Although Charles Manson didn’t actually write “Never Learn Not To Love” for the Beach Boys, he did in fact, write a number titled “Cease to Exist” that drummer Dennis Wilson—a friend of Manson’s in the late 1960s—convinced his cleancut brethren to record for their 20/20 album
Dennis even arranged for Manson to get some studio time in Brian Wilson’s home studio and let him and his entourage crash in his mansion for a while.
Manson’s original “Cease to Exist” lyrics go like this
Pretty girl, pretty, pretty girl
Cease to Exist
Just come and say you love me
Give up your world
C’mon you can see
I’m your kind, I’m your kind
You can see
Walk on, walk on
I love you pretty girl
My life is yours and
You can have my world
Never had a lesson
I ever learned
But I know we all get our turn
I love you
Submission is a gift
Go on, give it to your brother
Love and understanding is for one another
I’m your kind, I’m your kind
I’m your mind
I’m your brother
I never had a lesson I ever learned
But I know we all get our turn
And I love you
Never learned not to love you
I never learned
“I’m your mind”>? “Submission is a gift”? Well, isn’t that special?
The Beach Boys’ version changed the key phrase to “cease to resist,” but otherwise left the lyrics and melody essentially unchanged. Dennis Wilson sings lead vocal, a rarity, and the Beach Boys supply their famous group harmonies and dense production. There’s an ominous intensity to the recording; even divorced from Manson, it conveys a vaguely sinister edge, with its tribal rhythm and hypnotic chants.
“Never Learn Not To Love” was originally released as the B-side to the “Bluebirds Over The Mountain” single in November of 1968, but was credited solely to Dennis Wilson who Manson owed money to. The story goes that when Manson heard the song, with the lyrics altered, he threw a fit and went to Wilson’s house with a loaded gun. When he found out the Wilson wasn’t there, he took a bullet from the gun and told his housekeeper to give it to Dennis with a cryptic message.
Dennis WIlson wasn’t the only one impressed with Manson. None other than Neil Young said of him:
“He had this kind of music that nobody else was doing. He would sit down with a guitar and start playing and making up stuff, different every time. It just kept comin’ out, comin’ out. Then he would stop and you would never hear that one again. Musically, I thought he was very unique. I thought he had something crazy, something great. He was like a living poet.”
Young even gave Manson a motorcycle!
Here are the Beach Boys performing the song on The Mike Douglas Show:
Henry Rollins has had one fascinating life. He was in one of the most important punk bands of all time, he played Vanilla Ice in a music video, he has been the voiceover actor for Infiniti, he had a talk show on IFC, he had a small part in Jack Frost.....
In the 1980s Rollins also produced a full album by Charles Manson for SST, which would have made the noted psychopath and cult leader, who wanted to bring about a race war, labelmates with Bad Brains. The release of the album, entitled Completion, was cancelled due to safety concerns. Only five copies of the album were ever pressed; two belong to Rollins and the other three apparently are Manson’s.
In December 2010, Rollins participated in an event at the Echoplex in Los Angeles to benefit the Santa Monica radio station KCRW in which he played a variety of ultra-rare tracks, including a live rendition of “Pay to Cum” from the second show Bad Brains ever played, the first-ever Fugazi demo (“Waiting Room”), several Black Flag rarities, and one of the songs from the Manson album Rollins produced for SST. When he played the track—the title of which has, to my knowledge, not been made public—Rollins joked, “I can hear you all listening to your hair grow.”
In 2008 Rollins told the NME of the correspondence with Manson that led to the recordings:
“He wrote me a letter out of the blue once and he said, ‘I saw you on MTV and I thought you were pretty cool’.
“So we corresponded a few times in 1984; I’d just tell him about what we were doing with our new record and he’d send back semi-lucid responses.
“He made references to The Beach Boys stealing his ideas, which sounded like sour grapes, and told me to tell everybody else to take care of wildlife. That must have been the old hippy in him talking.”
Rollins outlined that he was very young when he started corresponding with Manson—who was sentenced to life in 1971 for the infamous Manson Family Murders which took place two years earlier.
“At the time I was very young and having him write me letters made me feel very intense and heavy,” he said. “I’d always know I’d have a letter in my PO Box from him because the woman behind the counter at the post office would give you this awful look.
“His letters would always have swastikas on them so they were easy to spot.”
According to a 2010 article in The Guardian, “A lawyer representing Manson wrote to SST, asking them to help complete and release a collection of Manson’s songs. Then as now, Manson was serving a life sentence for his role in the Tate/LaBianca murders. ... Rollins agreed to produce the songs but a string of death threats forced SST to call off the project.”
