Lauren starts off this chapter with a quote she found to be fitting. The Burroughs Biography, Call Me Burroughs: A Life has an unrelated and annoying quote at the beginning of every chapter.
Inspirational quote: “In case you were imagining that Jesse James Hollywood had demurred from outmonstering the monster and was thus quietly devoured—for example by the roving dread Shammies of Tierra del Fuego, imagine again: shammies are quick drying towels.” David Woodleaf
“He was perhaps, trampled under foot by the Tule Elk of Potter Valley” Macy Grant
The Interviewer was a mild-mannered, nondescript kind of guy, who had been sent to interview Woodleaf for an online news source. There was a buzz about Manson Tourism.
He arrived at the location which was a small independent coffee house in an unknown and unpublicized city or town. Woodleaf insisted that no one ever knew where he lived. Unless it was that one time when he was living in the house in San Francisco with the Old Bat. It would be very funny if people come to the Old Bat’s House, even though she sold the house in 2005, thought Woodleaf, when he blindly let the address go published in the book he wrote with his pet parrot Cracky, who incidentally really could not write, as he was only a parrot. Woodleaf took a lesson from the Unabomber, and only met reporters and interviewers in places far from where he lived.
Interviewer: Why give Tours of the Manson Murders?
Woodleaf: The answer is simple. People who are stupid enough to send me their email and agree to meet me in some unknown location, deserve to be murdered themselves.
That was a joke. I was only kidding. Seriously, I don’t do “meet by email” tours. Who would want to go on a tour with a bunch of Manson aficionados? Tell the OC Weekly Guy, that I’m definitely willing to break character. This whole thing is a goof, but this is how I would imagine it.
First I take them to a tea house, and force them to listen to stories about myself for hours. This will cause them to be anxious to get on with the rest of the tour. I announce the first item on the tour will be a visit with John Money For Nothing. I excuse myself to go to the restroom. I don an Andy Warhol Wig, that I bought used on eBay, and then I begin to address them as John Money for Nothing. The look on their faces is worth 100 bucks, I mean 100 elegantly refined German Marks.
When they point out that I am really not John Money for Nothing, but just myself wearing a wig, I correct them. After all, I am John Money for Nothing. I made him up. He is one of my many fake people. Therefore, I am a logical choice to represent him. My portrayal is what I imagine he would be like if he was a real person. In the same way, John Money For Nothing imagined what the Manson Family Home Movies would be like if they existed.
Then the tourists may ask me what connection John Money for Nothing has to Manson. I will show them a number of paintings of retarded people with pencil necks and swastikas carved on their foreheads. These paintings they may be familiar with, as they are reported on Facebook to be painted by John Money for Nothing. They will have to ooh and ah over the paintings, because they are a captive audience. If they don’t, I won’t take them to the second location on the tour, Spahn Ranch.
Spahn Ranch burned down in 1970, so when they get there, they will see just a boring park. Then I will recite my biography to them. I was born in 1969, really 1964, but I like to push the years back to make myself younger. Burroughs first noticed my talents when I mailed him a copy of a book I wrote, that was self published, called I Hate The Four Fruits, which was about Wagner, whom I often refer to as The Master.
Burroughs was so enthusiastic, that he invited me to move close to his home, so we could see each other everyday. The only problem was his personal assistant, named David Wells, refused to let me see Burroughs. Wells said, I was a no good con man, and not very good at convincing people to do my bidding. So, I wrote a song about it called “I Hate Wells”, which I will be releasing as part of My Greatest hits LP of my shoegaze band Placid on December 22, 2016, just in time for Christmas. I made up a label to promote one of my fake wives, and its called Revolting Records.
Interviewer: Don’t you mean CD?
W: No, I mean a record. The Shaggs records became valuable due to the rareness of the pressing. Limited to 1000 albums 900 of them were stolen leaving only 100 albums available. In the same way, my stuff could be considered rare without actually having to be good. Then later on, I went around online and changed the name of the song from “I Hate Wells” to “I Hate Walls”. I had been too forward in naming the song, “I Hate Wells,” after the definitive biography about Burroughs called Call Me Burroughs: A Life . That book revealed the name of David Wells as Burroughs’ Personal Assistant in Lawrence, Kansas.
