by Mike Grant 1968
Jim Morrison lives in exaggerations- the dragged-out half stumble and
the sloth-like stance on stage, the upturned, pouting face with eyes clenched
shut, the ponderous but precise speaking voice which is out of the best Brando
James Douglas Morrison, Superstar, Poet, and idol of America's rising
generation, would be a perfect target for the satirist. That apart, he is not as
black as he has been painted.
Already prewarned by colleagues of Morrison's erratic behaviour
to ward the
British press during The Doors' recent and eventful stay here, it did not cool
my apprehension any to read, on my way to see Mr. Morrison, his publicist's
claim that he can be civil, polite, even erudite one day; yet gross or, as Jim
says, "primitive" the next. Which extreme was I about to face?
"He's been quite good today", said his British publicist at Polydor-
Elektra Records, with the air of a keeper talking about London Zoo's naughtiest
lion. I was ushered into a small room containing The Doors sundry people
flitting back and forth with no apparent purpose. Most of them were hovering on
the edge of Morrison's conversation and it was Jim, in open-necked shirt and
tight black leather jeans, who dominated the room.
Among those present with some purpose were three gentlemen in a Granada
Television team filming the whole Doors visit with a rare degree of dedication.
A bored-looking Robbie Krieger, Doors' guitar man, was to tell me later that
they had even followed one of them to the toilet! Next to Robbie was drummer
John Densmore, an active Maharishi student, colourfully attired, who was sitting
cross-legged on his chair, saying little and watching the chaos that was
supposed to be a press conference. In another corner sat Ray Manzarek with a
polite smile on his face and a polite line in answers.
Krieger, hiding behind dark glasses and an uncontrolled growth of beard had some
interesting things to say about Morrison in the short interview which came to a
sharp end at the sight of a Granada man crawling along the floor and pushing a
huge mike up into our faces. A camera was mean while probing the recesses of my
What of Jim's reported moods? "It depends," said Robbie, "which
day of the week you get him. It is just the way he is. I think I understand him
as well as anybody through being with him for three years, but I still don't
understand him completely."
Morrison certainly knows how to project himself and has an actor's feel for
presence. Questions are met by prolonged periods of deep thought accompanied by
closed eyes and an intense expression downward. He can often take so long to
answer that the poor interviewer finds he's lost track of his precise inquiry.
Answers themselves, delivered in a half-stumbling tone reminiscent of Jim's
movements on stage, are accompanied by intense glances skyward.
He first wished to extend his praise for the behaviour of the audience during
The Doors' two London concerts at the Roundhouse. "They were one of the
best audiences we've ever had. Everyone seemed to take it so easy. It was like
going back to the roots again and it stimulated us to give a good performance.
They were fantastic. That's all I can say. Except that we enjoyed playing at the
Roundhouse more than any other date for years."
While on the subject of their stage act, I asked Jim how important the sex angle
was. "Sex is just one part of my act. There are a lot of other factors. It
is important I guess, but I don't think it is the main thing, although all music
is a very nature-based thing. So they can't be separated. But the sex thing has
been picked out because it sells papers."
How important were politics in his writing? "I don't think so far politics
has been a major theme in my songs. It is there in a few songs, but it is a very
minor theme. Politics is people and their interaction with other people, so you
cannot really separate it from anything."
I became aware at this point that there was a hint, only a hint, about Morrison
that he was reluctant to take himself seriously. The journalist faithfully
transcribing Morrison's thoughts to paper would be well advised to glance up
from his work for a second- and there you may see just the trace of an inward
smile on the handsome countenance.
Jim acknowledges that Elvis Presley along with other giants of the era, Little
Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, was an early and strong
influence on him. He says: "Their influence was due to their music and the
fact I heard them at an age when I was kinda ready for an influence."
Jim was courteous enough to me. But a glimpse of what the "primitive"
Morrison could be like came out at the questioning of one persistent reporter
who asked him first about the comparisons between him and Mick Jagger.
"I've always thought comparisons were useless and ugly. It is a short cut
to thinking," replied Jim, in what seemed to be too glib an answer to an
off-the-cuff comment. He went into deep thought, with eyes closed and down, and
finally replied, "Well, how do you see yourself?" The questioner
pressed for an answer. More deep thought. "That's a rhetorical answer. You
might as well ask me how do I see my left palm."
I asked him if he found the group's followers coming to him to be taught how to
live. "I get incredible letters," he replied, "but they teach me
how to live rather than me teach them. My fans are intelligent youngsters and
On a par with Morrison's writing is his stage performance- often described as
evil. Jim prefers the term primeval. "I was less theatrical, less
artificial when I began," he says, "but now the audiences we play for
are much larger and the rooms wider. It's necessary to project more. I think
when your a small dot at the end of a large arena, you have to make up for that
lack of intimacy with expanded movements."
Syndication International Ltd. 1968