Johnny Depp and Damien Echols

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and Damien Echols: A Tale Of Rock And Roll On Death Row [Opinion]

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson’s dear friend Damien Echols has been speaking and tweeting frantically in an effort to save the lives of eight death row inmates in Arkansas. Five years ago Damien was on death row in Arkansas, so it was understandably emotional for him to return to the state to protest the execution of eight men he actually knew.

Johnny Depp returned to Arkansas with Damien Echols on Good Friday 2017 to protest eight executions scheduled for late April in Arkansas. Johnny Depp and Damien Echols both spoke eloquently at the protest. Damien is the author of Life After Death. Echols has even become a songwriter, penning the lyrics to “Army Reserve,” a Pearl Jam song.

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, Henry Rollins, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks and many others took a stand to vindicate Damien Echols and his two friends Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley. The three teenagers were dubbed The West Memphis Three and accused of the brutal ritualistic murder of three 8-year-old boys.

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson were there for Damien Echols when he was finally released from Arkansas’ death row in 2011 after serving 18 long years. Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson spent time with Damien Echols after his release, catching him up on the latest technology and feeding him fast food.

Johnny Depp even gave Damien Echols guitar lessons and still counts Echols among his close friends. Johnny Depp returned to Arkansas with Damien on Good Friday 2017, both to support Damien Echols and to protest the execution.

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson usually stand together in opposing injustice and what they call “witch hunts,” as explained in this Inquisitr article. Now Damien Echols has become a part of this as well.

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols achieved a stay of execution for four of the men to be executed, but Ledell Lee, Marcell Williams, Kenneth Williams and Jack Jones have since been executed, according to the Slate. Damien is clearly horrified, tweeting on his Twitter account, “It hurts me to the core of my soul.”

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson's friend Damien Echols appears in court in 2011, just prior to release.
Johnny Depp’s friend Damien Echols author of ‘Life After Death.’ [Image by Danny Johnston/AP Images]

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and other musicians stood behind Damien Echols, but it was perhaps the love of music that brought suspicion on the Memphis Three in the first place. It seems that rock and metal T-shirts were enough to attract suspicious eyes in the wake of a horrific child murder.

Damien Echols was once asked by Spin if he ever regretted his taste in music?

“I never wished I hadn’t listened to Metallica; it makes you feel alive. It’s what I identified with at that age. I never blamed the music. I just blamed the close-minded people who would put you on death row for what kind of music you like.”

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson’s close friend Damien Echols, while clearly a rock fan, is talented in his own right. Echols wrote a poem that became the lyrics for Pearl Jam’s “Army Reserve.” Damien Echols told Spin he loves what Pearl Jam did with the song.

“I guess my favorite is ‘Army Reserve’ on Pearl Jam because it’s my own writing. Eddie took poetry that I’d written and arranged it into this amazing song. It sounds egotistical, but I think it’s the second-best song on that album! ‘Come Back’ is better.”

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson fully appreciate the loss that was averted. Damien Echols, handsome, articulate, artistic, and wise beyond his years, has become a brilliant writer.

Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp
Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp [Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols stepped up powerfully as they spoke at the Good Friday protest against the eight executions in Little Rock, Arkansas. Marilyn Manson was unable to attend but was no doubt with them in spirit. Damien Echols proved to be a very eloquent speaker.

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson have continued to support Damien Echols in his pursuits over the years.

Johnny Depp accompanied Damien Echols as he promoted Damien’s book, Life After Death. Damien’s book is beautifully written. Here is a sample of his prose from page 71 of Life After Death, in which he describes looking out the “slit of a window” in his lonely cell.

“Nothing makes me wail with heartache and homesickness more than the winter. Sometimes the cold wind feels like it’s blowing right through a hole in my chest. It hurts, folks. It hurts like hell and reminds me of how long I’ve been here.”

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson’s friend Damien Echols writes about growing up very poor in a rural area, and of going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Most of all, though, Life After Death is about feelings and about life.

Life After Death is beautifully written in an emotionally expressive writing style. Damien Echols provides a rare look into the heart and soul of a real human being under terrifying circumstances.

Life After Death is riveting, honest, authentic, and heartfelt. It is also surprising, as a long hard look inside the cells of death row, and the men who live there.

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson became aware of Damien Echols’ plight due to a documentary film about the case. Damien Echols had little contact with the outside world, in a place where one day was the same as the next. Echols had a tiny AM radio, but it was hard to get reception inside the prison. Echols told Spin he missed the music terribly.

“I had a little AM/FM radio, but I couldn’t pick up much of anything with it because I was under three stories of concrete [in solitary confinement], so the reception was practically nonexistent. Every now and then, you could pick up a station for a night.”

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and a host of stars rescued the wrongfully accused Damien Echols from death row. Damien tried his best to do the same for eight men facing a grisly fate, but so far four have been executed anyway, though there was a bit of a postponement. As for the other four, Echols remains vigilant.


RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR

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Johnny Depp Takes A Powerful Stand, This Time With Damien Echols, Stopping Arkansas Executions [Opinion]

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Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and others saved Damien Echols from Arkansas’ death row, and now Echols and Johnny Depp are opposing the execution of four men.

[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Getty Images]

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