Interviewer: Silent pained expression
W: It’s not that big of a deal, because I never used my name on Placid, it does not say David Woodleaf, and no one will be able to trace the music back to me anyway. When I uploaded Placid to You Tube, I used a photo of myself looking like Devo with the funny goggles from the 80s, If anyone asks, I claim that you tube user is one of my fans. I can’t be responsible for “my fans” attempts to drag me kick and screaming into the limelight.
Interviewer: So, you had a minor hit, with the song, “I Hate Wells” but you don’t want it traced back to you?
W: Yes, this was my plan the entire time. If Placid had been a bigger hit, I would have then later on, claimed ownership. I claimed ownership at one time on my ex website at DavidWoodleaf.com, but it turned out to be not big enough of a hit, so I disavowed Placid once more. In fact, you are very lucky, I never mention Placid in interviews, which makes people wonder if Placid is connected to me.
Interviewer: What about the Greatest Hits of Placid on the imaginary label, Revolting Records?
W: I cancelled that.
Interviewer: What! Why?
W: I changed my mind, when it turned out that there was no interest for the record, or maybe I just never planned to release it at all. You don’t know, I won’t tell you. In 2014, I was going to release some new material, maybe as Placid or maybe not, but it just never happened. I had a bunch of new tracks named like “Never Hope” but, due to lack of responsiveness from the world, I felt the world was not ready to really appreciate my art. I decided (in light of being under appreciated) I would turn my back on the world, as well.
Interviewer: How can anyone know about your art if you hide it? How can they appreciate it without being aware of it? Could you make a new track called “Under Appreciated?”
W: I may, but probably not. I found an old performance which is so dark, it’s impossible to see who or what is on the stage, then I claimed this was Placid playing live in the 80s. My signature move is to create something very unpleasant to watch, that will upset people. When I hang my shingle outside my door, it says “David Woodleaf, Deconstructionist.” I take perfectly good things, and deconstruct them until the mean something else, or maybe nothing at all. The goal of Zen Buddhism is to reach the point of Zen or Absolute Zero. I got that idea from The Weatherman after I was inspired by one of his tapes back in the days of the cassette. When my original goal of being Supreme Ruler of the Universe did not pan out, I accepted it and I refocused my goal to instead achieve unfame.
W: It does NOT mean notoriety. It means something that you don’t know, and I won’t tell you.
Interviewer: So you have an office door?
W: I used to have one. Macy thought it was a waste of money. I terminated the office, because I decided it tied me to one place. Now I take my shingle with me, and I hang it on any door that I happened to be behind. I could be staying as a house guest with someone for a very long extended period of time.
Interviewer: Tell me about the Lamprey album and the music video that you placed on You Tube. Why does your fake wife, the one named Screechy Owl, not appear singing on the video? Why did you use stock footage, if she is real?
W: I know you wanted to see if she was real, so I used stock footage from Video Block of an old woman and a little girl, just to spite you. But, mostly because she is not real, so how could I upload any videos of her singing?
(Lauren’s note: Video Block is a company that sells royalty free video footage that one can use for making videos. These Videos can be shown on You Tube without generating copyright strikes.)
Interviewer: Her fake website had her appearing at dozens of events singing each year, so why is there no footage of her singing?
W: None of the Europeans own a phone that takes video footage, so while her fake events occur constantly, no video footage is even taken. Frankly, I have grown bored with S. Owl, and I stopped updating Screechy Owl dot com and the Castle Fluffy Clouds dot org. Note to self, have S. Owl sing at the next fake wedding, thereby combining two of my imaginary fantasies. It was Cracky’s idea to name her Screechy Owl. I indulged his idea because he wanted more birds, beside himself, in my act.
My goal with the video was to make my viewers watch this mildly unpleasant footage of deeply etched lines on the face of the old woman, while they looked for meanings within the footage. Old woman and little girls were naturally the theme of my music video, not because of the passing of time or some sacred theme, but because only old women and little girls are gullible enough to be fooled. The old women had lost their sense of discernment, and so did not show me the door. The little girls were too young to have developed the ability to see me as I really was. Only old women and little girls were in the right frame of mind to fall for my thinly disguised and ridiculous hoaxes. The others were fringe participants in society such as the mentally enfeebled or the severely mentally ill. I sold a Wishing Machine to a schizophrenic, because I was able to convince him it would control the weather. I have the idea of bringing back the Wishing Machine to prevent climate change, as this is now very much in vogue. And of course, my best friend Cracky the Parrot agrees with everything I say, which gives me a good feeling of successfulness.
