David Koresh (1959-1993)
Voice Of Fire (1993)
"Voice of Fire," just released by the small, Iowa-based Junior's Motel label, features a sampling of the music and oratory of the late Branch Davidian cult leader. The CD cover shows a drawing of Koresh engulfed in flames--a clear reference to the fiery conclusion of his Waco, Tex., standoff last year with federal agents.
Like Manson, Koresh was a rock-star wanna-be who once lived in Hollywood and tried to pursue a music career. Besides a lengthy biblical oration, the album features his shaky but passable singing and more steady guitar playing on two religious-tinged acoustic songs, "Book of Daniel" and "Sheshonahim."
The CD was made from tapes given to Kirk Kaufman, owner of the Junior's Motel label, by his girlfriend, Sandy Berlin, who, he says, knew Koresh in the early '80s. Koresh had remained in touch with Berlin over the years, occasionally trying to talk her into joining his cult in Waco, he adds.
"To be honest, we weren't going to put it out," says Kaufman, who says he worried that he could be accused of exploiting a tragedy. "But it seemed important to have people see another side of (Koresh). It just didn't feel right leaving it in our closet."
The album was released with the permission of Koresh's mother, who asked that some of the proceeds go to a young girl fathered by the cult leader. Kaufman, 43, does not expect to make much money from the album--only 3,000 copies have been released and Kaufman does not plan to manufacture many more.
The Sacramento-based record distributor Bayside agreed last week to handle the album on the West Coast after several stores inquired about the collection's availability. But Bayside purchasing agent Fred Hughes says he does not expect to sell more than a few hundred copies.
More significant than sales is the publicity, says Kaufman, who hopes the project will generate interest in his company and in the independent rock acts he has produced.
When informed of the album, the Sacramento-based Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau expressed the same anger over "Voice of Fire" as it did last year over Guns N' Roses' "The Spaghetti Incident?" album, which included a version of Manson's song "Look at Your Game, Girl."
"Mr. Koresh hurt a lot of people," says Kelly Rudiger, executive director of the organization, which was founded by the late mother of actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Manson followers in 1969. "No one should be able to make money on things like that."