Alice Cooper/Marilyn Manson: A match made in hell?

Written by Scott Mervis on .

alicecooperMere minutes after seeing that Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson were bring the Masters of Madness: Shock Therapy Tour to Stage AE on June 23, a guy on Facebook was asking if Alice was opening because he wanted to see him and leave.
And there you have it. It seems like a natural to bill the Godfather of Shock Rock with one of his gnarly disciples, but they are quite an odd match musically. "School's Out" ... "Beautiful Creatures" ... world's apart.
My guess is that Manson fans (currently a dwindling field) will appreciate Alice at least for historical, if not musical, purposes. Alice was one of the first rockers to embrace horror theater, with the torn-up baby dolls, the boa, the makeup, the guillotine. There's no Marilyn Manson without Alice Cooper to draw upon.
Marilyn Manson photoMusically, though, Manson took his cues from Nine Inch Nails when he came along in the mid '90s, favoring a gruesome industrial rock sound. Despite "Antichrist Superstar" breaking him commercially and finally winning him some critical acclaim, a lot of people still wrote him off as a poseur.
When we talked to Alice back in '97 and asked him what he thought of Marilyn Manson, he suggested that what may be lacking in the Canton native's act was a touch of humor:  “That might be a good ingredient. If they were gonna ask me, I would definitely say, 'You want the trick to this whole thing? Have some fun with it.’ ”
Manson has never been big on fun, preferring to use his music to challenge the status quo in ways that haven't always been clear, as the Columbine kids controversy attests.
Outside of the glam-rock departure with "Mechanical Animals," he hasn't had much luck redefining himself, either musically or visually. When he played Stage AE last summer, his act seemed like a shell of its former self.
Alice, on the other hand, is in the midst of a late-career surge at 65, and the last time I saw him at Stage AE, his band was wicked hot and he played the character to the hilt.
Maybe he can help kick some life into his 44-year-old counterpart. If nothing else, it will be a generational experiment worth catching and a great night of people watching.
Tickets are $42 advance/$45 day of show. They go on sale Friday at all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at For more information visit

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