SickthingsUK: Jim Morrison/The Doors

Kyler Clark

Jim Morrison
Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, in Glen Buxton's sweater, Waiting for the Sun in 1968.

The members of 'Alice Cooper' were all friends with Morrison and The Doors in the late 60's. Jim was an influence on Alice as well. Alice explained that when Jim Died, instead of sending flowers, he wrote 'Desperado' for him. Using the analogy of rockstars as gunfighters while emulating the Morrison vocals on this song. Alice mentioned this during the '96 and '97 tours and on the 'A Fistful Of Alice' album. Alice's line from 'From The Inside', "...raise a toast to Jimmys ghost..." is a Morrison reference"

Alice claims the line in the Doors Song 'Roadhouse Blues' that goes "Well, I woke up this morning, I got myself a beer" is reputably about Alice.

Alice on Morrison and The Doors (Vice, 2013)

"Jim was just as self-destructive as you can imagine. It all came out in his lyrics. He would go to a party – and in those days at a party, instead of jellybeans there'd be bowls of pills – and take a handful of pills and wash it down with Jack Daniel's. And who knew what those pills were?

I never took anything unless I knew exactly what it was. I guess that's what eventually killed Jim.

I got to meet Jim way back when we first moved to Los Angeles. The first people I ran into were Robby Krieger and the other guys from the Doors. They invited my band to come down to Sunset Sound and watch them record, which was great for a bunch of nobodies from Arizona.

We were just out of our first year of college, so we had to be 19 or 20 years old when we came to LA. We were the biggest band in Phoenix, but we didn't realise was there were 15,000 other bands in LA from Utah, Oregon, everywhere. They were the best bands from their cities too, and we were all trying to get gigs in the same clubs. There were maybe twenty clubs to play in and 20,000 bands – so the Doors took us under their wing. Those guys became our best friends, ya know?

I used to drink with Jim. Robby Krieger tells a story that when our first record came out, we were opening for the Doors in Oregon and Washington, which was a great experience for us, because we were playing for huge audiences that we would never play in front of. So we were playing a theatre somewhere in Oregon and Robby came walking into the theatre – there was a balcony there. Jim's hanging from the balcony, and I'm hanging next to him! The whole idea was to see who can hang on the longest. I don't even remember doing that, but, ya know, we were drinking all day and it seemed like the right thing to do.

I'd go to the Doors recording sessions and I'd be watching them. The thing that amazed me about Jim Morrison was that the version you hear of "The End" was the version they took from the session I watched them record. There were 26 other versions of the song, with different story lines, and every time they did it, Jim changed it. He never did it the same way twice. The version they used was terrific, but everybody would usually go in to the studio with their lyrics and decide if those were the lyrics that worked for that song. I mean, when Jim did "When the Music's Over" and all those other songs – he was just improvising as he went. Which was pretty amazing, cause you were only gonna hear them once that way. The Doors were very jazz-oriented, so they played off each other well.

I come from a totally different school. I come from the school of, "write the lyrics, rehearse it, do it exactly like you did it in rehearsal, and perform it exactly like you did it on the album." I certainly don't go in not knowing what I'm going to do!

But the Doors were just the opposite – in fact, you know the line in "Roadhouse Blues" that goes, "I woke up this morning, got myself a beer?" That's my line. I was sitting there talking to him and Jim says, "What did you do today?" I said, "I woke up this morning, got myself a beer, duh, duh, duh…"

Next thing I know, I hear it in that song.

People have often asked why, if Alice and Jim were such close friends, there appears to be no photographs of them together. The answer is likely quite simple. Firstly no one knew who Alice was at that point, so he was just another guy (and Alice and the band were broke so possibly didn't even own a camera), and secondly they were mostly spending time together in private, not at public parties or backstage at shows.
It's the same with The Pink Floyd. There's no doubt the two bands spent time together, both sides have spoken of it, but no one thought to document it. That said who knows, maybe there is a photo out there somewhere in someones private collection and they don't even know it. After all it was many years before good photograph of the band with Frank Zappa discovered. It would be great to find one with Morrison. There are later photos of Alice with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

Glen Buxton used to tell a story about Himself and Jim Morrison:

"We were out for about four or five days on a binge once, and Morrison wakes me up and says 'I have to go to a photo shoot', I said 'What??", 'I gotta go to a photo shoot'.. , so I said 'well go to it..' and he said '[I don`t have any shoes, and I don't have a shirt'. I said 'here put this on, and to hell with the shoes...' So on 'Waiting For The Sun' album cover where he's wearing a black sweater type thing... yeah.. he never returned it.. that was my sweater."