The third night of Marilyn Manson’s 2017 North American tour didn’t exactly go off as planned, to say the least.
About an hour into the explosive show, the band launched into the song that began Manson’s flirtation with the mainstream back in 1995. For the first couple minutes of the track, a cover of Eurythmics’ 1983 single “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” the self-proclaimed “tornado” of rock ‘n’ roll was blowing up a storm — and the packed crowd of Goths, steampunks, and metalheads at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom was in rapture.
Then, after he screamed the memorable line “Some of them want to be abused,” Manson grabbed the metal bars between two giant stage-prop pistols.
As guitarist and co-songwriter Taylor Bates’s spidery guitar line reached a crescendo and he began to solo, Manson started grappling with the prop, which tipped over and landed on top of him, shattering bones in his right leg and ending the show.
Numerous concertgoers filmed the accident, and within minutes footage was all over social media. It was unclear whether Manson was stunned, seriously injured, or worse, and terrified tweeters reacted in horror.
“I only recently watched the video of it,” Manson says 11 days after the accident, lying back on a couch in his living room with his leg in a cast. “I can see how it could look terrifying. It was terrifying for me, because the truss was not secured properly.”
What might have looked on video like Manson shaking or trying to ascend the prop was actually the performer’s desperate effort to prevent it from collapsing. “I wasn’t trying to climb it,” he says. “It started to fall and I tried to push back and I didn’t get out the way in time. I’m not sure what I hit my head on, but it did fall onto my leg and break the fibula in two places. The pain was excruciating.”
Manson was immediately placed on a stretcher, and taken to a hospital to be examined and X-rayed. Doctors inserted a plate and 10 screws into the bone, plus another screw through his ankle bone, then wrapped a solid cast around his leg. It often takes people with such injuries between 12 and 16 weeks to recover, according to Healthline.
Considering the weight of the metal framework that fell over, Manson’s lucky his injuries weren’t far worse. “It definitely could have crushed my skull and my ribs,” Manson says. “I have some minor bruising in that area, but it took six guys to pull it off of me. It was like wrestling a giant iron monster.”
Once he recovers, Manson says, he will continue the tour for his new album, Heaven Upside Down, which dropped Oct. 6.
Ironically, on Sept. 29 — the day before the New York accident — Manson sprained his left ankle in Pittsburgh during the song “The Beautiful People” while hopping offstage and into the crowd. The band cut the song short and Manson exclaimed, “I just broke my ankle, but it’s OK because [opening act] Alice Glass is going to fill in for me. Come on, you can do it. I told you I’d break my ankle because the tour manager is a fascist.”
“I think it was possibly the whole nature, God, whatever it might be — someone was trying to put a stop to things. If you believe in one thing, you gotta believe in the other power,” he jokes. “I don’t know if it was my excitement and disregard for being safe in the conventional sense — like I ever have been. You get me onstage and I just get so excited.”
Manson’s greatest regret about the injury is that he had just started to tour, and was about to release his new album, when the powers that be waylaid his forward momentum. “The thing that pisses me off most is that I’m not onstage, because that’s where I should be,” he says. “And with a cast on my leg, it’s hard to talk about the excitement of the tour. It got cut off right as I was about to put it into second gear. But I’ll be back there really shortly and it’s going to be as exciting as it was starting out.”
As much he was joking about God trying to “put a stop to things,” Manson sincerely believes in fate and that certain accidents or occurrences were meant to be. “Because of the timing of it, it’s probably some part of a bigger plan that this was meant to happen, and I had to take that sacrifice in order for things to fall into place.”
Manson supports his belief in fate by presenting another example of a misstep that turned out to be for the best. Heaven Upside Down was originally scheduled to come out on Valentine’s Day, but all the pieces weren’t yet in place, so he delayed its release.
“If it had come out back then, the timing wouldn’t have been as good and it wouldn’t have had the same weight,” he says. “It wouldn’t have had ‘Heaven Upside Down,’ ‘Revelation 12,’ and ‘Saturnalia,’ and those are the key songs that hold the record together.”