In the mind of almost everyone, Manson is first and foremost a homicidal lunatic. It’s quite clear that in his own mind, Manson is first and foremost a musician. During his detainment before his 1971 trial, Manson was “very anxious for his music to be heard” and enlisted his friend Phil Kaufman to get his music released. Indeed, an album called Lie: The Love & Terror Cult was released on March 6, 1970. As recently as 2010-11 Manson has released two albums of folk music on Magic Bullet Records called Air and Trees. Here’s “Gas Chamber,” a track from Air.
Steve McQueen was one of several Hollywood celebrities placed on a “Death List” allegedly compiled by Charles Manson. The other names were Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones.
On August 9th, 1969, members of Manson’s “Family” carried out the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and 4 of her friends.
McQueen had briefly dated Tate, and had planned to visit the actress the night of her death.
In December 1969, Manson and the killers had been arrested.
When McQueen heard he might be targeted by Manson’s followers, he started carrying a gun. In October 1970, a still cautious McQueen wrote to his lawyer to find out if any “Family” members were still active, and to have his gun license renewed.
A SOLAR PRODUCTION
October 17, 1970
Mr. Edward Rubin
Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048
As you know, I have been selected by the Manson Group to be marked for death, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. In some ways I find it humorous, and in other ways frighteningly tragic. It may be nothing, but I must consider it may be true both for the protection of myself and my family.
At the first possible time, if you could pull some strings and find out unofficially from one of the higher-ups in Police whether, again unofficially, all of the Manson Group has been rounded up and/or do they feel that we may be in some danger.
Secondly, if you would call Palm Springs and have my gun permit renewed, it was only for a year, and I should like to have it renewed for longer as it is the only sense of self-protection for my family and myself, and I certainly think I have good reason.
Please don’t let too much water go under the bridge before this is done, and I’m waiting for an immediate reply.
Save for the Kennedy assassination, coincidence has perhaps never coagulated with the same deeply improbable intensity as it did around the Manson killings.
Stranger still is the manner in which coincidence seems to knit the Tate/LaBianca murders together with both Rosemary’s Baby (a great film) and “the White Album” (a great record), as if all three were somehow of a piece—and in a sense that goes beyond the former’s being directed by Polanski, or the latter’s inspiring Manson’s derided “Helter Skelter” scenario.
Take, as a mere appetizer, the possibility that the Beatles may have stayed (and dropped acid) at 10050 Cielo Drive in the mid-sixties, something (apparently unwittingly) implied by John Lennon during a 1974 Rolling Stone interview.
And then, well, we just decided to take LSD again in California…We were on tour, in one of those houses, like Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay. And the three of us took it. Ringo, George and I… And a couple of the Byrds… Crosby and the other guy, who used to be the leader… McGuinn. I think they came round, I’m not sure, on a few trips.
Terry Melcher, of course, was Doris Day’s son, the Byrds’ producer, Manson’s almost-producer, and Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski’s predecessor at 10050 Cielo Drive.
In normal circumstances, Mother Superior could very well be accused of having jumped the gun were we to therefore conclude that the Beatles probably had sat turning their minds inside-out within the very walls that would—a few years later—have their as-yet unwritten song-titles scrawled upon them in blood (as if the killers were tracing indentations made by psychic shrapnel). Circumstances, however, are anything but normal…
In the spring of 1968—a handful of years after those mooted sojourns at Cielo Drive—the Beatles made their pilgrimage to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Valley of the Saints in Rishikesh, part of a sparkling celebrity coterie that included Mia Farrow and Mike Love. For the next couple of months, the days were mostly spent in epic bouts of Transcendental Meditation, as the Maharishi attempted to guide the most famous men in the world—who he himself described as “angels”—towards “total consciousness.” The Beatles, though, would spend much of their spare time writing songs – particularly Lennon, who found they were veritably “pouring out.”
Many of these new tunes would find their way onto the Beatles’ next LP, “the White Album.” One such was Lennon’s “Dear Prudence,” which playfully chided Prudence Farrow, Mia Farrow’s sister, for excessive metaphysical studiousness.
Mia Farrow herself had only recently completed filming Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Her exquisite performance as Rosemary—a resident of New York’s Dakota building, impregnated with an anti-Christ by a coven of neighboring witches—surely meant she arrived in the Valley of the Saints carrying some very interesting inner baggage. Certainly her stay would leave its mark on history—most chroniclers ascribing some rumored sexual impropriety (or worse) on the part of the Maharishi towards Farrow as being the principal reason for Lennon and Harrison’s (the last remaining Beatles) acrimonious departure that August.
