Marilyn Manson & Courtney Love’s Disastrous Tour

Courtney Love Marilyn Manson

A Look Back At the Disastrous 1999 Marilyn Manson/Hole Tour

Back in 1999 shock rocker Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love’s band Hole ventured out on the ‘Beautiful Monsters Tour.’ It would end after only 9 shows, only a quarter of the way through the trek. Check out the video below for a full history of the failed tour.

It’s funny whenever rock n’ roll heavy weights join together for a huge tour. It usually ends with their egos butting heads and that was exactly what happened in the late 90’s when Courtney Love’s band Hole toured with Marilyn Manson. Also on the bill was band Monster Magnet whose frontman David Wyndorf described the tour by telling Louder Sound  “I knew it was going to be a complete fing disaster.” Stay tuned for the full story

Late 1998  saw both Hole and Marilyn Manson dominating the album charts. Hole’s new release at the time celebrity skin was number 10 on while Manson’s Mechanical Animals was number 1 during the same week. Both albums also shared the same producer in Michael Beinhorn.

The idea behind pairing the two rock n’ roll heavyweights came from Hole’s management company Q Prime. Ahead of the tour being announced Courtney Love dropped hints in the press that she wanted to tour with Alanis Morisette, while her management company pursued Manson. Even before the tour was announced Love and Manson had a pretty rocky relationship stemming from Manson’s 1998 autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell in which the rocker had nothing nice to say about Courtney Love. Manson had reservations about the offer to tour with Hole as he would tell NME magazine in 1998  “Courtney never bothered to say hi to me until I sold a million records. She’s an opportunist and I wouldn’t consider her a friend … the way she’s behaved towards me in the media has seemed very exploitative. I’m not interested in being anything to her”.

That’s not to say Love was a fan of the idea either because According to an MTV report at the time Love said she had reservations about the effect of Manson’s apocalyptic shows on her daughter, Frances Bean. In all fairness Manson also needed to tour with a big name act as well for several reasons: you had the controversy over Columbine which happened around this time, you had some retailers who refused to cary Mechanical animals over it’s controversial frontcover and the album, while successful failed to meet sales expectations. Manson’s label Sony, was expecting the record to sell 300K copies, but it only sold 230K copies despite peaking at number 1 on the charts. According to Producer Michael Beinhorn who told Loudersound. It wasn’t enough, the label lost interest, they took down the huge billboard they had in times square for the album. The President of the label called Manson up screaming at him for having pecks on the cover.” So Manson needed Courtney as much as she needed him.

The tour would prove to be Hole’s first major US tour as According to the band’s guitarist  Eric Erlandson previous attempts to launch a full scale tour in the US failed because they couldn’t find someone to tour with.

The bands agreed to tour provided it was billed as a co-headlining tour, and costs and revenue were evenly split.  Manson would jokingly tell MTV why he agreed to do the tour saying

“There was some tussling’ going on, and then I realized what better role models to lead the youth of America into the new millenium than us two, so it had to be done.” 

Tickets for the show hovered around $30 US and the venues housed 10-20,000 people.

Titled the beautiful monsters tour it was supposed to run from February of 1999 to May of the same year totalling 37 shows, but it unraveled after only 9 dates.

MTV Staff Writer Gil Kaufman who covered the tour would remark to Metal Hammer how different both personalities were saying

Here you had two artists that were going for the brass ring in very different ways,” “Manson was in his glam metal apex and was being as debauched as he could, while Courtney had become a star, with a Golden Globe nomination [for 1996 biographical drama The People vs. Larry Flynt], and she’d made a much slicker pop album. She was trying to be the ultimate Californian rock star.

Kaufman also remarked how the band’s brought attracted completely different crowds. According to him,Manson’s fans were cyber-goth, whereas Hole’s fans were hipster rock “coachella babies.” Each crowd seemed repulsed by the others. Manson’s fans especially made their displeasure known to Hole during the band’s set, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Despite all the hype around the tour, ticket sales were not that good. MTV would report that the opening night in Spokeane only saw the Arena half full with 8,000 attendees out of a possible 16,000. Also adding to the problems was fighting between the bands. Divisions over who should open and who would pay them resulted in uneasy compromises. Manson wanted Monster Magnet to open, but Hole didn’t so Manson ate the cost of the opener. On top of that according to Hole and their management company Manson’s production was much more elaborate than Hole’s yet they were splitting costs 50/50. Onstage things were just as uneasy as during the tour’s second stop in Vancouver, Canada, Manson insulted Courtney on stage and she would run and jump on Manson’s back during his live set.. Later on during Manson’s show he fell and injured his wrist and ended the show early.Sniping between the camps beecame a nightly occurrence on stage. The band’s also conducted themselves much differently backstage as Manson and his badmates were known for their hard partying lifestyle including illegal substances. Courtney Love meanwhile was fresh out of rehab and trying to maintain her sobriety.

Soon enough the tour was making headlines for the bad blood between both artists. The tour fell apart after only 9 shows as Hole played their final conert with mansonon March 14, at the Inglewood Forum in LA. Love announced from the stage that night during HOle’s set that they were finished with the tour. Why did Hole leve the tour?

The Tampa Bay Times highlighted several issues that led Hole to leaving the tour:

According ot the times it was a combination of poor ticket sales, infighting, production issues and Manson’s fans that were to blame.  Hole left the stage early in Portland Oregon after Manson fans booed the band during their set.  . An editor of the website pollstar was quoted as saying “the pairing looked good on paper, but it may not have been the best idea. Manson had been getting a disproportionate amount of the audience and Hole was playing in front of an audience that wasn’t that appreciative.” Peter Mensch of Q Prime management laimed to the Times that it was production cost overruns. Q Prime claimed they underestimated the cost of Manson’s elaborate stage production and since the production costs were deducted before band’s split the money, the tour was in the red revealing  “We couldn’t have afforded to stay on the road. We would have lost $150 to 200K” by the end of the tour. “

When Hole left the tour, Manson and company continued playing shows on the Rock is Dead Tour. Hole’s propsects were less favourable as the band’s label Geffen Records was merging with Interscope  The type of rock Hole was playing was no longer a priority as the label turned their attention to Rap and Metal.

What ever happened with Manson and Courtney Love’s relationship?

In 2014, 15 years after the conclusion of the tour it seemed like Love and Manson patched up their differences. In December of 2014 Courtney Love posted an image on Instagram of her with Manson and Smashing Pumpkins leader Bill Corgan with a caption that read “all hatchets buried.” In a 2015 interview with Esquire Manson elaborated on their relationship saying “We never reall had a falling out. We’ve always been weird with each other beause she’s slept with pretty much every one of my friends supposedly. Not me though”

In 2018  Love appeared as a Nurse in Manson’s video for Tattooed in Reverse.