us LIVE from Mule Creek State Prison in
lone, California, about 50 miles southeast
of Sacramento, former member of the "Manson
Family", Charles "Tex"
Watson, welcome Charles - I greatly appreciate
your being with us.
A: Thank You Shadoe, I'm happy to be
with you and your listeners.
1. First Charles, during your prison term,
you converted to Christianity in 1975, wrote
the successful book "Will
You Die For Me?" in 1978, married
and fathered children, created Abounding
Love Ministries, Inc. in 1980, ordained
in 1983, started the aboundinglove.org
website in the '90s, and now in 2004 you
have a new book "Manson's
Right-Hand Man Speaks Out!" What
a miracle, 'how did this happen?
A: My beliefs changed from those of Manson
to trusting in Jesus Christ as my Lord
& Saviour. I was only 23 when Manson's
beliefs led to the deaths of 7 innocent
people, which I deeply regret. And I regret
the enormous pain I caused their families.
Today, I am 58 years old, very thankful
for my new life in Christ, and all He
has done, God's grace, which I am so undeserving,
is the sole reason for my success and
sanity after being in prison for 35 years.
2. Charles, you were not tried with Manson
and the girls, why?
A: Well, a month and a half after the
crime in 1969, I fled from Manson in the
Death Valley desert to Texas, where I
eventually turned myself in after I found
out the California authorities were looking
for me. In Texas, I was fighting extradition
for 9 months to avoid the Manson trial,
which had turned into a circus. My attorneys
thought I could get a lesser deminished
capacity verdict in a separate trial,
but I ended up on death row like Manson
and the girls anyway.
3. What brought you to Los Angeles from
Copeville Texas in 1967?
A: I was running from the pressure I
felt from my parents. In reality, it was
more my fear of failure [not meeting my
parent's expectations], so I moved to
California where a college friend of mine
had moved, searching for a new identity,
thinking things would be different. I
was looking for the good life, where a
lot of the Rock 'n Roll groups of the
'60s lived, like the Doors [some I even
met], but overall, I found more failure,
because of the condition of my own heart.
4. Charles, you were considered to be Manson's
"Chief Lieutenant" at 10050 Cielo
Drive the night of August 9th, 1969 murders,
how could an educated person like yourself,
who attended North Texas University be brainwashed
into those truly sensational acts in Benedict
A: I was very unhappy in college, just
carrying out my parent's vision for my
life. I had no sound identity, no goals
of my own, no satisfaction. I had become
a people pleaser, a follower, looking
for direction, and ripe to be used by
Manson. Slowly, his twisted philosophy
seemed to offer us answers, but in the
end, Manson had no true answers, only
lies he invented.
5. What were you studying in college?
A: I was there to study Business, but
I couldn't see myself sitting behind a
desk. Life became very painful trying
to be something I didn't want to be, so
unknowingly, I began to medicate my pain
with drugs, sex and music. I believed
the more I ingested, the more satisfied
I would be, but like the Stones sang.
"I couldn't get no satisfaction!"
6. How did you meet Manson, and what were
you doing at the time?
A: I was driving down Sunset Boulevard
in my 35 Dodge pickup towards Malibu Beach
where I lived, when I picked up Dennis
Wilson hitch hicking. Dennis was the drummer
for the Beachboys. He had wrecked all
his cars, so he ask me to take him home,
where Manson and his girls were visiting.
IDennis had picked up some of the Manson
girls hitch hiking, and met Manson. So
here Dennis was introducing me to Manson.
The rest is history!
7. It has been a popular misconception
for decades that you played on many of the
infamous "Manson Family" recordings,
but in fact you have never supported Manson's
music, and additionally thought he couldn't
hold a candle to such legendary groups of
the era as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones
and the Doors when Manson himself thought
he was better than all of them?
A: I never played on any of Manson's
albums. And you are right, most people
think the Manson followers of the '60s
still live and breath the beliefs of his
music. That is not true. What is true,
he used his music to brainwash us with
his beliefs, but I never felt his music
was good. I don't know if you play it
there, but it wasn't professional like
the Beatles and other recordings. And
you're also right, Manson felt he was
King to the musicians, especially the
8. What kind of music suit your taste Charles,
I've noticed much negative press regarding
such cult acts as Marilyn Manson at your
A: I just know from experience the damage
that some music can have on the spiritual
and psychological makeup of young people,
and people in general. For myself, I choose
to listen to mostly contemporary Christian
or Praise music. Not that all other music
is bad. I like the oldies. I'm sure that
"Spirit Live Aide" did lots
of good, but I know that as I listen to
Christian music, my heart changes to the
way God thinks about things around us,
in a world so blinded by self-centeredness
and materialism. In psychological behavior,
it is well known that our thoughts [what
we watch & listen to] lead to beliefs
and feelings, feelings lead to actions,
which lead to habits, character, and brings
forth our destiny in life.
