WEIRDLAND: Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Their Rock Wives

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Their Rock Wives

Apparently Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson encountered each other at a midweek party at UCLA. She was radiant, laughing, and seemingly with another guy. Jim circled around her, looking for an angle, but Pam wouldn’t make eye contact. According to Jim’s friend January Jansen, “He saw her there across the room and wanted to meet her, so he asked around until he found a friend of hers who could arrange a proper introduction.” They chatted for a while, and she told him she was taking art classes at Los Angeles Community College. The following weekend, in early April 1966, Pam Courson came to the London Fog. While John Densmore and Pamela were talking in one of the Fog’s booths, Jim Morrison made his move and sat down with them. Ray Manzarek tried to accurately describe this encounter: “Once their eyes combined, their psyches did a caduceus up the staff of Mercury and their souls sprouted wings. They were mated. Olympian. Cosmic.” Jim Morrison later told that when Pamela finally took him home at dawn, it was the first time he’d ever really made love. A few nights later, they went on their first date, to see French director Claude Lelouch’s hit film A Man and a Woman. Pamela had an electric, star-quality presence that could kill all conversation when she walked into a room. She hated the Doors, thought the whole thing was way beneath Jim's talents. Jim didn’t argue with her, just reminded her that the Doors were paying the bills for her rent, the boutique, and everything else. Jim was crazy about Pamela, and so he pampered the hell out of her. She always gave him a lot of attention and admiration and he also showed a great deal of kindness and loving behavior toward her.—"Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison" (2010) by Patricia Butler

Jim Morrison: “To me, politics is nothing more than the search of certain individuals for private power. They can cloak it in any ideological, romantic or philosophical terms they want, but it’s essentially a private search for power.” Wallace Fowlie, the distinguished biographer of Arthur Rimbaud, began teaching Jim Morrison’s poetry at Duke University. Similar courses were offered at Yale and Stanford. Fowlie later published a critical study, Rimbaud and Jim Morrison: The Rebel As Poet.


Jim Morrison & Pamela (People are Strange) video. Soundtrack: "People are Strange", "Love Her Madly", "The Crystal Ship", "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors, and "Oh, Jim" by Lou Reed.

I was at Lisa Robinson’s house when she got the call from Jim Morrison’s girlfriend Pamela, asking what she should do? Jim was dead in the bathtub. I didn’t want to lose Lou! His drinking scared me silly, but there was nothing I could do except monitor him as best I could. Lou’s favorite bar on Long Island was Jilly’s, where he had bartended on and off in the summers. The gays flirted with him, but there was nothing inappropriate or outrageous. Everyone knew that I was his girlfriend, and the boundaries were drawn. Lou’s flirting didn’t bother me. It didn’t mean anything to him and I felt secure in his love for me. Underneath all the posing, Lou was all man—a leader—and particularly courageous about his principles. He walked away from any situation if it meant he was not being true to himself. If he couldn’t follow his true course, he would give it all up—which was the main reason he left The Velvet Underground. He actually was crazy enough to follow his principles in the real world. At seventeen, Lou’s parents had sent him to see a psychiatrist who prescribed EST for his depression and mood swings. During the summer of 1959, he was treated at Creedmoor State Psychiatric Hospital in Queens, New York, where the EST treatments were administered without an anesthetic. At that time, the procedure involved putting him on a wooden gurney with a rubber block between his teeth. This was an experience that scarred Lou for life. It is commonly thought that EST was prescribed to Lou in order to cure him of his ‘bisexual tendencies,’ but he never told me this or even alluded to it. I think he told journalists this to be more sympathetic to the gay community, in part to broaden his appeal to that audience.

Lou was intent upon becoming successful as an original artist. He rarely talked about his personal writing process. Lou wrote under a kind of extreme cyclical personal pressure—in spurts, usually overnight, and after thoughts and feelings had built up in him so intensely that they came pouring out, often fully formed. His writing process was cathartic, and it allowed him to reach his most authentic truth. Lou never told me what to say, how to act, or what to wear. He always told me I looked great, whatever I wore. He had complete confidence and trust in me, and he let everyone around know it. David Bowie made it known that he was very interested in working with Lou, but the more Lou wished to impress someone, the less he acted like he cared.  —"Perfect Day: An Intimate Portrait Of Life With Lou Reed" (2016) by Bettye Kronstad

Lou Reed's Demos, Papers And Record Collection Soon To Be Public: Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed's widow, is donating his personal archive of recordings, photos and business records to the New York Public Library. Anderson says she hopes access to the archive will paint a more nuanced picture of Lou Reed than the tough guy in leather jacket and shades everyone knows. The collection includes thousands of hours of video and audio recordings and more than 300 boxes of papers, photos and other items spanning his six-decade career. There's a 1971 recording of Reed reading poetry. There's a bill from the legendary New York bar Max's Kansas City — "I really wanted it to not be deep in some vault where only people with white gloves can come. He was really democratic," Anderson explains. Source: www.npr.org

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