At The Bowl

Published in the Los Angeles Free Press
Written by HARVEY PERR

The Doors concert at the Hollywood Bowl could have (and should have) been great theatre. There was Jim Morrison, moving with animal grace, exuding his own peculiar sexuality, obviously in a good mood and ready to give his audience everything they wanted and possibly more.
Morrison represents a specific kind of dramatic experience: one in which a shrewd and skillful performer, fully aware of his electrically charged relationship (article cuts off) implement the natural sensuality inherent in his act with what is essentially a cerebral tragicomedy (evidenced by the hard common sense of his poetry); it is a performance that both involves and alienates, a Brechtian epic reality.
Then there was the Chambers Brothers whose magnetism makes direct contact with the emotions, feeding the body and the spirit rather than the mind. This is an instant kind of theater. The kind of catches you up so quickly in what is happening at the precise moment that it is impossible to care about whether or not the drama will have reverberations. In this kind of theatre, the audience is not only ask to participate but they are more than willing to do so.
Why, then, was the concert so unexciting, so bland, so undramatic? For one thing what the Chambers Brothers have gained in polish and showmanship since the days when I saw them at the Ash Grove, they have los in raw power, and therefore however soulfully exciting they can be in parts, on the whole they seem basically dishonest, and their whole act looks now like a run-through for a Vegas gig.
(Article cuts off) – audience was superficial. The audience new it. And the Chambers Brothers (except possibly in their high-pitched version of “The Time Has Come”) knew it.
And then the sense of unpredictability and spontaneity, so important to the success of such an evening, was missing (except for one moment when a kid climed over the wall and managed a little game of cat and mouse with the cops right on stage while Morrison kept singing). What the Doors apparently felt their audience wanted was exactly what they didn’t want.
I think they wanted temperament, the tension that snaps when an artist has a healthy antagonism towards the natural elements in the atmosphere. When the lights don’t go down at one moment, they don’t want Morrison to stay cool and go on singing. At the core, they wanted him to walk off the stage. And if he didn’t come back, they might have screamed for refunds but they would have understood and they would have been satisfied.
But everything went smoothly, too smoothly. And restlessness set in. And the impact of “Light My Fire” (despite the random sparklers that were lit and
“When The Music Is Over” was dissipated, because we weren’t listening to words of death and passion and love and violence we were spectators at a sport in which nothing of crucial significance was affecting our experience. It was a good show and nothing more. The mystique had turned mundane.
Perhaps the Bowl itself is to blame. It’s a forbidding place, forcing us to keep our distance from whatever is happening on the stage. Even the Oreseia could get lost up there. But at the heart of the matter, the evening failed not only as Theatre but it failed, as well, as a rock concert.

Hyatt Continental Hotel 11:30 a.m. Woody- the waiter- exits after laying napkins in our laps.

