A Killer’s Tracks, Not Killer Tracks

bobbybeau.jpgI first saw this poster early last month on the signal box where West Silver Lake T-bones into Rowena. The location and timing is significant for two reasons. First, it coincided with my reading of “Helter Skelter,” Vincent Bugliosi’s epic account of the Manson murders and trials. Second, from reading that book I recognized that someone had the bad taste to paste that poster up just a few blocks from the Waverly home of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca where they were savagely murdered by Manson followers August 10, 1969.

Why “bad taste?” Well, because a little more than two weeks before the La Biancas were killed, Charles Manson’s good friend Bobby Beausoleil (who’s pictured in said poster that’s promoting the CD release of his soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s 1972 short film “Lucifer Rising”) killed his buddy Gary Hinman by stabbing him twice in the heart out at Hinman’s Toganga Canyon house.

To say the least it was an eerie coincidence to be reading all about such a horrible time in L.A.’s history and then find one of those responsible for it pushing a new disc (and with such a chilling title) so near one of the nightmares. The day after seeing the poster I returned to get a picture of it only to find it removed. Whether it was taken down by city workers or by an area resident as offended as I was, the thing was gone, but not forgotten. Walking through Sunset Junction this morning on the way home from breakfast at Millie’s, they were back.

So buyer beware or just be aware that the devil’s in the details. At face value it may look like nothing more than the reissue of 32-year-old psychedelia, but underneath it’s the music of a first-degree killer who has stated that his offing Hinman was the flashpoint that set off the 35-year-old terror of the Tate/La Bianca murders.

5 Replies to “A Killer’s Tracks, Not Killer Tracks”

  1. Last year I worked with a photographer friend of mine writing a project description and proposal for a soundscape to compliment his American Road http://www.roadphoto.com gallery exhibition. The proposal was written to the Oregon State Prison Audio-Visual design program and the implication was that the soundscape would be created by a prisoner named Bobby Beausoleil. Having never heard of him, I of course quickly found out about his relation to the Manson family, but I do not stop at reading Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelterî, I also read an interview with Beausoleil himself. The interview, while of course slanted towards Beausoleil, does provide infinitely more detail than Bugliosiís telling (and incidentally even in Bugliosiís book, Beausoleil is a peripheral character at best and whose alleged involvement in the Tate/LaBianca killings is quickly pre-empted for the more sensational ìHelter Skelterî prosecution track). During the interview Beausoleil describes the complex and involved situations that led up to the murder of Gary Hinman, a murder that Beausoleil does confess to. It is readily apparent that Beausoleil truly made some gravely wrong decisions, yet he demonstrates and understanding of what he has done and a true sorrow that still has yet to escape the lips of Charles Manson. If you are interested in the subject and if your opinions are not fixed in stone, the interview is definitely worth reading. Itís at http://www.beausoleil.net/mminterview.html

  2. Thanks for the considered response, Dana. And your points are well taken. I may have read that same interview, or at least one in 1981 for “Oui” magazine that sounds very similar and covers a lot of the same topics. Certainly Beausoleil demonstrates remorse and sheds an alternate light on his side of the circumstances surrounding Gary Hinman’s death.

    There are big holes in his story, such as why didn’t Danny DeCarlo sing about Hinman allegedly running a drug burn on Bobby… not to mention Manson admitting he was at the Hinman house (something Bobby denies in the “Oui” interview) and slashed at Hinman’s head with a sword.

    For 10 years after his conviction Bobby steadfastly proclaimed he was innocent of the murder. It was reportedly this “Oui” interview in which he finally admitted his guilt.

    Here in the present, it’s a free market of course, and the company selling Bobby’s disc has every right to do so. If I’d seen a legitimate ad for it in the “L.A. Weekly” or “City Beat” I’d have rolled my eyes and turned the page, but I was appalled that they’d post an illegal bill for the CD (whether intentionally or untentionally morbid) so close to a murder scene he (however inadvertently) helped bring about:

    Bobby Beausoleil: Gary Hinman was killed before anybody was killed. Before that nobody had any real plans of killing anybody, but when it happened…
    Oui: It became contagious?
    BB: Yeah, sort of.
    O: You*re saying then that the Hinman murder was almost a catalyst for mass killing.
    BB: I think it did have some kind of triggering effect. Yes.
    O: As a consequence, the people in the Tate and La Bianca homes were killed. Did you have any notice that they were going to be killed?
    BB: No, nothing at all. When it happened, I knew who had done it. I was fairly certain.

  3. On a lighter note… Kenneth Anger is a kick ass art video/film maker. I’ve never heard this soundtrack, but most of the ‘shocking / crazy / scarry / disturbing / et al’ white music of the past really seems boring to me. Maybe I’m just desensitized though… It’s kinda like Hitchcocks BIRDS. I would put my kids to sleep to that bore-fest, but i guess it really made people shit their pants at one time.

  4. Bobby Beausoliel is an artist serving time for a crime comitted 36 years ago. Surely, his past association with Charles Manson figures prominantly in keeping him locked up.

    Bobby continues to create, challenge and fascinate with his visual works of art as well as with his music. One cannot deny his gifts. To continue to create art while behind bars is a considerable challenge — one that artists on the outside should not be blind to.

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