Gary Pig Gold here, from Roctober Magazine.
Hey! Good to talk to you. How're you doing?
You know, you were surprisingly easy to track down, I must say.
Well, I'm not that hard to find. In fact, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. [pause] So anyways, what'd you want to talk about?
For starters I guess, the "L.A. Woman" DVD.
The Doors "Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman" album documentary.
Oh! Okay, sure.
You have seen it, I assume?
Well, sure, I get all these "new" Doors releases in the mail all the time. I have to so I can sign off on 'em and they can get 'em out there …but that doesn't mean I have to watch them [laughs].
Well, this is a pretty good one. Starts off with a little history of the band, goes through all the songs on the album track-by-track, giving the background information, showing some stills and whenever possible footage from the sessions, talking to many of the original participants…
Oh yeah? Like who?
Jac Holzman, Bill Siddons, Paul Rothchild…
Rothchild wasn't with us for that album. He split pretty soon. Said he was bored. I know what he means… so was I [laughs again].
Yes. Bruce Botnick basically "produced" L.A. Woman with the band themselves, right?
Yeah, I guess. If you can call it that. He called out the takes, turned on the tapes… yeah, but I remember he did bring in Elvis Presley's bass player to play with us.
Yes! Jerry Scheff. He mentions that in the film. He talks about how excited you were to be working with him.
Are you kidding? Of course I was! I mean, this was ELVIS we're talking about !!
You really were a fan?
BIG fan, you bet. Always was. Always will be. I still hang with him from time to time too [possibly sarcastic laughter].
I remember the very first book I ever read about Elvis…
By Jerry Hopkins?
Yes! That's it.
I suggested he write that, you know.
So I heard. And he also wrote a book later on you and The Doors, didn't he?
Yeah, and I helped him with that one too.
What did you think about Oliver Stone's Doors movie that was supposedly based on Jerry's book?
I thought we had this other thing to talk about.
One movie at a time, okay? [almost laughs]
Let me throw some quotes at you from this DVD then, alright?
"They," meaning The Doors, "were right up there with The Beatles and Dylan."
uh, "The Doors are a living entity. When I play them tonight, they will mean something to my audience."
[deep, hearty, prolonged laughter] Who said that ??
DJ Jim Ladd.
"I'm tellin' you that right now there's a 16, 17, 18-year-old kid who's listening to The Doors for the first time as a new band and is getting his or her mind BLOWN."
Jim Ladd again.
Talking about L.A. Woman, David Fricke from Rolling Stone says, "If you're going to have an epitaph – if you're gonna have one last record – then THAT was the record to make."
Howzabout calling L.A. Woman the Doors' "garage masterpiece"?
"Garage masterpiece" ??
Yes. "Garage," like in a "garage band."
[confused] Garage band? What's… Who was saying this?
John! They talked to him?
Absolutely. And Ray and Robby too.
Robby! Last time I saw him he looked like an underemployed executive caddy…
That is a great image, by the way!
Did you ever see Robby on Married with Children? Man, that was a great show. Why'd they ever have to take that off?
Sure, I saw that one. Robby was on with John Sebastian, Richie Havens…
…and Herman !!
Peter Noone, yes. Spencer Davis, and Mark Lindsay.
[affectionately] yeahhhhh, Mark Lindsay. Now there was a GREAT singer. Damn, he was great. I always loved the Raiders' stuff.
What did Manzarek have to say? Pretty Zen as always?
Well, speaking of quotes, in the Bonus Footage he says about the Doors' live shows – let me make sure I get this exact; I wrote it down here – "That Dionysian session of worship of Dionysus, the God of Ecstasy, the God of Madness, the ancient Greek God of Madness and Intoxication and Freedom…"
There's also a great, almost spine-tingling segment where Ray, sitting all alone at the Fender Rhodes, demonstrates that wonderful "Riders On The Storm" –
You mean our Vaughn Monroe song ??
– that descending E Dorian keyboard line that's still so evocative of gentle, but menacing rainfall. Absolutely beautiful…
[absolutely deafening silence]
So what else is on this "bonus footage"?
There's a section called "The Doors Guide To L.A."
The what ??!
It's like a little travelogue around the city showing all these different locations.
Sunset Sound and the Elektra recording studios, the old Doors Workshop – there's a gold plaque up on the building now…
Yeah, I've seen that.
There's even this big green sign that says "Jim Morrison Room" on the door to # 32 at the Alta Cienega Motel.
I haven't seen that [laughter].
They show the Doors' Hollywood Walk of Fame star –
That cost us a lot of money, you know…
Then the Phone Booth strip club – it's L.A. Premier Flowers now…
[appreciative, ironic chuckle]
…Barney's Beanery, the Laurel Canyon Country Store…
Did they fix their sign yet?
Nope. Still says "grocerys" instead of "groceries."
[laughter, then some inaudible off-color comment about patchouli, it sounded like]
And of course, they show all the places around town where you guys used to live.
[deep sigh] I'm really so damn glad I got out of L.A. when I finally did. I really always was more of a Palm Springs kinda guy…
Enough about the travelogue then. There's also a nice section elsewhere on the DVD of John demonstrating his Jo Jones brush chops on the snare: "…you sorta just swish around – but you gotta have some technique…"
You tell 'em, Johnny !!
Then he talks about the song "L.A. Woman," and how he slowly increased the tempo on you guys – "like an orgasm," he says…
[quite affectionate laughter]
"The problem was," he says about the song, "It was a seven-minute piece!"
John is our Seven-Minute Man !! [more laughter]
There's another interesting little part where Robby insists that "Love Her Madly" was, and again I'm quoting here, "a little too commercial." But Bruce Botnick says that he knew it was a hit right off the bat. "I just knew it," he says. "We ALL knew it!"
Yeah, I'm sure they did. They were always after those kinda things.
And then they show "Love Her Madly" right there at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 alongside Ringo Starr, Donny Osmond, and Daddy Dewdrop!
Daddy Dewdrop !!
Which reminds me Jim, if you wouldn't mind: What are you listening to yourself these days?
Oh, not much. Toni Braxton. Spin Doctors. Some Billy Paul. Red, uh Hot…
I think so. Cranberries.
…and, uh, Nickelback. Or the Wallflowers. Whatever they're called…
How about books? Anything special you're reading these days?
Janet Evanovich – not so much Steffie Hall. Lisa Scottoline. James Patterson. Robert Ludlum, and of course the "Twilight" books by Stephenie Meyer.
I gotta say I mainly watch television though. Lots of television. Lots.
Yeah. [pause] uh, Anything else I can help you with?
Um, no, not really. I don't think so…
Gee, you know, I just want to say Thank you, Jim. So nice talking with you.
Yeah… uhhh, what did you say the title of this DVD is? The full title?
"Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman."
You know? I really wish they'd stop with all of that "Mr. Mojo Risin'" stuff already. I mean, I wasn't the only guy in The Doors who loved to mess around with loose Scrabble tiles on the road, y'know…