Friday, March 18, 2011

Neil Young and Charles Manson

The Relationship Between Neil Young and Charles Manson... Mar 16, 2011 -  by Mark Wallace

Neil Young is an elder statesman of rock, Charles Manson a notorious mass murderer, but their paths crossed for a while in 1968, with interesting results...

In 1968 Neil Young and Charles Manson were both wannabe songwriters on the Topanga Canyon scene, Young right at the scene’s centre and Manson hovering jealously on the fringes. Young, of course, had already achieved a certain amount of prominence in his time with Buffalo Springfield, who had had a minor hit with “For What It’s Worth”, and he had released his self-titled debut album to a muted reception.  Manson’s track record was less promising, as he had spent much of his life in correctional institutions, but now he had made some influential friends, notably Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, who was trying to get Manson a record deal, and who introduced Manson to Young. Coincidentally, Young and Manson share a 12 November birthday, but separated by 11 years: Manson was born in 1934, Young in 1945.

1968: Young meets Manson
Young remembers Manson as being “a little uptight, a little too intense. Frustrated artist.” (McDonough, 287) However, when Manson picked up his guitar and played a few songs, Young was strongly impressed: “[He] made up songs as he went along, new stuff all the time, no two songs were the same.”

Young recommended Manson to Mo Ostin, president of Warner Brothers, but it never got any further. Reminiscing years later, Young was clearly still somewhat enthralled by Manson’s force of personality: “He was an angry man. But brilliant… He sounds like Dylan when he talks.” (McDonough, 288) He went even further: “He’s like one of the main movers and shakers of time – when you look back at Jesus and all these people, Charlie was like that.”

1974: “Revolution Blues”
On Young’s 1974 album On the Beach, he included a song about Manson, “Revolution Blues”, culminating in the couplet: “I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars/ But I hate them worse than lepers, and I’ll kill them in their cars.” Subtle it’s not, but a pretty extreme sentiment for a rock star, one illustrating just how far Young has deviated from the gently melancholic country rock, the “Heart of Gold”-type stuff, that is still what he is most publicly known for.

For his part, Manson said in a 1995 interview from prison in California that all his old musician friends “didn’t give a sh*t” – except Neil Young, who once gave him a motorcycle. (McDonough, 287) When Young’s biographer related this to Young, he seemed oddly pleased to have won Manson’s approval: “So Charlie remembers me too, huh? Everybody else ripped him off. I gave him a motorcycle. I turn out to be a good guy.”

Read more at Suite101: The Relationship Between Neil Young and Charles Manson 


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

The bulk of Wallace's article, seems to be taken from:

•McDonough, Jimmy, Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography (Random House, 2002) noted.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hi Bob,

I'm looking forward to the book discussion myself.
I've already read a few pages.
No rush though...
When everyone has indicated they've read the first section, I'll post the thread.

I bought this book so long ago, I forgot how small the print was. LOL
I think I might be opting for the "large print edition" for future purchases! hahaha
Tough to get old...

katie8753 said...

Hi guys. I posted this on the previous thread, but want to make sure you all saw it.

>>>Actually there's also a picture of Pat doing a similar sign. I think it was some sign language they developed.>>>

katie8753 said...

Boy she did have hairy arms! LOLOL.

katie8753 said...

It says that picture was taken after Pat was in prison for several years.

Boy, did Olan Mills go over there for portrait sittings?? HA HA

Yes she does look quite happy. I guess she thought maybe some day she'd get out.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Bob said>>>>
"neil compared the old testament god killing off undesirable people with himself chopping down a long row of pine tree's he had planted & didnt want anymore".

He was once asked why he frequently came-and-went from his band Crazy Horse, and CSN.
He said (paraphrasing)... "music is like planting a field. Sometimes you have to let that field lie dormant (un-planted) for a season, to make it fertile again".

As a musician... I couldn't agree more.
Sometimes you have to put things aside for a while... for new inspiration to strike.
You can't beat a dead horse... or, a dead "crazy horse", as it were. LOLOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Personally, I really respect Neil as a musician.
He exhibits a LOT of confidence.

Neil places "over-all performance" (the music carrying it's message), above perfectionism.
He'll frequently leave mistakes on his recordings... for the sake of the greater whole.
Vocals slightly off-pitch... guitars "out" (as musician's say)... playing non-traditional note choices (i.e.,mistakes), etc, etc.
It's just a raw... "I'm gonna play my ass off... and if I make a mistake... who cares" attitude.
"Here I am... like it or not".
It takes a lot of confidence in yourself to operate that way.
Not many musician's are that self-confident.
Most guys now-a-days have techs in the studio for hours, manipulating the music, till it's (artificially) perfect... not Neil.

Neil will also waltz on stage with anyone, anytime, anyplace... and tackle any song... unrehearsed.
"Have guitar will travel".
Again... that takes a lot of nuts.
Most musicians, would want to know the 2-3 songs they're "sitting-in" on, 2 weeks in advance, so they can practice every note... as not to look stupid on stage.
Not Neil... let'a play mofo... "if I make a mistake... who cares... I'll just play even louder". LOLOL

I've seen Neil make a serious blunder... and then when the chorus comes around again... he'll intentionally make the same mistake a second time, as if it's part of the song!!!!
He's got balls... if nothing else.
Greg Allman did that frequently... making mistakes a new part of the song.

