Charlotte, N.C., backs off threat to cancel Marilyn Manson concert

Thursday, October 22, 1998

Marilyn Manson...
Marilyn Manson

Members of the Charlotte, N.C.'s coliseum authority board yesterday rescinded threats to cancel an upcoming Marilyn Manson concert but promised to closely monitor the shock-rock band's performance and consider imposing concert ratings on future performances.

The seven-member board spent nearly a week debating whether to allow Marilyn Manson to perform at a Nov. 10 concert. The last time the city tried to ban a show in a public venue was in 1971. In that case, a judge ruled that the play Hair was protected by the First Amendment.

The First Amendment frustrated the board again in the Manson case.

Board members didn't return calls, but one official told Addicted to Noise, an online music news service, that groups like Marilyn Manson hide behind the First Amendment.

“We don't have any recourse. If we had some recourse, I can promise you we'd take it,” said Greg Keith, the board's vice chairman. “Unfortunately, the First Amendment protects performances by Marilyn Manson, which we disagree with tremendously.”

Although the board has said it won't cancel the concert, it was planning to triple security for the concert, a sold-out performance at the city's Ovens Auditorium. The band faces a $10,000 fine if it urges concert-goers to rush the stage.

Two board members said they plan to attend a Manson concert in Kansas City, Mo., to determine if more restrictions are needed. For future performances, the board said it would look at rating concerts by assigning letters such as PG, R or X to help parents determine if the content is suitable for children.

Charlotte's attempt to ban a Manson concert marks the second time this month that city officials have tried to stop the band from playing.

Last week, city officials in Syracuse, N.Y., threatened to pull funding from a local venue if it didn't cancel a Manson concert. Venue owners plan to let the Nov. 19 show continue although city officials say they may take steps to block future performances.