Marilyn Manson Explains Use of Fake Rifle During His Recent Return to the Stage
There are a lot of things one can say about Marilyn Manson, but “The dude doesn’t know how to make an entrance” is not one of them. The shock rocker did what he does best this week when he returned to the stage for the first time since both breaking his leg mid-concert and sacking bassist Jeordie “Twiggy Ramirez” White following recent allegations of rape: he stirred shit up. In this case, he stirred shit up by pointing a fake rifle (which doubled as a mic holder) at the crowd just hours after a gunman killed 27 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX.
Understandably, Manson came under fire (no pun intended) for irritating such a fresh wound. But in a statement released yesterday afternoon, the singer claimed that his actions weren’t meant to be provocative just for the sake of being provocative — to hear him tell it, there was a method to his madness:
“In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence this was an act of theater in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalized. My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world. My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity. The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns.”
Thing is, I’m not sure that Manson actually accomplished any of what he says he set out to accomplish by using the gun. It’s not as ill-conceived an attempt to make a political point as, say, the “satirical” American History X shirts made by Emmure’s Frankie Palmeri, because the fact that Manson was able to wave a rifle around on stage, fake or not, so soon after another mass shooting certainly does suggest that “seeing guns has become normalized.” But it doesn’t really comment ” about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are” — I mean, it’s not as though Manson attached a spy cam to his shirt and walked into a gun store and bought a weapon that day. For all anyone in the crowd knew, Manson had that rifle for ages (the Texas shooting had been so recent, in fact, that some wondered if Manson was even aware of it when he performed).
Mostly, I think Manson was just looking to make headlines and incite strong reactions — which, again, has always been his bread and butter. He wanted attention, he wanted to make sure the story wasn’t just about his leg and Twiggy, and he was, in that regard, successful. I think that’s really just about all there is to it.