Monday, August 31, 2020

Juanita Wildebush

Not much has been written about Juanita Wildebush (no, it's not her real name). Years ago Farf did a humorous piece centering on her (I miss the fuck out of Farf), but the most detail we got was found in Paul Watkins' book My Life with Charles Manson. Here is an excerpt followed by a couple of pics of her. She was one of the lucky ones. She escaped with her life, but lighter in the pocketbook. Enjoy... 

"My name's Juanita," she said, still gauging traffic through her outside rearview mirror. She turned and smiled. "Juanita Wildebush."

"You're kidding." I beamed. "I'm Paul...Paul Watkins."

Juanita was a big, corpulent, rawboned blonde, with thick hair, thick lips, and generous well-tanned haunches. She wore an embroidered Mexican blouse, a tight pair of white shorts, and sandals. Her teeth looked like chunks of quartz crystal when she grinned, telling me she had just returned from Mexico City but was headed right back. "This culture sucks," she quipped. "After being down there for a year, everything up here seems dead." She said she spoke fluent Spanish and that after stopping in L.A. she'd be driving straight through to Oaxaca.

"We could have used you last night." I described briefly what had transpired with the rancheros. She seemed delighted with the story but felt that we should have gone to the party and had a good time. "It would have been a gas. Latin men are the greatest, let me tell ya." She went on to recount, quite graphically, several romantic episodes that she had enjoyed south of the border. "Those guys don't just ball; they get down!" So imbued was she with anything that smacked of Latin culture, I felt it futile to do anything but nod in agreement.

"Whereabouts you goin' in L.A.?" she said at last.

"I live in the Santa Susana Hills at a place called Spahn's ranch."

"Never heard of it."

We chatted amiably while her tape deck boomed out the Beatles and Three Dog Night. The inside of the van was completely customized, with a full leather tuck-in roll, a canopied bed, a propane stove, refrigerator, and a yellow life raft which sat perched on top of the mattress alongside some scuba diving gear. I got the distinct impression Juanita wasn't hurting for money. And that she was horny. I told her a little about the Family and Charlie and that our lifestyle was pretty much divorced from the rat race Anglo culture she so abhorred. When she mentioned that she had recently come into a small inheritance, I suggested, circuitously, that she stop by at the ranch and meet Charlie. She said she'd like that.

When we pulled up and parked in front of the ranch house that night, Charlie was sitting outside on the porch whittling on a piece of wood.

"Made good time, Paul," he said. "Only one back so far. Who's your friend?" Charlie stood as we approached the porch.

"This is Juanita, Charlie...Juanita Wildebush."

"No shit! That's your name?...Jesus! That's real poetic!" He laughed. "Come on in."

We followed Charlie into the house. While I poured a cold glass of water, he proceeded to introduce Juanita to Snake, Squeaky, Sandy, Ouisch, and the new girl Catherine Gilles, who were seated around the fire. Juan Flynn was lounging around the couch playing with Pooh Bear. Brooks was in the shower, singing. Juanita and Juan exchanged amenities in Spanish and Juanita seemed pleased at this.

Later, Charlie took her aside to smoke a dube while I parked her van down by the corral. I didn't hurry, so as to give him plenty of time to lay out his rap. I'd told him Juanita had money and that she might be willing to part with some of it. At the time, I wasn't averse to hustling money for the Family. It was like a game. I could think of no better cause than our own communal existence. And, like everyone else in the Family in those days, I wanted to please Charlie. By the time I got back, Charlie had the full scoop. Juanita's inheritance was no mere pittance—some fifteen thousand dollars, to be exact; what she needed most, he said, was to have her "wildbush" sucked, good and proper.

"She's partial to you, man." He beamed. "So just take her back to her van and ring her bell."

I hadn't figured on that. Generally, Charlie was first with any new girl. Had Juanita been physically attractive, he would have been. The fact is, I'd been thinking about Snake all the way home. But I didn't have much choice.

Juanita and I spent a long and active night in the van. And some of the next morning. She was eager, she said, to move in with the Family. That afternoon she made arrangements to give us some of her money. A week later George Spahn's four-thousand-dollar tax bill was paid in full.

COPYRIGHT PAUL WATKINS AND GUILLERMO SOLEDAD


 

50 comments:

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
orwhut said...

Fantastic Matt. You answered my main question when you said, "Not her real name". Do you know an approximate date for the bottom photo?

Trilby said...

Seriously, THAT'S someone those assholes would describe as "corpulent", ie:fat?! She was beautiful - even in her elder years. She didn't look enough like a boy for Charlie, huh.

orwhut said...

