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An Evening With Marilyn Manson And Tyler Bates At The Grammy Museum, Thursday October 15th 2015

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Tyler Bates, Marilyn Manson

 

Just because you are not a superfan doesn’t mean you should not attend an evening with…. Marilyn Manson at the Grammy Museum. So I went to the evening, a bit anxious to meet the pale emperor, because he is scary right? But this is precisely the question, is Marilyn Manson still scary? Not really, sure, he talks with that gritty dragging tone, he keeps his sun glasses all the time, and he occasionally talks about his weird habits — he said he used to be covered in blood when making a record — but overall, what we saw for one hour and half was a pure love fest, I would even said a real bromance between Manson and Tyler Bates the producer of his last album.

Tyler Bates is a music producer and composer for films, television, and video games, his latest in date being the very successful movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxie’, and I can’t count the number of times Manson said how much he enjoyed working with him, and how many times he reiterated his admiration for Bates’ musical skills. These two sure found each other, nothing sexual, as Manson pointed out with a laugh, but you have to wonder why Bates and Manson got so connected. They inspired each other and met during the making of the TV series Californication, bounded during a rehearsal for a concert at the Greek theater, and apparently the music they made together worked so well, that they are inseparable now.

So what did I learn beside the fact that Manson and Bates are best friends? Not much, during the making of the album, Bates challenged Manson because he thinks the star has an incredible voice, and at one point Manson did wonder whether Bates made music to go around his vocals (since he makes music for movies) or if he put his vocals around his music. Joke apart, they worked hard together to make this new record, Manson said Bates made him very confortable and the vocals on the record are first take. ‘He forced me to be better, to be a better singer’ insisted Manson at each question about the working process.

Manson sees ‘The Pale Emperor’ as his big come back, probably because ‘Born Villain’, which was released in 2012, was not received very well by the critics? Plus, ‘The Pale Emperor’ was not a commissioned work, there was no label attached to it at first, both men felt totally free, and the absence of pressure helped the creation process. They tried new things, Tyler Bates created the visuals with the music and Manson sang the blues, or at least some version of it, with several levels of redneck history as he said. ‘Killing Strangers’ the first song of the album, is a stomp, the album has no filler and they wanted to call it after the 4th song, ‘Mephistopheles of Los Angeles’, but they knew nobody would be able to pronounce the title. At one point, Manson said that coming back meant ‘regaining my control over the world’, because ‘not having control is what hurts the most’, and I am not sure if he just wanted to let us know that his big ego had suffered a lot from not selling enough albums, because the days of Antichrist Superstar are long gone.

But despite his grand airs and mysterious demeanor, Manson is a sweet guy, this last album is dedicated to his mother, who died during its production after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer and dementia, and his father now lives with him. This record seem important for both of them, they are gonna start touring it in a few days, a tour Manson promises to be ‘biblical but not religious’, but signs of the times, it’s a theater-club tour and not an arena tour.

Is Manson the last rockstar? It’s difficult to say, there was not too much mystery on Thursday night, he looked relaxed, was joking and was giving fist bump after fist bump to Tyler Bates and host Scott Goldman, he did not seem that scary after all, and not like the vampiric ghostly antichrist character he has incarnated for years. ‘I created Marilyn Manson without any song’, he explained at one point, ‘and then I was… oh shit i have to write songs’. They closed the show with two songs, ‘Odds of Even’ of the last album, and a surprise cover of Eurhythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ with Bates on acoustic guitar and Manson on vocals and special noises…. and sure, Manson still can push his grave loud howl… As photos and videos were not allowed, I nevertheless tried to snap a few shots with my phone and I even filmed a bit of a song (I was recording the audio too), but was almost immediately interrupted by security… well I guess Manson is still a rock star who wants to preserve some mystery.

 


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