has long held the title of "shock rocker", and for good reason. Manson's performances are typically edgy, confrontational and controversial, all done in the name of theatrics. Thus, this is the argument some people are deploying in defense of Manson's pretty questionable behavior on Sunday.
At the San Bernardino Knotfest Meets Ozzfest concert, while being pushed around in the wheelchair he has been confined in since his stage accident in late September, Manson waved around and pointed a fake assault rifle at the audience. Obviously, this hasn't gone over so well for a number of reasons.
For one, San Bernardino was the site of a mass-shooting terrorist attack that killed 14 people back in 2015. Additionally, Manson's stunt occurred less than 24 hours after the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. And suffice it to say, while Americans everywhere are likely on edge due to recent gun violence, pointing a fake gun at an audience in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting and attacks at The Bataclan in Paris and Manchester Arena seems especially unconscionable.
Following the show, Manson released a statement saying that his actions were an "act of theater", intended to criticize and highlight how prevalent guns are and how desensitized we are to them. Manson went on saying, "In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence this was an act of theater in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalized. My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world. My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity. The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns."
While Manson's actions certainly seem a bit blind to the current atmosphere and tension in this country, he is not the first artist to be criticized for his actions on stage. Collected here are some of the weirdest and worst stage antics from musicians.
1. Young and In the Way
In 2014, black metal band, Young and In the Way, was playing a show at Asheville's Lexington Avenue Brewery, a bar-restaurant that occasionally booked live music. Having lived in North Carolina and spent a good amount of time in Asheville, I can say that the brewery definitely didn't have any idea what they were in for.
During their set, the band began spraying pig's blood, yes, real pig's blood, throughout the venue and on the audience. While an extensive clean up was necessary, the venue was also forced to close for two weeks by the state health department, because of possible contamination issues with the restaurant. Management mulled over the decision of whether or not to shut the place down entirely, but eventually decided to keep the brewery and restaurant while permanently canceling any future shows, much to relief of local pigs.
2. Blind Melon
In 1993, midway through performing the song "No Rain", Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon decided that he was going to make it rain. On the audience. And not in the strip club sense. Hoon began disrobing on stage mid-song while simulating some dirty acts before turning on the crowd and letting loose a stream of urine into the front row. No idea if Hoon thought it was worth it or funny, but the crowd didn't seem to think so, and neither did the Vancouver Police, who hauled Hoon off and charged him with nudity and indecent exposure.
3. The Almighty Defenders
Unfortunately, rockstars will be rockstars so we're still going with the urine theme on this one. The Almighty Defenders, a garage-rock supergroup composed of members from The Black Lips and King Khan, were performing a set at San Francisco's Bimbo's 365 Club back in 2010. It should be noted that individually, both The Black Lips and King Khan are noted for their frequency to cut loose on stage, and I don't mean that in the musical sense. Together, they formed a supergroup more intent on urination than playing, and during their set, vocalist Cole Alexander began urinating in the mouth of King Khan, who proceeded to mix it with a shot of whiskey before spitting it back out onto the crowd. At least Gallagher warned his audience to bring rain jackets before his performances.
During a performance in Fishkill, a small town in upstate New York, rapper Akon became irritated with a fan, Anthony C. Smith, after he believed the 15 year old threw something at him while he was on stage. Akon asked security to bring Smith to the stage and they complied. As soon as Smith was brought onto stage, Akon picked him up and promptly threw him several rows into the crowd where he collided with another member of the audience. Interestingly, this all happened in front of several police officers who stood by doing nothing. This also came not long after Akon was dropped by his sponsor for simulating indecent acts with a 14-year-old girl on stage.
Grunge band and riot-grrrl pioneers L7 were long known for their onstage antics, including their predilection toward covering themselves in paint before their performances, but they immortalized themselves with their performance at the 1992 Reading Festival. Partway through their set, the band began experiencing sound issues that sidelined them for several minutes. An increasingly agitated crowd began pelting the stage with mud and bottles. Lead singer Donita Sparks was apparently in no mood at all to take this, and in one of the most memorable moments from concert history, she removed and flung her tampon at the crowd, which promptly threw it back. It was a small act of defiance, but went down in history. The tampon is now known as one of the "most unsanitary pieces of rock memorabilia in history".