Lennon later claimed that, while packing his bags, he came up with the rudiments of another tune destined for “the White Album,” “Sexy Sadie,” four syllables that supplanted the original—and extremely libelous—“Maharishi.” The same four syllables would also find themselves supplanting the name of Manson Family Tate/LaBianca murderess Susan Atkins—known in the Family as “Sadie Mae Glutz” prior to Manson’s fateful encounter with “the White Album.” Before falling in with Manson, Atkins was an associate of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. LaVey is said to have served as an unaccredited technical adviser on Rosemary’s Baby.
Incidentally, Lennon and Harrison’s jaded view of the Maharishi was such that, when their protracted flight from Rishikesh was impeded by a series of disruptions—they were abandoned in a broken-down taxi, and Harrison soon thought he was coming down with dysentery— our ruffled angels feared they had been cursed by their unceremoniously discharged guru. (Echoes, here, of Bobby Beausoleil’s attempted escape from Kenneth Anger, legendarily curtailed by Anger’s magickal locket.)
Around the very time the Beatles were arriving in Rishikesh, meanwhile, Mike Love’s cousin and fellow Beach Boy Dennis Wilson would reportedly pick up hitchhikers (and Manson Family members) Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey in Malibu.
Whether or not this actually happened (Charles Manson, for one, would later contradict this account, saying he first met Wilson at the house of a mutual friend’s) Wilson would definitely spend the following months as a sponsor and de facto member of the Family—footing the bill for their VD treatments (and much more besides), introducing Manson to industry figures like Neil Young and Terry Melcher, and so on.
Although Death Valley—in apparent contradistinction to the Valley of the Saints—sounded like an overtly hedonistic and nihilistic environment, Manson arguably presided over a commune no less spiritually preoccupied than the Maharishi’s, and Mike Love and Dennis Wilson seemed similarly as well as simultaneously attracted to their Ying/Yang gurus. But it appears positively miraculous that Wilson would be fraternizing with Manson while his cousin, on the other side of the world, would be fraternizing with the Beatles at the very time the songs were “pouring out” for “the White Album,” some of which would find themselves daubed on the walls at Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate’s blood, and two of which concerned Prudence and Mia Farrow, the latter having only just starred in a role once earmarked for Tate herself…
And that, as aficionados know only too well, ain’t even the half of it. (A little more to come from me on the topic though, shortly.)
Real life villains get the “Legion of Doom” treatment by Brazilian designer and illustrator Butcher Billy.
Some might say all art is a reflection of the times we live in.
If back in the day comics and movies were pretty naive and faced only as pure escapism, today’s fiction has to evoke reality to create something truly meaningful… and frightening.
This series is an experiment where a dictator, a psycho, a murderer (sometimes they are the whole package) or even a suspicious figure from real life is mashed with a comics bad guy - strangely related some way or the other with his counterpart.
The depressing thing? Realising that if the comic book supervillains were actually the ones threatening real life, the world wouldn’t be such a bad place.
A postcard written last month from Charles Manson to Marilyn Manson:
To Marilyn Manson –
It’s taken me a long time to get there from where I could touch M. Manson. Now I got a card to play – you may look into my non-profit, ATWA, and give Manson what you think he’s got coming for Air, Trees, Water, and you. Or I will pay Manson what you think Manson got coming – the music has make Manson into Abraxas Devil, and I’m SURE you would want some of what I got from what I got. It’s a far out balance. Beyond good and bad, right, wrong. What you don’t do is what I will do – what you did a sing-along, and let it roll and said how you saved me a lot of steps – I don’t need, it’s not a need or a want. Couped – coup. Ghost dancers slay together and you’re just in my grave Sunstroker Corona-coronas-coronae – you seen me from under with it all standing on me. That’s 2 dump trucks – doing the same as CMF 000007
I can’t comment because I have no fucking clue what this means…
Charles Manson, the right man for the right time. If he hadn’t existed, society damn well would have created him - a nail in the coffin of the counterculture, the peace movement and the Aquarian Age. Jim Thompson meets “Be Here Now.” When Rolling Stone goes so far as to call him “the most dangerous man alive” you know the hype machine is in overdrive. I can think of dozens of men who were alive in the the 1960s and 70s who were far more dangerous than Manson…starting with Richard Nixon, William Calley and the CEOs of Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical, the creators of Agent Orange and napalm.
Think what you will, Charley occasionally makes some good points…in those moments of clarity when he’s not a raving lunatic.
