The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson and Neil Strauss (Paperback 1999)
"I wanna live, I wanna love,
but it's a Long Hard Road Out of Hell..."
- Marilyn Manson
When I read this quite a few years back, I wasn't a huge Marilyn Manson fan at all. Rather than admit I'm not as cool as the other dopplegangers, I will admit that I grew to acquire a taste for the whole package that Marilyn and the boys bring to the table. This one not only spent an unexpected amount of time on the national bestsellers list, it was the text that won over a world wide audience because of its clever use of photomontage combined with a collection of dairy like glimpses into Marilyn Manson as a personage, an artist, a band, and a commercially calculated production for the masses.
In this age when print is giving way to digital media, this was an unusually artistic piece of pop culture literature, if you have never seen this book...at least open it up and admire the amount of hours spent in photoshop and illustrator just doing the text layouts. When released it was state of the art and expensive to print I have no doubt, being printed in a combination of black & white / with gradient color undertoning for the cover art.
This book is co-authored with Neil Strauss, who is a master of the biography genre, Strauss's name may encourage some literary readers to give it a whirl. As good as any reason to be able to say you read it and not because you are a Manson fan. In the genre of autobiography this is a modern masterpiece and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading about life in the fastlane with rock mythology.
"One doesn't usually think of rock stars as insightful, but, against all odds, glam-trash superstar Marilyn Manson has written a book that is actually an intelligent look at growing up. This autobiographical bildungsroman brings out the creepiest aspects of childhood, conveying the terror and fascination that young Marilyn (then called Brian) felt when looking through his grandfather's pornography, getting his first French kiss, and being taunted by the girls he wanted to "date." Manson has the benefit of having grown up as an outcast and loser and then having become a star without forgetting what he went through. This gives him an incredibly broad perspective, which he brings to bear on his ordinary life in order to convey the more potent and frightening moments that shaped him into the pale-skinned weirdo that the Christian Right loves to hate. Best of all, Manson is shockingly honest, and portrays himself as occasionally stupid, self-centered, over-sensitive, ignoble, and, mostly, highly fallible and human. It's a long way from the auto-hagiographies that other stars have written, and it's easily one of the best reads in celebrity bio." --James DiGiovanna (Amazon.com)
Here is just a sampling of what the wider press and reveiws of the day had to say about Manson's book...and not the pendullum swining between dislike and jumping on the bandwagon to not alienate the younger readers and their music idol.
"Makes Madonna's infamous SEX seem downright wholesome by comparison." -- Elle
"Repulsive...well-written and uncommonly addictive." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"Fascinating, sleazy account of his coming of age and ascent into damnation." -- Us
"If the Marquis De Sade had a son in a hard-rock band who wrote a book, this would be the book." -- Christian Science Monitor
The book has plenty of fun and mayhem for the kids. Included in its pages are memoirs of the Antichrist Superstar tour. With many noteworthy momments that come to mind in reflection. Such as a question and answer quiz to determine of you are a drug addict, a backstage story about how a singer can get so bored on tour that he decides giving fellatio to his band mates is a good time killer, and why you should never listen to music by Morrissey or the Smiths ever again. There are points of metaphysical note, schizophrenic fever, and dark comedic relief that should entertain the high and low brow alike as readers.
But why say it with excessive words when the fans say it best themselves:
"It's good for anyone who reads. If you hate him, this book will educate you on why you're an idiot.
If you hate his music but like his ideas, then this would be a good read. " - Lori A. Yoder , USA
"The Long Hard Road Out of Hell reveals that Marilyn Manson is not a product of his environment. Everything that you believe about him is the result of a carefully calculated plan to become the world's most shocking musical and visual artist. " - Nadeem Muaddi , Washington DC
"If you're unfamiliar with the genius of his music the book is still worth reading; if you're unfamiliar with the use of recreational products then you may miss some of the more salient points." - Edmund Zielinski, Kosovo
And I leave you with these two last quotes that made me laugh as they were unexpected perspectives to find.
"I will probably give him a hug if I ever meet him just not caring what he has become." - J.R. Key, GA
"I bought this book for my son and he loved it. I decided to read about this strange man and enjoyed it. He is really an interesting man. " - C. Wilcox, Ottawa Canada
See Marilyn Manson is bringing families closer with every million selling copy that flies off the shelves.
(And for those who are left wanting more, or have never really experienced Marilyn Manson. Below is the YouTube window ready to play 'The Long Hard Road Out of Hell' for your viewing enjoyment. After it finishes, there are a selection of 8 more videos from the band if you like what you see. Be warned 'Hell' is a visually suggestive and somewhat disturbing video to the unprepared. But it is after all Marilyn Manson)