If you grew up in the late 90s, there was no doubt in your mind that rock and roll’s greatest boogeyman was Marilyn Manson. Taking his stage name from a combination of a beloved Hollywood actress and a prolific serial killer, the ghoulish singer skyrocketed to stardom thanks to his aggressive, bleak music, iconic image, and a swirl of controversy rock hadn’t seen since the 80s.
He’s had multiple albums go Platinum, been nominated for four Grammy awards, published several books (including an autobiography), and even still records music to this day! However, we’re pretty sure everyone but the most dedicated of Manson fans won’t know these 13 facts about him.
1) His real name is Brian Warner
Apparently his late mother, Barbara, used to still call him “Brian” well into his career. His dad, Hugh, embraced the change and now calls him “Manson.”
2) He attended a Christian school for much of his childhood.
He went to Heritage Christian School from grade 1 to 10. I somehow don’t get the idea it was a positive experience for him.
3) His band started with a slightly different name.
Manson actually launched his band all the way back in 1989 as “Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids,” but dropped everything but his stage name in 1992.
4) He’s been engaged three times (and married once).
He’s been engaged to actresses Rose McGowan and Evan Rachel Wood, and actually did marry fetish model Dita Von Teese for two years.
5) He’s done a lot of acting.
He’s had bit parts in movies like Lost Highway and Party Monster, appeared in documentaries like Bowling For Columbine, been a regular on shows like Sons of Anarchy, and most importantly of all, played himself in Clone High.
6) He’s been asked to score horror movies.
He was asked to do the score for the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre starring Jessica Biel, but had to decline because he was too busy recording his album, The Golden Age of Grotesque.
The facts about Manson just get crazier from here…
7) He collects some really weird stuff.
He has a huge collection of old metal lunchboxes, as well as one of fake body parts. At one point he apparently even owned a fetus that was preserved in a jar.
8) Stores stopped carrying his music… until they couldn’t.
The cover of Mechanical Animals, which features Manson’s face on the body of a naked alien, caused the album to be rejected by K-Mart, Target, and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart stopped carrying his music entirely after the Columbine shootings in 1999, but changed their mind when 2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque was a massive hit.
9) He has kind of a surprising favorite movie.
His favorite movie of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which he repeats the infamous “Boat Monologue” from on his Portrait of an American Family album. His friend Johnny Depp played Wonka in the 2005, and apparently based some of his performance on Manson. He also really likes The Big Lebowski.
10) He’s a really big fan of absinthe.
He loves the potent alcoholic drink so much that he made his own brand of it called “Mansinthe” in 2007. It even won a gold medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition!
11) He has something in common with Meat Loaf.
Both singers suffer from a rare condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which can cause them to have a rapid heart rate because of an abnormal extra electrical pathway of the heart.
12) There’s some weird urban legends about him.
People used to be convinced that he played Paul on The Wonder Years, which was actually done by actor Josh Saviano. There was also a rumor that he had some of his ribs removed so he could perform oral sex on himself, which he has denied vehemently.
13) He gives a LOT of money to charity.
He’s given a lot of money and resources to “Music for Life” and “Little Kids Rock,” which aim to give musical instruments and training to children from low-income families. He has also worked with Project Nightlight, a group that encourages kids and teens to speak out against physical and sexual abuse.