How Did Marilyn Manson Go from Being the Columbine Bogeyman to Justin Bieber’s Best Friend?

Once upon a time not that long ago, Marilyn Manson was viewed as one of the most evil, decadent, depraved and dangerous people in music. Blamed for everything from the spread of satanism to the Columbine school shooting, Manson was feared by decent God-fearing people everywhere.

Not so much anymore. The Guardian takes a look at an astonishing transformation from evil incarnate to Bieliber.

Since Brian Hugh Warner created the character of Marilyn Manson in the early 90s, his powdered-up, red-lipped, asymmetrical alien face has been a constant presence in rock. But despite a lack of reinvention over the past two decades, his status in culture has entirely changed. Last year, Manson told the Guardian that he created a fake world for himself because he didn’t like the one that he lived in. He may still not like this world but, increasingly, the world likes him.

His most recent album, 2015’s The Pale Emperor, was hailed his best in a decade and debuted at No 8 on the Billboard 200. He collected “idol” accolades at rock magazine awards shows. Then, in a move no one could have predicted, pop’s biggest star, Justin Bieber, started wearing his T-shirts. “It’s upsetting when you loan someone a shirt after sodomy and they don’t return it,” was Manson’s response.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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