The Doors: The Doors of Perception
BOTNICK In a way, it’s a miracle the record got completed at all. And it’s interesting that even in turbulent times the band was looking to experiment and grow. An artist has to do that or else he becomes very boring. You become a machine and start to manufacture yourself, which is not what the Doors were doing.
MANZAREK I think the album fits right in there with our other ones. It’s just the Doors with horns and strings, man. I always hated the notion that we were just a dark, spooky band. Soft Parade was proof that we could do other things, too. The horns were not spooky, but the song “The Soft Parade,” which was composed of five suites strung together behind Jim’s poetry, was. If we didn’t balance the dark with the light, we would have been fools. And we were not fools.
KRIEGER During the sessions, this crazed guy, who apparently thought that “The Celebration of the Lizard” [a Morrison poem which appeared on Waiting for the Sun] was written about him, appeared. He yelled, “How did you know that I’m the Lizard King, goddamn it! That’s me. You wrote a song about me!” And he smacked Ray right in the eye because he thought Ray was Jim. Ray had his glasses on and they just crumpled. It was a mess.
Jim was always obsessed with lizards because he’d seen them a lot when he was on acid. But I don’t know when he came up with “I am the Lizard King.” I think he wished he had never said that. It was just another thing he had to live up to.
DENSMORE “Touch Me” was a hit and we went back on the road. Then [on March 1], we played Miami and all hell broke loose. But we didn’t realize that it was really the beginning of the end.
MANZAREK It was certainly an out-ofcontrol night, but the eventual problems were caused by the accusation that Jim had exposed himself. Did he do so? We’ll never know for sure, because we never actually asked him. We operated on a subtle psychic level rather than a gross one. That may be hard to understand today because there is no longer such a thing as a subtle level, but there was in the Sixties, and for us to ask a direct question would have violated that connection and ruined it forever. It would have made us like the military, the cops, or an attorney. To ask such a direct question would have made us The Man: “Jim, did you expose your penis?”
Besides, it was obvious to me that he had not done so. We assumed he didn’t, but that his ruse had worked on the people. He said, “Do you want to see my cock? I’m gonna show it to you. I’m gonna show you my penis!” Then he pulled his shirt back and forth. It was obvious to me that he wasn’t pulling his dick out, man. He was feeling the weight of their expectations, knowing that they were coming to see a freak show, so he put on a snake-oil carnival show and they all fell for it. Two hundred photos were eventually entered as evidence at the subsequent trial, but not one contained even a glimpse of the “ivory shaft.” What, all of a sudden everyone was so awed that they stopped taking pictures?
DENSMORE In the studio Jim could really deliver, and if he was in terrible shape, we could scrap his track or skip a session. But there was no control live, so I always had a sense of dread, a knowledge that anything could happen. We were so good live, then we weren’t so good, and you never knew which band would show up, because you never knew which Jim would show up.
KRIEGER I never saw him pull it out—I still don’t think he really did—but it was truly a crazy night. Jim was very late, and by the time he got there, was pretty drunk. He had just had a big fight with his girlfriend, Pam. Not only that, but just before leaving Los Angeles, he had seen a performance by the Living Theater. They were the first somewhat legitimate theater group to use total nudity. It was very groundbreaking stuff, where the people in the cast would run out in the audience and get everyone involved. They’d rile everyone up and get in their faces. Jim really dug it—he brought all of us to see it—and I think he was pretty affected by it; he was getting more into the idea of being confrontational with the audience. All of those conditions came together to cause what happened at the show.
We were usually good at maintaining the music through even the most intense craziness. That was what we did. But let’s be honest; it did fall apart in Miami. Usually, we were at least able to make it through the show, no matter what, but Miami only lasted two or three songs after “Five to One.” It was bedlam, just total craziness. The place was incredibly oversold and sweltering hot, thousands of people swarmed the stage, and it collapsed. I remember Jim just rolling around in the midst of all these people and wondering if we would ever get out of there. The last thing I remember was Jim out in the audience, leading this huge snaking line of people. And us all running for the rafters.
DENSMORE It was very wild, but we had no idea what it would lead to. The whole country was very polarized, and some people were very scared by the changes they saw. And we became their rallying cry. Suddenly, 30,000 homophobes led by Anita Bryant and Jackie Gleason were rallying in the Orange Bowl against the Doors.
KRIEGER Nothing happened until a week after the concert, when somebody decided to make a stink about it. No one seemed to be angry at the show, nobody asked for their money back. And the cops were friendly— they sat around drinking beers with us. But then some politician decided to make his career at our expense, and it fucked everything up. We were banned by the Concert Hall Manager’s Association, and we basically couldn’t play anywhere for a year. It was never quite the same again.
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