Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Music Executive Gary Stromberg on 'Fearing for My Life' After Finding Out He Was on Charles Manson's 'Hit List'

"I was just afraid. I got a van and I drove all over Europe, just fearing for my life," Stromberg says in a recent episode of iHeart's the 'Stones Touring Party' podcast

By Daniela Avila | Published on September 26, 2023 09:30PM EDT


Gary Stromberg, a producer and PR firm co-founder who oversaw phenomenons like Elton John, Crosby Stills & Nash, Ray Charles, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, is recalling the time he found out he was on Charles Manson's hit list.

In an episode of the Stones Touring Party podcast, hosted by former PEOPLE editor Jordan Runtagh, Stromberg said he met Manson when visiting his good friend Phil Kaufman — who was Manson's cellmate — in prison.

"I would go see Phil in prison and write to him, and he asked if I could get him some acid, so I would drop acid onto stationary droplets and write letters to them," he said in an archived interview by journalist Robert Greenfield, who toured with the Rolling Stones in the summer of 1972 and conducted interview with the band and their entourage.

He adds, "So, they'd cut it up into segments and he would pass it around. Charlie [Manson] got his acid from me!"

When Manson was released from prison he had dreams of joining the music business, so Kaufman put him in contact with Stromberg, who was working for Universal at the time. One day, Manson showed up for a meeting.

"I call this guy Russ Reagan, who was the head of Uni Records — they had just started the label. I said, 'There’s a guy here, I think you should listen to him.' He said, 'Sure, bring him up,'" he recalls. "So I went up to his office. Charlie sits on his desk and starts playing music. Russ is like, 'What is this?' Out of embarrassment, says, 'I'll give you money to do a demo.' So we set up a demo."

They went on to record five songs with Stromberg serving as a producer and he said the "music was terrible." (The songs were later released in 1970's Lie: The Love and Terror. Manson also wrote the Beach Boys song "Never Learn Not to Love" with drummer Dennis Wilson.)

"I took it up to Russ the next day. We listened to it and Russ said, 'Just get rid of this, this is terrible.' And I did. Charlie got really upset with me because I wasn't able to help him," he said of Manson, who went on to live with Wilson for some time. "He tried to get me to try other labels and I said, 'I’m sorry, this isn’t me. This isn’t what I do.' And Charlie, we just split up on bad terms."

After things didn't workout with Stromberg, Manson found music producer Terry Melcher who also ended up turning him down after a recording session. Coincidentally, on Aug. 9, 1969, Manson instructed his followers to visit 10050 Cielo Drive and kill everyone inside. Melcher had lived there during the time they worked together.

"When all of that s--- went down with [Sharon] Tate and all, he got arrested. Then the FBI came to me to inform me that when they had arrested Charlie, they had found a list of people that he intended to murder — and that I was on that list," he says. "So I high-tailed it out of town! I went to Europe and just hung up for a month or two and moved around. I was just afraid. I got a van and I drove all over Europe, just fearing for my life."

He continues, "I knew there were other guys that were still on the street. They were still part of the Manson movement. I mean, I knew Charlie over the course of a few months, so I knew a little bit about him, and [knew that] him getting arrested did not remove the threat. So I just kept moving around in Europe for a while until I felt it was safe to come back."


The full episode, which also explores The Stones' return to Los Angeles for a gig at the Palladium, where "an unhinged Satanist appears at the stage door, claiming to be the band's dead guitarist Brian Jones," is available to listen here.

During a two-day spree in August 1969, Manson and his followers were responsible for the murders of seven people, including 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate.

The killings were part of a plot by Manson to start a race war, which he named “Helter Skelter” after the Beatles song. They were particularly gruesome in nature: A pregnant Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was found stabbed 16 times, with an “X” carved into her stomach inside her secluded Los Angeles home in the canyons above Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Also murdered were coffee heiress Abigail Folger, writer Voytek Frykowski, hairstylist Jay Sebring, and 18-year-old delivery boy Steven Parent. Their bodies were discovered the following day.

Manson died of natural causes at age 83 in November 2017.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Donald "Shorty" Shea At 90

 Spahn Ranch ranch hand Shorty Shea was born in Massachusetts on September 18, 1933, and eventually migrated to California. He found employment as an occasional actor and stuntman in addition to working for George Spahn at his ranch near Chatsworth.

When the Manson Family moved into Spahn Ranch, tensions arose primarily between Shorty and Charles Manson. Manson accused Shea of being a "snitch," and Manson believed that Shea instigated the law enforcement raid on Spahn Ranch, which took place on August 16th, shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Charles Manson and other men murdered Shorty Shea on August 26, 1969. Please click on the video below to remember Shorty, who would have turned 90 this year.

Music by": Harry Nilsson, "Everybody's Talkin'". RCA Victor, 1968.




Saturday, September 16, 2023


Original TMZ article here

The front door to the home where Sharon Tate was infamously murdered by Charles Manson's cult has sold at auction ... and the highest bidder put a big chunk of change down for the piece of dark history.

The door was sold courtesy of Julien's Auctions ... after 40 bidders vied for the unique find. The high bid was $127k. It was projected to fetch somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000.

Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor recorded an album in the Cielo Drive house in 1992 -- long after the grizzly 1969 murders.

Trent ended up taking the door with him before the place was demolished. He took it to his New Orleans recording space but left it behind in 2004 when he relocated his studio.

From there, a doctor bought Trent's recording space and pulled the door out of the trash when he learned about its history. The door was then purchased from the doctor by a man named Christopher Moore in 2017. Eventually, the door made its way to Julien's Auctions.

No word on who bought the door, but it will certainly be quite the conversation piece.

Sharon's sister, Debra, told us she was disgusted the door was being sold ... saying it should be destroyed, given its macabre history.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Interview with a man who did time with Manson

An interview with Jamie Morgan Kane, a man who spent 34 years in the California Prison System for a murder he claims to have not committed. 

Jamie speaks on his time in some of the most violent prisons in the USA, his personal interactions with dangerous serial killers Charles Manson and Ed Kemper, and relays his eventual journey to freedom. 

He makes some very interesting comments about Tex.