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.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, Spooktober Edition, 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!

The Doors, “Not To Touch The Earth” Album: Waiting For The Sun 1968

“We should see the gates by mornin’/ We should be inside the evenin’,” Jim Morrison croons, dizzying any listener into his spell. It doesn’t take much with this one. Off The Doors’ underrated third studio album, 1968’s Waiting for the Sun, “Not to Touch the Earth” is a technicolor hell in audio and a supernatural catastrophe that captures Morrison at his strongest and most deranged lyrically. Inspired by the writings of Scottish social anthropologist James Frazer, the song shifts in a multitude of directions, lamenting the dichotomy between heaven and hell with allusions to the occult and even ’60s politics. Terror aside, “Not to Touch the Earth” glues each member together in an assembly of strengths that really exude the warped psychedelic jazz rock The Doors would keep as their own forever. Love ’em, hate ’em, they were on another plane of existence.

Right out the gates, thanks to Krieger’s damning repetition, but here’s when the spine shatters: At 1:35, when Morrison warns: “Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car/ The engine runs on glue and tar.” How angry, violent, and damning he sounds. I’ve always imagined Hell’s finest shuffling between this and “Sympathy for the Devil” … and maybe some Anal Cunt, too.

The lyric to this song is an excerpt from The Celebration Of The Lizard, a Jim Morrison poem that was going to take up the first side of Waiting For The Sun. “Not To Touch The Earth” was the only part of the 24-minute song that was compelling enough to put on the album, but the entire 133-line poem was included on the album sleeve. (A complete performance of the poem can be heard on the 1970 album Absolutely Live.)

Morrison cribbed the title, and also the line “Not to see the sun,” from Aftermath: A Supplement to the Golden Bough, a supplement to the 1890 book The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. Both works were written by the Scottish social anthropologist Sir James George Frazer. Morrison got the lines from the table of contents:

Chapter LXV — Not to Touch the Earth
Chapter LXVI — Not to See the Sun

The lyrics, “Dead presidents corpse in the driver’s car” refers to the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy.

One of Jim Morrison’s famous lines appears at the end of this song: “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.”

The singer adopted “Lizard King” as one of his nicknames.

Psychedelic Lunch

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One of the top rock bands ever to emerge from Los Angeles in the 1960s, The Doors first album came out during the iconic Summer of Love in 1967. On a disk full of great songs, the best of the best was “Light My Fire,” certainly one of the most incendiary rock singles of all time. After that, The Door kept churning out the hits, relying on the superior talent of Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger and, of course, singer Jim Morrison, who impressed with his wild, poetic, charismatic, profane stage persona, which got him and the band in trouble at least a few times.

Few performers have been so consistently controversial as James Douglas Morrison, the vocalist and songwriter of the Doors. And none has caused so many writers to construct so much gothic imagery in an effort to describe the mystique.

In the Village Voice, for instance, one chronicler said Morrison was the “first major male sex symbol since James Dean died and Marlon Brando got a paunch” and another called him at (different times) a “leather tiger,” a “shaman-serpent king,” “The Lizard King,” and “America’s Oedipal nightingale.” In Eye, he was described as a “demonic vision out of a medieval Hellmouth” and the author of a book about the Doors called him “the Sex-death, Acid-Evangelist of Rock, a sort of Hell’s Angel of the groin.” While the Miami Herald tagged him “The King of Orgasmic Rock,” Joyce Haber dubbed him “the swinging Door” and prose-poet Liza Williams said he was a “baby bullfighter” and “the ultimate Barbie doll.”

If writers have been engaged in an inordinate amount of word-weaving, Morrison’s public has gone farther, spinning and spreading outrageous tales as regularly as the Doors have churned out hits. If you believed them all, Morrison was always drunk and/or stoned; both an angelic choirboy in an unfortunate setting and a satyr seeking a continuing debauch; boorish and inarticulate as well as polite, considered and shy; all the above and none of these. New stories — each wilder than the last — were told each week and over a period of two years Jim Morrison came to represent the perfect Super Star — someone far larger than his work or his life. In truth, many of the extremes were based on more than fairytale.

Morrison finished writing a screenplay with poet Michael McClure and signed a contract with Simon and Schuster for his own first book of poetry.

Unlike the mythology, the music of the Doors remains a constant — a force which has not been so much an “influence” in rock, but a monument. “The music is your special friend,” Morrison sang in “The Music’s Over,” and for millions, the music of the Doors is just that; just as the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper renders a generation weak with nostalgia, so does the Doors’ “Light My Fire.” At the group’s peak, in 1967-68, there was also a strident urgency about Morrison’s music. “We want the world and we want it now.”