Interviewer: Why is your parrot named Cracky?
W: I know what you are thinking. You think it’s a joke about the parrot being crackers, as in crazy, but it’s based on a joke about the use of crack, the drug, the kind of thing that is smoked. Let us consider, Robinson Crusoe. He had a pet parrot named Polly, and no one else the speak with (until Friday showed up) on the tropical island which he was stranded upon. Did the solitude make him go insane?
Interviewer: We are getting off topic. I don’t have that much time to discuss
Daniel Defoe and his island adventures with cannibals, and whatever similarities you are trying to evoke with Nueva Germania. Why did you pick the name Lamprey?
W: I named S. Owl’s debut album Lamprey, because a Lamprey is a Parasitic Fish that sucks out the internal organs of other fishes, mainly sharks, and then moves on to the next fish (having satisfied itself) leaving the host fish for dead. I thought to myself, what a fitting name for her album, which was released on Revolting Records. I have two photos of my fake wife, but each one is a different model or actress who agreed to pose for me on spec. One is tall and fat with blonde hair, one is short and thin with dark hair. I made the fat one pose picking apples from a tree, as a tribute to Burroughs and his wife Joan. I made up a reason for why S. Owl had been so long absent from the music scene. The reason I made up was she had used fake names before. Brilliant! This allowed me to cleverly construct a whole back career for her that never happened, and buy myself another domain to upload yet another website, Screechy Owl dot com . Then at the height of my ridiculousness, I minted freshly created cassettes of Screechy Owl’s music. But, her singing is so poor, and she is so unpopular, that even my band Placid had more fans. No one bought them, and they joined the pile in the closet. In this closet of unwanted items, I also keep the bags of Yerba Mate, and the video CDs of North Korea, which also failed to sell. When contemplating S. Owl’s singing, cats in a blender come to mind, but that is also part of my art. If my art was enjoyable and made people happy it would be a failure as a piece of art. Art only exists to express suffering, unhappiness and occasionally to mock the Four Fruits. The Four Fruits can’t do a thing to me. They don’t even know where I live, and neither do you, Mr. Reporter Interviewer Guy. You think I live in this town? I traveled for days to get here. I don’t even live in this state. I was able to get a high view count on S. Owl’s You Tube by using the reload back button over and over with great resolve of purpose. I also employ a secret software, called “The You Tube Sucker.” The Youtube Sucker downloads multiple videos automatically simultaneously. The the view count increases by one, each time it downloads. I create a folder earmarked for deletion, and suck up into the folder all the videos I put up under different Gmail names. I delete the folder and start over again. In a short period of time one can generate thousands of views on a video.
Interviewer: The You Tube Sucker is a fitting name. How can we even tell which one of the actresses is supposed to be the one who sings?
W: You can’t, this is the beauty of it. I got the idea from visiting a hotel in New Mexico, where the artist was middle-aged and fat, so she used photos of her attractive young daughter to be the artist. But, I searched and found an online photo of them together. Like Milli Vanilli, there is no reason the person presented as the artist need be the artist. Free music files can be found and downloaded all over Sound Cloud and Mix Cloud, to serve as the musical portion of my act. It is safe to say, that neither the fat, big girl or the thin, small girl is the singer. I have told you this in confidence. The singer was perhaps not attractive enough to appear, or do I even know the singer? More mysteries, you will have to email me to ask me those questions as a follow up. But, I have gone on too long about the music. I know this is supposed to be about Manson, but I got side tracked. What is in this coffee? I never talk like this to reporters. I want all of this off the record.
Interviewer: I will edit carefully, and not print things that are too unflattering. Hang on! I have some very important information regarding your ex-girlfriend Erstwhile.
Interviewer: I got an earpiece in, and they are talking to me right now.
W: Indulge me for a minute, first. If you take the names of all the Placid Tracks and you assemble them together they form a story.
For example, Erstwhile was Mortified, when I asked her to Leave. She cut her wrists in a bathtub filled with LOM in In a Haze of Mice.