Also... LOL
Neil has proven he needs no one but himself.
He'll walk from any band, if he feels the notion.
Again... it takes guts, to just up and leave an established sitaution.
It's not for the faint of heart.
Most musicians wait their whole life for an "established situation".

Massey Hall... Neil waltzes on-stage alone... pulls-up a stool... whips out an acoustic guitar... and lays down a powerful performance by himself.
Again... the guy's gut sack.

That's my take on neil Young.
I see him do stuff without flinching, that would make the average amateur (and the vast majority most professionals) cringe.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Pat is one hairy Mama!! hahaha

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Bob said>>>
"she sure looks happier than her last parole hearing video, of course there was optimisum back when that photo was taken, not to mention a totally different setting".

She did look a lot happier in those days, didn't she?

After seeing Leslie and Bobby denied over and over... and Susan denied on her death bed... Pat can't be feeling too good about her chances at this point.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Yeah Bob... Neil gives an honest performance.

He's not the best vocalist that ever lived, and he's not even the best guitarist that ever lived... but, he definitely leaves it all on-stage.
He gives the audience everything he's got, from beginning to end.

I don't think Neil ever accepted money for a ticket, without doing everything within his soul, to earn that money.

I respect the man's ethic.

katie8753 said...

Wow I didn't know all that about Neil Young. I just knew he was with Crosby, Stils & Nash. I've never read any where that he knew Manson. Interesting!

katie8753 said...

I meant Crosby, Stills & Nash. HA HA.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...




LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

"Neil Percival Young,(born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation.

Young began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash as a fourth member in 1969.

He then forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, releasing his first album in 1968; his career has since spanned over 40 years and 34 studio albums, with a continual and uncompromising exploration of musical styles.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers".

He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice: first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

Young's work is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and signature falsetto/tenor singing voice.

Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and clawhammer acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varyingly ragged and melodic sound.

Young has also adopted elements from newer styles such as alternative rock and grunge. His influence on the latter caused some to dub him the "Godfather of Grunge".

Young lives on his ranch in La Honda, California.

Kimchi said...

Man, I had to google La Honda, never heard of it - LOL...Bay Area..nice place.

I saw CSN about a year ago...wanted to hear Stills do For What Its Worth but they cut the concert by 10 songs...the venue was only 1/2 full - bet if Neil was with them it wouldn't have been..I had front row was awesome.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

The CSN concert sounds like a blast Kimchi!!

Ken Kesey (the guy who wrote Cuckoo's Nest) and his "Merry Pranksters", from the famous "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" took-up residence in a place called."La Honda" for a stretch.
(That's my favorite book of all time)

I'm not sure if it's the same La Honda though...
I've gotta look that up.

Kimchi said...

I just found out Paul Krassner lives out here..pretty close to Palm Springs..blew me's a small town and I've been there many times...Eric Burdon lives out that way too in Joshua Tree (close to where they burned Graham Parsons)...good ol Phil Kaufman..wonder where he is?

Kimchi said...

I should have said Desert Hot Springs is a small town..not Palm Springs..duh..

Kimchi said...

About 8 years ago I worked with this lady that had an autistic son, she belonged to all these organizations for autism, one day she told me she's friends with Neil Young, was telling me he was really into model trains and all..I'm like "yeah, yeah"...then she brought in pictures of her and her son with Neil and his son....she said "would you like to meet him?" "yeah, sure, whatever" (before I was into this 60's trivia and all)...well, I transferred then she retired...pisses me off..chance of a lifetime..and I let it slip away..the questions I would ask him now..sigh..

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Quite honestly Kimchi... I'm from Massachusets..
you could tell me just about anything, and I'd believe it...I don't know one Spring from another out there! : )

You're my "resident in Hollywood".
I'll have to take your word on it! LOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Oh man Kimchi... talk about a missed opportunity huh? Bummer!

You're right though...
Evidently, Neil is quite sympathetic to special needs children... and does a lot of charitable work.
His children have issues of their own... and Neil is epilieptic.

Today, I was reading:

"Young is an outspoken advocate for environmental issues and the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded in 1985 the benefit concert Farm Aid.

In 1986, Young helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities, and its annual supporting Bridge School Benefit concerts, together with his wife Pegi Young (née Morton).

Young has three children: sons Zeke (born during his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress) and Ben, who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and daughter Amber Jean, like Young himself, with epilepsy".

Kimchi said...

You ought to do a post on the 6 degrees of separation..or I should say helter skelter..

We have some stories..true stories..

No, not from Hollywood, closer to Monrovia, Leslie's home town..

OK, I'll shut up now.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Kimchi said>>>>

"You ought to do a post on the 6 degrees of separation..or I should say helter skelter..

We have some stories..true stories..

No, not from Hollywood, closer to Monrovia, Leslie's home town..

OK, I'll shut up now".

If you want me to start a thread, so you and others, can relate cool stories regarding Leslie, and her home town of Monrovia...
that's fantastic.
I'll leave that up to you.
I'll even let you choose the name of the thread... so it will be most accurate, for what you want to tell everyone!

Just let me know... and the floor is all yours Kimchi!!