -- on more than one occasion -- sought to keep out of their town.
Perhaps coincidentally, the numbers also figure prominently in the official tenets of the Church of Satan, according to that organization's website. Rule one of the Nine Satanic Statements is "Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence," and rule five is "Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek."
In his 1997 biography, "The Long Hard Road Out of Hell," Manson wrote extensively about his substance-fueled lifestyle and his friendship with late Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey.
Manson, whose androgynous countenance and provocative lyrics are designed to stir controversy, has fought censorship throughout his career. The first and fifth of the Nine Satanic Sins seem to reflect Manson's endorsement of personal responsibility and freedom of expression.
Number one is "Stupidity," the cardinal sin of Satanism. "Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity ... The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid," explains the Church of Satan website.
The fifth Satanic Sin is "Herd Conformity." According to the site, "Only fools follow along with the herd ... The key is to choose a master wisely instead of being enslaved by the whims of the many."
Numerology aside, Geiger predicted the Manson website will quickly become a clearinghouse of information for the rocker's fans, who will be allowed to submit questions for the singer's first-ever live video chat, scheduled to take place on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. PDT.
"They'll start taking questions for the chat starting Friday," Geiger said. "And they can send them in through [Sept. 9], because it's so archaic to try and do a live chat. [W]e want the questions in advance."
Among the other special events coming up on the Manson site is the posting of the Animals song "Posthuman" on Sept. 10. The full-length track will be available for free download for, what else, five days and expire on the 15th, the day of the album's release.
In the preview, the Manson site was broken down into sections, including Heart, Mind, Malice and Complacency, and featured a bulletin-board system (BBS), lyrics, photos, sound clips, a discography, an online store and areas with information about contests and tickets. An upcoming contest on the site will award a pair of tickets to a different fan for every date on Manson's fall tour. The dates of the tour have not yet been announced.
Although he offered no official explanation why the site was briefly previewed and then pulled for nearly two weeks, Geiger said the revamped Manson Web home uses extensive flash technology and is full of "rocking fun."
"It will have full Manson involvement," Geiger said. "It's his site, and he has vowed to post updates on a regular basis and read all the posts on his BBS."
The shock-rocker is said to have read all the posts so far, which numbered nearly 400 following the initial preview on Aug. 25. "Manson is a major fan of the Web and he wants people to find out the truth through all the dis- and misinformation in the media," Geiger said.
Citing the alien-like image of a naked, androgynous Manson on its cover, the 828-store Target discount chain refused to carry the new album. In addition, two other large retailers, Kmart and Wal-Mart, say they do not plan to sell Mechanical Animals due to the parential-warning sticker that the album will carry to alert buyers to potentially offensive content.
A few of the lucky fans who got the sneak preview of the website two weeks ago had diverging comments on what they saw.
Jay Doherty, who is, um, 15, of Boston wrote that he was disappointed, because the site failed to post lyrics to the new album's songs in the "Words" section. But he added that he was excited by the Complacency part of the site.
An 18-year-old fan from Mississippi, who gave only an e-mail address, thought the initial concept of the site was "very dry. Since this place is official, it'd be nice to see something candid from the band. Maybe a letter or two, like what [the website] 'Church of AntiChrist Superstar' did."