Killer musicians who kill

by birtanpublished on July 2, 2020

There is no shortage of reprehensible people
making popular music Everyone got their moment

of righteousness with that last Chris Brown
album, but let's not forget that John Lennon,

Axl Rose, and Yanni all have histories of
domestic violence It can make listening to

their music complicated

But what about murderers? What about real
murder music?

Our
story begins in 1560 — Carlo Gesualdo was
the Prince of Venosa and a composer whose

work was arranged by Stravinsky and went on to influence Aldous
Huxley and Werner Herzog He also killed

his wife, her lover, his father-in-law, and
infant son

Admittedly, the son and father-in-law might have
been the invention of an over-zealous press,

but he definitely still strung up the mutilated
bodies of his wife — who was also this cousin

— and her lover in front of his palace

The early days of the blues and R&B are littered
with supposed criminals, maybe none more infamous

than the Prisonaires They met at a Tennessee
State Penitentiary, and they featured two convicted

murderers, recorded at Sun Records and were
an early, critical influence on Elvis Presley

The Prisonaires regularly and controversially
performed at the governor's mansion But like

many black men in the American south at that
time — including artists like Buddy Moss

and Son House — it's unlikely they were guilty
as charged

X-Raided is a Sacremento rapper currently
serving 31 years for first degree murder — and

the lyrics to his song "Still Shooting,"
where he seems to be describing the murder

of a rival gang member's grandmother, played
a critical role in his conviction

X-Raided has continued to release albums from prison
— his 1999 record, the Unforgiven Vol 1,

reached #54 on Billboard's rap chart — but
he's had to rely on smuggled DAT machines and

collect phone calls in order to record vocals

His notoriety has brought some unwanted attention
— like getting stabbed seven times

But the use of X-Raided's lyrics in a courtroom
was controversial, and set a dangerous precedent

— there's currently a non-lethal shooting
case before the New Jersey Supreme Court where

a defendant's four year-old rhymes are being
used by prosecutors to suggest intent in a

way no one would attempt with, say, country
music

Richard McCroskey, or Syko Sam, was an aspiring
horrorcore rapper from castro Valley who murdered

his girlfriend, her parents and another friend
in what became known as the Farmville murders

The vicious 2009 killings game McCroskey a
new audience for his sub-ICP music — the

kind of people who become penpals with serial
killers in prison And, as always, turned

the media's attention on the evil influence
of music

Artists like Syko Sam and X-Raided made violence
a core part of their image — but what about,

you know, hippies?

Charles Manson is one of America's most notorious
serial killers and the wirter of an album

full of jangly weirdo fold called LIE: The
Love and Terror Cult A year before the Family's

infamous string of murders, Dennis Wilson,
brother of Brian, befriended Manson — it's

how the Beach Boys came to one of his songs

The

Beach Boys are hardly alone While Dennis
Wilson severed his ties, Manson songs have

been covered by artists ranging from Guns
'N' Roses to Devendra Banhart The Love and

Terror Cult is a kind of popular record — one
you can stream on Spotify and Rdio

There is something culturally attractive about
outsiders — their art seems that much more

authentic, a genuine expression of something
deeply human that hthose of us who wake up

early, drink coffee, and go to work for eight
hours can't really tap into A love song by

Charles Manson is both repellent and compelling
— for all our pretest and revulsion, we celebrate

those who go to the greatest extremes But
how we negotiate those extremes is a critical,

but personal decision

We didn't even get to talk about bands like
Burzum and Mayhem, so check out our black

metal episode if you're interested in one
of the most extreme music scenes to ever exist

How do you handle these kinds of ethical choices?
Do you boycott artists whose beliefs or actions

you find abhorrent? Let us know in the comments,
and subscribe for new episodes or This Exists

every week I promise to never murder anyone
so your conscience can stay clean

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