WEIRDLAND: Happy Saint Valentine, Rock and Roll Valentines

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Happy Saint Valentine, Rock and Roll Valentines

Ian Bonhôte, who landed two BAFTA nominations for his acclaimed Alexander McQueen documentary McQueen, has now been lined up to direct Faithfull, with Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton already tapped for the lead role. Production is set to start this fall. “I am delighted that my story is finally being made with my dream team of Lucy, Julia and Ian,” said Faithfull. Set in London in the mid-1960s, Faithfull will chronicle the star's roller-coaster journey from being discovered as a convent schoolgirl of 17, finding fame as a pop idol, living through hedonistic times and a tumultuous romance with Mick Jagger that inspired some of their greatest songs. 

Her decline took her to the edge, but through her determination not to be known as just a footnote in rock and roll history, she fought her way back, going on to make 21 albums, including the classic Broken English and more recent Negative Capability. "I fell in love with this project the second I read it, so I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of telling Marianne’s story both as an actor and, for the first time, as an executive producer, especially alongside this creative team," said Boynton. "I can’t wait to really get started." Casting is currently underway for the role of Mick Jagger with casting director Sarah Crowe, BAFTA-nominated for The Personal History of David Copperfield, on board. Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Marianne Faithfull told an interviewer her former boyfriend accidentally killed iconic rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors 49 years ago. Morrison was found dead aged 27 in July 1971 in the bathroom of his Paris apartment, and no autopsy was performed. Faithfull told Mojo magazine that her then-boyfriend Jean de Breteuil, known as the heroin dealer to the stars, had accidentally killed Morrison by giving him hard drugs that were too strong. The couple had travelled to Paris, and on their arrival de Breteuil said he had to visit Morrison's apartment. Faithfull stayed behind at their hotel. "I could intuitively feel trouble," Faithfull told the magazine. "I thought, I'll take a few Tuinal (barbiturates) and I won't be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him. I mean I'm sure it was an accident. The smack (heroin) was too strong? And he died... everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me." De Breteuil himself was found dead in Morocco some weeks after Morrison's death. Marianne Faithfull: “He was scared for his life. Jim Morrison had OD’d, and he had provided the smack. Jean saw himself as dealer to the stars. Now he was just a small time heroin dealer in big legal trouble.” Source: www.mojo4music.com

Sunset Strip’s chroniclers generally agree that the spring of 1966 was the high point of the whole scene. Love was at the Whisky; Iron Butterfly at the Galaxy. Rhinoceros was at Thee Experience. The Doors at the London Fog. Musician Jimmy Greenspoon remembers, “Late night, after the shows, we’d hang out at Cantor’s Deli on Fairfax—every freak and band in town, Zappa’s people, the Byrds, the Seeds, the Turtles, Buffalo Springfield, Kaleidoscope, the Daily Flash, the Sons of Adam. If Phil Spector or Brian Wilson came in, they’d get a standing ovation. Jim Morrison stood out in all this because he was so fucking handsome. Even then Jim was already attracting the budding dark poet chicks, the little lost waifs with big eyes and secret smiles.” About a month into the Doors’ gig as house band at the London Fog, an extremely beautiful and alluring redheaded girl walked into the Fog late one night, and sat down to listen to the band. Her name was Pamela Courson. She was nineteen years old, and it was here that she became, inextricably, part of Jim Morrison’s legend. 

Pam Courson acted out the role of rock star wife to the max, calling herself Mrs. Morrison, wearing a wedding ring, and burning through his money as if he owned a bank. At Orange County, she had been considered smart, cynical, wryly humorous and mysterious. On weekends she sneaked out to catch the surf bands in nearby Balboa. When she was sixteen, her grades nosedived, and she began to get a reputation as a fast girl, a wild child, a beatnik weirdo. She dropped out school and “ran away” to Los Angeles, where she and a girlfriend got a cheap apartment below Sunset in West Hollywood. By the time she and Jim met, Pam already had a track record on the Strip, having worked as a go-go dancer in the clubs. Slender and waiflike, she had an electric, star-quality presence that could kill all conversation when she walked into a room. Pamela had been coveted by many of the musicians on the scene (Arthur Lee among them), and it has long been rumored that Neil Young wrote his epochal rock song “Cinnamon Girl” about her.