I delayed calling 911, because I wanted to make sure she was good and dead, before I called. Unfortunately, she lived which caused the Dreamachine to lose market value.
This is not true, mind you, this is all a joke, that I am telling to the tourists to upset them.
The tour group will become more and more uncomfortable. Some of them won’t even want to stick around to the see the Final and most exciting stop of the tour, the home where Sharon Tate was killed. I fulfill my obligation by taking them to the house, but of course, as I know, the house was torn down and rebuilt, so there is really nothing to see at all on the tour. John Money For Nothing finds this all very funny. Now we have had our little joke together, tell me about Erstwhile.
Interviewer: It’s too late.
W: What do you mean?
Interviewer: It was very time sensitive information, and the time expired.
W: In just those few minutes?
Interviewer: Erstwhile, said you killed her cat and then tried to have him mummified, but ended up with a Pelican, whom you only meant to symbolize something else.
W: After Erstwhile left me, after her suicide attempt, I warned her if she did not come home something awful would happen to her cat. But, the cat died of natural causes. I only wanted to mummify the cat because, I thought it would be amusing.
Editor’s Note: Killing animals is one step away from becoming a serial killer.
Interviewer: Tell me about your public image consultant, Macy Grant.
Macy did not dissuade me in my eagerness to carry out my musical compositions for Tim McVeigh and for Jack Kevorkian. She could not stop me from pursuing relationships with Jesse James Hollywood and The Bikini Killer. She could not stop me from telling everyone I had moved to Tierra del Fuego. The more she talks to me, the more determined I become to do exactly the opposite of what she suggests just to spite her. For example she suggested I needed to put myself on the line more and face the public, so I only became more reclusive. Every time she suggests something I shoot it down right away. She gave up, and now she lets me do whatever I want. I live by the motto, “Everything you say, I am against.” This is translated from the original Italian by a wise old Italian Socialist man.
Q: Mr. Woodleaf, is John Money for Nothing kind of like Mr. Hat on South Park?
A: That is Dr. Woodleaf to you, Interviewer, and no, I am aware John is a real person. What do you think I am, Insane?! This interview is over.
Interviewer: No wait, I admit I was out of line. Did he die or disappear? You claim he was one of your roommates. One more chance?! I get that you are just “playing” with the tourists. And John Money for Nothing is real, (long pause) or is he?
Woodleaf: dramatic aside: You have just witnessed the perfect fruition of my art.
After the Interviewer got home, he spend time researching and it found this:
“For more of the same kind of jokes, you can research John Aes-Nihil, which is the fake name of a fake director who supposedly produced the fake Manson Family Movies in 1984. These are faux home movies made to look like the Manson family shot the movies of themselves. Nihil is the Latin word for “nothing,” and Aes is the Latin word for “brass,” as in the phrase, aes alienum, “another person’s money.” So Aes-Nihil translates as “money for nothing,” as in the Dire Straits song from 1985.”
- Lauren’s notes
This chapter is influenced by the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. In particular the chapter known as “Dad, Professional Conversationalist (page 27)” Notice Woodleaf’s use of the word Spec for Speculative, and the Dad’s use of the word Beck for the words Beckon Call. Also notice to hang a shingle outside of a door and “People leave my parlor in states.”
Notes: James Incandenza, Hal’s father and the subject of Dad, Professional Conversationalist, dresses up as someone else to fool his son, but Hal’s sees through the disguise and wants to know why, his father is doing this. The Father only gives Hal, a long diatribe on many subjects, that makes no sense, but will later be touched on and explained in the Novel Infinite Jest. I see some similarities between James Incandenza and Kenneth Anger. Both of them are/were experimental filmmakers. David Foster Wallace even makes up a Filmography, which is listed as a separate appendix. I don’t know very much about Kenneth Anger, but he was born in the same year as my mother, 1927. But, if you have time compare the fictional list of James Incandenza films with Kenneth Anger’s list of real films.
Woodleaf’s Note: My desire to make a film with Kenneth Anger caused me to create John Money for Nothing. I tried to take Kenneth Anger to Nueva Germania, but he did not want to go. Which is why Miles Mathis mistakenly believed them to be the same person. Miles Mathis believes everything is fake. Who would you believe? Me or him?