Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Their name came from Aldous Huxley’s narrative about mescaline, The Doors Of Perception, which got its title from a quote by William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” Huxley took LSD on his deathbed and tripped to his death on November 22, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was shot.
Jim Morrison’s father was a Rear Admiral in the Navy. Many people know that. But check this out: He was in command of the Carrier Division during the Gulf of Tonkin incident. This makes him one of the people most responsible for the escalation of the Vietnam War (many credible historians believe there was something extremely shady about the phantom “attack” that occurred that day and justified American escalation). So, the son of one of the men most responsible for escalating the Vietnam War became, only three years later, one of the leading figures of the counterculture, which was based upon anti-Vietnam War sentiment.
They got their first club gig when a bunch of their friends came by to cheer them on at an audition at a club called London Fog in LA. The manager figured they were popular and gave them the gig, but very few people showed up.
They were the house band for the Los Angeles club Whiskey A-Go-Go in 1966. They were fired after an explicit performance of “The End.”
They were the first band to have an album advertised on a billboard. Elektra Records paid $1500 to promote their first album on LA’s Sunset Strip.
Morrison was in two movies: Hwy and A Feast of Friends. They were only shown in public a few times and have never been officially released.
On December 9, 1967, Morrison was arrested at a concert in New Haven for “giving an indecent or immoral exhibition.” He was backstage with a girl before the show when an incident took place with Morrison and a police officer. Enraged, Morrison said this when he took the stage: “We started talking and we wanted some privacy and so went into this little show room. We weren’t doing anything. You know, just standing there talking, and then this little man in a little blue suit and a little blue cap came in there. He said ‘Whatcha doin’ there?’ ‘Nothin’.’ But he didn’t go away, he stood there and then he reached round behind him and brought out this little black can of something. It looked like shaving cream. And then he sprayed it in my eyes. I was blinded for about 30 minutes.”
At this point, three policemen came on stage and arrested him. It was the first time a rock star was arrested in the middle of a performance.
The Doors were not invited to play Woodstock.
On March 1, 1969, a drunk Morrison was arrested at a Doors concert in Miami after allegedly exposing his penis on stage. Charges included lewd and lascivious behavior, profanity, and public drunkenness. The incident caused an uproar, and The Doors had to stop touring because promoters kept canceling their shows. Morrison was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail. Jim died while the case was being appealed.
The Doors drummer John Densmore has since revealed that Jim never really exposed himself in an interview.
In 2010, Florida governor Charlie Crist granted Morrison a pardon after a fan named Dave Diamond wrote to him asking for a review. Crist believed there was no conclusive evidence that Morrison exposed himself. Ray Manzarek explained: “He taunted the audience, ‘I’m going to show you! I’m going to show it to you.’ Then he took his shirt off, held it in front of him like a bullfighter’s cape, wiggled it around as if there was something going on behind it.”
Morrison’s middle name was Douglas, after General Douglas MacArthur. His father wanted him to join the military.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison’s longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson, found him dead in the bathtub while living in Paris. The cause of death was listed as “heart attack induced by respiratory problems.” Some of the rumors were that he overdosed on heroin or that he faked his death. Courson died of a heroin overdose 3 years later in 1974.
After Morrison’s death, the remaining members released two poorly selling albums as a trio. Iggy Pop was considered as Morrison’s replacement.
Morrison wrote his will in 1969.
Morrison’s headstone in Paris reads: “Kata ton daimona eay toy,” Greek for “True to his own spirit.” His grave site is a popular tourist destination.
Morrison was 27 years old when he died. Other famous musicians who died at that age: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Robert Johnson and Brian Jones of Rolling Stones.
In a story he often recounted, when he was four years old, Morrison’s drove by an auto accident in New Mexico where several Indians were dying along the road. Morrison felt their spirits leapt into his soul.
Krieger and Manzarek continued to play together into the ’00s, but Densmore did not join them because he has severe tinnitus, which is ringing of the ears.
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane designed a Jim Morrison action figure which he began selling in 2001.
When the group started out, Morrison was very shy. As a result, Manzarek had to sing on a lot of the songs.
There was a minor-league hockey team in Jacksonville, Florida called the Lizard Kings, which was one of Morrison’s many nicknames.
They never officially hired a bass player, but used several on their albums.
Morrison’s girlfriend worked in a boutique owned by the mother of Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash.
Since the breakup of the band, Manzarek has done a lot of work with beat poet Michael McClure.
Krieger’s son played in a band called Bloodline, which also featured the sons of jazz trumpetist Miles Davis and Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley.
Morrison published a poetry book which was trashed by most critics.
A movie about the band called The Doors was directed by Oliver Stone. Val Kilmer played Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8, 1943. He was one of the infamous three music artists that died within a couple of years from each other, accompanied by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. December 8 was also the day John Lennon was shot to death.
There is a real Morrison Hotel, which was featured on the cover of their album of the same name. It’s in Los Angeles and opened in 1915. You might not want to stay there: In 2004, it was cited for over 100 code violations and in 2006 the owners were sentenced for slum-like conditions.
Morrison was married to Patricia Kennealy in a Wiccan Handfasting ceremony in 1970; she went on to become a science fiction writer.
They have more songs in the 1994 movie Forrest Gumpthan any other band with a total of six. These are, “Soul Kitchen” (in one of the Vietnam scenes), “Hello I Love You” (first song in Gump’s first ping pong sequence), “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” (second song in Gump’s first ping pong sequence), “Peace Frog” (third song in Gump’s first ping pong sequence), “People Are Strange” (during a New York scene with Lt. Dan) and “Love Her Madly” (when Jenny is leaving the hotel room with a black eye after presumably whoring herself).
Morrison was a pudgy kid in his UCLA years, his weight at that time was about 185. However in the forming stages of The Doors he and Ray took to a workout area at Venice Beach; that and not having much money for food at the time meant a strict diet and the 145 pound figure that can be seen in the Joel Brodsky photos. It was only a few short years of self indulgence with alcohol and drugs, coupled with staying up for days at a time and partying all night that Jim quickly added the weight back and was much heavier at his time of death.
Early in his career, Glen Campbell opened for the Doors. Said Campbell: “One of the first big gigs I played was with the Doors. And I got up there and I said, ‘Where’s the band?’ They said, ‘We ain’t got no band, it’s just you and the guitar.’ I went out with my guitar and opened for the Doors in Portland and Seattle. And when I got back to town I said, ‘Don’t book me on no more of those.’ I said, ‘I’d rather stay here and do sessions, make more money and enjoy it.’ And I didn’t go back out, either, till after the TV show (The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran 1969-1972). I can make more money sittin’ right here and have a hell of a lot more fun.”
Ray Manzarek passed away on May 20, 2013 at the age of 74. He died at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany after a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer.
Even though Jim Morrison attended UCLA film school, he never actually completed his student film. Terry McCartney-Filgate, a Canadian filmmaker who taught Morrison, said that Jim was talented but “undisciplined,” which is rather interesting considering the fact that Jim’s father was an Admiral in the Navy.
McCartney-Filgate did a brief interview and spoke about Morrison and Ray Manzarek. He revealed some interesting tidbits about his impressions of the two young film students.
In 1966, they took a corporate gig composing music for a Ford training video, which earned them $200. The video was found in UCLA’s archives in 2002.
Both Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek attended the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Also there at the same time was Oscar-winning movie director Francis Ford Coppola. He later used The Doors’ song “The End” in Apocalypse Now.