25 Years Ago: Marilyn Manson Releases His Debut Album "Portrait of an American Family"

July 19, 2019

After he dropped "Spooky Kids" from his band's name, Marilyn Manson dropped his debut album Portrait of an American Family on July 19th, 1994. The album proved to be an early look at what Manson's musical career would explode into, launching him to be one of the most influential and controversial artists in rock.

Portrait of an American Family rang true for many young, alienated outcasts, who donned Manson's t-shirts with pride as they rocked out to songs like "Get Your Gunn," "Dope Hat," and "Lunchbox." But before it reached gold status, the album found the support of Trent Reznor and his label "Nothing," while making not-so-subtle references to Alice Cooper, White Zombie and Revolting Cocks.

Although his follow-up album Antichrist Superstar would leave it in its shadow, Portrait of an American Family set the stage for Manson's most volatile era where he would get into fights, cut his body onstage, bait the audience, perform self-flagellation, and much more. And it wasn't until Reznor jumped on as Manson's producer where the album was able to match the fire and ferocity his live shows.

Manson began started working on the album in July 1993 with his first producer Roli Mosimann at Miami's Criterial Studios. He would merge his own material with the Spooky Kids' most popular tracks, except the mashups didn't quite sound the way they had hoped. Mosimann was aiming to cover the album in dirty grooves, but was not living up to the raw and unhinged sound that Manson wanted. It was then when Reznor took over the role of producer for the album where it finally began to take shape.