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JULY 26 1969

How did you decide you were going to be a performer?
I think I always had a suppressed desire. Y'see,the birth of
rock'n'roll coincided with my adolescence, my coming into
awareness. It was a real turn-on, though at the time I could never
allow myself to rationally fantasise about ever doing it. I guess all
that time I was unconsciously accumulating inclination and
listening. So when it finally happened, my subconscious had prepared
the whole thing. I didn't think about it. It was just there. I never
did any singing. I never even conceived it. I thought I was going to
be a writer or a sociologist, maybe write plays. I never went to
concerts - one or two at the most. I saw a few things on TV, but I'd
never been a part of it all. But I heard in my head a whole concert
situation, with a band and singing and an audience: a large
audience. Those first five or six songs I wrote,I was just taking
notes at a fantastic rock concert that was going on inside my
head. And once I had written the songs, I just had to sing them.

When was this?

About three years ago.I wasn't in a group or anything. I just got out
of college and I went down to the beach. I wasn't doing much of
anything. I was free for the first time. I had been going to
school,constantly, for fifteen years. It was a beautiful hot
summer, and I just started hearing songs. I think I still have the
notebook with those songs written in it. This kind of mythic concert
that I heard...I'd like to try and reproduce it sometime, either in
actuality or on record. I'd like to reproduce what I heard on the
beach that day.

When did you start writing poetry?
Oh, I think around the fifth or sixth grade I wrote a poem called The
Pony Express. That was the first I can remember. It was one of those
ballad-type poems. I never could get it together,though. I always
wanted to write, but I figured it'd be no good unless somehow the hand
just took the pen and started moving without me really having
anything to do with it.  Like automatic writing. But it just never
happened. I wrote a few poems, of course. Horse Latitudes I wrote when
I was in high school. I kept a lot of notebooks through high school
and college,and then when I left school, for some dumb reason - maybe
it was wise - I threw them all away. There's nothing I can think of
I'd rather have in my possession right now than those two or three
lost notebooks. I was thinking of being hypnotised or taking sodium
pentathol to try to remember, because I wrote in those books night
after night. But maybe if I'd never thrown them away, I'd never have
written anything original - because they were mainly accumulations
of things that I'd read or heard, like quotes from books. I think if
I'd never gotten rid of them I'd never have been free.

Do you have songs you like better than others?
I'll tell you the truth: I don't listen to the stuff much. There are
songs I enjoy more in person than others. I like singing blues -
these free, long blues trips where there's no specific beginning or
end. It just gets into a groove,and I can keep making up things. And
everybody's soloing. I like that kind of song rather than just a
song. You know, just starting on a blues and just seeing where it
takes us.

Improvisational trips...
Yeah. We needed another song for this album. We were wracking our
brains trying to think of what song. We were in the studio,and so we
started throwing out all these old songs.  Blues trips. Rock
classics. Finally we just started playing and we played for about an
hour, and we went through the whole history of rock music - starting
with blues, going through rock'n'roll. It got decadent. And then there
was a rock revival sparked by the English. That went very far. It was
articulate. Then it became self-conscious, which I think is the death
of any movement. It became self-conscious, involuted and kind of
incestuous. The energy is gone. There is no longer a belief. I think
that for any generation to assert itself as an aware human entity, it
has to break with the past, so obviously the kids that are coming
along next are not going to have much in common with what we
feel. They're going to create their own unique sound. Things like wars
and monetary cycles get involved, too. After the Korean war
ended, there was a psychic purge, and that could explain
rock'n'roll. There seemed to be a need for an underground
explosion, like an eruption. So maybe after the Vietnam war is over -
it'll probably take a couple of years maybe; it's hard to say - but
it's possible the deaths will end in a couple of years, and there
will again be a need for a life force to express itself,  to assert

Do you feel you'll be part of it?
Yeah,but I'll probably be doing something else by then.It's hard to
say. Maybe I'll be a corporate executive...

Have you ever thought of yourself in that role - seriously?
I kinda like the image.  Big office. Secretary... 

