What was Jim’s attitude toward the Doors? Did it change over time?
I only saw it from Jim’s perspective, of course, so that is the only view I can speak to–out of empirical critical observation as well as marital loyalty…
It was a relationship, of course, and like all relationships it changed as the participants changed, as the circumstances changed. At first the Doors were a group of four struggling artists all equally together; at the end they were four wealthy superstars struggling with a personal group dynamic that was emphatically not together and anything but equal.
By the time Jim left for Paris, and despite the success of L.A. Woman, it had become more an office relationship than a four-way friendship: Though Jim and Ray seem to have always stayed friends, at least on some level, Jim told me he had never felt he had much in common with Robby or John, even at the beginning, and that they felt the same about him. He even said once, with tears in his eyes, that he wasn’t sure they had ever even liked him–and he was sure that they were jealous and resentful of him, and didn’t trust him (no tears there, he was really pissed off…).
I can’t say about the trust part, only Jim can judge of that, and I had trust issues with Jim myself (trusted him enough to let him tie me naked to the bed and make love to me, didn’t trust him to be there for me when he said he would–and so I was always surprised when he was…but still furious when he wasn’t). But I absolutely agree that the other Doors resented the intensity of the public obsession with Jim, which, incredibly, is many, MANY times greater all these years after his death than when he was alive–otherwise you wouldn’t even be reading this, would you?
And that’s very understandable: They’re human; it’d be unnatural if they hadn’t been jealous, or aren’t still jealous. Even Ray, who I believe really loved Jim (even though some of his public pronouncements since Jim’s death have been strange and unaccountable), and who is the biggest Doors fan in the world, must get a twinge of envy every now and then: it was his band first, he HIRED Jim, who could blame him for feeling upstaged?
But though Jim admired the other Doors extravagantly as musicians, and always scrupulously went out of his way to credit and praise them (to his undying honor, he absolutely refused to be announced onstage as `Jim Morrison and the Doors’, and you will notice how faithfully and carefully I follow his estimable lead, going out of my way to say `the other Doors’ when referring to the three instrumentalists), by the end he wasn’t exactly playing miniature golf with them on the weekends…
When Jim left L.A. in March of 1971, he left the band as well–whether Ray and Robby and John knew it or not, whether they believed it or not, or want to believe it now. Jim mused to me about maybe making another studio album or two with them, but in his own eyes he was moving on in no uncertain terms to the next stage of his creativity, upgrading his professional and personal life–new wife, new city, new career, new friends, new goals and dreams–and it was a stage of his life in which the Doors wouldn’t have played an exclusive part.
Along with the many poems and letters and drawings that will be appearing in Fireheart, and notes for screenplays and stage plays and stories and spoken-word pieces, I have about eight complete and incomplete songs of his that were under consideration for his first solo album–stuff Jim didn’t deem appropriate for L.A. Woman, and which he hadn’t even shown to the other guys; stuff we even worked on together. Jim said they were “Morrison songs, not Doors songs,” and he meant to make a Morrison album to put them on.
He had planned to record the album (he wanted to call it either Plague Years or Black Sun, titles of two of the proposed cuts) in the fall of 1971, when he came back from Paris to join me in New York; he had already asked me to check out studios and engineers for him, and was seriously considering my preliminary recommendation of Electric Lady and Eddie Kramer. And according to what he told me, it was ABSOLUTELY going to be a Jim Morrison solo album–sorry, Ray!–not the follow-up to L.A. Woman. (Not that there wouldn’t EVER have been more Doors albums, there probably would have, maybe quite a few, even; but on the solo album Jim wanted to do things that he didn’t feel he could do with the other Doors, or didn’t want to.)