An independent record store owner is preparing to release a record of largely unheard Charles Manson songs, after running a successful online fundraising campaign to sponsor the effort.
"Be a part of history, help spread the music of Charles Manson," Manuel Vasquez wrote on the project's Kickstarter page. "This project is not about death, drugs,1969, etc... It is about MUSIC."
Vasquez, 26, says he plans to issue 999 vinyl pressings of the songs, which were recorded by Manson in prison. Manson, 77, is serving a life sentence for conspiracy in connection to the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The leader of the infamous Manson Family reportedly gave his personal blessing to Vasquez's effort but will not receive any proceeds from the sales.
"I've gotten some hate mail from it," Vasquez told the Los Angeles Times. "There are people not appreciating the release of music by him. People say they don't understand why I'd want to associate myself with this or why I would be interested in releasing it."
Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign were given the chance to have their names associated with Manson's music. Those who donated enough to the project will have their names included on the album's liner notes and will receive a piece of artwork crafted by Manson himself.
Still, even Vasquez admits that his project's popularity has to do more with the Manson name than the quality of music itself.
"Most people won't like it. It probably requires an acquired taste," he told the L.A. Times. "It's really low-fi, mono."
A video posted on the Kickstarter page contains a recording of one of the forthcoming album's songs:
This isn't the first time controversy has been associated with Manson's music. In 1993, rock band Guns N' Roses released a cover of Manson's "Look At Your Game Girl," which was originally recorded by Manson in 1967 to help pay for his criminal defense fees. There was a heated dispute within the band over whether to cover the song. Eventually, Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose recorded his version of the tune with only one of the band's official members joining him for the performance. The song and accompanying album were considered both commercial and critical failures.