That time Marilyn Manson was on a talk show about moshing

In the 90s, American parents were petrified about the dangers of moshing so Phil Donohue asked Marilyn Manson to be a guest on this incredibly hysterical episode of his show

Marilyn Manson has been chased by a metaphorical pitchfork since he adopted an amalgamation of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson for his stage moniker. Parents, churches, teachers, government. Everyone’s had it out for him at some point (and others likely still do). But perhaps the most brilliant example of this came in 1995 when Manson appeared on The Phil Donohue Show to discuss the repercussions of moshing.

“We’ve got music and football together on dance floors and young kids are doing it and they’re getting hurt”, starts Donohue, before introducing a group of kids and their parents, including a mother and father whose son died after sustaining injuries at a concert.

To Donohue, and much of the audience, moshing – or moshing, as he continues to emphasise – is up there with drugs, drink, promiscuity, stealing, and bad grades at school, and Donohue can’t quite understand why we can’t all just slow dance. “This is not what your father dreamed for you”, he tells a young girl, before asking if she’s going around nicking anyone’s hubcaps. Minus the death of someone’s child, the whole thing is rather hysterical. It is also so, so, SO good.

“I think parents should raise their kids better or someone like Marilyn Manson is going to” – Marilyn Manson

During one part of the show, a young girl is joined on stage by her parents. “We asked your parents to watch a tape of what you are doing when you go moshing”, Donohue tells her. “They thought it was just a nice thing where kids ‘oopoppidoop’... I mean it! We scared them. Do you know that?” It’s here that I hold out dear hope that one day a participants’ commentary will be added. “I had no idea what was going on!” gasps her mother.

After several slow-mo playbacks of kids moshing, around the halfway mark, a young Marilyn Manson – alongside band members Twiggy Ramirez and Madonna Wayne Gacy – takes a seat on the stage. It’s a conversation I’d really loved to have been a fly on the wall for; Donohue’s people calling Manson’s. Mason, Ramirez and Wayne Gacy are actually the most rational, and eloquent, in the entire room. Manson with his eyebrows drawn on vertically like sticks, Ramirez wearing a green dress, blonde wig and holding a school lunchbox that appears to play music at random, and Wayne Gacy sporting a thick goatee.

“I think moshing is a sign of what Christians would call the Apocalypse,” explains Manson, who himself grew up as a devout Christian in fear of The Four Horsemen turning up to kick off doomsday. “It’s a sign of the times – I didn’t invent it.”

There’s a lot to take in here – the clip is 40-minutes-long – but key moments are when Manson connects the potential danger of moshing with sexual trills and his musings on what happens when religion is imposed upon children and the rejection that they then feel when their views turn out differently to that of their parents. The cherry on it all is when Manson says, “I think it’s unfortunate that parents don’t know what their kids are doing. That disappoints me. I think parents should raise their kids better or someone like Marilyn Manson is going to.” Just watch. Skip to the 23-minute mark for Manson’s entrance.

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