Manson: Columbine shut down my career

Marilyn Manson says his career was “shut down” following the Columbine massacre.

Some news outlets falsely claimed that killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were inspired by Manson’s music before they murdered 12 students and one teacher when they opened fire in Columbine High School, Colorado, in April 1999.

The shootings, which also left 21 people injured, sparked debate over gun control laws in the US – and Manson reports that after the slaughter, live venues simply closed the door on him.

Speaking at Grey’s annual music seminar in Cannes, France, Manson says: “With Columbine, it really shut down my career entirely, to the point where casinos refused to book my shows.

“It’s almost unprecedented. Not only did I not do anything, they were not fans of mine. I sat and watched it live on TV and they said initially they were wearing Marilyn Manson make-up and t-shirts. You find out later that they weren’t.”

Despite the fact there was no connection between Manson’s music and the pair, some media outlets continued to demonise him.

He recalls: “I put a cease and desist on all of the press and I didn’t do any interviews for Columbine because I thought it would give them exactly what it did – it put the two that did the crime on the cover of Time magazine. I’ve never been on the cover of Time magazine and that was the whole point.”

Manson released his ninth studio album The Pale Emperor this year but he says he now has questions about his future.

He adds: “I wonder sometimes if I’ve outgrown my spotlight. Someone asked me a long time ago, ‘Are you worried your image will overshadow your music?’ No, I’m worried my music will overshadow my image.”

Manson played this month’s Download and will return to the UK in November following his The End Of Times Tour with Smashing Pumpkins across North America:

The End Of Times Tour

Jul 07: Concord Pavilion, CA

Jul 09: Irvine Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, CA

Jul 10: Las Vegas The Joint At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, NV

Jul 11: Phoenix Comerica Theatre, AZ

Jul 13: Morrison Red Rocks Amphitheatre, CO

Jul 15: Dallas Gexa Energy Pavilion, TX

Jul 16: Houston NRG Arena, TX

Jul 18: San Antonio Freeman Coliseum, TX

Jul 19: Austin City Limits Live, TX

Jul 20: New Orleans Bold Sphere Music At Champions Square, LA

Jul 22: Miami Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, FL

Jul 24: Tampa Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, FL

Jul 25: Atlanta Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, GA

Jul 26: Raleigh Red Hat Amphitheater, NC

Jul 28: Boston Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, MA

Jul 29: Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ

Jul 31: Wantagh Nikon At Jones Beach Theater, NY

Aug 01: Mashantucket Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT

Aug 02: Camden Susquehanna Bank Center, NJ

Aug 04: Toronto Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, ON

Aug 05: Clarkston DTE Energy Music Theatre, MI

Aug 07: Chicago FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, IL

Aug 08: Cincinnati Riverbend Music Center, OH

UK dates

Nov 19: London Eventim Apollo

Nov 21: Wolverhampton Civic

Nov 22: Glasgow O2 Academy

Nov 23: Manchester O2 Apollo

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.