In this second excerpt from “Strictly From Hunger!” John Morton and his band move to L.A. to discover they’ve moved next door to Jim Morrison.
One night after practice, I was sitting on the front porch having a smoke when I saw a familiar face coming up the walkway that at first I couldn’t place. “I live just up the street from you guys and heard you playing.” Then I recognized him from the Battle of the Bands at the Teenage Fair. It was Jim Morrison. “What you got going here? Beautiful women coming and going, fucking far out live music and having a good time. Looks like paradise to me.”
“Yeah, but we can’t get any gigs.” I said.
“I’ll see what I can do, but you’re not going anywhere without original music in this town. It isn’t about just being a great musician,” he said, “it’s about projecting an image that is universal to everyone.” I thought to myself, this person, Jim Morrison, with such great insight and illumination in real life was such a totally different person onstage, one of fear and confusion. It was just a ruse to give people the spectacle they wanted to see. The guy I met had no ego. Jim was playful and poetic with a dash of sarcasm. It must be why people are so drawn to the mystique, that was Jim Morrison. I discovered he was just a regular human being trapped in a phenomena that wasn’t real to him unless he was high. There was a realness to him that I soaked in like a sponge to water.
After discovering that Jim Morrison lived just up the street from us I would drop by in when he got back from a gig in the early morning and we’d sit on the steps to his place getting high. I remember him joking about making it home without being followed. As I got to know Jim over the short period of time we lived next to Jim, The Doors had all the trappings of fame they looked and acted the part of fame from my perspective, fast cars, one that stood out to me was a Porsche convertible. I believe it belonged to Jim. The other cars just didn’t stand out like that beauty. Other times we’d sit in his living room, everything was orderly and in it’s place. Dark leather couches with ultra modern furniture, very relaxing. The marijuana and wrapping papers were on a glass table in an ornate wooden box he kept a unique etched lighter and cigarettes in a jeweled container. I remember a picture on the wall of some beautiful naked woman in a Spanish setting. Probably came with the place. A pool in back that never seemed to be used but had a nice sunning area with outdoor furniture. He must have had a house keeper because the place was always immaculate. Getting high with Jim Morrison was like a ritual taking place. For me it was a pleasure and honor just to be there. The house must have cost a fortune to rent. It wasn’t some flop house, get high pad. It was a perfect bachelor pad. The Doors were still on their “Light My Fire” high.
The more I went over there the more I got to know The Doors. Both Jim and Ray had remembered me from The Portland Teenage Fair and how I befriended them with my hospitality. It helped too that I was a nice guy and not taken in by their star status. Even though Jim Morrison had showed up at our practice there wasn’t that superstar connection. The truth is I never expected anything from Jim and Ray, and it was mutual.
Ray was there a lot, and I got to know him on a personal level, he was so profound in his speech like a well read scholar, and he was into LSD and liked to smoke weed. He was very open and introduced me to a real psychedelic world. He was really into God and the universe and not in a religious way. He had met with Timothy Leary and embraced his teachings. I later wrote the song “Open Your Eyes” with the talks I had with Ray in mind! The end of the song says it all, you can talk and you can be someone worth living in reality He seemed very serious and had a watchful eye on Jim, almost protective. Ray loved Jim and was willing to take care of him. He knew Jim was an alcoholic and did everything in excess. Drugs, booze, women and emotions. People took advantage of him. Ray said when Jim was on he was on and when he was off he wasn’t worth a shit!
Robby seemed like the quiet one, consumed in thought, almost shy. The flashy psychedelic clothing just blew me away and the shoes must have been high end Italian. If John Densmore was ever there when I was there I don’t have any recollection of meeting him.
Later, I told the other guys in the band that I had met Jim Morrison outside and he said we needed original material. I thought their reaction would again be disbelief, but they just asked “who’s going to write the songs?” I said I’d try it. I thought we had a chance at stardom, especially after meeting Jim Morrison. Talking with him gave me the feeling that success was there for the taking. It was then that I retreated to the back patio and started writing songs that would eventually become part of the Hunger! sound.
“Strictly From Hunger!” is a work-in-progress book that is presently out for a query with a publisher that specializes in rock and roll themed books. I’m writing it in association with John Morton and hoping for a spring of 2017 publication date. With the obvious association with The Doors and Jim Morrison I thought Doors fans would enjoy the preview. If you would like to read the first excerpt it’s at “Strictly From Hunger! The Doors Open”.
Subscribe to The Doors Examiner and get article’s as they’re published, just click the subscribe button below. Thank you for reading The Doors Examiner!