Charles Manson’s The Inner Sanctum is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.
I don’t mean to say it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard because it’s awful, although it certainly is awful. What I mean is, it is depressing to hear this old man plunk away on his guitar while muttering indecipherable lyrics, probably wearing the exact same outfit and the same exact expression as he is on the cover, which looks sort of like he is taking a shit, about to vomit, and trying to work out a complex algebra problem in his head all at once.
The Inner Sanctum is a 3-track EP. The bookends, “Air” and “Just Love Someone,” are tuneless acoustic meanderings complete with Manson drawling away in a semi-bluesy tone. The real gem is the second track, “Labor of the Mind,” which isn’t a song; it’s 3:15 of Manson talking. About what? I’m not sure, I wasn’t really paying attention. He says something about how religions worship violence or something and that, within a religion, “improv becomes the devil,” which doesn’t seem to mean anything at all. It all seems very blasé until you realize that this is the guy with a swastika carved into his forehead and then it just becomes very very ironic in a very very sad way.
I can’t help but feel a little bit depressed for Manson when I listen to Inner Sanctum. I mean, this is a man who was described as the most compelling, charismatic, mesmerizing man by pretty much every single person who met him back in the sixties. And when I imagine him twiddling his fingers on his guitar strings, maybe nodding off occasionally, maybe drooling a little (he is 75 after all), a small part of me cringes in revulsion.
Then again, both runs of the vinyl (100 each) sold out within an hour so maybe I’m just an idiot.