A vinyl album with a “raw country” sound and spoken-word poetry has been flying off the shelves at a Hollywood, Calif., boutique, never mind that the artist is convicted mass murderer Charles Manson.
Manuel Vasquez, 26, co-owner of the Beauty Is Pain boutique, told ABCNews.com he has so far sold a “couple hundred” copies of the vinyl recording, which retails for $18 and includes never-before-heard tracks of Manson playing guitar. Some of the material, which Vasquez said he obtained from an “old friend” of the convict, dates back to the 1980s.
“It’s him singing and playing guitar and also reciting some poetry and spoken word type stuff,” Vasquez said. “[He] sounds like an old blues man or a raw country singer.”
A few months ago, Vasquez became pen pals with the 77-year-old Manson, who is incarcerated at Cochran State Prison in California.
He sent Manson, whose songs have been included on albums by the Beach Boys, Guns ‘N Roses and Marilyn Manson, a mini-copy of the album cover.
“He told me he thought it was well put together. Those were his exact words,” Vasquez said.
Manson will not receive any profits or royalties from the sale of the album.
Vasquez, who was not alive when the “Manson family” terrorized Southern California in the late 1960s with its “Helter Skelter” killing spree, said he wanted to produce the album because he believes Manson’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial was violated.
“I wouldn’t say [he's] innocent, but he was denied his constitutional rights in court,” Vasquez said. ”I wanted to raise awareness of that.”
Manson was found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the August 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate, her unborn baby and four houseguests, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972 when the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty (it was reinstated in 1978).
He was denied parole for a 12th time this past April.
Manson’s next chance at freedom will come in 15 years, when he is 92 years old.