How do you see yourself? Poet? Rock star?  What?
I don't get too much feedback except what I read.I like to read
things that are written about it. That's the only time I get any kind
of feedback on the whole thing. Living in LA, it's no big deal. It's an
anonymous city, and I live an anonymous life. Our group never reached
the mass phenomenon stage that some did, either; there never was the
mass adulation. So it never really got to me much.  I guess I see
myself as a conscious artist plugging away from day to day,
assimilating information. I'd like to get a theatre going of my
own. I'm very interested in that now.  Although I still enjoy singing

A question you've been asked before, countless times do you see
yourself in a political role?  I'm throwing a quote of yours back at
you, in which you described The Doors as "erotic politions"
It was just that I've been aware of the national media while growing
up. They were always around the house, and so I started reading them. I
became aware gradually, just by osmosis, of their style: their approach
to reality. When I got into the music field, I was interested in
securing, kind of, a place in that world, and so I was turning
keys, and I just knew instinctively how to do it. They look for catchy
phrases and quotes they can use for captions, something to base an
article on,to give it an immediate response.  It's the kind of term
that does mean something, but it's impossible to explain. If I tried
to explain what it means to me, it would lose all its force as a

You mentioned that there were certain songs you liked performing
over others, those which allow you some room for improvisation. I
assume you mean pieces like'The End' and 'The Music's Over'
Once they got on record, they became very ritualised and static.
Those were kind of constantly changing free-form pieces, but once we
put them on record, they just stopped. They were at the height of
their effect anyway, so it didn't really matter.  No...I mean the kind
of songs where the musicians just start jamming.  It starts off with a
rhythm, and you don't know how it's going to be or really what it's
about, until it's over.  That sort I enjoy best.

When you're writing material do you consciously differentiate
between a poem, something for print,and a song lyric, something to be
To me a song comes with the music,a sound or rhythm first, then I
make up words as fast as I can just to hold onto the feel - until
the music and the lyric come almost simultaneously.  With a
poem, there's not necessarily any music...

But usually a sense of rhythm, though
Right.Right. A sense of rhythm and,in that sense a kind of music. But
a song is more primitive. It usually has a rhyme and a basic
metre, whereas a poem can go anywhere.

Well who provides this musical line that you hear when you're
writing?  The band?  Or is this something you hear inside your head?
Well, most songs I've written just came.I'm not a very prolific
songwriter. Most of the songs I've written I wrote in the very
beginning,about three years ago. I just had a period when I wrote a
lot of songs.

In the first three albums, writer credit on every song goes to The
Doors, as opposed to individuals. But I understand that in the next
album individual writers will be credited. Why?

In the beginning, I wrote most of the songs,the words and music. On
each successive album, Robby [Kriegerl contributed more songs. Until
finally on this album it's almost split between us. A lot of the
songs in the beginning.., me or Robby would come in with a basic
idea, words and melody. But then the whole arrangement and actual
generation of the piece would happen night after night, day after
day, either in rehearsal or in clubs. When we became a concert
group,and when we were contracted to produce so many albums a
year, so many singles every six months, that
natural,spontaneous,generative process wasn't given a chance to
happen as it had in the beginning. We actually had to create songs in
the studio. What started to happen was that Robby or I would just
come in with the song or arrangement already completed in our
minds,instead of working it out slowly.

Do you think your work has suffered because of this?

Yeah. If we did nothing but record,it probably would be all right. But
we do other things, too, so there's not the time to let things happen
as they should. Our first album, which a lot of people like,has a
certain unity of mood. It has an intensity about it, because it was
the first album we'd recorded. And we did it in a couple of
weeks. That's all it took to get it down. It came after nearly a year
of total performance,every night. We were really fresh and intense
and together.