Charlie Rose is unusually tightlipped in this interview, thank goodness.
Charles “Tex” Watson, 65, the Manson Family murderer who once described himself as Charles Manson’s “right hand man,” was denied parole again today for the 14th time at Mule Creek State Prison, Sacramento. Watson is serving life in prison for his role in the slaying of pregnant film actress Sharon Tate and four others, in Beverly Hills on August 9, 1969 and the deaths of grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, the following night.
Watson was originally sentenced to death, a fate, like Manson’s own sentence, that was later overturned. He has spent over four decades in California prisons, marrying, divorcing and fathering four children. He is now an ordained Christian minister and has written a book. From LA Now:
On Watson’s ministry website, he says, he believed Manson “offered utopia, but in reality, he had a destructive world view, which Charles ended up believing in and acting upon. His participation in the 1969 Manson murders is a part of history that [Watson] deeply regrets.” He notes that he confessed to his crimes but it took him time to admit the horrible acts to himself. Watson argues he is a changed man and model prisoner who is seeking to better society.
On his website, Watson explains his feelings toward the victims at the time. “The night of the murders, I tried to medicate my pain with methamphetamines, but actually, it made it easier to turn my rebellion, fear and anger loose on my victims. Anyone outside the family had become the establishment, pigs—it was us and them. My life had come to mean nothing, so everyone’s life meant nothing. Death lost its meaning since the end of the world was near,” he wrote.
“I had no emotional attachments with my victims, whom I had never met. Yet, during the murders, I remember conflicting feelings would arise in a flash, but were overcome because Manson’s law was greater than my conscience. He promised us a life free of fear and judgment.”
Manson follower Charles ‘Tex’ Watson denied parole (LA Times)
Manson (1972) is the razorblade in your Halloween candy bar. Chock full of footage of Manson and his freaky followers, this competently-made and unsettling documentary is a horror show made that much more horrifying by the fact that these folks aren’t acting, they’re real. With subject matter this dark and disturbing, the film makers didn’t have to embellish the story in order to gut punch the audience. All they had to do was point the camera in the right direction and let the film roll. Some of the interviewees have the long-distance stare of the truly mad.
Had the US government wanted to put a stake in the heart of the hippie movement, Manson’s gang of demonic flower children and the mayhem at Altamont provided the perfect opportunities to discredit an entire movement. Along with the death of Sharon Tate and Meredith Hunter, 1969 saw the death of the Aquarian Age.
This is a genius prank (or a principled stand, take your pick—there is no third choice). The kids who are responsible for this magnificent move should all be given full scholarships by the Daily Kos college fund:
Open up the Russellville Middle School yearbook. You’ll see the students’ pictures, the administration, and a pretty controversial list that’s supposed to be covered with a piece of black tape.
“My problem is the tape can be removed easily,” said School Board Member Chris Cloud. Cloud has two kids in the Russellville School District and one brought home the yearbook.
“I’m furious as a parent and as a board member and as a tax payer and as a resident of Russellville,” he said. “It’s wrong.”
If this is wrong, as the song goes, then I don’t wanna be right:
The list is titled “Top 5 worst people of all time.” The top three, in order, are Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. Numbers four and five are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
And here I thought public schools in Arkansas were supposed to be the nation’s worst??? This gives me hope for the next generation!
Superintendent Randall Williams calls the list “an oversight.” Parents caught it after the yearbooks were printed. The district’s solution was to cover the list with tape. It didn’t work.
Superintendent Williams says the yearbook editing process is under review. I’ll bet it is!
Two rather odd experiments using the blue screen effect to put Ann-Margret’s candy-colored intro and reprise to Bye Bye Birdie into a nightmare context. Both are disturbing for different reasons. The Wizard Of Oz clip is almost Buñuelian in its sepia-tinged surrealism. While the sludgy-looking Manson mash-up is just plain creepy.
The Burroughs-Gysin cut-up method applied to one of America’s teen dreams results in something bordering on the horrifying and apocalyptic
Backporch Tapes have just uploaded these two incredible recordings purported to be of Roman Polanski’s lie detector interview with the LAPD August 16 1969, just one week after the murder of his wife, after Sharon Tate.
The overall sound quality is poor, and Polanski sounds confused and upset, but certain questions and answers can be heard clearly - Polanski’s psychological state, his medication, his knowledge of the Polish army, and on the second clip, Polanski’s thoughts about the killer’s motives, and his suggestion of looking for something much more “far out.”
Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969
Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969, in which he discusses possible motive.