I think she was beautiful, too. The top photo might have been retouched but she didn't have thick lips in either photo.

grimtraveller said...

Col Scott reproduced an interesting interview from around 1985 on his site with someone purporting to be Juanita. It's an interesting read.

orwhut said...

You answered my main question when you said, "Not her real name"

Brooks Poston referred to her as "Joan Wildbush" ~ a week before the Family were busted out at Barker.

Matt said...

orwhut said...
.... Do you know an approximate date for the bottom photo?


No, but it's her current social media profile pic. She'll be 76 in October so my guess is that it's fairly recent.




orwhut said...

So Grim,
If Ms Wildbush only used a false first name her last name was really Wildbush. That reminds me of the joke about Sam Stink changing his name to George Stink.

orwhut said...

That's close enough for me, Matt. Thanks.

Panamint Patty said...

I think she's still married to Crockett's friend Bob

DebS said...

My guess is that it was Charlie who dubbed her Juanita, she was on her way to Mexico when she encountered the Family. It sounds like a connection he would make. Since Juanita coughed up the cash pretty quick Charlie couldn't exactly kick her to the curb right away but he did send her to the desert fairly early.

beauders said...

I think she looks great, they thought Catherine Share was fat ass well.

Matt said...

Grim, sorry but I had to delete your last comment.


Panamint Patty said...

Beauders funny typo

Mr. Humphrat said...

Hmm, I see Three Dog Night's first album was released October 16,'68. When did Joan Juanita supposedly pick up little Paul? And her teeth looked like quartz? Man he must've been high as usual.

ColScott said...

Grim lives in the UK where privacy is no longer a thing, It wasn't intentional


Shit now you've got me defending this guy!

starviego said...

The story needs a timeline. Presumably she went with the Family up to Barker in late '68, and stayed there until leaving with Bob Berry for parts unknown in June of '69.

When did she first meet Charlie at Spahn? How long was she there? Anybody?

starviego said...

She doesn't describe being at Dennis Wilson's house, so she probably joined up in late fall of '68, and then was abandoned by the Family in about Feb of '69, when they moved Barker to Gresham St.

Surprisingly, she doesn't seem bitter about having been used in this fashion.
What happened to the $16K she gave to Charlie? Some of it was given to George Spahn, but what about the rest?

I would like to know her background, and how she came into possession of that money.

DebS said...

Starviego, this is a 2007 article with a mid 80's interview of Juanita. She says she hooked up with the Family in September 1968 and she got the money from a trust fund. The whole interview is quite interesting.

https://tinhouse.com/dichotomy-evil-manson-girl-got-away/

grimtraveller said...

Matt said...

Grim, sorry but I had to delete your last comment

What was in it that was deletable ?

Gorodish said...

grimtraveller typed:

What was in it that was deletable ?

Most likely Juanita's real name.

TabOrFresca said...

Nice pictures, thanks. Can anyone now tell if Juanita is present in the Family’s picture in Tom O’Neils book?

If someone is in contact with Juanita, would you ask her if she did give the 1980’s interview. To me, the interview is more believable than the story the (BS Artist) Paul Watkins told but its hard to tell if the interview is authentic or a clever fabrication.

starviego said...

Thanks for the link, Deb.

In the late '60s there were probably hundreds of roving hippie bands traveling the country or setting up communes. A few of these probably had some benefactor or affluent commune member willing to kick in some bucks, but most lasted only for the summer, until reality hit and people had to go back to school or get jobs to eat.

Charlie was repeatedly lucky, with periodic sizeable cash infusions by the likes of Sandy Goode, Charlene Cafritz, Juanita Wildbush, and perhaps others. I'll bet the Charlie commune was probably THE best funded in that respect, which made it unique.

When solving a crime, sometimes you have to follow the money. So investigators should have looked into the sources of Charlie's finances with a magnifying glass. It takes a lot of money to care for two dozen freeloaders for years on end. But no real questions were ever asked.

So I am not satisfied with the 'pat' nature of the Wildbush saga. Trust fund? Tell me more.

Matt said...

TabOrFresca said...
Nice pictures, thanks. Can anyone now tell if Juanita is present in the Family’s picture in Tom O’Neils book?


If she is, I'd say she's the one standing on the right - next to Cappy and above Mary.




orwhut said...

I couldn't believe Wildebush was an actual surname, so I checked an online telephone directory and found a few more. The name appears to be legit.

AustinAnn74 said...

I guess if you were over a certain height and more than 115 pounds, the family considered you "corpulent!" This lady had a beautiful face, much more attractive than a lot of the girls Charlie had in his collection. What gives?

orwhut said...

