On The Road With Marilyn Manson – A Support Band’s Confessions

Few things thus far in my career have excited me more than receiving that message, “Hey, want to come to Paris to see a Marilyn Manson gig?”. Now that’s something I’ve somehow never managed to experience before. Even being a long-time fan of their music, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from being in the presence of today’s biggest shock-rock icon. Now, just imagine what must be going through the minds of Binary, four Londoners who have just embarked on a tour with the king of all things weird.

Through a stroke of good luck (mixed with a fortuitous connection), Binary scored a support slot most up-and-coming bands would kill for. Having worked with producer Sean Beavan (who has previously collaborated with both Manson and Nine Inch Nails) on their latest single ‘Modern Man’, Troster decided to reach out to Manson and try his luck at securing that coveted spot on the bill – and to his surprise, he received an email, from Manson himself, asking if they’d like to join him on a few dates of his European tour.

“It was validating, because if you listen to our music, and then you look at Marilyn Manson, the line isn’t obvious,” Troster tells me. “It’s really nice to have a big icon say that he likes what we’re doing.” He describes his band’s sound as a mixture of shoegaze, industrial and punk, citing Nine Inch Nails as a huge influence, dispelling any claims that they sound like The Cure, The Horrors, and especially White Lies (who also happen to be mates of theirs).

But for a guy who dropped out of Yale after two years of studying molecular biology to join a band and eventually tour with Marilyn Manson, Troster certainly has a lot to say. “I don’t want to actively slag anyone off,” he tells me, “but like Spector, I’m just like ‘What the fuck?’. This is what rock ‘n’ roll has become?” In fact, Binary’s Beavan-produced track ‘Modern Man’ is a response to the prevalence of “vapid pop” music in the UK. “In the UK, we’re going through some fucking weird thing. People don’t give a fuck about lyrics, they just want you dancing and singing along.”

That being said, both sets from Binary and Marilyn Manson are anything but vapid. As soon as people heard I went to see Manson, I was bombarded with the same question – ‘Is he any good again? Has he kicked that awful slump?’. Seeing as I’ve never caught him live before, it’s difficult to compare his show to what it ‘used to be’. OK so he’s a bit older, and his vocals are a bit more muddled, but dude can still put on a show. And judging by the fact that I spotted the Manson-produced Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll star Tilda Swinton hanging out in the crowd following the show, seems he still draws unexpected fans from all over the place.

So what if his antics have toned down a bit? He used to piss on his fans at shows, and tonight the extent of his outrageous behaviour is sticking his hand down his trousers while singing ‘Personal Jesus’. Rock stars gotta grow up some day. So let him have his chilly black dressing room and avoid eye contact with whoever he likes. Come July, Brixton Academy’s got one hell of a show waiting for it when Marilyn Manson arrives.