Phil Kaufman (producer)
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Philip C. Kaufman (born April 26, 1935) 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. Kaufman is the author of the book Road Mangler Deluxe, an autobiography about his experiences in the music business. During his career Kaufman worked with Parsons, The Rolling Stones, Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker, Frank Zappa, Hank Williams III, Etta James, and many more.
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 1960s. 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.
After Parson's death from an accidental drug overdose, Kaufman borrowed a hearse and drove to Los Angeles International Airport, 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. The 2003 movie Grand Theft Parsons follows Kaufman taking Parsons' body and burning it in the desert, with Johnny Knoxville portraying Kaufman.
Kaufman met Charles Manson while they were inmates in Terminal Island Prison. According to Kaufman, a guard taunted Manson that he would never get out; Manson calmly responded by looking up from his guitar and saying, "Get out of where?" (Manson officially requested a transfer to Leavenworth, considered one of the harshest penitentiaries, because he said he would get fewer complaints from fellow inmates about his guitar practicing there.) Manson, who aspired to success as a singer-songwriter was found to be congenial company by Kaufman. He thought Manson a very bad guitar player, but capable enough as a singer and songwriter to have a chance of getting a record contract, and before Manson's release Kaufman gave him the name of a friend in the industry, Gary Stromberg at Universal. Kaufman advised Manson wait a few months after he was released to give him a chance to acclimatize to the outside world, and do some more work on his songs, then use the most polished compositions to showcase his potential when he went to see the music producer acquaintance of Kaufman's, saying who sent him. Manson, who Kaufman believed was self-obsessed, promised to take the advice. Despite this valuable introduction for the furtherance of his ambitions, on release day Manson begged to stay and protested that prison had become his home.
Months after his release, by which time he had acquired the first four of his female devotees, Manson went to see Stromberg. On the strength of the recommendation from Kaufman, the producer authorized a studio recording session. Instead of having been prepared as Kaufman suggested, with a limited number of his best songs, Manson was unfocused and amateurish making the recording a disappointment. Kaufman was released the next year, and would spend time living with the Manson Family with its female devotees made available to him. According to Kaufman he has "had sex with more serial killers than anyone else in Show Business." When Manson found that he could not turn Kaufman into a follower, they became estranged.
Music industry and the Manson murders
Manson murder victims Leno and Rosemary LaBianca's home was beside where a long time close friend of Kaufman had rented a house, Manson had attended parties there with Kaufman when still friendly with him. Kaufman has always said this was no coincidence.
The killing of Sharon Tate and four others which occurred on the previous night to the attack on the LaBianca home, was also residentially linked with a music industry acquaintance of Manson who he associated with his failures to get a record contract. It was at the 10050 Cielo Drive former home of Terry Melcher, which had by then been rented by the husband of Sharon Tate. Manson had been rebuffed there while looking for Melcher, who had been initially interested in Manson's music but became chary after a trip to the Manson commune.
Prior to the killing of Tate and her 5 friends, Manson had initiated the murder spree of his followers by ordering the death of Gary Hinman. Mary Brunner was present throughout and the key witness for the prosecution at a trial of some Manson followers for the murder. She testified that Bobby Beausoleil killed Hinman (a musician), because Hinman had refused to join Manson's band.
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- "Phil Kaufman: Executive Nanny, Corpse-Rustler, Road-Mangler Deluxe". Alternatives to Valium.
- Charles Manson By Simon Wells
- Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson By Jeff Guinn p 74
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- Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson By Jeff Guinn p 74-5
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- London Review of Books, London Review of Books The way out is not through the door
- Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson By Jeff Guinn p 124
- Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson By Jeff Guinn p 314
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- "Harold True's House Waverly Drive".
- London Review of Books 7/11/ 13 Way Out The way out of a room is not through the door, Christian Lorentzen
- CieloDrive .com, retrieved 23/12/14 News report Wednesday, June 17th, 1970 Mary Brunner Indicted: Ex-Librarian Asks To Defend Herself
- CieloDrive .com, retrieved 23/12/14 (News report) June 18th, 1970 Mary Brunner Arraigned In Musician Slaying Case