A new record of Charles Manson's bluesy guitar songs from prison is for sale, thanks to the help of Kickstarter.
After Manuel Vasquez, the co-owner of a small independent music store in Los Angeles, was "encouraged" by the infamous mass murderer and cult leader to produce recordings on vinyl, he turned to the Internet to raise the thousands he needed to produce the records.
"This project is not about death, drugs, 1969, etc ... It is about MUSIC," Vasquez wrote on the fundraiser page.
After raising $4,099 — $99 over his goal — Vasquez is selling 500 records that he himself pressed out of his Hollywood store, which is reportedly located close to where Manson and his cult members went on a murder spree in 1969 that left eight people dead. Kickstarter donors are listed in the liner notes.
At 40 minutes long, Vasquez told the LA Times that most people "won't like" 12 singles (interspersed with poetry and commentary) and that it's "probably an acquired taste." The front cover is a sketch of Manson done by one of his fellow inmates while the back cover is a large geometric drawing by Manson.
A YouTube video includes one of the songs featured on the album, the first verse of which goes as follows:
If this prison yard could talk,
What a story could be told,
Of the things I'd seen that would make,
A strong man's blood run cold.
Though the production and sale of the record is controversial — even Vasquez's parents say they don't understand why he'd want to align himself with Manson — he claims that Manson has more to say.
"I usually tell people that the perspective they have of Manson is what he was convicted for in 1969, not for what he became in prison," Vasquez told the Times, "He is somebody who is obsessed with ecology and saving the earth, the environment and animals. Life is his obsession, not death."
In 2011, Manson went on record to say that global warming is a major threat to the planet.
"If we don’t change that as rapidly as I’m speaking to you now, if we don’t put the green back on the planet and put the trees back that we’ve butchered, if we don’t go to war against the problem," said Manson.
Manson reportedly receives no payments or royalties from the sale of the records, nor has he from any recording released by others in the past.
"It's all about spreading awesome to the world that's never been heard," said a girl in the video for Vasquez's Kickstarter.
"We're helping him out," she added.