WEIRDLAND: 'An Alternate History': Jim Morrison & Pamela

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

'An Alternate History': Jim Morrison & Pamela

A prolific groupie who counts Jimmy Page among her former lovers has said her drug-fuelled sexual encounters empowered women. Pamela Des Barres says the Led Zeppelin guitarist was a 'true love' but also had flings with The Who's Keith Moon and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. The 69-year-old believes she was a positive role model to younger women. Whether it was watching Elvis sat between Jimmy and his band's frontman Robert Plant, or sitting on stage watching the legendary guitarist entertain 80,000 fans, she had a front row seat for the rock 'n' roll antics of the 1960s.

As she promotes the republication of her now 30-year-old memoirs I'm With The Band, she told The Sun: 'Sitting on Jimmy’s amp, I almost felt like one of the group. Girls in the audience looked up at me and wondered which one I was sleeping with, and I was so proud. Any woman who gets out there, looks on stage and goes after someone who inspires her, that is the ultimate feminist act, surely?' she said. "People ask me the #MeToo’ question a lot, I had #MeToo’ stories growing up–but not with musicians. I was never harmed. I considered myself a feminist." One man who couldn't charm Pamela into bed was Jimi Hendrix, for whom she performed in a short film dancing around his band. She said the impossibly charismatic guitarist hit on her but she felt she was too young to sleep with him at the age of 17. 

But the same year Pamela hooked up with The Doors frontman Jim Morrison after hearing his song The End playing from a nearby building. She went to his house to find him singing along to his own record while standing shirtless next to his fridge in leather trousers. Pamela recalls 'making out passionately' and described the singer as the most beautiful man she has ever seen.

In 1973 Pamela called time on her groupie lifestyle, but married singer Michael Des Barres. They divorced in 1991 after having a child, Nicholas, in 1978. The former groupie is believed to be the inspiration for the 2000 film Almost Famous, but Pamela wasn't impressed with the movie. Pamela, who now lives alone in LA, identifies as a Christian and squares the religion's moral dogma with her promiscuous past by describing orgasms as 'godly'. Source:

In the early 60's both Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison were living in the Clearwater, Florida area, a time in Kerouac’s life that he was hitting local bars with an entourage of teenage admirers. It’s tempting to imagine a teenage Jim Morrison sharing a beer with Kerouac, but no such meeting has ever been mentioned. At the time Morrison was known to be extremely shy, a few years before when the Morrison’s lived in San Francisco Morrison went to the City Lights Bookstore while poet-owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti was there and Morrison was too shy to approach him. 

Jim Morrison 'An Alternate History' by Jim Cherry: In Beat poet Michael McClure Jim Morrison found a kindred poetic spirit and a productive relationship, but not at first. McClure and Morrison first met in New York while McClure was rehearsing his play “The Beard.” Both men were drinking and had an immediate dislike for each other. That hurdle seems to have been overcome by the time The Doors went to play their European tour. Morrison ran into McClure and invited him over to read some of his poetry. McClure was soon encouraging Morrison to get his poetry self-published it. By 1969 Morrison was impressed by McClure’s novel “The Adept” which had themes and settings in common with Morrison’s. They rented an office in a Hollywood building and worked on a screenplay of “The Adept” but because of its lack of cohesion was rejected by an agent, and the two went on to other projects. 

One of the most frequently asked questions among Doors fans, is what would Jim Morrison be doing if he hadn't died? July 3, 1971, 4am, Paris, France. Jim Morrison wakes up after falling asleep in the bathtub after a night of drinking. Morrison wraps himself in a warm robe and goes back to bed. As he gets into bed he’s careful not to wake Pam. August 1971. He comes to the conclusion that although he’s feeling better he can’t recreate the creative burst he felt on Venice Beach six years earlier. Morrison adopts the same discipline he had when working with Michael McClure. Morrison, gaining creative confidence and control, decides to accede to Pam Courson’s wishes that she and Jim have a normal life. He buys an old church in the French countryside that will be renovated into their home. In the meantime Morrison wanting to finish ‘old business’ works on his manuscript of Observations While on Trial in Miami. The book is observational as well as philosophical with a surrealist edge to it and provides a look into the American judicial system of the time. It becomes an underground hit and is considered by many to be one of the last great writings of the 1960’s counterculture movement.

The producers of Altered States see Morrison and are so impressed they want him to star in their movie. Morrison, familiar with the Paddy Chayefsky novel and seeing this as a chance to advance his film career agrees to play the lead as long as he can direct. Morrison argues that based on past experiences he has some insight into the subject matter and he throws in the use of a Doors song as well. The producers agree and Jim Morrison stars in and directs Altered States which is released in 1980... As I was writing this a sense of sadness overcame me for what could have been. Jim Morrison’s talents were many and his potential was within his grasp all he had to do was find a way. Source:

Maybe intellectuals have always been persecuted and shoved in lockers, but today we are at a specially low point — where social media interaction has replaced genuine debate and political discourse, where politicians are judged by whether we’d want to have a beer with them, where scientific consensus is rejected, where culture is underfunded, where journalism is drowning in celebrity gossip. Jim Morrison wouldn't fit well in our era of celebrated mediocrity, that's sure. Pamela Courson was the muse who inspired many of Jim Morrison's songs and poems like "Love Street," "Queen of the Highway," or "Twentieth Century Fox." Morrison began his relationship with Pamela Courson in 1966 when they met during one of the first appearances of the Doors at “London Fog”. She was born in Weed, California and grew up in an area south of L.A., Orange County (Morrison dedicated a piece to her called “Orange County Suite” even at the time it was never published officially). Pam was studying art at L.A. City College and couldn’t wait to explore the big city (in particular the Sunset Strip zone).

Morrison was touched by the sweetness of Pamela, her warm smile and her apparent defencelessness. It didn’t take long for the two to fall in love and so began a relationship which, although it had its ups and downs, was marked by a sense of profound complicity. The main characteristic of their relationship was clearly expressed in the words of the song “Queen of the Highway”. Pam was the princess and Jim was the monster dressed in black leather. Pam was often present at studio recording sessions of the Doors. Jim often used to joke and improvise during the sessions: an example can be heard in “Five To One”, in which Jim repeats both at the beginning and end of the song the words “Love my girl”; no doubt these words were meant for Pam who was sitting in some corner of the studio. Jim in Pamela had finally found his other half.  Source:

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