MONROE + CHARLIE = MARILYN MANSON

THE NAME IS PART SEX SYMBOL, PART TWISTED NUT. FOR THIS BAND, THAT MEANS A LOT.

The notion that to experience the real world one must "choke" on cow hearts or imitation 14-inch schlongs is debatable. Manson's use of other props, like a giant, papier-mƒch‚ cyclops, is also open to interpretation. Such theatrics are a regular part of what Manson likens to a traveling "Satanic Mickey Mouse Club Show, where anything can happen." The band's performances also include attempts to play the 13 songs on Marilyn Manson's debut album, Portrait of an American Family. The album was released last year on Nothing Records, a label run by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame. Reznor, who's known Manson for years, gave the band an additional break by granting an opening slot on NIN's most recent U.S. tour, which gave the Valley its first taste of the Manson family last summer.

With consistent touring and a CD in the bins, Marilyn Manson is making friends and scaring critics right and left. Among the dissenters is the Christian Coalition, which finds fault with Manson's simulated-masturbation routine on stage. The group is equally perturbed over MM tee shirts that highlight such phrases as KILL GOD, KILL YOUR MOM AND DAD, and KILL YOURSELF.

For those more sympathetic with the band's hate-rock ethic, there's a "Hot Line" answering service providing the great sweaty masses a chance to communicate with the band. "People can join up with our fan club," Manson says, "or they can request information, leave a message for a member of the band--or confess a murder."

Who knows? Maybe someday another kooky guy named Manson will call and leave a message.

"I think Charlie knows about us," says the rocker. "And I don't think what I'm doing is too far removed from maybe what he wanted to do in his time. He just went about doing his thing in a different way. From what I understand, he was kind of standing up for the throwaway kids who didn't fit into society's program. He wanted to make a point socially, he wanted to cause a revolution. I don't think it's that different from what I'm trying to do. I think he could probably relate to it. He might even be impressed by it.

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