Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, And Alice Cooper: Individuality, Creativity And Shock Rock [Opinion]

Johnny Depp and a couple of his best friends, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson have all made a rather shocking mark on the world. What is their point one might ask, and more importantly, what led them to challenge the status quo?

Why does Alice Cooper perform with a guillotine and a snake? What made Marilyn Manson take shock rock further yet? What was Johnny Depp trying to say with his host of charming but occasionally dark movie roles, and why is he now performing musically with both Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson?

Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper, now all close friends, have quite a bit in common, but were there any similarities in their upbringing or childhood circumstances? Even at first glance, there are some similarities.

Johnny Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963. His father was a civil engineer and his mother a waitress. Johnny was exceptionally close to his grandfather who passed away when Johnny was 7-years-old, according to Johnny Depp.Org. Depp’s favorite uncle is a pastor. The Depp family moved often and Johnny Depp found that traumatic.

Alice Cooper was born in Detroit on February 4, 1948. Alice Cooper’s real name is Vincent Damon Furnier. His father was a pastor. The Furnier family also moved around quite a bit, including a time when they lived in an Arizona trailer park, according to Biography.

Marilyn Manson was not the performer’s birth name. Like Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson uses a stage name. Johnny Depp however, never used a stage name, even as a musician.

Marilyn Manson was born Brian Hugh Warner on January 5, 1969. His childhood was traumatic. Marilyn Manson was educated in a private Christian school, which he grew to hate, according to IMDb. Manson was also molested by a neighbor as a child. Marilyn Manson’s father was a Vietnam veteran who once admitted he was scarred by the ordeal. Marilyn quotes his dad in The Guardian.

“Well, when people talk about post-traumatic stress syndrome I don’t think people understand that when you’ve killed so many people and then you have to come back to a normal world, it’s very difficult to adjust to it.”

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Alice Cooper all felt a strange disconnection with the world around them. Like Edward Scissorhands, they never felt they fit into the world of people who consider themselves normal.

Perhaps in Marilyn Manson’s case, he picked up on his father’s dark disconnection with normal life after the horrors of war. For Johnny Depp losing his grandfather and moving no less than 20 times before the age of 12 seems to have interfered with his sense of stability and security.

Alice Cooper, despite his Christian upbringing, or perhaps in some way because of it, presented a lot of questions that were at the core, either moral or spiritual in nature in his music. Eventually, Alice Cooper became a born again Christian.

Marilyn Manson told The Guardian he had created a monster when he made Marilyn Manson.

“I had created a Frankenstein’s monster. There was Marilyn Manson, [a hybridization of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson] but there was no music yet. I created a fake world maybe because I didn’t like the one I was living in. But that’s what made me make music. I had to fill in the gaps I’d created.”

Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp

Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp can both relate. Alice Cooper refers to himself in the third person when he talks about Alice. Vincent isn’t Alice Cooper. There is a definitive line there, perhaps even more so than the one Marilyn Manson feels. Alice Cooper is a character, just like the ones Johnny Depp plays in movies.

Johnny Depp is quoted in Biography, explaining the roots of his own disconnection.

“I made odd noises as a child. Just did weird things, like turn off light switches twice. Puberty was very vague. I literally locked myself in a room and played guitar.”

Marilyn Manson has made sense of his role in life in a different way than Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp. Marilyn told Rolling Stone that his persona is by definition chaos.

“I’m chaos, I’ve always been chaos, my point on Earth is chaos. I’m the third act of every movie you’ve ever seen. I’m the part where it rains and the part where the person you don’t want to die dies. I’m here just to f**k s**t up.”

Now, of course, there is a difference between stage personas and real everyday people. Especially in Alice Cooper’s case, there has always been a heavy line between Alice Cooper and Vincent. Marilyn Manson though seems to enjoy blurring the line occasionally.

Johnn Depp feels every role he ever played is still with him somehow, but still, there is a difference between Johnny Depp and those other people he portrays so faithfully.

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Alice Cooper all offer a different view of the world, an alternative view of the same picture everyone sees. Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Alice Cooper remind their audience that not everything is as it first appears, and through their creativity, they introduce some pretty dark concepts.

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Alice Cooper have explored the darker corners of the human psyche and frightened the public a bit with what they have found. Yet, now the public can hardly complain that no one warned them of that kind of darkness in life and in the human mind.

Damien Echols life was saved by Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson

Johnny Depp has given some meaningful performances, in Edward Scissorhands for example, a strong statement was definitely made. It was a warning against materialism and the dangers of becoming too attached to the status quo, but was it understood and heeded?

Likewise, Alice Cooper presented a darkness that somehow pointed to the greater light, as surely as his father’s preaching pointed to a light. Alice Cooper warned of a burning hellfire but also left a promise of redemption in his Alice Cooper Goes to Hell album. By the time Marilyn Manson came along, perhaps there was very little light left that Marilyn Manson could find.

Marilyn Manson presented a world of darkness and chaos, but it was certainly interesting. Manson’s view of the world as presented in his music is dark but thought-provoking. In Manson’s life, though, he is a loyal friend with a powerful sense of justice. Manson does care deeply about others, as evidenced by his role in Damien Echols’ release from prison. Read more about Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp and Damien Echols on the Inquisitr.


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Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Alice Cooper moved their audiences to feel and hoped they would comprehend that feeling. Shock rock gets a message to society across in a powerful way. Theatrics and music set a tone and a mood.

After Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper, where will shock rock go, and what is left that might shock the next generation?

[Featured Image by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images]