In their classic “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd took a swing at Neil Young for talking trash about the South. Now, in the wake of their Tuesday night benefit concert for the Never Forgotten Fund to raise scholarship money for Columbine High School students, the seminal southern rockers have singled out Marilyn Manson for, well, singing trash.
“We want to challenge Marilyn Manson and the rap people with the bad lyrics to write some positive songs,” Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington was quoted as saying in the Denver Post two days after the band’s show at the Fillmore auditorium. Manson’s songs, along with those of the German group Rammstein, were cited by some pundits early on as flaming the angst of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
“You don’t have to write about killing little girls,” Rossington continued. “If they’re making all this money, let them write about something good in their lives. I’m not blaming them for Columbine, but they have a gift where people listen to their music — try to help a little bit instead of hurt so much.”
During their heyday, Lynyrd Skynyrd earned a reputation as hard-living, two-fisted bruisers, capable of even drinking the always-excessive Keith Moon under the table when they toured with the Who. But during all their anti-social antics, and even in the wake of the tragic 1977 plane crash which took the lives of frontman Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and vocalist Cassie Gaines, they’ve always managed to spike even their darkest songs with a positive or hopeful twist. So Manson, reasons Rossington, should be able to do the same.
“If Marilyn Manson would write a song that says, ‘Do your damn homework,’ it would make the world a better place and it wouldn’t hurt him at all,” said Rossington. “And if he doesn’t like it, to hell with him. He can come fight us — by the bicycle racks.”