What we need are some honest photos of the young lady from around the time she was with the family. Why? Because some of us are just plain curious.

Proteus said...

Talking of photos, does anyone know who the girl is here with Cappy and Gypsy in the pic at https://rxstr.com/catherine-gillies/#jp-carousel-3176 ? She may be a 'Ginny' (though I don't know which one) or she may be someone else completely different.

So many young people who turned up at Spahn for just a short time and snuck into photos.

Gorodish said...

Proteus typed:

Talking of photos, does anyone know who the girl is here with Cappy and Gypsy in the pic...

You were correct. The girl in that picture is Jennifer "Ginny" Gentry.

Proteus said...

Thanks, Gorodish. The other Ginny was Sandra Goode's sister, and I don't think she was ever at Spahn (?)

Ginny Gentry was a latecomer as I remember, around during the trial but not too noticeable. She's in a few photos doing the rounds, but in this one looks a little different [to me at least].

Dan S said...

Taborfresca posed a good question: is this interview for real with the real JW? Very illuminating if so ....

Milly James said...

For folks in the UK, there is a very good documentary on about Broadmore right now.

Milly James said...

Broadmoor. Apologies. If I get any 'more' tied up I'll end up with the 'black' bloke from Rainbow.

Milly James said...

That was a spelling joke BTW. Ritchie Blackmore. No offence meant.

grimtraveller said...

Gorodish said...

grim typed:

What was in it that was deletable ?

Most likely Juanita's real name


Well, that was something of a guess; I was just boxing clever. If the name I gave as her first name actually is her first name, well, it's been in the public domain since at least 2012 on Cielo's site. And her surname has been in the public domain since at least 1974 in "Helter Skelter." We know the name of the guy she married. I've known it since 1978. So it wasn't rocket science to work out from all this stuff what her name might be.
The other thing I said was that I found it novel that the Family had a Juan and a Juanita.

Matt said...

Not a big deal Grim. Anyone can figure it out if they want, I’d just rather it not be on the blog.


David said...

Milly James said: "That was a spelling joke BTW. Ritchie Blackmore. No offence meant."

Machine Head is one of the best albums ever-IMO. It inspired me to pick up a guitar back then.

grimtraveller said...

Matt said:

Not a big deal Grim. Anyone can figure it out if they want, I’d just rather it not be on the blog

Cool, point taken. 👨‍⚖️
Ironically, I didn't actually know that was her name as in that Brooks interview, he uses some names that were either aliases {eg Dianne Bluestein} or names that the person hasn't been commonly known by {the present subject].

David said...

Machine Head is one of the best albums ever-IMO

I have a funny relationship with Machine Head. I was already in love with "Shades of...," "In rock," "Fireball" and "Come taste the band" by the time I came to hear "Made in Japan" and I loved the Machine Head versions on that live album {at the time I didn't know they were from MH}. So by the time I actually heard MH, the live versions had already insinuated themselves into my consciousness and with the exception of "Space Trucking," never stood a chance with me. But "Maybe I'm a Leo," "Pictures of home," and "Never before" are 3 of my favourite Purple tracks and criminally underrated, in my opinion. My actual personal "Machine Head" is actually a combo of songs from the album and "Made in Japan."
Richie Blackmore remains one of my favourite guitarists from that period.

DebS said...

My guess is that it was Charlie who dubbed her Juanita, she was on her way to Mexico when she encountered the Family. It sounds like a connection he would make

That sounds plausible, given her real name and maybe by then Juan Flynn was on the scene......of course, that means that Paul Watkins is talking bullshit {ie, lying to impress} in his autobiography seeing as though in his account, he introduces her to Charlie and she already has told Paul her name 🙃; the fact that they laugh about the 'Wildebush' part is the hook to the story he tells.

AstroCreep said...

David- Machine Head is one of my faves too. As a kid, my first chance to see them was Perfect Strangers Tour in 84. DP and early Sabbath built the foundation of the music I love and play.

AstroCreep said...

Grim- Machine Head is one of the few albums that I can listen to in total without skipping a track. I love all the songs on it.

David said...

I of course fell into that album/band due to Smoke On the Water. I bought it and immediately played side 2. Then I flipped it over and played side one: Highway Star:

Nobody gonna take my car
I'm gonna race it to the ground
Nobody gonna beat my car
It's gonna break the speed of sound
Oooh it's a killing machine
It's got everything
Like a driving power big fat tires
And everything

After that I was all about: I want to play like that. Never did.

It was probably the sixth or seventh album I ever bought.

