Tuesday, January 16

Stumbling Across Gram Parsons

Stumbling through Wikipedia the other night, I landed purposefully on the Gram Parsons entry. I'd seen the tail end of Grand Theft Parsons on the Tee-Vee, a movie about the theft of his corpse and the subsequent DIY cremation attempt by two friends. It couldn't be true, so I went to Wikipedia and looked it up.

I found the story and it is one of the strangest tales you'll ever come across--on many levels.

One of Gram's close friends in California before his death was Jonathan Richman, who (if you can believe a Wikipedia entry) credits Parsons with turning him on to acoustic music. Parsons was a raging substance abuser for years and it is odd that straight-laced Jonathan would hang with someone who was consuming so much booze and drugs. But there it is, right there on Wikipedia.

Not only were they buddies, but Jonathan Richman even performed at a fundraiser for the two guys who stole Parsons' body and tried to burn it at the Joshua Tree National Monument, supposedly fulfilling a request from the deceased. The two men had turned themselves in to authorities and were convicted of stealing a casket (stealing a body was not a crime, apparently) and fined $700.

All very curious, indeed. Is it more legend than fact? Who knows? It's a great story.


  1. Hey Alberto. The source for the statement on Wikipedia (although still uncredited on the wiki site) is an interview with Jonathan contained in the biography of Gram Parsons, Grievous Angel. I'm not sure if blogspot will let me post a link, but here is the full excerpt:

    I have been a longtime big fan of both Richman and Parsons, and was pleasantly surprised today to learn of their friendship.

  2. Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that before and it was very interesting