Marilyn Manson T-shirt Sparks Controversy

January 30, 1998 12:00 AM ET

A Texas teenager who was arrested last week for wearing a Marilyn Manson T-shirt is now getting support from Winterland Productions, the company who produced the shirt.

When the police in New Braunfels, Texas, arrested John Schroeder, an 18-year-old high school student, they violated his First Amendment right to wear that article of clothing, according to a spokesman for Winterland. "We will not print messages of hate or violence, but we have and will continue to print the artistic messages of our musicians -- some that are controversial, and many that are not," said Donn Tice, CEO of Winterland.

Schroeder was arrested on obscenity charges by a police officer who was working in a New Braunfels grocery store as a security guard. Schroeder and his mother were shopping when the security guard approached Schroeder and told him he'd have to leave the store because the slogan on his T-shirt -- "I am the god of f***" -- was offensive to some of the store's customers. The slogan is the opening line to Manson's first CD, Portrait of an American Family, which was produced by Trent Reznor.

To make matters worse, the officer made Schroeder sit on a bench in front of the store in order to humiliate him when customers walked by, according to his mother, Olga Schroeder. Schroeder was then taken to the county jail, where he stayed for three hours before posting a $250 bond.

"This is about freedom of expression, not a criminal matter," said Diana Phillip, regional director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Texas, which is defending Schroeder.

Winterland's Tice said his company has been printing concert paraphernalia for the likes of The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Madonna for the past 30 years. "Every generation has its rebels, its shockers and its rockers. Through the generations, some have been offended, some have been delighted. With the exception of some self-styled vigilantes, most reasonable people have gotten used to it."

When JAMTV contacted Interscope Records to find out Marilyn Manson's reaction to the matter, we were told he was holed up in a studio working on a follow-up to 1997's Antichrist Superstar and therefore was unavailable for comment.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »