Redd Kross Manson Cover Rides The Swedish Flying Saucer

Redd Kross performing their version of Charles Manson’s “Cease to Exist” live at the Janet Housden benefit show this past March

Last week I was asked by the L.A. Times for permission to use video of Redd Kross I shot at the band’s Born Innocent reunion show. The gig featured the original album lineup and was a benefit for drummer Janet Housden.

I’ve been a Redd Kross fan for about 40 years. The first time I saw the band perform I had just turned 14. I’ve been lucky to see them several times in the ensuing years.

Redd Kross "Born Innocent" LP and jacket
Original Release of Redd Kross Born Innocent LP (photo: Punk Vinyl Dot Com)

Redd Kross “Cease To Exist”

The Times used ten seconds of my footage of the McDonald brothers performing their version of Charles Manson’s “Cease To Exist”. The song was first released by the Beach Boys in 1968 under the title “Never Learn Not To Love”, as the b-side of their “Bluebirds Over the Mountain” single.

“Never Learn Not To Love” later appeared on the Beach Boys’ 1969 LP, 20/20.

Redd Kross was the first group since Manson traded the song to the Beach Boys in exchange for some cash and a motorcycle to record a cover version of the song under its original title.

Original flyer for Redd Kross show at Reseda Country Club, 1984
My first Redd Kross show. I was 14 and saw the band at the Reseda Country Club in the San Fernando Valley (photo: Pinterest)

L.A. in the Time of Manson

The L.A. Times used my footage in a short video feature they produced about Charlie Manson’s connection to the City of Los Angeles. The video appears on the newspaper’s YouTube channel in tandem with other Manson-themed articles on its website and in print.

Charles Manson LP cover and vinyl
Charles Manson recorded “Cease To Exist” for his 1970 LP (photo: Psychedelic Vinyl Dot Com)

The Times is highlighting Manson and the year 1969 in connection with the release of the movie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The film stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio and is set amidst the Manson Family killings in Los Angeles that year.

In the Times Video, frontman, Jeff McDonald, makes it clear that Redd Kross never romanticized Manson’s racist, homicidal, views. Jeff and his brother, Steven, recorded the song primarily to annoy their parents.

Swedish Flying Saucer's credit for use of Redd Kross video
Credit Given Where Due: “Additional Camera, Swedish Flying Saucer”

I’ve seen Helter Skelter several times, have read Susan Atkins’ Child of Satan, Child of God, books by and about The Beach Boys, as well as interviews with Redd Kross. I’ve learned more than enough about Manson and his family of killers.

If you’re curious about Manson and have a half-hour to kill, the Times video can be viewed here.

Primitive Zippo
Doing high dives into the California cannabis industry, cannabis culture, cannabis-friendly music and anything else cannabis-related residing in the vast expanse of my turgid cranium.

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