photo by nacrowe
i recently went about revisiting MARILYN MANSON's memoir THE LONG HARD ROAD OUT OF HELL (HARPERCOLLINS, 1998) that he co-wrote with NEIL STRAUSS during the early peak of his career post ANTI-CHRIST SUPERSTAR. it's funny how much this book is a product of its time with MANSON more or less self-defining his image in a pre-COLUMBINE media landscape that largely took his bait and made him into a scapegoat for society's ills.
this book came about a few years before his interview in MICHAEL MOORE's documentary BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (UNITED ARTISTS, 2002) where MANSON presented himself as a thoughtful commentator on AMERICAN culture and society with respect to gun violence. he told MOORE that basically the media turned them into martyrs through their non-stop news coverage, providing incentive for future mass murderers. dude was totally on point and we are still dealing with this death spiral of bullying, media coverage and access to automatic weapons.
i would argue that he comes across as equally thoughtful in this book, if for other reasons as here he seems interested in familiar early career ROCK band fodder like infighting between ex-bandmates, record labels, rock journalists, groupies and a healthy amount of requisite self-mythologizing.
its odd thinking about all these ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands from the 90s that pushed back against society during the CLINTON administration (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE similarly comes to mind). where are these button-pushers now when we need them? or is it that the buttons they pressed no longer work in our overly-saturated social media landscape that trades and sells on outrage. maybe MANSON and his ilk (OZZY OSBOURNE, ALICE COOPER, etc) are anachronisms from another era when people cared enough to get angry and protest. that's what i kept thinking when recently rereading his memoir, which i recommend for its intelligence and debauchery. just like the man himself.
then again, i don't know what to believe anymore about his character. recently his former girlfriend EVAN RACHEL WOOD made public allegations that he "groomed" her as a teenager when he was in his mid 30s back in the late 2000s. another former girlfriend, ROSE MCGOWAN, has praised him for his steadfast support and outspokenness as a fervent ally of the #METOO movement.
so... yeah, i dont know.
maybe he is a monster after all. maybe he isnt. not sure who to believe here.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
with the advent of YOUTUBE there is a whole host of record producers that realized maybe the salad days of the recording industry are over and that one possible new avenue for revenue is creating videos about music production. producers RICK BEATO and WARREN HUART both come to mind immediately as they utilize their trained ears to inform the public about things like composition, tracking, mixing, panning and the various tricks of producing professional, well-recorded music.
i'll leave BEATO for another entry, focusing instead on an impressive sub-series HUART conducted on his PRODUCE LIKE A PRODUCER YOUTUBE channel where he interviewed prominent producers about noteworthy records they produced. this sub-series was called INSIDE THE SONG. the majority of what HUART does on his channel are long-form videos about the innards of recording studios and why owners chose various outboard gear and how producers go about utilizing such. the INSIDE THE SONG series is more accessible to a non-techie crowd and gets into how songs evolved throughout the recording process and what particular techniques are favored by each producer/engineer at the time. you also really get the sense of the amount of play involved in recording and how ideas evolve over time. super interesting stuff even if you are not a confirmed studio rat. especially such if you are a music junkie like i am.
participants to date include producers/engineers DAVE JERDEN (JANE'S ADDICTION, ALICE IN CHAINS), MICHAEL BEINHHORN (SOUNDGARDEN, MARILYN MANSON), ULRICH WILD (STATIC-X), BRADLEY COOK (FOO FIGHTERS), SHELLY YAKUS (TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, BLUE OYSTER CULT) and JACK DOUGLAS (AEROSMITH, CHEAP TRICK). definitely worth watching.