Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Charles Manson's Birthday!

Really! He turns 75 today. He was born November 12, 1934. A Scorpio. Imagine that. But I'm not here to write a bio. Many have been written. And you can find a detailed summary on Wikipedia.

No, I'm not here to celebrate the man. He committed heinous acts and convinced others to do the same. He's been behind bars for decades. So why am I here? I mean, Christ, it's his birthday and this post is titled as much. What other reason could there be? Quit asking questions and I'll tell you.

In 1985, as a young man of 20, I wrote a song. It was entitled, "Charles Manson's Birthday". Why did I write a song called "Charles Manson's Birthday"? (Yeesh! Again with the questions?) It's pretty simple, actually. I was a songwriter. Sometimes a melody or a line or an idea would just pop in my head out of nowhere. I don't know where many of them came from. They just showed up. Like a drunk friend banging on your door at midnight. Didn't really matter where they came from, they were there now.

You'd think over the years, being the author of a song about Charles Manson, I'd have had numerous run ins with nuts, as well as angry folks who do not approve of musical glorifications. (Which it is not.) But I never did. However, I was forced to spend a decent amount of time after shows listening to other young men tell me about his albums, the interviews and quite a number of other Charlie related stories. But if that was my punishment, the crime was worth it. CMB has been very, very good to me.

CMB garnered one of my proudest achievements, a spot in Rodney On the ROQ's Top Ten for a week or two in 1990. And Charlie (as the cognoscenti called it) was the first song of mine to have a video. And here tis.

CMB is also one of my favorite songs to perform live. Probably my very favorite. It has virtually always been my show closer. The words are easy to remember, there's an excellent break towards the end (which lends itself to any flavor of filling) and it finishes with a digital delayed guitar explosion. Really, after CMB, there would be nowhere left to go anyway. It's the climax of the show.

And so today, I am proud to present perhaps the greatest demonstration of why I love CMB. What you are about to witness is the longest version of CMB ever performed. It occurred at Stevens Tech in Hoboken, (home of Walt Disney's head) on March 2nd, 1990. It was the closing number of a three hour frat party. Needless to say, much alcohol had been consumed. To the point that Chris Butler had to step away from the drums momentarily to relieve himself. But even that could not stop the freight train that was CMB on this night. I threw in a good part of my live schtick and we cleared out what was left of the request bucket.

Those of you who lived in Hobroken in the spring and summer of 1990 may remember this show, as it aired 24 hours a day for a number of weeks on the Stevens Tech low watt TV station. I never did find out how or why this show was chosen for such a specious honor. I guess they didn't have any school sports teams. Or perhaps the ratings were THROUGH THE ROOF! Regardless, here, in its thirty minute entirety, is Rich Grula, Chris Butler and One O Ball with Charles Manson's Birthday, presented in three parts with no commercial interruption.


  1. Cool live performance. Thanks for sharing. I found your blog while searching for something.

    I also wanted to give a plug for a site Ive been working on that helps people share songs with their friends. Its free, easy and there's no account signup. Login with Facebook. Hope you like it!

  2. Sigma chapter of Beta Theta Pi. The frat, the radio station (WCPR) and the TV station all got together to make this happen.