Phil Kaufman (producer)

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Philip C. Kaufman is an American Record Producer, Tour Manager, and Author, best known for stealing the body of Country musician Gram Parsons, and burning it in Joshua Tree National Monument. This was later chronicled in the film Grand Theft Parsons (2003), with Johnny Knoxville portraying Kaufman. Phil is the author of the book Road Mangler Deluxe, an autobiography about his experiences in the Music Business.[1] During his career Kaufman worked with The Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker, Frank Zappa, Hank Williams 3, Etta James, and many more. Kaufman currently resides in Nashville, TN.

Kaufman's career in music began as the driver and assistant to The Rolling Stones during the recording of Beggar's Banquet, referred to by Mick Jagger as his "executive nanny."[2][3]

Kaufman had previously acted in Hollywood, with bit parts in Spartacus, Riot in Juvenile Prison, and Pork Chop Hill, among others, before a felony marijuana smuggling conviction in the mid '60s. After getting out of prison (where he would befriend fellow inmate Charles Manson), Kaufman was offered a job driving for Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, who were in Los Angeles at the time for the mixing of Beggars Banquet.[4]

Through Keith Richards, Kaufman met Gram Parsons, and agreed to tour manage his group The Flying Burrito Brothers, although he had no prior Tour Managing experience.[2]

The songs "Why Does It Hurt When I pee" from Frank Zappa's album Joe's Garage tells the story of Philip C. Kaufman's 'urination problems'.[5]

Grand Theft Parsons[edit]

After Parson's death from an accidental drug overdose, Kaufman borrowed a hearse and drove to LAX, convincing airline staff to release Parsons' body to him. According to Kaufman, he had made a pact with Parsons prior to his death regarding handling of their remains in the event of either Parson's or Kaufman's death.

"Well, it was kind of more Gram's idea than mine. We were at the funeral of a friend of ours, Clarence White, and it was this huge Catholic funeral. We both agreed that, if he'd had the choice, Clarence wouldn't have chosen that kind of funeral, and we realised that we still did have a choice. So we made this pact, albeit after a few sherbets: "If I die first, I want you to take me out to the desert and burn my body! Is it a deal?" "You got it! You do it for me, I'll do it for you!" And that was it. We shook hands on it and that was it, it was a deal. Then, unfortunately, Gram died a couple of months later, and I felt honour bound to see the deal through." [3]

Charles Manson[edit]

Kaufman met Charles Manson in Terminal Island Prison, and would go on to produce and release his album Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. Kaufman would spend time living with the Manson Family, and according to Kaufman he has "had sex with more serial killers than anyone else in Show Business." [2]

According to Road Mangler Deluxe, Kaufman believes the Manson family was unhappy with the failure of the album, and went looking for him at the True residence - a house both he, and the Manson Family, had frequented. Located on Waverly Drive next door to the residence of Manson Family victims Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, it is theorized that upon finding the True residence uninhabited, they went next door to kill whoever was there.[6][7] This chronology of events is in fact false, as the album was not released until 1970, during the Tate-LaBianca murder trial.