CARPENTER: How did the cover on “Strange Days” come about?
Morrison: I hated that cover on the first album. So I said, “I don’t want to be on this cover. Where is that? Put a chick on it or something. Let’s have a dandelion or a design. The Tittle, “Strange Days,” came and everybody said yeah, ‘cause that was where we were, what was happening. It was so right.
“What do you want dogs for?” And I said that it was symbolic that it spelled God backwards. (laughs) Finally we ended up leaving it up to the art director and the photographer. We wanted some real freaks though, and he came out with a typical side show thing. It looked European. It was better than having our fucking faces on it though.
C: What place do albums have have as art forms to you?
M: I believe they’ve replaced books. Really. Books and movies. They’re better than movies cause a movie you see maybe once or twice, then later on television maybe. But a fucking album man. It’s more influential than any art form going. Everybody digs them. They’ve got about forty of them in their houses and some of them you listen to fifty times, like the Stone’s or Dylan’s .
You don’t listen to the Beatles much anymore, but there are certain albums that just go on and on. You measure your progress mentally by your records, lik when you were really young what you had then, Harry Belafonte, you know, Calypso, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley.
C: You guys are only working weekends now, aren’t you?
M: No, not really. I think we work a lot. More than most people think. Like after the Bowl we go to Texas, then to Vancouver, Seattle, then jump to the East coast, Montreal and blah, blah, blah. Take three weekends off in August for the film, then we go to Europe. Man, we work an awful lot.
C: Do you still read a lot?
M: No, not as much as I used to. I’m not as prolific a writer either. Like when, a while ago, I as living in this abandoned office building, sleeping on the the roof, you know the tale. (laughs) And all of a sudden, I threw away all my notebooks that id been keeping since high school and these songs just kept coming to me. Something about the moon, I don’t remember.
Well, I’d have to make up words as fast as I could in order to hold onto the melody—you know a lot of people don’t know it, but I write a lot of the melodies too – later, all that would be left would be the words ‘cause I couldn’t hold on to them. The words were left in a sort of vague idea. In those days when I heard a song, I heard it as an entire performance. Taking place, you know, with the audience, the band and the singer. Everything. It was kind of like a prediction of the future. It was all there.
C: How did the ending to “The End” come about? Is the Whiskey a Go Go story true?
M: I used to have this magic formula, like, to break into the subconscious. I would lay there and say over and over, “Fuck the mother, kill the father. Fuck the mother, kill the father. “You can really get into your head just repeating that slogan over and over. Just saying it can be thing…
That mantra can never become meaningless. It’s too basic and can never become just words ‘cause as long as you’re saying it, you can never be unconscious. That all came from up here.
C: That really shook the Whiskey audience up when you did it. Have you ever really gotten to an audience like the first time you went over and got mobbed and all?
M: Not like the that’s in my mind. I think the day what thing happens it will be all over. The End. Where would you go from there? If everyone, even for a split second, became one. They could never come back. No, I don’t think it can ever happen, not like it is my head.
My audiences…they usually get pretty turned on. It’s like saying at first you’re the aud ARTICLE CUTS OFF*
…right there just like us…it’s out of sight. When they know “You’re just like us, “ it breaks down all the barriers and I like that a lot.
C: I’ve heard a lot of talk from friends in England, and some of the groups from there, that a lot of hostility will be aimed your way when you go over there. You know, as America’s super – sex group and all.
M: Yeah?…hmmm, there’s gonna be a bit of hostility, huh? That’s a good prediction, yeah, a prediction of the future. There is going to be a little bit of hostility and if there isn’t, I’m going to a little disappointed. The more hostility, the better. (laughs) Opposition is true friendship, ha!
(Knock on the door. It’s the maid.)
M: Come on in, we’re splitting anyway.
Maid: I’m ready if you are. (waits) I’m ready if you are…I know you like a clean bed. (Leaves room to get cleaning materials)
What they want to hear. Anybody can talk, but how many cats can play music and sing?
C: It seems strange to walk in L.A.
M: Yeah, doesn’t it man! (Bike rider yells, honks, U-turns) Who was that? It’s Babe. (the Doors road manager)
Babe: Where you headed, the office? (Babe goes on ahead on his bike)
M: He’s a happy cat, you know? He’s either a genius or really dumb, I haven’t found which. He sure knows how to have a good time. A happy cat.
M: I knew this was going to be good, but not that good. Let’s split right after we hear what else she has to say. (laughs)
Maid: I’m ready for you if your ready for me.
M: Come here for a little peace and quiet and everyone keeps pushing me.
Maid: Is that right? (laughs) Yeah, just keeps on doin’ it. Well, I’m ready for you if you’re ready for me. (hums)
M: Please, no signing, this is a holiday. I’m on holiday.
(in the elevator)
C: Where were you living a year ago?
M: A year ago? At the Tropicana. Yeah. I started that whole scene. Put it on the map. We used to have lots of fun there. Yeah, it’s boisterous. Them was there, nice guys.
(in the street on the way to Doors’ office. Sunset to Santa Monica on foot.)
M: Man, I really feel good.
C: You had your album all ready to go and you went back into the studio to add some things, then I hear you left it alone.
M: Yeah, we didn’t do it. I was going to add some poetry where the little space is between the cuts. But who wants to listen to some cat talking. The music is what’s happening. That’s ARTICLE CUTS OFF
Oh, there was this chick once, you know, at a concert. She came back stage and said that there was this person that wanted to meet me. She said it was her friend and she was deaf and dumb so I went though this number, you know, drawing pictures, sign language, and it turns out she was putting me on. (laughs)
C: I really dig L.A. Really a lot.
(Topless bar, Babe joins us, drinks are there.)
M: (to Babe) Dig you, big drinker.
BABE: (indicating a dancer) Can you imagine the babies that chick could have?
M: That’s bad for their tits when they dance topless. Ask any dancer. If they lose them it would be like losing your head…She doesn’t work too hard. Just sort of stands there…Bless this house and all that are in it.
M: (pointing to new dancer) She’s too satirical. She doesn’t take anything seriously. I get the feeling that if you spent a lot of time in a place like this you’d corrupt your soul. Corrode it completely. But let’s hold off on that. Can you imagine bringing your secretary in here? Ha!
(“If I Were A Carpenter” by the Four Tops on Juke)
M: If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway?
BABE: No, no. If you were a good natured prostitute I might, maybe. Everybody knows that pros