Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Curious Case of Brooks Poston

I had finished editing Manson Family Movies in 1984, minus the soundtrack. I was living in Encino and saw that Brooks & Jane were playing in Venice so naturally I went to see them. I figured I was the only one in the audience who knew who Brooks was in relation to Manson. Between sets we talked and I told him I had made a Manson movie that was in some ways a comedy due mainly to being made with no money. He thought that was a good approach. I also told him I was working on the soundtrack and he said "I recorded some of Charlie's songs you could possibly use." So I got his number. When I tried calling the number a few days later it did not work.

The next time I ran into Nick Bougas I told him the story, and he said he would work on locating Brooks. As it turned out, Nick was living in Burbank and so was Brooks, so Nick told him he was really interested in his music and arranged a meeting. He was able to score one of the audio tapes that Brooks and Jane had put out, but claimed that Brooks was adamant that he never recorded any of Charlie's music, and that he never said he had.

Nick made me a copy of the tape that he got and gave me Brooks' number, so I called him. I told him how we met and reminded him of what he had said, and again he denied ever having said that he recorded any of Charlie's music. I told him that I would like to get a copy of the other tape he put out, so he said to send him like $5 and he would send me one, which he did. Sometime later Nick told me that Brooks and Jane had joined some other cult and fled L.A. because their new cult leader told them that "L.A. would fall in the ocean."  

Many years later Nick moved to Georgia and I talked to him maybe once a year rather than all the time. Several years later I heard a rumor that Paul Watkins was talking to Nick on the phone, who recorded the call, and that Paul said that he had never turned on Charlie and that the Bug told him, as well as many others involved with Manson, that if they did not say in court what he told them to say that he would charge them with accessory to first degree murder. I wanted to hear this call so I called Nick but he denied any knowledge of it. I told him I had heard otherwise. He then said he had a flood in his basement, and since he had so much stuff he may have had it but it most likely got destroyed.

More years went by. I ran into [a prominent TLB scholar] at a flea market and he told me he had paid a lot of money for the original tapes of Brooks and Jane's music, and that Nick's girlfriend told him to not buy from me because I had crappy copies of this music. I had always been good friends with her and Nick, so now what's up? I told this man that Nick got one tape directly from Brooks and I got the other one directly from Brooks, and that Nick had made my copy off of the one that he had, so this "bad quality story" was some sort of con or who knows what.

Even more years pass and it is now close to the present time. Some guy turns up selling CDs of about 15 concerts and studio recordings of a band I never knew existed called Desert Sun comprised of Brooks, Jane, Paul and this other guy. The amazing thing is they HAD recorded a number of Charlie's songs!  It was obvious that this band was into Charlie as they recorded a number of his songs live and in studio. Furthermore Paul did a song explaining his present feelings toward Charlie, basically saying that he was still with him but they had gone different ways.  This band seems to have existed from 1972 on however I'm not sure when it ended.

I have been involved in ways with the Manson case since I first heard of it in 1969 following Altamont in November 1969, which I attended. When the case broke in December 1969 I was all over it. From 1971 and onward for the next several years I was Hitch Hiking on the Road and immediately ran into a number of people and we stayed together for years as a sort of Family. We were quite aware of the parallels with the Manson situation. The reason I mention that is because if I had known of this band's existence back then, I definitely would have gone to their concerts.

Another CD in this collection is called Hello Nick and it is a 40 minute message from Paul to Bougas. I was finally able to hear it recently. This was not the rumored phone call between Nick and Paul regarding Paul's being coerced by the Bug into testifying against Charlie in court. So perhaps the recording of that phone call actually was drowned in Nick's basement? Then again I did hear from someone years ago regarding the gist of the call. So someone somewhere has a copy.

I also found out recently that the mysterious new cult leader that Brooks and Jane fled with was Paul Crockett. It was around 1984 or 1985 as that's when Nick lost track of them and they were no longer living in Burbank. They had all moved to Washington.

Even more recently I heard that Crockett had died so now what is Brooks to do?