The band remained a potent rock force into the early 1970s, when Morrison died of mysterious circumstances in Paris, France. (Since there was no autopsy, nobody knows for sure what killed him!) Now Jim Morrison remains forever in the Rockers Dead at 27 Club. Anyway, soldiering on as a trio, The Doors survived until 1973.

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Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “The 27 Club Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Jim Morrison (Young Lion) Circa 1968 Photo By Joel Brodsky

“Where’s your will to be weird?”

Jim Morrison will go down in history as one of the greatest frontmen in the history of music. Serving as the lead singer of the Doors, Morrison’s incredible voice and poetic lyrics helped define the counterculture music scene of the 1960s, while his tragically abrupt end only enhanced the aura around his legacy. So just what was it about this man that enthralled so many fans? Read these facts to find out!

When the Doors were first formed, three of the members—John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek—bonded over their mutual interest in meditation. They even went to scheduled classes. Morrison was allegedly the only one who didn’t join in, presumably because he was busy staring wistfully at ocean.

Morrison famously spent most of his adult life in a relationship with Pamela Courson, who served as his muse and partner. Their relationship was eventually considered a common-law marriage by the State of California, even though common-law marriage wasn’t recognized in California. Courson is buried as Pamela Susan Morrison.

Like many rock stars, Morrison obtained a few nicknames during his musical career. The most popular one was “The Lizard King,” but there was also “Mr. Mojo Risin” (which came from the song “L.A. Woman” and is an anagram of Morrison’s real name) and “The King of Orgasmic Rock” (which we’re sure he must have made up about himself).

During his lifetime, Morrison maintained a close friendship with Beat poet Michael McClure. The two of them planned a number of uncompleted film projects, including a film where Morrison would have played Billy the Kid! After Morrison’s death, McClure wrote the afterword for No One Here Gets Out Alive, a biography of Morrison written by Danny Sugerman.

A Club You Don’t Want to Belong To

Morrison’s tragic death at the age of 27 means that he belongs in the 27 Club, a group of actors and musicians who tragically died when they were 27 years old. The list also includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Anton Yelchin.

Morrison and the Doors did have the chance to perform at the legendary Woodstock in 1969. However, they turned down the chance to be there, though a few different reasons are given as to why. According to Ray Manzarek, passing on the concert was simply a stupid decision, while others claimed that Morrison disliked performing outdoors. Regardless, Doors drummer John Densmore went to Woodstock independently of the band, performing with Joe Cocker.

There are also rumors that The Doors weren’t able to perform because Jim Morrison was embroiled in legal troubles from getting arrested in Florida for indecent exposure charges where he allegedly exposed himself onstage.

“The End” in my opinion is one of The Doors most psychedelic songs.

I was just exploring the limits of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That was all curiosity.— Jim Morrison.

The end was nigh and no one would be spared. Children would be driven mad and they’d kill their fathers and rape their mothers. A great snake would slither and devour the sinners. The church would fall, schools would burn, and homes would crumble into dust, swallowed by an incandescent, burning earth. Destruction would reign and love would disappear little by little.

This apocalyptic scenario is perfectly described in “The End,” one of the most psychedelic songs of The Doors. The End” is death, although the song also deals with Jim Morrison’s parents – it contains Oedipal themes of loving the mother and killing the father. Morrison was always vague as to the meaning, explaining: “It could be almost anything you want it to be.”

The Doors developed this song during live performances at the Whisky a Go Go, a Los Angeles club where they were the house band in 1966. They had to play two sets a night, so they were forced to extend their songs in order to fill the sets. This gave them a chance to experiment with their songs.

“The End” began as Jim Morrison’s farewell to Mary Werbelow, his girlfriend who followed him from Florida to Los Angeles. It developed into an 11-minute epic.

On August 21, 1966, Jim Morrison didn’t show up for The Doors gig at the Whisky a Go Go. After playing the first set without him, the band retrieved Morrison from his apartment, where he had been tripping on acid. They always played “The End” as the last song, but Morrison decided to play it early in the set, and the band went along. When they got to the part where he could do a spoken improvisation, he started talking about a killer, and said, “Father, I want to kill you. Mother, I want to f–k you!” The crowd went nuts, but the band was fired right after the show. The Doors had recently signed a record deal and they had established a large following, so getting fired from the Whisky was not a crushing blow.

Morrison sang this live as “F–k the mother,” rather than “Screw the mother.” At the time, the band couldn’t cross what their engineer Bruce Botnick called “the f–k barrier,” so they sanitized the lyric on the album. When Botnick remixed the album for a 1999 reissue, however, he put Morrison’s “f–k”s back in, which is how the song was intended.

