Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Henry Rollins, Charles Manson: a match made in punk heaven

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 11:55 AM

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Henry Rollins shoots his mouth off about a lot of stuff -- and that's why we love him. (He rolls through Lawrence fairly frequently; read Ian Hrabe's review of the man's most recent spitballing at Liberty Hall here.) But: did you know that Rollins kinda bro'd down with famed serial killer Charles Manson, back in the day? Once upon a time, Rollins was enlisted to produce Manson's record -- but, of course, shit went haywire, as it tends to do when an incarcerated serial killer is involved.

The Guardian reports that Charles Manson once used Rollins' help in "mixing and releasing an album of acoustic pop songs." SST -- the label behind Sonic Youth and Rollins' Black Flag -- had decided to release the album. (Manson, obviously, was still locked up, for the psychosis/Beatles-fueled Tate/Labianca murders in the late '60s.) Apparently, a string of death threats forced Rollins' label, SST, to call off the project. The album was ironically called Completion, and the songs were never released -- five copies exist. Two are Rollins', and the other three are supposedly with Manson in prison. Still, the idea of Manson and Rollins communicating has hundreds of Rollins fans wishing they were flies on the wall.

According to Flavorwire, Rollins said: "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.

"At the time I was very young and having him write me letters made me feel 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."

Wow.

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