What if a guy as crazy as Charlie Manson were talented?


“They offered me $50,000, I said, ‘Keep your money.’ They said, ‘You’re crazy.’ I said, ‘That’s right. Crazier than you’ll ever be.'”

“You women out there…you shouldn’t wear pants, you should be behind your man, staying at home and serving him. Sinners! The time is near now…It’s almost over…here I come, watch out, watch out!”

“The American female, they used to burn them. Not this generation. They let them live.” “That’s right, drink up, smoke up because there’s nothing where you’re going — except eternal hellfire.”

Ever wonder what Charles Manson would have been like if he actually had some musical talent? No, I’m not talking about Phil Spector, but you’re probably on the right track.  Of course Charlie’s murders were really because he got dissed by producer Terry Melcher. Had he had talent he might have become Glenn Schwartz. 

A friend of mine took me to this small sports bar Hoople’s in Cleveland to check out Glenn Schwartz, a man whose insanity is only matched by his guitar skills. Schwartz was the original guitarist of The James Gang, replaced by the dizzy but amusingly harmless Joe Walsh. Jimi Hendrix tabbed him to play his last birthday party. He hit the charts with Pacific Gas and Electric, walked away, joined a cult, was kidnapped and deprogrammed, returned to the cult, left the cult and apparently lives in his parents’ basement. Here’s what I saw: an old man, missing most of his teeth, wearing what amounts to a prison uniform, playing a homemade guitar with roughly the same skill and volume as Stevie Ray Vaughan, which is pretty amazing if you can get past the rants against women, Jews, Gays, Mexicans, and the Japanese, who he apparently hasn’t yet forgiven for Pearl Harbor. Minus the hate you’d almost have to call his disdain for material goods heroic. It was a weird and thoroughly scary evening.

One Response to “What if a guy as crazy as Charlie Manson were talented?”

  1. or, what if a really fantastic celebrity, who made great movies, music, good-looking, had a bad habit of killing nobodies. would we forgive him for it?

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