This was at Elektra,of course. But you'd been signed to Columbia
earlier:  What happened there?
Well, in the beginning I'd written some songs and Ray [Manzarek) and
his brothers had a band, Rick And The Ravens, and they had a contract
with World-Pacific. They'd tried to get a couple of singles out and
nothing happened. They still had their contract to do a few more
sides and we'd gotten together by then, so we went in and cut about
six sides in three hours. At that time Robby wasn't with the
group. But John (Densmore) was the drummer, Ray was on piano, I was
singing and his two brothers...one brother played harp, one played
guitar, and there was a girl bass player — I can't remember her
name. We ended up with an acetate demo, and had three copies pressed. I
took them around everywhere I could possibly think of...going to the
record companies. I hit most of them..just going in the door and
telling the secretary what I wanted. Sometimes they'd say "leave your
number", and sometimes they'd let you in to talk to someone else. The
reception game. At Columbia they became interested.The first person
anyone meets when they come to Columbia is the head of talent
research and development. Actually,the first person is his
secretary. They liked it.

This was Billy James
Yeah,and a girl called Joan Wilson was his secretary. She called me a
few days later and said he'd like to talk to us. We got a contract
with Columbia for six months, during which they were going to produce
so many sides. Having that contract was kind of an incentive for us
to stay together. It turned out that no-one was interested in
producing us at that time, though,so we asked to get out of the

Before the six months had elapsed?
Yeah. We knew we were onto something, and we didn't want to get held
to some kind of contract at the last moment.  By now we'd realised that
Columbia wasn't where it was at as far as we were concerned.It was
kind of fortunate,really. We've had a good relationship with the
company we're with now. They're good people to work with. 

Well how'd that come about.. with .Elektra?
Elektra at the time was very new to the rock field...they had
Love,and early Butterfield stuff. But Butterfield was still into
blues, into the folk bag. Love was their first rock group and actually
represented their first singles potential. They had been mainly an
album label. After they signed Love,the president of the company
heard us play at the Whiskey. I think he told me once he didn't like
it. The second or third night...he kept coming back,and finally
everyone was convinced we'd be very successful. So he signed us.

I've been told or I read somewhere that after the Columbia
episode, you were somewhat reluctant to sign with anybody else
I can't remember exactly.

The people said that everyone in town was trying to sign us up, but
it wasn't really true. In fact,Jac Holzman's may have been the only
concrete offer we had. We may have made him come up with the best
deal possible, but we weren't that much in demand.

You said the first LP went easily Fast.
We started almost immediately, and some of the songs only took a few
takes. We'd do several takes just to make sure we couldn't do a
better one. It's also true that on the first album they don't want to
spend too much. The group doesn't either, because the group pay for
the production of an album. That's part of the advance against
royalties. You don't get any royalties until you've paid the cost of
the record. So the group and the record company weren't taking a
chance on the cost. For economic reasons and just because we were
ready, it went very fast.

Subsequent albums have been harder?
Harder and cost a lot more, But that's the natural thing. When we
make a million dollars on each album and hit singles come from those
albums, we can afford it.  It's not always the best way,though.
In your early biographies, it says your parents are dead - yet your
family is really very much alive. Why the early story?
I just didn't want to involve them.It's easy enough to find out
personal details if you really want them. When we're born we're all
foot-printed and so on. I guess I said my parents were dead as some
kind of joke. I have a brother,too,but I haven't seen him in about a
year. I don't see any of them. This is the most I've ever said about

You said the other day that you like to get people up out of their
seats, but not intentionally create a chaos situation.
It's never gotten out of control,actually.It's pretty
playful, really. We have fun,the kids have fun,the cops have fun.It's
kind of a weird triangle. We just think about going out to play good
music. Sometimes I'll extend myself and work people up a little
bit, but usually we're out there trying to make good music, and that's

What do you mean, you'll sometimes extend yourself..work the people
up a bit?

Let's just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to
see what would happen.  That's all it was:just curiosity.

What did you do to test the bounds?
Just push a situation as far as it'll go.

And yet you don't feel at any time that things got out of control?

Even in your film...when it shows cops throwing kids back off the
stage as fast as they're diving onto it?  That doesn't represent some
loss of control?

