The Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (crazy) train is back, with Author/Twitter King/Master Media Manipulator Andrew Shaffer in charge. Good thing I asked him to guest back when he had a spare hour or so on his hands, far before he became, um, highly interested in the 50 Shades of Gray hullabaloo. If you haven’t had a chance to read his clever dissection, 51 Shades, you should do so. If you haven’t heard his stories about Marilyn Manson and high school in Iowa, well, that makes me happy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here and I do so love the sight of your face.
Prairie High School, Cedar Rapids, IA, Class of ’97 , Currently: Literary Bad Boy
The first concert I went to was Nine Inch Nails, with opening acts Marilyn Manson and the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, in Iowa City. This was the beginning of my gothic cross-dressing phase (see photo). Trent Reznor was probably at his musical peak, at least as far as the album went (he was touring in support of “The Downward Spiral”), but on stage he was a drunken mess. It didn’t matter; rock shows tend to thrive on chaos. The opening acts stole the show, anyway: Manson masturbated with a rubber strap-on, and one of the Jim Rose “freak show” performers hung a cinder block from his penis. Juvenile stuff, but I was fifteen and thought it was the greatest shit I’d ever seen.
The local paper reviewed the concert the next day under the headline, “Long on Trash, Devoid of Art.” After my parents read the review, they told me it was the last concert I was ever going to see. (It wasn’t.)
I wore the Marilyn Manson t-shirt I bought at the show to school the next day. You can imagine what my fellow students thought of this. “A dude with a chick’s name? What are you, some kind of [insert homosexual slur here]?” If you didn’t like Garth Brooks, you were an outcast at my high school. And you couldn’t get much further from Garth Brooks than the makeup-wearing Marilyn Manson. This was before the Internet, so it was a pretty lonely time to be a teenager with somewhat deviant musical taste. Nowadays, the freaks can congregate online on My Space or Tumblr or whatever kids are using.
I met Manson at a Danzig concert the following year. I have a picture of me (wearing a skirt) with his bassist somewhere. Fortunately, I couldn’t find it for this blog post, so you’re at least spared that eyesore. I told Manson my mother wasn’t the biggest fan of his work, and he signed a naked photo of himself for her, which I selfishly kept for myself. And which I also can’t find at the moment, so you’re spared that eyesore as well.
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