Surface Magazine
September/October 2003
James Montgomery

THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB

Helnwein: "He's an icon that everyone on the planet would know. He's become a corporate identity. You look at Manson as Mickey Mouse, and it's the American dream turned into a nightmare."

The Mickey portraits are only a small part of a larger collection of unnerving images that Manson will incorporate into his worldwide "Grotesk Burlesk" stage show.

Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has worn many hats atop his eternally pale dome-including but not limited to self-mutilating Goth monster, media bogeyman, and glammed-up asexual space creature. So it should come as no surprise that for his latest album, The Golden Age of the Grotesque, he's changed yet again-this time into a leering, ghoulish version of Mickey Mouse.

The transformation is the result of Manson's yearlong collaboration with Austrian artists (and fellow burr in conservative America's saddle) Gottfried Helnwein. "Many things in Manson's mind are very similar to things in mine," Helnwein says.  "He's an icon that everyone on the planet would know. He's become a corporate identity. You look at Manson as Mickey Mouse, and it's the American dream turned into a nightmare."

The Mickey portraits are only a small part of a larger collection of unnerving images (Manson dressed as a Nazi-esque officer, dead-faced children fondling rifles) that Manson will incorporate into his worldwide "Grotesk Burlesk" stage show. And Helnwein hopes that the powers-that-be are offended by what the duo have created."The corporations, the media, they tell us to be shocked by images like these," Helnwein says. "Well, it's the world that's shocking to people like myself and Manson. There's no freedom. There's censorship. You're constantly being told how you should behave.  What Manson and I have in common is the fact that we don't accept this. These images represent us fighting back."