The Doors: The Doors of Perception
SUGERMAN About halfway through mixing the album, Jim said, “It sounds great. You don’t need me.” Jim never really participated in mixing anyhow; he just okayed the final product. He said he was going to take off for a while. He made the rounds saying bye to everyone, really going on benders, although he showed up for work every day in good shape. Everyone understood Jim needed a break and was anxious for him to take it. The thought was Jim would go to Paris and have a vacation, which he hadn’t had in four years, that he would take off as much time as he needed and come back refreshed and ready to tour.
MANZAREK Jim went to Paris for rest and recuperation. He was going to be a poet and an artist. He had left rock and roll to take an artistic break from being an icon, and we were all very excited about that.
DENSMORE Ray says Jim was going over to chill out, but I wasn’t convinced. I mean, the Parisians drink vino for breakfast, and I was kind of worried that he would take up that French tradition—which, in fact, he did. Ray wrote in his book that I called Jim up and begged him to come back, and he told me to fuck off. Absolutely false! What happened is Jim called me from Paris and asked about L.A. Woman. I told him it was doing great and he said, “Great. We can do another record.” And I was thinking, I don’t know, man. You still sound kind of fucked up. He was slurring his words and was clearly a little loaded. He just was not in good shape, so I wasn’t counting my chickens.
SUGERMAN Jim certainly spent a lot of time in Paris getting drunk and writing poetry. He really developed into a great poet and wrote a lot during that time, but it didn’t impinge on his drinking. Looking back, it seems obvious that he was self-destructing in front of our eyes—he had aged unbelievably in four years—but I didn’t see it. I naively thought he would lose weight and shave and get back to normal.
MANZAREK The fact that he died over there came as a complete shock. He didn’t die hanging around with the sleazeball buddies in the Santa Monica Mafia. He was in Paris with Pam, getting away from all that, and he died, man. So it was a terrible shock. But on the other hand, knowing how much he had drunk, we all went, “Christ, it finally killed him.”
DENSMORE There was talk from the very beginning that Jim faked his death. He was a real wild guy, and he was so smart that he could have thought up a scheme like that. But it didn’t happen, and the thing that bugs me is Ray waxed on the idea for years to build myths and sell records. But I can’t get mad, really, because I think Ray was incredibly hurt by Jim’s checking out and unable to adequately express it.
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