Monday, August 25, 2014
Alex Chilton, Dennis... and Charlie
Now many of you won't recognize the name, but you've all heard his music somewhere along the way.
At the Age of 16, he became the lead singer of a band called The Box Tops and had a number one hit, with a song called "The Letter" (Gimme a Ticket for an Airplane, Ain't got Time to take a fast Train).
They had a bunch of other Top Ten Hits, and in the early 70s he moved-on to form the seminal power pop band Big Star.
When he was in the Box Tops, he did a few tours with the Beach Boys and became friendly with Dennis Wilson... staying at Wilson's house, at the same time as the Manson Family.
"During his stay at Dennis's house in Pacific Palisades, Alex met someone much stranger than Brian Wilson."
"After I was there a couple of days, the whole Manson family moved in," Alex said. Wilson had picked-up a hitchhiking Manson follower, Patricia Krenwinkle... and soon, Manson and the others appeared at Dennis's Hillside Home.
"They completely took over the household, like, sixteen girls and this Charlie Guy hanging around, whom I barely noticed", Alex remembered. "With all these girls running around with short dresses and no underpants, why am I gonna notice this Guy?"
Soon Alex had to take notice of Manson, whose control over his young hippie harem became obvious. Dennis' house overlooked the ocean, high above the Pacific Coast Highway. Alex still didn't have his drivers license, so he decided to walk down the steep hill to the grocery store one day. A Manson girl "got wind of that", Alex Recalled:
"She brought me a big, long shopping list of things that they wanted me to get - and no money to get it". So I said "well its alright". It being the Sixties and California, I thought I could spring for some Groceries.
I had to carry all these groceries back up the hill. When I got back, they looked at the grocery bag and they said "You forgot the Milk!" I said "Aw gee, I'm really sorry I forgot the milk - too bad". By the time I got to the front door, they were standing in the doorway-blocking the door, and they said "Charlie says go get the Milk." The vibes were kind of weird.
Alex decided it was time to leave when he woke-up one morning after a late-night party, and discovered asleep next to him on a large sectional couch, none other than Manson.
Years later, Alex told the story to a friend, who suggested he write a memoir and call it "I slept with Charlie Manson".