Review: VH1 Online

Hole Threaten to Drop Off Marilyn Manson Joint Tour
by Gil Kaufman, March 11, 1999

Just six dates into their first joint tour, Hole and Marilyn Manson are in jeopardy of going their separate ways.

Hole leader Courtney Love said in a phone interview Thursday (March 11) with cable music channel MTV that the tour has serious “production issues” that may doom the joint outing, once dubbed the “Beautiful Monsters” tour by Hole bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur.

“The bands will meet over the weekend to discuss the issues,” Love said in the interview. She would not elaborate as to what production concerns are causing a possible rift.

Love said there was a good chance that Hole will quit the tour, which is scheduled to play Sacramento, Calif.’s Arco Arena on Thursday and the Pond in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday.

Hole spokesperson Gayle Fine had no comment on Love’s MTV statement at press time. A representative for Manson could not be reached by press time.

The outing, named by Manson the “Rock Is Dead” tour, kicked off in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 28. It has been rife with the kind of back-and-forth sniping many expected between the outspoken Love and Manson’s namesake leader (born Brian Warner). A post, purportedly created by Manson on Thursday for his official website, has since renamed the double billing the “Hole Is Dead” tour.

The bands reportedly have been subtly ribbing each other every chance they could get from the stage each night, a pattern that continued Wednesday at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

After hard rockers Monster Magnet opened, Hole took the stage and played a taut, no frills hour-long set of punk and glam pop tunes in front of a projected backdrop of a fountain and a Greek colonnade. The only other stage prop was a series of garlands draped across the monitors and the drum kit.

In between raw versions of such Hole staples as the set-opening “Violet” and a booming take on the band’s next single, “Awful”, Love took swipes at Manson for what she suggested was his band’s over-the-top, flashy production. “Sorry if we don’t have any pyro,” Love said with a smile after a bottom-heavy, grungy take on the Celebrity Skin track “Reasons To Be Beautiful.” “We’re sort of all about the music.”

Near the end of Hole’s set, Love polled the audibly Manson-partisan audience as to whether they wanted her band to continue. When the crowd responded encouragingly, Love issued a winking apology for her band’s lack of stage accouterments.

“I guess you’re sort of waiting for the pyrotechnics show,” Love said. “We don’t know how to do fire and stuff. We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band, you little sh–s.” Love concluded her onstage comments by implying that she’d “feel like a dork” if her band featured the sort of stage show that followed.

While Manson kept his barbs to a minimum from the stage, he did take an opportunity after an over-the-top version of his hit “The Dope Show” to seemingly lash out at Love, the mother of a toddler. “Let me ask you all an honest question,” Manson, dressed in a shiny, silver two-piece outfit, said. “How many of you are here to see Marilyn f—ing Manson?” After the crowd erupted in a howl, the lanky singer, whose forehead was painted a deep blue, added, “I show pity for the older people on this tour … the graying mothers.”

On the same website posting on which he renamed the tour “Hole Is Dead,” a comment attributed to Manson read: “Due to extreme problems being caused by Hole, we were unable to attend the aftershows … it appears to be a war between us and Hole. I don’t expect them to last very long.”

In contrast to Hole’s show, for which specials effects were limited to an explosion of glitter during “Dying” and a rain of rose petals during “Celebrity Skin,” Manson’s show was packed with the explosions and fire and several of the elaborate set pieces used in the band’s previous tour in support of 1996’s Anti-Christ Superstar.

In addition to five costume changes — from a black G-string and mesh body suit to black leather jacket and fedora, to the aforementioned silver bodysuit, to a military outfit and black men’s suit — Manson’s set included a handful of elaborate props.

During a funky, wah-wah industrial take on the radio single “I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)”, a massive blinking sign reading “DRUGS” was lowered from the rafters. The show opened with Manson being lifted onto the stage prostrate on a giant cross made of televisions, which was later set on fire.

A touring industry expert speculated that the production concerns cited by Love could refer to any number of scenarios. “It’s possible when acts of those stature tour together that, typically, the headliner act will set their gear onstage and they don’t want to have it moved,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of tour-industry trade magazine Pollstar.

Bongiovanni said it was too early to tell what kind of sales numbers the highly anticipated tour was posting, although he did note that the Spokane opener featured sales of 8,500 tickets in an arena with an 18,000-person capacity. No numbers were available for the other five dates already completed. Love and her band reportedly left the stage early at the Spokane show in reaction to her apparent disappointment with the audience.

Before the tour, Auf Der Maur praised the two bands’ oddly balanced attitudes and styles. “I think it’s a perfect complement,” Auf Der Maur said of the groups’ seemingly opposing images of goth-turned-glam Manson and grunge-turned-glitz Hole. “We bring on the light after they’ve dragged out the dark. It’s two different worlds, so I can’t see how one could make the other look bad. Theirs is black and ours is white.”

Prior to the tour, Manson claimed in England’s New Musical Express weekly that “Courtney never bothered to say hi to me until I sold a million records. She’s an opportunist and I wouldn’t consider her a friend … the way she’s behaved towards me in the media has seemed very exploitative.”

At the time, Fine said Love had no response to the attack, which concluded with Manson stating “I’m not interested in being anything to her.”