Our Boy Bob

by Jeff Costello, November 29, 2017

Lots of Manson publicity since he died, and it's notable how many people had some sort of connection to Charlie. Musician friend of mine showed me a pair of moccasins Manson gave him, when his band was living at a place adjacent to the Spahn "movie" ranch where the Manson "family" was based.

I was in Salisbury Beach, Mass., summer of 1966, playing with my band at a Mafia-owned club (lots of that in the greater Boston/North Shore area back then). Salisbury Beach was a bunch of bars trying to look like an amusement park, a few cheesy rides here or there. Hot dog and ice cream stands. We chanced to meet a beach bum named Bob Kasabian, who apparently had no shoes, wandering around the sand. He spoke in a north-shore accent, a more severe version of what you hear on recordings of the Kennedys, about halfway between that and the down-east twang of southern Maine. He seemed kind of lost and we gave him a job schlepping our band equipment, and he traveled with the band, having nothing better to do.

Bob traveled with band around New England until we wound up living in apartments on Beacon Hill in Boston, where he kind drifted away. But not before he visited me and my pregnant girlfriend, and presented her with a drawing he had made, of a pregnant woman hanging from a gallows with a sword stuck in her belly. Thanks, Bob.

In 1970 I went to Los Angeles to meet up with my musician friend Bruce, in hopes of finding some kind of success in the music business, or least something that paid. He was living in the Valley, a world away from Hollywood, but he knew people there, all trying to make it big, to become the "next big thing." We did manage to get a gig touring with the Platters, the hit singing group from the 50s. None of the original singers were there anymore, but the Platters name was owned by one man and he kept the thing going, booking the current version into various venues around the south.

One day, I picked up the Los Angeles Times and there on the front page was a photo of Bob, walking into a courtroom where his wife, Linda Kasabian, was testifying as witness for the prosecution in the Manson murder trial. She had been a member of the "family," and drove the getaway car while the other members were killing people in their houses, and had been granted immunity to tell the gory details. She had told Manson, "I'm not you, Charlie, I can't kill people." Her testimony was directly responsible for the guilty verdict that sent the other girls and Charlie to prison. And there was Bob in the newspaper, the same Bob who had given the creepy drawing to my girlfriend. A least his wife was not one of the killers.

Linda Kasabian's husband Robert, center, goes to court as a spectator. Later he was ejected along with friend Charles Melton. In background is Sheriff's Deputy, Arthur Zulke.

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