‘The Inhibition,’ the ‘frozen’ dance Charles Manson taught Beach Boy Dennis Wilson in 1968
09:06 am

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.

Posted by Oliver Hall
09:06 am
Rudy Wurlitzer: Two-Lane Blacktop And Beyond

In reference to Rudy Wurlitzer‘s ‘69 debut, Nog, none other than Thomas Pynchon said: “The novel of bullshit is dead.””  A not bad start for Wurlitzer, the sole member of the piano-making clan who never saw a dime (or not many) from his family name.

Tracing the often-psychedelic wanderlust of its title character who was either insane or drug-addicted (or both), Nog brought Wurlitzer a certain degree of fame as a novelist, but he’s perhaps best known, and celebrated, for his screenwriting.  His collaboration with Sam Peckinpah yielded the Bob Dylan-scored Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.  Two years before that, though, he and Monte Hellman pulled off one of my all-time cinematic favorites, Two-Lane Blacktop.

Starring James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (both looking shockingly boyish) as eternally drifting drivers, Two-Lane featured sparse dialogue and even sparser performances.  Visually, though, it’s pure poetry, and, to me, a still-vital piece of American existentialism—especially in its final moment.  The trailer for Two-Lane follows below.

And just up at Chuck Palahniuk‘s website, an excellent, yet typically elusive, interview with Wurlitzer where he discusses everything from Dylan to Pynchon.  Regarding his new-ish novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder, Wurlitzer also addresses, politely, “l’affaire de Jim Jarmusch.”  Apparently, the director “pillaged” from Wurlitzer the raw material he’d later shape into Dead Man.  You can read the interview here.

See also in Arthur Magazine: ON THE DRIFT: Rudy Wurlitzer and the Road to Nowhere

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
03:30 pm