KMFDM singer Sascha Konietzko wants the world to know his band opposes violence. Marilyn Manson was said to be contemplating events Wednesday, and was planning to issue a statement Thursday.
Those reactions came a day after Tuesday's massacre at a Littleton, Colo., high school that left 15 people dead, including the two teenagers who police say were the shooters.
"From the beginning, our music has been a statement against war, oppression, fascism and violence against others," Konietzko said in a statement issued by the band's publicists Wednesday (April 21).
In trying to explain the massacre, several media organizations have reported the two teens were fans of gothic and industrial rock.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, dressed in a "bizarre style, patterned after the popular gothic look made famous by people like the rock musician Marilyn Manson." The Associated Press reported the students and their friends in the so-called Trench Coat Mafia followed Manson (born Brian Warner).
NBC-TV and its sister network, MSNBC, reported that Harris' personal website on America Online included lyrics to the German industrial band KMFDM's song "Son of a Gun," which read in part, "Chaos panic, no resistance, detonations in a distance." The site, according to several published reports, also included racial slurs and hostile messages.
"While some of the former bandmembers are German as reported in the media," Konietzko said, "none of us condone any Nazi beliefs whatsoever."
Students at the high school told reporters the young men often drew
swastikas on their arms. They speculated the shooters chose the date for
the attack to coincide with Adolf Hitler's April 20 birthday.
Manson was not prepared to comment Wednesday about the mention of his name in stories about Harris and Klebold but was likely to say something Thursday, said a publicist for Interscope Records.
"At this point, we just don't have enough information," the publicist said.
Investigators in Littleton did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment on any possible connection between the music and the killings.
DeLano Gilkey, an Illinois educator who has studied the occult and Manson and has participated in awareness sessions about both, said, "There are a number of different factors that lead youth to do what they do."
Gilkey, director of prevention services for the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, said, "Could [Manson's music] be a factor? It could, if they were heavy into it. Does it promote positive things? I don't think so. Does it promote violence? Does it promote stuff against society? Could be."
The National Association of School Psychologists has not taken a formal position on how it feels music -- specifically hard rock -- influences young people. But Assistant Executive Director Larry Sullivan said from his office in Bethesda, Md., that his professional experience has led him to believe that music and other interests contribute to the pressure and sense of isolation many teenagers feel.
"Teenagers sometimes have a sense of rejection, a sense of isolation, that they've been persecuted," he said. "Whether it's music or literature ... or in this instance, Hitler and the Third Reich, they choose whatever fits into that rejection."
Attempts to link teen violence to popular music is an old tradition. In the 1980s, for example, heavy-metal artists Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest each fought lawsuits by parents of children who had committed suicide; the suits claimed that subliminal messages in the bands' music motivated listeners to kill themselves. Both cases were dismissed.
In October, when a 17-year-old was accused of stabbing a 14-year-old in Fort Worth, Texas, authorities described the 17-year-old as having a fascination with Manson. In December, a nonprofit group there held at least the fifth in a series of Manson "awareness seminars," during which Manson fans were characterized as gang members and vandals.
Manson critics have pointed to such songs as "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" (RealAudio excerpt), from the 1996 album Antichrist Superstar, as ample reason for their concern. After he was met with protests at nearly every stop on his 1997 U.S. tour, Manson changed his goth image to that of a glammed-out rocker for Mechanical Animals (1998), which includes "Rock Is Dead."
Evan Moore, the 19-year-old webmaster of the unofficial Manson/Nine Inch
Nails website "SeemsLikeSalvation" (www.nineinchnails.net/news), said
any attempt to connect Manson to what happened in Colorado on Tuesday "is totally ridiculous. This is totally uncalled for."
Moore said several Manson fans he knows dress in the all-black, gothic style that Harris and Klebold reportedly adopted, and they were teased throughout the day Wednesday at their high school in Catlett, Va.
"They were looked at funny. And that upset me," Moore said.
Moore offered his own hypothesis of what lay behind the Colorado attack. "They were looking for some kind of power," he said. "They got it through weapons. [The victims] meant nothing to them."
KMFDM's Konietzko was not inclined to analyze the situation. Instead, he chose to sympathize.
"First and foremost," his statement read, "KMFDM would like to express their deep and heartfelt sympathy for the parents, families and friends of the murdered and injured children in Littleton. We are sick and appalled, as is the rest of the nation, by what took place in Colorado yesterday."
KMFDM, who announced earlier this year they were disbanding, released what they said would be their final album Tuesday, the day of the massacre. It's called Adios.
(Staff writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)