“Fear Of A Satanic Planet” reveals the South Florida teenager who became Marilyn Manson

By on September 14, 2018

The 2005 UK-made documentary Marilyn Manson: Fear of a Satanic Planet reveals the back story of the Ohio-born South Florida teenager who became shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

Watch this fascinating, wholly-unauthorized documentary — which means don’t expect to hear any actual music by Marilyn Manson — on Night Flight Plus.

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Fear of a Satanic Planet features in-depth interviews with some of the people who knew him best, particularly early on in his career, including fellow band members Scott Mitchell Putesky (“Daisy Berkowitz”), Brad Stewart (“Gidget Gein”), and Brian Tutunick (“Olivia Newton-Bundy”) from the earliest version of Manson’s band, the Spooky Kids.

We also hear from manager John Tovar; record producer and Barkmarket main man Dave Sardy; biographer Gavin Baddeley (Dissecting Marilyn Manson); longtime Florida deejay and WUFT-FM Morning Edition host Glenn Richards; Fort Lauderdale music maven and concert promoter Jim Hayward; friend & promoter Adrianne Biondo; and the Reverend Stephen Johnson Leyba, head of Church Of Satan.

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Fear of a Satanic Planet looks at Manson’s musical inspirations and his first band’s progression through their various line-up changes, moving on to his recording career under his chosen moniker.

The documentary also examines a handful of his personal relationships, and some of his personal beliefs, including his dislike of (and disgust with) Christianity, as well as his affinity for sexual deviancy.

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Manson’s career is, more than anything else, actually a personal crusade for free speech, expressed freely with the intent to shock audiences, although most music fans would pretty much agree that his brand of shock rock pales in comparison with some of the shock rockers who came before him, like G.G. Allin.

Read more about Marilyn Manson below.

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Brian Warner and his mom

Brian Warner (b. January 5, 1969, in Canton, Ohio) attended GlenOak High School in Plain Township, north of Canton.

In the late ’80s, his father Hugh Warner took a new sales job which necessitated a move to southern Florida, first to Pompano Beach, and later to Boca Raton.

Brian Warner began developing an interest in writing about music in columns and reviews that were published in a couple of local South Florida magazines, Tonight, Today and 25th Parallel, using a variety of pen names.

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It was during this same time that a lot of heavy metal bands rose up in local South Florida music community, playing what began to be called “death metal.”

A list of these bands would probably include Death (from Orlando), Obituary (also known as Xecutioner, from Tampa), and later on they were joined by bands like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Raped Ape, Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation.

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Manson (Warner) and Berkowitz (Putesky) in Putesky’s bedroom in Boca Raton, Florida, circa February 1990

Manson — who’d moved on from being a music critic and was now writing song lyrics — wanted to start a band of his own (even though he wasn’t much of a singer).

That dream didn’t really begin to take shape until he met Scott Mitchell Putesky at a party, later convincing him to quit his then-current band, a psychedelic combo called India Loves You.

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They called their new duo “Marilyn Manson,” a fucked-up homage to two American icons, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson.

Warner says was inspired by the way late night TV talk show hosts would sensationalize whatever was in the news, whether it was about a movie starlet or a serial killer.

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Warner also thought it was interesting that Monroe had a darker side, with her drug use and depression, and she’d committed suicide. He mainly liked the idea of pairing up two opposites, combining a positive image with a more negative one.

Ultimately, as we surely all know by now, just like one of his rock idols, Alice Cooper, Brian Warner assumed the stage name Marilyn Manson as his own.

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Scott Petusky — who died at age 49 on October 22, 2017, after a long battle with colon cancer — began calling himself “Daisy Berkowitz,” a nod to the Daisy Dukes character on TV’s “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and serial killer David Berkowitz, alias “Son of Sam,” who’d terrorized New York City for thirteen months, beginning in the bi-centennial summer of ’76.

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Manson and Berkowitz began recruiting other musicians to join their band — including keyboardist Perry Pandrea (“Zsa Zsa Speck,” a name that mashed-up actress Zsa Zsa Gabor with serial killer Richard Speck), bassist Brian Tutunick (“Olivia Newton-Bundy,” combined from singer Olivia Newton-John and serial killer Ted Bundy).

They also used a Yamaha RX8 drum machine for awhile.

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These two early members were ultimately replaced by bassist Brad Stewart (“Gidget Gein,” mashing up the TV character played by Sally Fields with serial killer Ed Gein) and keyboardist Steven Bier Jr. (“Madonna Wayne Gacy,” the surname coming from serial killer John Wayne Gacy).

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By 1993, Manson’s and Berkowitz’s band — Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids, though they would drop the Spooky Kids name fairly early on — had attracted the attention of Trent Reznor.

Reznor produced their debut album, Portrait of an American Family, which was released the following year on his Interscope-distributed Nothing label.

Manson’s friendship with Reznor also led to lot of of Marilyn Manson/Nine Inch Nails double-billed shows, and Manson eventually had his first breakthrough with his 1995 cover of the Eurythmics‘ “Sweet Dreams.”

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The documentary fills in the details of how Marilyn Manson ended up creating a niche market for himself combining gothic and industrial-tinged shock-rock, and, if you’ve read this far, it probably means you’d enjoy this documentary.

Watch Marilyn Manson: Fear of a Satanic Planet on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
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