via Sunset Gunshots
I thought I had long ago digested every crumb of gossip about the Beach Boys-Manson family connection, but one of the Charlie obits I read this week brought a screaming headline from the December 21, 1968 issue of Record Mirror to my attention: “DENNIS WILSON: ‘I LIVE WITH 17 GIRLS.’”
In the interview, conducted the year before the Tate-LaBianca murders, Wilson muses about turning the Manson girls into a group called “the Family Gems,” and says he’s been writing songs with their guru, “a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years.” Charlie, Wilson says, also taught him a dance step called “the Inhibition,” a kind of visualization exercise. (Wouldn’t “Do the Inhibition” have made a boss A-side for the Family Gems’ first 45?) From the interview:
I still believe in meditation and I’m not experimenting with tribal living. I live in the woods in California, near Death Valley, with 17 girls. They’re space ladies. And they’d make a great group. I’m thinking of launching them as the Family Gems.
How did you come to meet up with no less than 17 girls?
It happened strangely. I went up into the mountains with my houseboy to take an LSD trip. We met two girls hitchhiking. One of them was pregnant. We gave them a lift, and a purse was left in the car. About a month later, near Malibu, I saw the pregnant girl again, only this time she’d had her baby. I was overjoyed for her and it was through her that I met all the other girls. I told them about our involvement with the Maharishi and they told me they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years. His mother was a hooker, his father was a gangster, he’d drifted into crime but when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now. He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him. He taught me a dance, The Inhibition. You have to imagine you’re a frozen man and the ice is thawing out. Start with your fingertips, then all the rest of you, then you extend it to a feeling that the whole universe is thawing out. . .
Are you supporting all these people?
No, if anything, they’re supporting me. I had all the rich status symbols—Rolls Royce, Ferrari, home after home. Then I woke up, gave away 50 to 60 per cent of my money. Now I live in one small room, with one candle, and I’m happy, finding myself.
Below, at 3:38, the Beach Boys play the Manson and Wilson-penned tune “Never Learn Not to Love” on The Mike Douglas Show.