9. Did you live at Spahn Ranch north of
Los Angeles with the Manson Family?
A: Yeah for 9 months. We took on the
thoughts and beliefs of Charles Manson.
We acted upon those beliefs and brought
forth Manson's version of Helter Skelter.
I look back and see a bunch of mischievous
souls trying to find their way, looking
for a new identity and direction in life,
only to find the false "Helter Skelter"
philosophy of Charles Manson. How sad!
Helter Skelter became Manson's vision
for the family. In his mind's eyes, there
was to be a black and white race war where
blackie [as he called them] would rise
up and give whitie a damn good whacking.
The Beatles were his prophets telling
us through their songs on the White Album
what to do [Helter Skelter, Blackbird,
Piggies, Sexie Sadie and others], and
the songs verified to Manson's twisted
beliefs that we were doing God's destiny
for our lives. And we believed it!
10. What was an average day like with Manson
and the others at Spahn Ranch?
A: Sphan's was a run-down movie set.
We'd dress up a different character every
day. The guys would tend to the rental
horses, the girls would cook and sew;
there was a lot of work and there 'was
peer pressure. I was the mechanic; we
bathed in the creeks, and at night, we'd
always get in a big circle to eat and
for Manson's brainwashing through his
music. This is where the Manson's "Helter
Skelter" indoctrination took place.
Then, we would play around after that
until we crashed!
11. Like many "family" members,
did you believe Manson was God, and were
you willing to do anything and everything
he asked you?
A: I thought Manson was either Jesus
or the Devil, at times both. He was who
we looked to for direction. We had him
high and lifted up. There was a charismatic
presence about him that made him able
to easily deceive us. And, YES, I was
willing to even die for him; instead others
12. Charles, were you also at the Barker
Ranch in Goller Wash on the outskirts of
Death Valley to live among the animals with
A: Several times I was at Barker Ranch.
We went there after the murders looking
for the Bottomless Pit mentioned in the
Revelation 9 of the Bible. I left Manson
there in a depressed state, and returned
to Texas after not finding the pit, knowing
I had made a tremendous mistake in judgment,
to say the list. You mentioned animals:
There were rattle snakes and other vermins,
but we were the ones acting like animals.
13. What were you looking for in the '60s
A: I didn't know it at the time, but
I was looking for love. Not just any kind
of love, like physical love, but unconditional
love. Someone to love me just the way
I was with all my shortcomings. Someone
to believe in, who shared the way I felt,
to be able to understand me, and to give
wisdom, guidance and direction to my life.
But I never found it!
14. Why did you convert to Christianity
A: For 29 years, I searched for love
and peace, trying to fill a void, not
really knowing what it was, until 1975,
in the prison Chapel, where I accepted
the death of Christ as payment for my
sins. All my burdens lifted! For the first
time, I experienced true love and peace
through a relationship with God Who is
love. I went back to my cell, bathed in
love, I looked in the mirrow, my face
was glowing. I was 10 times higher on
Jesus than I had ever been on drugs. True
love & peace had filled my heart.
15. As a minister of the Gospel, does it
bother you thinking back on Manson quoting
the Book of Revelation from the Bible? Kind
of blasphemous in retrospect isn't it?
A: It is, but it doesn't bother me. The
Lord knows I was not playing with a full
deck back then. I was ignorant of God,
like many of the Rock Groups, who blaspheme
Christ and misuse the Cross. But when
I repented of my sin, God forgave me of
all my foolish mistakes. And if God forgives
me, no matter how blasphemous I've been,
I'm to forgive myself!
16. How do you deal with the guilt and
shame of such horrible crimes?
A: I don't let my crime identify who
I am today! I've grown to understand the
song that we all know, "Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch
like me. I once was lost, but now I'm
found, was blind but now I see."
I see myself as God sees me, He sees me
forgiven, because of Jesus! Otherwise,
guilt and shame can be very destructive
emotions in our lives.
17. What is the goal of your work with
A: My goal is to always make people feel
loved, and to always make others believe
that God loves them. For people to change
the way they see God: that He not only
loves them, but because of Christ, forgives
them for whatever they've done, and can
make them useful in life,as He has me.
18. Charles, your new book "Manson's
Right-Hand Man Speaks Out" has
over 200 Questions and Answers, and it is
available on your website, correct?
A: That's right, I'd encourage people
to go to the website, www.aboundinglove.org,
where they can read the book, published
in full, at no charge. Thank you very
much Shadoe for having me!
Charles "Tex" Watson in a rare
interview joining us from Mule Creek State
Prison in Northern California, Charles thank
you again for being with us, it's not easy
to arrange such a chat, my best wishes to
you and your family and good luck with your
ministry! I hope we speak again!