SYSTEM OF A DOWN's Daron Malakian Pays Tribute To Mass Murderer Charles Manson (But He Doesn't Condone Murder!)
Charles Manson is an infamous figure in American history, a man who was more than once single-handedly blamed for ending the innocence of the 60s love movement. Manson was responsible for leading a cult and convincing his disciples to kill nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.
Manson has been an ever-present character in heavy metal, with Marilyn Manson partly naming himself after the killer (something Charles seemed okay with in a letter he sent to the younger Manson). The house where the murders were committed was where Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor recorded his hit album The Downward Spiral. And, turns out Manson had a huge influence on another metal head, System of A Down's Daron Malakian. Malakian posted an arguably controversial tribute to the mass murder, focusing instead on (squints) his positive traits?
"Very sad to hear the news about Charles Manson’s death. During the time I was writing the Toxicity album, Manson’s interviews and music were a big influence on me as an artist. I titled the song #ATWA after Manson’s environmental organization. My interest was in the way he articulated his thoughts and his views on society, not in the murders. The painting in this photo is one I asked my dad to paint with the Charles Manson theme, which I later used as the art for the #ScarsOnBroadway song ‘Fucking’ that was released through limited vinyl. #charlesmanson#mansonfamily"
Malakian included this photo:
For a guy who has been very outspoken about Armenian genocide, it strikes me as a bit odd that he would proudly display a swastika in his home and also romanticized a mass murderer. Some fans of Daron's clearly felt the same way and called him out in the comments. Daron then responded with a comment trying to defend himself:
“If all you know about Manson is what you’ve be sold by the media… I don’t blame you for you negative comments. But the other side of Manson was that he was a song writer who’s song ‘Look at your Game’ was covered by Guns n Roses. Manson also had very valid view points on the society and the environment that even some of you people who are calling me disgusting couldn’t argue with if you took the time to look into his interviews. I would say you would be the disgusting ones if you disagree with him on some of these topics. If Manson was just some idiot who killed people he wouldn’t inspire me in any way. I don’t back murders or murderers in any way shape or form!!!!! Manson was a Genius who could articulate his thoughts in very clever ways. That was the Manson who affected me as an artist. For all of you who say your happy he is dead and he should burn in your imaginary Hell, Your [sic] the ones who should be ashamed of yourselves. You seam [sic] to be just as bad with your thoughts as the murderers you same that you hate so much!!!!
There is so much to unpack in this second statement, it's hard to know where to start, but if you find yourself saying something like "If Manson was just some idiot who killed people he wouldn’t inspire me in any way. I don’t back murders or murderers in any way shape or form!" – to me, it seems you've already lost your argument. Nobody starts a defense of Hitler by going "look, if we look past all the mass killings…" Sorry, that's not allowed.
But what do you think? Should Charles Manson be celebrated? Is that the dumbest question I've ever ended a post with? Chime in!