SYSTEM OF A DOWN guitarist Daron Malakian says that he was "very sad" to hear the news of Charles Manson's death, explaining that the cult leader and murder-rampage mastermind's "interviews and music were a big influence" on him as an artist.
One of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century, Charles Manson died on Sunday in a hospital in Kern County, California, north of Los Angeles. He was 83. Charles Manson had been rushed to a Bakersfield, California hospital from Corcoran State Prison earlier this month for an undisclosed medical issue.
In the summer of 1969, Charles Manson persuaded his followers to commit a string of murders in Los Angeles.
Although he was sentenced to death for the crime, Manson escaped execution when the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional at the time.
After news of Manson's death broke on Sunday, Malakian made a Facebook post in which he wrote: "Very sad to hear the news about Charles Manson's death. During the time I was writing [SYSTEM OF A DOWN's] 'Toxicity' album, Manson's interviews and music were a big influence on me as an artist. I titled the song 'A.T.W.A.' after Manson's environmental organization [Air Trees Water Animals]. My interest was in the way he articulated his thoughts and his views on society, not in the murders."
Daron added that the painting in the photo included in his Facebook post was "one I asked my dad to paint with the Charles Manson theme, which I later used as the art for the SCARS ON BROADWAY song 'Fucking' that was released through limited vinyl."
After his initial comments caused a backlash on social media, Malakian once took to his Facebook to clarify his stance and respond to his critics, saying that "Manson was a genius who could articulate his thoughts in very clever ways."
Daron wrote in the comments section below his original post: "If all you know about Manson is what you've [been] sold by the media, I don't blame you for you negative comments. But the other side of Manson was that he was a songwriter [whose] song 'Look At Your Game' was covered by GUNS N' ROSES. Manson also had very valid view points on the society and the environment that even some of you people who are calling me disgusting couldn't argue with if you took the time to look into his interviews. I would say you would be the disgusting ones if you disagree with him on some of these topics.
"If Manson was just some idiot who killed people, he wouldn't inspire me in any way.
"I don't back murders or murderers in any way shape or form!!!!!
"Manson was a genius who could articulate his thoughts in very clever ways. That was the Manson who affected me as an artist.
"For all of you who say [you're] happy he is dead and he should burn in your imaginary hell, [you're] the ones who should be ashamed of yourselves. You [seem] to be just as bad with your thoughts as the murderers you [say] that you hate so much!!!!"
Earlier today, Malakian made another attempt to explain himself, writing below his original post: "Let me try to explain one more time for those who just don't get where I'm coming from on this Manson post. I don't back the murderer Charles Manson, I back his art and his views on social and environmental issues. Sometimes talented people do bad things. For example, OJ Simpson killed his wife, which is horrible. But you can't deny the fact that he was one of the best football players in history. So there is the murderer OJ and the football OJ. So if I was a football player, I could not deny Simpson's contribution to the game and the impact he had on future football players. Yes, he did a horrible thing by killing his wife, but his talent as a football player in undeniable.
"And for the people who are asking if I would feel the same if Manson killed my family or pregnant wife, this is an example for you. My family was in the Armenian Genocide where millions of Armenians were slaughtered by the Turkish government and Turkish soldiers. But I still enjoy Turkish music, Turkish art, and I have Turkish friends who probably had grandparents who were Turkish soldiers during the genocide."