March 17, 2011

When the subject of Jim Morrison came up, I spoke about my first trip to Paris in 1974 and the Alcazar night club. I was told by the manager that this is where Jim really died of a drug overdose and was carried out of the club over the heads of some dancers, as if he was part of the act!

My friend Photographer/blogger Sally Stevens said that was nonsense and directed me to my pal from the past, Doors drummer John Densmore’s message board where a long discussion takes place. http://forum.johndensmore.com/index.php?showtopic=1778

Out of curiosity. I started asking friends from that era if they had any other stories, then my friend publicist Bobbi Cowan told me one about Jim after he passed away.

Bobbi remembers, The book “No One Here Gets Out Alive,” was published in 1981, with two authors listed, Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman. The truth is that  journalist Jerry Hopkins, the first Los Angeles editor of Rolling Stone, author of the first book on Elvis,  had interviewed the Doors on several occasions during Morrison’s lifetime and the extraordinary, life of the Doors. When Jim was found dead at 27 in his Parks bathtub, Jerry began working on the book that would be called “No One Here Gets Out Alive.”

When the Doors first surfaced, had recently opened a PR office on Sunset Blvd, and as a new THE BAND THAT REFUSED TO DIE

I was the new publicist in town in the mid-1960s, and my partner Beverly Noga and I were regulars at the newly –opened Whisky A-Go-Go. The Doors had become the house band there, but they didn’t stay “underground” for long, as word of this charismatic young poet/lizard king and his band circulated throughout the city.

Whisky Owners Elmer Valentine and his partner Mario Maglieri quickly knew that The Doors had a fascinating, mysterious sound; their lead singer had Charisma to burn. Nevertheless, they did fantastic business, and the Doors were soon signed to Elektra Records..

In 1971,  I’m working at Uber- Rock n’ Roll PR firm Gibson & Stromberg, where the Doors were clients, and Danny Sugerman, the Doors’ Gopher, was in and out of our office daily, when he wasn’t on an errand for the Doors. A few days after I started working at Gibson, Morrison was dead, according to the main story, found by his wife Pamela, in their bathtub in Paris. There are other stories floating around about how and where he died, but, there are many who believe that death never occurred. Nevertheless, Morrison’s grave in Paris has been desecrated, decorated, and visited by millions of fans.

Danny got the word out that he had written a book but…the word was that the book was a mess, and I believed that to be true, as I had heard Danny and his life were a mess…He was a frequent Genghis Cohen customer, so Artie can probably back me up here.

Hopkins saw Danny’s book, which was a mess, but eventually “No One Here Gets Out Alive” was mostly the product of Jerry’s vast archive of interviews and his journalists’ perspective about Morrison  and the Doors, interspersed with anecdotes and stories from Sugerman’s effort. Years later, Danny’s own book was published, which included much of his material on the Doors.

Jerry flew me to Honolulu, where I had a room in a Waikiki high rise, and he brought me the manuscript of the completed version. I couldn’t put it down, read it straight through, and called him telling him that I felt this  book could be gigantic. Finally, here was a fascinating, exciting, well written account of Morrison and the Doors.  I was hired for the PR and we commenced planning a launch party at the Whisky, where the Doors’ LA odyssey had begun.  We made every effort to locate as many of the people from Elektra and who had been involved with the Doors in the early days..  Many of the principals showed up, including Elektra founder Jac Holzman, who had signed the Doors to his extraordinary label. It was an Electric night at the Whisky; the three remaining Doors agreed to perform, along with many local musicians, among them one of LA’s best underground band, Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs.

In the middle of the evening, a telegram was read from the Whisky stage—I think Manzarek read it—the book’s Publisher Warner Books announced  that “No One Here Gets Out Alive” was the first – ever Rock’& Roll book to hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list”

According to at least 10 people who were in the room that night, Jim was at the Whisky ghost in the Whisky watching the proceedings….I believe he was there… probably didn’t want to miss the party!”


Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

Special thanks to Bobbi Cowan, Jerry Hopkins, and Sally Stevens for their help with this article.

To reach Bobbi Cowan http://bobbicowan.com/

For Jerry Hopkins  http://jerryhopkins.com

To read Sally Stevens’ blog “A LIFE IN THE DAY” and the shocking six part series on JIM MORRISON,  “Pardon Me, Mr. Morrison” http://rockphiles.typepad.com/a_life_in_the_day/2011/01/pardon-me-mr-morrison-.html

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

One Response to “JIM MORRISON IN 2011”

  1. Dhiraj Says:

    Later half of sixties was a good time for Morrison to be alive. The raging counter-culture with its angst ridden yearnings, primal sexuality, unhinged drunkenness and a wildly seductive notion of enlightenment- was ready for him. He came and lent a veneer of sheer sexiness to the excesses of his era.

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