During the short time the Doors spent in London not long ago, Kim Morrison managed to get himself a reputation for being “difficult” with the Press. NME colleagues were returning with strange tales of Morrison’s behavior. Add to that his record company’s claim that Jim can be extremely civil, even erudite on day, and be gross (or as he says “primitive”) the next, and you will understand why it was with much apprehension that I journeyed to see the much publicized Morrison towards the end of his British stay.
At Polydor, I was shown to a small room on the third floor where a good impression of a madhouse was being effected. Various ladies and gentlemen were weaving backwards and forwards; Doors organist Ray Manzarek sat a table covered in handouts; drummer John Densmore was sitting colorfully cross-legged on a chair and next to him guitarist Bobby Krieger, behind dark glasses, surveyed the whole scene with a look of utter boredom Surrounded by people, but still dominating the room, was Morrison himself, tight black leather jeans and all.
To add to the mellee, a three man camera-crew, who had been religiously following the group throughout its stay, was filing the whole affair for posterity, or Granada, or whatever. I was sat down in front of a door that kept opening and told there was to be a press conference. Presently, a young man came over, said we hadn’t met before, introduced himself as part of the camera crew, and promptly asked (there is another word for it) for a cigarette. My replay was short.
Several minutes elapsed. No signs of a conference starting. So I asking I could speak to Jim Morrison. Impossible, I was informed, even though everybody else seemed to be doing just that.
Followed one of them to loo!
Instead I chatted with Doors John and Bobby, which was made difficult but the television camera which suddenly appeared in the proximity of my left ear and by the gentleman, keeping out of camera view, who was crawling along the floor and poking a mike up into our faces. “Yes it is a bit offputting.” Agreed Bobby, who had obviously seen it all before.
“And yes, they had actually followed one of them to the loo.”
When it became obvious there was to be no conference, I gave up waiting and approached the supposedly unapproachable Jim Morrison whose reputation of being difficult was, I discovered, either falsehood or one of his extremes on the wrong day.
He was in fact, quite a nice guy.
Mr. Morrison is of course, something of a poet and is an intense young man given to periods of deep thought (accompanied by closed eyes and intense expression) and searching answers (accompanied by intense glances skyward).
There is also about him a hint, just a hint, that he does not take himself seriously much of the time
trace of an inward smile on the dark handsome features which, will often be there to greet you if you look up from transposing his thoughts to paper.
What did he hope to see on his short visit? “I’d like to see Stonehenge, fire-eaters and all that sort of thing. And ruins – I like ruins. I understand you can still se bomb damage in some suburbs. And I’d like to see Madame Tussauds.”
He was generous in praise of the Roundhouse audiences at the Doors- Jefferson Airplane concerts.
“The audience was one of the best we’ve ever had. Everyone seemed to take it so easy. It was different because in the States they are there as much to enjoy themselves as to hear you. Whereas at the Roundhouse, everyone was there to listen. It was like going back to the roots again and it stimulated us to do a good performance.
“They really took me by surprise. I expected them to be a little resistant, a little reserved, but they were fantastic. That’s all I can say. I enjoyed playing at the Roundhouse more than any other date for years.”
‘But I am not ashamed of it’
On the question of the Doors long wait for British chart recognition – and the fact that “Hello, I Love You” had given it to them and not one of their earlier, much better singes – he replied that it was the “economic system, record company, style and sound. Like ‘Light My Fire’ was one of the biggest selling records of all time but it didn’t even make a dent here. I don’t know.
“Sure, ‘Hello, I Love You’ isn’t one of our best songs, but I am not ashamed of it.
“Really I like the other side better. I was hoping they would flip it and play that, but they haven’t. But now that we have got our foot in the door perhaps they will listen a bit more.”
In his record company biography, Morrison cites Presley along with Frank Sinatra, as one of his favourite singers. How much was he influenced by Elvis? “Along with many of the early rock singers, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, he had an influence on me because of the music and the fact that I heard them at an age when I was kinda ready for an influence.
“It was a strong influence and they just seemed to open up a whole new world to me. They were very exciting and presented a strong intense landscape that I had only vaguely glimpsed before.”
Had there been any later or current influences. “I am much too involved in the music to pay much attention to other influences. Now. I couldn’t be influenced like that again. I suppose the influences are what I see and read. And airplanes, specially take off.”
As for the other groups, he commented: “Everyone is so good at the