This was famously used in the movie Apocalypse Nowover scenes from the Vietnam War. Director Francis Ford Coppola had it remixed to include the line “F–k the mother.” 

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek recalled in a 1995 MOJO interview: “To sit back in an audience and hear ‘The End’ come on at the beginning of Apocalypse Now, it’s absolutely thrilling.”

Morrison was on an acid trip when they first tried to record this song. He kept singing “F–k the mother, kill the father” rather than the actual lyrics. In The Mojo Collection, it states: “Comprehensively wrecked, the singer wound up lying on the floor mumbling the words to his Oedipal nightmare. Then, suddenly animated, he rose and threw a TV at the control room window. Sent home by producer Paul Rothchild like a naughty schoolkid, he returned in the middle of the night, broke in, peeled off his clothes, yanked a fire extinguisher from the wall and drenched the studio. Alerted, Rothchild came back and persuaded the naked, foam-flecked Morrison to leave once more, advising the studio owner to charge the damage to Elektra; next day the band nailed the track in two takes. Morrison lived for only another five years.”

This is supposedly the last song Morrison heard. The night he died, he was playing old Doors albums, ending with this one. This was the last song on that album.

This was recorded with the lights off and only one candle burning next to Morrison.

The album version of the song is an edited combination of two takes, which took a total of about 30 minutes to record. Producer Paul Rothchild called it “one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever had in a recording studio.”

Morrison would sometimes stop in the middle of this during concerts to get a reaction from the crowd.

The instrumentation is meant to be like an Indian raga. The guitar imitates a sitar, with seemingly unrhythmic pluckings of diatonic notes. The drum beat is designed to sound like a tabla, and the keyboard is supposed to provide the humming support of a tambura.

Ray Manzarek told Rainer Moddemann of The Doors Quarterly that he believed the “blue bus” in the song is, “Jim’s version of the Egyptian solar boat… it is the boat that the pharaohs and everyone, everyone else rides on through infinity, through eternity, and ‘the blue bus’ was for me a vehicle that would take you on a voyage into magical places.”

Moddemann asked about the more simple interpretation that the “blue bus” was referencing the blue buses of the Santa Monica line, but Manzarek resisted the idea. “I don’t think it has anything to do with that,” he said. “It’s more cosmic. It’s a cosmic journey, and blue being the color of the cosmos out there. And then the next line is, ‘driver where are you taking us.’ On a trip, man, on a voyage to some place you have never been before, and some of them are gonna be scary, some of them are gonna be a lot of fun, lot of fun, like ‘The Crystal Ship.’ A thousand girls, a thousand thrills.”

Psychedelic Lunch

The Doors Strange Days

The lyrics are about how normal places can still be strange and uneasy. Jim Morrison’s vocals were heavily processed to enhance the feel.

This song was one of the earliest uses of the Moog synthesizer.

In the book The Doors: Unhinged, John Densmore gives some insight into the meaning of “Strange Days.” Around the time that Morrison wrote the song, the other three Doors band members decided to sell “Light My Fire” to Buick so that the song could be used in a commercial. Morrison went absolutely “ballistic,” calling his lawyers to tell them to tell Buick that he would smash a Buick to pieces on stage if they didn’t drop the contract.

Even after resolving the issue and getting Buick to retract the commitment, Morrison felt that something had changed for the worse and that the Doors were now on a slippery slope to selling out. He began seriously proposing that they all move to an island and start all over again. These thoughts were on Morrison’s mind when he wrote “Strange Days.” As Densmore reports, he was “saying that our old way of making music was being destroyed and we should find a new town. He was trying to get back, to renew that elusive quality that was with us in the rock ‘n roll garage many years before.”

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays at Noon. Enjoy the trip!

Honestly, I could have chosen several Doors albums, but I went with Strange Days because it has some of my favorite Robbie Krieger moments on it, particularly his double-tracked psychedelic freak out masterpiece guitar solo on When The Music’s Over. That, and his spooky bottleneck slide work on Moonlight Drive are 2 of many highlights on the second Doors album (both of their first 2 came out in 1967, impressive creative feat in its own right). Of course, Jim Morrison crooned and swaggered throughout, and Ray Manzarek contributed all sorts of cool and unorthodox keyboard melodies and textures (and basically functioned as the de facto bass player of the band). Let’s not forget John Densmore laying down the groovy ’60’s drum beats. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to The Doors now, but there is really no other band quite like them, and they earned their spot in rock history by their bold and fearless journeys into mysterious musical territories.

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind