Caption under Picture 1, Page 1 – “We went off the stage, and, 10 minutes later, they started breaking chairs and going crazy. So we got in a whole bunch of trouble – and got a terrible review. “
A little history never hurts. Just a short time ago, the Doors came to Minneapolis for a concert gig. They invited me to sit in with them and harmonica – so I did. I invited them to sit in with me on tape recorder – so they did. In other words, I played with ‘em and I talked with ‘em.
This is Part Two of the rap section.
Q: Are you involved in any film work?
Jim: Not really. But we’re interested in it.
Q: I’ve never seen either of your promotional films, the one for “Break On Through (to the Other Side)” or the one for “The Unknown Soldier.” Have they been on TV at all?
Robby: In London. They really dug “The Unknown Soldier” film there. It was on a couple of times.
Q: There’s more of a market there. More pop shows.
Bill: They’ve got less TV.
John: They’ve got less censorship!
Bill: They don’t have all the bread to put out bullshit TV like the Americans, so they grab hold of something interesting and put it on.
Jim: And they dig anything vaguely anti-American.
Q: In addition to London, where were you in Europe?
Jim: Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.
Q: How was Germany?
John: There’s nothing happening there at the all. In Copenhagen and Stockholm, they have an underground. In Germany, there’s just nothing.
Robby: In Germany, it seems like they don’t care so much about Vietnam because they have the Berlin Wall and all of that bull to think about. That’s the only thing I dug about Germany. They didn’t keep bugging us about the war.
Q: What’s up for your next album? Any departures?
John: Yeah, probably a lot of them, but I don’t know whether we’re going to do them. We’ll find out when we get into the studio.
Q: How long does it usually take you to do an album? Or isn’t there any such thing as “usually”? Bill: This one will probably take about three weeks altogether. Strange Days took three months, and Waiting for the Sun took about six months.
Q: It gets harder. The first Koerner, Ray and Glover album, Blues, Rags and Hollers was recorded in one 10-hour session. In a women’s club in Milwaukee! The next one took days, and the one after that, weeks.
John: I’m hoping that with Harvey Brooks on bass, the tracks will come quick.
Jim: Everybody gets imbued with a sense of their own importance. So, instead of using the third take, it has to be the 57th take.
Q: Do you do much “live” singing, or are most of the vocals overdubbed?
Jim: We do it both ways, but more and more overdub. “The End” was done “live.”
Q: Yeah, I felt that when I heard it – it was so together. Your first album is my favorite of your records.
Jim: I like all of them. I think “The End” is a beautiful cut. We did a version at the Hollywood Bowl that’s, like, “The End” a year later.
Q: Do you play clubs any more? Is it mostly concerts now? Bill: It’s all concerts. Q: Which do you prefer? Robby: We haven’t played a club in so long, I don’t know!
Jim: One advantage that the clubs have is that you can practice for an audience. In concerts, it gets hard to do that. There, you only have about an hour, and people only hear what they’re used to hearing.
Q: So you have to do mostly numbers from the albums?
Jim: You don’t have to, but it makes everyone happier if you do. But we’ll do a couple of new songs at the concert tonight.
Q: Do you get a better thing going with an audience in a concert or in a club? Jim: Well, in a concert, it’s just a crowd phenomenon. In a club, it’s more intimate communication.
Q: In other words, it’s two different kinds of trips?
Jim: It is. In a concert, it’s more stagey, more extroverted. In a club, it’s very personal. Also, clubs are great because people dance right in front of you, and you get that energy. In a concert no one can move around. They all have to stay in their seats.
Q: Are you going to be recording any protest song? Jim: I don’t think we have anything that could be vaguely classifies as “protest.” We won’t be doing protest songs but perhaps songs of a gospel type. They’re not exactly protest, just the “we all want to be free” kind of thing.
Q: A while back, I read somewhere that you were thinking about augmenting some things with a girl vocal group.
Jim: Yeah, we probably might do that.
Q: The Raelets?
Jim: Yeah that would be great. What’s the other group? The Gospel Pearls? The Clara Ward Singers?
Q: Is your music moving more and more towards gospel music?
Jim: Well, I don’t meat that it really sounds like gospel music, but it’s got the spirit of gospel – the handclapping, the “We’re all in the same boat” type of feeling. You know what I mean.
Q: Are you still interested in the “music as theater” bit?
Jim: We’ve done so much talking about it that I guess we’re going to have to come up with something.
Q: Had any more cop trouble lately? Jim (laughing): Yeah. I got a speeding ticket the other day.
Bill: Exhibitionist speeding, not just speeing!
Q; Did you lose many gigs because of the bust in New Haven?
Jim: I don’t think so.
Robby: Read Tony that rider in the contract.
Bill: Wait until I find it. We got this little letter from our agency –
John: Is it true that we can’t play in Phoenix any more?
Bill (looking for the letter): Well, you caused a near-riot-
Robby: Jim kept saying, “I want to see Phoenix flip out.”
Jim: You guys are worse than newspapers. I didn’t say anything like that.
Bill: Oh, you were so subtle that I could hardly stand it!
John: That’s funny, because everybody had such a good time, even the cops. Nobody got beaut up, but they got to push ‘em around a little, and it was all groovy. Everybody got their rocks.
Bill (reading the rider letter): “The hall has sent a special letter stating that, if, in the judgment of the hall manage, the content of the performance is immoral, indecent, or illegal, the show will be ended immediately.
Bill: We got that in Columbus, Ohio, and in St. Louis. You see, the thing is, there’s like, a hall managers’ association, and they all get together and decide what groups they like and what groups they don’t like. This group of men sent out a letter – which I’m trying to track down – saying that the Doors are troublemakers. So the promoters have had to do a lot of pushing and fighting to get us into the halls. They have to give a personal guarantee that if anything happens, they, the promoters, are solely responsible for it.
John: The kids don’t do anything. They just get up there, finally, and go, “Ahhh.”
Bill: The thing is, they always hold the group responsible and never the shitty security forces. We travel with out own security people to make sure that kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Or at least so that people don’t get on the stage. Because, if they do, the group and all of the equipment are in danger.
Q: I read about people attacking your equipment.
Bill: At the Singer Bowl (in New York), they were trying to run off with our amps. There were two chicks, one on each end of an amp –
John (laughing): That was funny.
Bill: It was really weird. We’ve got a lawsuit pending from the Singer Bowl because a cop allegedly struck a chick or something. Nothing happened until the group was off the stage.
John: We went off the stage, and, 10 minutes later, they started breaking chairs and going crazy. So we got in a whole bunch of trouble – and got terrible review.
Bill: We have these two people whose job it is to meet with the local security force and to give them instructions on what to do if what ever happens.
John: We hire them – all of these spade private detectives – and they’re intermediaries between us and the cops at the hall. They’re really groovy. They cool them all out.
Be sure to read Part Three of the Doors interview in the next issue of CIRCUS