You have to look at it logically. If there were no cops there,would
anybody try to get onstage? Because what are they going to do when
they get there? When they get on-stage,they're just very
peaceful. They're not going to do anything.The only incentive to
charge the stage is because there's a barrier.  If there was no
barrier,there'd be no incentive. That's the whole thing. I firmly
believe that. No incentive,no charge.Action-reaction. Think of the
free concerts in the parks. No action,no reaction.No stimulus,no
response. It's interesting, though,because the kids get a chance to
test the cops. You see cops today,walking around with their guns and
uniforms,and the cop is setting himself as the toughest man on the
block,and everyone's curious about exactly what would happen if you
challenged him. What's he going to do? I think it's a good
thing, because it gives the kids a chance to test authority.

There are a number of cities where...like,you were busted for
obscenity in New Haven.In Phoenix it was something else

I would say in most cases the only time we get into trouble
is, like,if a person is just walking down a busy street and for no
reason at all just takes their clothes off and keeps on
walking...you can do anything as long as it's in tune with the
forces of the universe,nature, society,whatever. If it's in tune,if
it's working,you can do anything. If for some reason you're on a
different track from other people you're around, it's going to jangle
everybody's sensibilities. And they're either going to walk away or
put you down for it. So it's just a case of getting too far out for
them or everybody's on a different trip that night and nothing comes
together. As long as everything's connecting and coming together, you
can get away with murder.

There is a quote attributed to you. It appears in print a lot. It
goes:"I'm interested in anything about revolt, disorder chaos..."
"...especially activity that appears to have no meaning."

Right. That one. Is this an example of media manipulation?  Did you
make that one up for a newspaper guy?

Yes,definitely.But it's true,too. Who isn't fascinated with chaos?
More than that,I am interested in activity that has no meaning,and
all I mean by that is free activity.Play. Activity that has nothing
in it except what it is. No repercussions. No motivation.Free...
activity.I think there should be a national carnival,much the same
as Mardi Gras in Rio. There should be a week of national hilarity...a
cessation of all work, all business, all discrimination, all
authority. A week of total freedom. That'd be a start.Of course,the
power structure wouldn't really alter. But someone off the streets -
I don't know how they'd pick him,at random perhaps would become
president.Someone else would become vice-president. Others would be
senators, congressmen,on the Supreme Court,policemen. It would just
last for a week and then go back to the way it was.I think we need
it.Yeah.Something like that.

This may be insulting but I have the feeling I'm being put on...
A little bit.But I don't know.People would have to be real for a
week.And it might help the rest of the year. There would have to he
some form of ritual to it. I think something like that is really
needed. There are a few words that recur in your dialogue. One is the
word "ritual" What's that mean to you? It's kind of like human
sculpture. In a way it's like art because it gives form to energy,
and in a way it's a custom or repetition,an habitually recurring
plan or pageant that has meaning. It pervades everything.It's like a

Is there a ritual or a sense of game about what you and/or The
Doors as a group do?

Yeah,it's a ritual in the sense that we use the same props and the
same people and the same forms time after time after time.Music is
delinitely a ritual. But I don't think this is really clarifying
ritual or adding anything to it.

Do you see yourself going more towards print?
That's my greatest hope.That's always been my dream.

Who turned you on to poetry?
I guess it was whoever taught me to speak,to talk.Really.I guess it
was the first time I learned to talk.Up until the advent of
language,it was touch - non-verbal communication.

What do you think of journalists?
I could be a journalist.I think the interview is the new art form.I
think the self-interview is the essence of creativity.Asking
yourself questions and trying to find answers.
Is there some other area you'd like to get into?
How about...feel like discussing alcohol?Just a short dialogue.No
long rap.Alcohol as opposed to drugs?

Okay.Part of the mythology has you playing the role of a heavy juicer
On a very basic level,I love drinking.But I can't see drinking just
milk or water or Coca-Cola.It just ruins it for me.You need wine or
beer to complete a meal.

That's all you want to say?[Laughter].
Getting drunk...you're in complete control up to a point.It's your
choice,every time you take a sip.You have a lot of small
choices.It's like...I guess it's the difference between suicide and
slow capitulation...

What's that mean?
I don't know,man.Let's go next door and get a drink...

Source: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~nuboy/doors.htm