Gorodish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gorodish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Grim said: "So by the time I actually heard MH, the live versions had already insinuated themselves into my consciousness and with the exception of "Space Trucking," never stood a chance with me."

Why does this not surprise me in the slightest.

Now to change the subject, again: The Epix Helter Skelter and American Myth I found, actually to be the best TV version of the story to date. A couple images/video bits I had not seen or not seen in their entirety and they interviewed Allen Swerdoff (even if they only used 2 minutes of it). Very Share, Lake, Guinn but not bad for the masses. IMO

Doug said...

Episodes 01 & 03 are on YouTube

Episode 02 is not...yet

Episode 01

https://youtu.be/m7a6TqM_qpE


Episode 03

https://youtu.be/dwO7rpRJ4KA

Hard to watch the Oxygen and Epix programs here in Canaduh

Gorodish said...

Wow, just read that Irving Kanarek passed away Sept. 2nd, age 100!!

Monica said...

David, I agree about the Epix documentary. It was really well done. They are all streaming on Epix. You can get a seven day free trial to watch. Very thorough and interesting.

Mr. Humphrat said...

I also prefer the Made In Japan versions of Highway Star and Smoke on the Water.

grimtraveller said...

Mr. Humphrat said:

I also prefer the Made In Japan versions of Highway Star and Smoke on the Water

That version of Highway Star is the epitome of excitement. The way Ian Gillan screams just before the outrageously glorious organ solo is one of the funniest things I've heard on a record, I never get tired of hearing it and still laugh 40 years on. Glover's bass playing is rarely finer and when the song has ended, such is the hypermania that Ian Paice gives these two thwacks on the drums. It's almost as though he just can't contain himself after playing to such a high level of intensity.

David said:

I of course fell into that album/band due to Smoke On the Water

From 1973 to 74 someone that used to live opposite us {ie, their garden backed onto ours ~ it would take a 10 minute walk to actually get to the front of their house} was obviously learning to play guitar and for almost 2 years at the weekend would crank out the same piece of music. I was ignorant of such matters then and didn't know about electric guitars and amps, but one could hear it clearly and it was loud. It used to drive me up the wall. I neither disliked nor liked the piece of music, it just was. Never anything else. Fast forward to the end of '80 and by now I'm into Purple for 13 months and one day I notice that my Dad's shirts are soaking in a bucket of soapy water and the front pocket is stuffed with money notes so I rescued them, grilled them dry {it was a small fortune} and figured I should use one of the notes to see if it still could be counted as legal tender because they were kind of faint.
So I went and bought "Made in Japan" !
I was digging it when I put one side on and I burst out laughing when "Smoke on the water" came on. I immediately recognized it as that tune that person learning the guitar all those years ago used to play.
Deep Purple's version was much better. I still love it now.

ColScott said:

Grim lives in the UK where privacy is no longer a thing

It certainly is with me but you're right in a way. Among kids, teens, young people and {at the risk of probably deserved ire} females, it seems to be way less of a concern than to some of us older folk that grew up in perhaps more, paranoid times. I mean, I still marvel at people that don't have curtains in their flats & houses.

Gorodish said:

Wow, just read that Irving Kanarek passed away Sept. 2nd, age 100!!

To quote David, "Why does this not surprise me in the slightest."


Mr. Humphrat said...

Grim I went on You Tube to remind myself of the parts on Highway Star you're talking about and was pleased to see the whole concert was video'd and is on You Tube. The one with the whole concert was out of sync between audio and video but the Highway star I saw by itself was synced up fine. It is an amazing live album-the sound is so alive compared to the studio versions.
It seems like we had some of this conversation before a few years ago, but I was in Japan in '85 traveling around and got to go to Okinawa where a friend lived and we just happened upon a free outdoor concert with a Japanese band called Okinawa who did Deep Purple covers and was actually very good. :)

grimtraveller said...

David said...

Now to change the subject, again: The Epix Helter Skelter and American Myth I found, actually to be the best TV version of the story to date. A couple images/video bits I had not seen or not seen in their entirety and they interviewed Allen Swerdoff (even if they only used 2 minutes of it). Very Share, Lake, Guinn but not bad for the masses. IMO

I've seen the 2 that Doug linked to and I'm inclined to agree.
Incidentally, there's a journalist here in England called Alan Clayson ~ he's written a few books on The Beatles and used to turn up on all kinds of programmes pertaining to them. Anyway, in his mannerisms and laconic, sarcastic delivery, he's like the English Jeff Guinn. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a common ancestor somewhere in the dim and murky past.