Marilyn Manson recently spoke with The Guardian to promote his upcoming album, Heaven Upside Down. During the interview, Manson reminisced about one of the most turbulent times in his career, when he was being blamed for the Columbine High School shootings.

After the 1999 massacre, numerous groups searched for a scapegoat to blame for the violence. Many attributed the actions of the two shooters to violent video games and edgy rock music. The blame didn’t stick forever, but according to Manson, it left a lasting mark on his prosperity in the 21st century.

“If your parents give you money to buy a clean version of my record at Walmart, you might as well go there, buy a gun instead, take it into your own hands, do whatever you want,” Manson tells The Guardian. “Give them the money and let them make their own choice: guns or records. If [the Columbine killers] had just bought my records, they would be better off.”

Manson goes on to attribute the Columbine blame for diminishing album sales he experienced after the massacre. “Certain people blame me for the shootings at schools – I think my numbers are low, and hopefully they go up on this record. That’s going to be a great pull-quote for you. But, honestly, the Columbine era destroyed my entire career at the time.”

1998’s Mechanical Animals has sold 1.4 million copies in the U.S. alone. Just two years later, following the events of Columbine, Manson released Holy Wood, which only moved 573,000 copies in the U.S. Mechanical Animals is, in fact, Manson’s last platinum album in the U.S. as of this posting.

Check out the full interview at The Guardian and get ready for Marilyn Manson’s Heaven Upside Down to drop on Oct. 6.

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