I want to share a story that The Raiders front man Mark Lindsay told me when I interviewed him in 2010. This is one of the best, and most bone chilling stories that anyone has ever told me.
When Paul Revere and the Raiders relocated from Idaho to California in 1965, Capital Records teamed them up with record producer Terry Melcher. The son of Doris Day, Melcher was one of the best rock producers of the era, having produced albums for The Byrds and The Beach Boys. Mark and Terry discovered that they liked working together, and both looking for new living arrangements, decided to get a place together and immerse themselves in writing music. They rented a house in the Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles and began production on what would be The Raiders best album, “The Spirit of ’67.” The album would spawn two massive hits for the Raiders, “Hungry” and “Good Thing,” and also included favorites as In “My Community” and “Louise.”
Anyhow, it was when they were living together that Mark tells of this one night when he had arrived back in LA after a series of out-of-town dates/ Being dropped off at home, Mark put his bags down in the hall and, hearing voices from the living room, he went in to see what was going on. In the living room there was a magnificent white grand piano, in which Terry and Mark wrote at together. Terry was sitting at the piano, and with him was the Beach Boy’s drummer, Dennis Wilson, and some other guys.
Mark greeted the men, and then he went into the kitchen to get something from the refrigerator. But once in the kitchen, he saw another figure in the house. Sitting on the floor, with his back against the refrigerator, was a dirty looking man, with long unkept hair. He wore a blue shirt, and he had bare feet, and he was on some sort of drug trip which prevented him from realizing that Mark was in the room. Mark asked the man to move so that he could get into the refrigerator, but the man didn’t budge. He tried to nudge him, but he was unmovable. So, without disturbing the stoned stranger, he gave up and went back to the group in the living room to inquire who the man was.
“That’s just Charlie,” Dennis Wilson said to Mark. “He’s kind of out there, but he’s okay.”
Well, Mark couldn’t have known it at the time, but he had just come face to face with one of societies most notorious villains of the 20th Century, cult leader and aspiring folk musician Charles Manson.
So, imagine in 1969 when Mark Lindsay saw the horrible news about the murder of actress Sharon Tate and her guests by mysterious unknown killers. Well, when Mark saw the reports his blood ran cold, because the crime scene was a familiar house. The address of the house that Mark and Terry wrote “The Spirit of ’67” together was 10050 Cielo Drive – the future site of the first Manson Family massacre.
You see, not long after Mark encountered Manson, he moved out of the house because Terry had hooked up with Candice Bergen, who had moved in, and Mark was a bit of a third wheel. Then Terry and Candice moved out and the place was rented to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. So, when Manson sent his crew out on August 9, 1969, to kill some rich folks in hopes of launching a race war, he remembered the music producer who rejected him, and he sent them to that house, not realizing Terry and his friends were long gone.
But according to Mark Lindsay, Manson had indeed been in the house before. Terry Melcher and Mark Lindsay had moved out in time, but Sharon Tate and her friends had paid the price of Charlie Manson’s insanity and rejection.
To read my full 2010 interview with Mark Lindsay, check out Hungry: A Conversation with Mark Lindsay at samtweedle.com.