photo & text by nacrowe
FLORIDA-based INDUSTRIAL METAL outfit MARILYN MANSON's TRENT REZNOR-produced second album ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR (NOTHING, 1996) was undoubtedly a huge record for me back in middle school. the record is arty and heavy and absolutely wallows in NEGATIVITY, SELF-ANNIHILATION and all things DEBASED and DEBAUCHED. it pretty much hit the bullseye for how i felt as a seventh grader during my second year living in NIGERIA. as ive written about before at length, that first experience of living under a military dictatorship (yes, there have been more since) made me painfully aware of the INEQUITY, INJUSTICE, INHUMANITY and the unambiguous bald BRUTALITY that comes with living under such conditions.
there was also just the realities of being an INSECURE teenager. ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR just felt like the crystallization of that despondent feeling of having no hope bordering on outright NIHILISM that i felt as a teenager. unrepentantly blistering tracks like "IRRESPONSIBLE HATE ANTHEM," "1996," "THE REFLECTING GOD" and "ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR" had a sense of psychic catharsis, as if all this pent-up PAIN, SELF-HATRED and INSECURITY could be somehow projected outward and burned onto a CALLOUS, UNFORGIVING world. those songs just felt empowering to me. other tracks like "WORMBOY," "ANGEL WITH SCABBED WINGS," "CRYPTORCHID," "MAN THAT YOU FEAR" and "TOURNIQUET" were very much pointed inward, showcasing an evolved inner UGLINESS as if viewing one's SCARRED, HOLLOWED-OUT PSYCHE through a carnival mirror. going through puberty and just generally feeling physically INSECURE and VULNERABLE about myself (in a foreign country to boot) was very much coming to terms with an evolving IDENTITY. in so many ways, my sense of IDENTITY is shaped by my interactions overseas as a perennial foreigner and OUTSIDER to the point that coming home stateside was equally ALIENATING. in fact, being on foreign soil became my default setting after a few iterations of this cycle of picking up and relocating, sometimes planned and sometimes sporadically.
it goes without saying that "THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE" is a highlight of the ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR album as it perfectly distills that odd sense SUPERIORITY and ALIENATION that comes with not being part of a CROWD. in fact, that crowd may be a DISTORTED, self-generating NEGATIVE influence in and of itself. think of RELIGIOUS GROUPS and POLITICAL PARTIES that purport to promote COMMUNITY but instead lay the foundations of DIVISION and FEAR in our body politic. that song just feels like a celebration of the INDIVIDUAL, flawed and all, standing up to the mass forces that wish to SUBJUGATE and COERCE. feels as relevant now, or even more so, then when it came out in the 1990s.
i am painfully aware of the charges made against MANSON at the moment and i want to stress my support for the victims of crime. its hard to reconcile the fact that the same person that empowered me as a teenager is the same MONSTER that potentially groomed young women for decades. i dont know how to make sense of that information. i even tried on a very early episode of DEER GOD RADIO entitled GOOD MUSIC BY BAD PEOPLE to address that conflict of attempting to celebrate music by morally and criminally stained people. i dont know what to believe regarding the case against MANSON but my default is to support the victims. the situation feels like a TOXIC cycle that needs to be broken and hopefully his example will affect the choices of men moving forward. or at the very least serve as a cautionary example.
ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR is a major achievement and i definitely think it is still worth checking out. MANSON himself is another matter entirely.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i remember back in the mid 2000s when the NYC ROCK REVIVAL was still a thing and there was a whole heap of bands supposedly inspired by NO WAVE and POST-PUNK, most notably the YEAH YEAH YEAHS, THE STROKES and INTERPOL. to me those musicians didn't expand or contextualize those influences much.
unlike LOS ANGELES' SHE WANTS REVENGE who seemed to have many of the same cues in mind but their sound was decidedly more cinematic and sinister in scope. you got the sense that vocalist JUSTIN WARFIELD took those same inspirations and translated them into a noir-inflected sonic landscape in the tradition of RAYMOND CHANDLER, JAMES ELLROY and JAMES M. CAIN, all authors equally take with the seedy, putrid underbelly of LOS ANGELES. in other words, SHE WANTS REVENGE is a soundtrack to mutual exploitation.
definitely worth revisiting and checking out again.
parody by nacrowe
make sure to catch the latest streaming episode of DEER GOD RADIO TONIGHT at 9:30PM on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC. it's dedicated to the awesome textural majesty of POST PUNK / GOTH ROCK guitarist DANIEL ASH and his celebrated work in BAUHAUS, LOVE AND ROCKETS, TONES ON TAIL, POPTONE and his solo work/collaborations.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
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BOOK REVIEW | "DON"T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO" BY DAVE NAVARRO & NEIL STRAUSS
photo & text by nacrowe
there was an interesting period in the late 90s when guitarist DAVE NAVARRO was without a regular gig as it had been years since he left the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and JANE'S ADDICTION had recently broken up for the second time. he was also recently divorced (pre-CARMEN ELECTRA). it was during this time that he bunkered himself into his HOLLYWOOD HILLS home and chose to document a year in his life ANDY WARHOL-style, by buying and installing a vintage photo-booth and requiring every person that entered his house (celebrities, models, comedians, hangers-on, musicians, groupies, maids, plumbers, drug dealers, etc) to take a photo when entering. WARHOL famously setup a 16mm film camera at his FACTORY studio and had everyone sit for several minutes, the idea being that after a while you stop posing and act like your authentic self.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO (HARPERCOLLINS, 2004) is the culmination of NAVARRO and co-writer NEIL STRAUSS contextualizing these photographs into NAVARRO's relapse into heroin addiction. you would think that this premise would be easy fodder for glamorizing drug addiction, especially with the seeming young HOLLYWOOD in-crowd partaking in his late night activities on a semi-regular basis. but the book really just sets up how lost he was at the time. it would be years before he would properly go about getting professional help regarding the trauma of dealing with his mother's murder by the hand of a jealous ex-boyfriend in his formative years as a teenager.
all that being said, i can't imagine the seductive power of being so young and admired. i don't know how anyone in that situation would not become a full blown addict with the HOLLYWOOD set. but he got out of it. he recovered.
and i think that is the reason he chose to write and have this book published, to show others (maybe within the music community) that there is a way out, no matter how deep and dependent you are on the drug community. in the years since more members of the community have passed on from drugs or drug-related activities, most notably CHRIS CORNELL, MICHAEL JACKSON, AMY WINEHOUSE, TOM PETTY, MAC MILLER, PRINCE, SCOTT WEILAND (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS), JANI LANE (WARRENT), LIL PEEP, WHITNEY HOUSTON, RICK JAMES, WAYNE STATIC (STATIC-X), IKE TURNER and THE REV (AVENGED SEVENFOLD).
i really feel this book was meant for his peers and not the general public. to the public parts of this book come off salacious and voyeuristic, but to a musician of any importance my guess is this unending expanding cadre of enablers is more than familiar. to them by showing his reality, hopefully it'll make them seek help.
as for NAVARRO, i wish he'd stop with his addiction to hosting shitty REALITY TV shows. i'm just saying.