Morrison had an affair, and then a long friendship, with Pamela Zarubica, the groupie immortalized by Frank Zappa as 'Suzy Creamcheese'. She was working at the Whisky while studying English Literature at Pepperdine University in Malibu. She later told Jerry Hopkins: “It was wonderful. Period. Jim didn’t know much about what was going on, and neither did I. And he was so fucking puritanical. And he copped to it too. He admitted it!” While the headliners performed and the house was cleared for the next show, Jim would sit with Pamela; if she wasn’t around, he flirted with other girls after the show. Pam once walked in while Jim had his hand up Suzy Creamcheese’s miniskirt, and her friends had to drag Suzy away before a wild-eyed Pamela could attack her. “Twentieth Century Fox” was Jim’s clever and loving portrait of Pamela Courson. Morrison kept a motel room in various places around West Hollywood, but most nights he could be seen hitching up Laurel Canyon Boulevard to sleep with Pamela Courson. Sometimes when The Doors weren’t playing at the Whisky, Jim went to other bars on the Sunset Strip and sat with the house bands. Pam frequently would go with Jim and for a short while she danced in one of the clubs, until Jim insisted she quit dancing. 

By then, they were sharing a small apartment in Laurel Canyon.  Their bond was intractable and would seemingly remain so through multiple cycles of abuse and redemption. On December 8, 1966, Jim celebrated his twenty-third birthday with Pamela Courson at home, in Laurel Canyon. She was wearing a wedding ring now, and had begun to call herself Mrs. Morrison. Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson spent the Christmas holidays together in a motel room in the desert town of Palm Springs. They borrowed a car and went for an early evening ride along Mulholland Drive, which wound westward through the dry Hollywood Hills. Pam, in one of her goofy, dangerous moods, kept trying to grab the steering wheel from Jim and run the car off the road and onto the gravel edges of the steep cliffs, just for kicks. 

During the days they explored the palm-lined secret canyons where the Agua Caliente Indian tribes had lived in oasislike splendor amid the searing heat of the desert. At night, Jim read Ezra Pound’s Cantos  to her by candlelight. When they fought and broke up, Pamela’s other amours didn’t seem to bother Jim, but his sublimated rage came out in other ways—shitty performances, self-negating behavior, and generally abusing himself and almost everyone who depended on him. In October 1970, Jim Morrison drove into a Los Angeles scoured dry by the easterly Santa Ana Winds. “I see your hair is burning,” he wrote. “Hills are filled with fire. If they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar.” In fact, he loved Pamela Courson so much that he went into a deeply morbid tailspin when he learned that she had run off to France with Jean de Breteuil after the count had sold Janis Joplin the heroin that had killed her at the Landmark Motel on October 4, 1970. 

One of Jim's last lovers, Hungarian artist Eva Gardony, said that Morrison always spoke of Pamela with total affection. “She was quick, Pamela. I think she was witty, she was funny; she was neurotic. She had the clarity of a child, with very good intuitions, and an innocence that Jimmy loved in her a great deal. She was easy to burst into laughter, and look at life in a sweet child manner. He said, ‘She was a child when we met, and I feel responsible for her because she never grew up. She has been everything for me, my mom, my sister and my daughter.’ And he forgave her a lot of things. Even though at times she was impossible to be with—because she would be stoned or bad tempered—he would say, ‘She’s a sweet child.’ It was touching he just felt he had to take care of her the rest of his life. They argued, both had their grievances, like ‘You done that to me, and for that I done that to you.' But somehow they always gravitated back to each other after every little escapade.”

“You know it’s funny,” Bill Siddons remarks, “my understanding and my memory is that Pamela was the only one. I mean I knew there were other ones—of course you’d have to be blind not to know there were other ones—but I knew ultimately Pamela was always the only real one.” Sometimes Jim’s other relationships also provided him with sympathetic sounding boards for his troubles with Pamela. After all, what more compassionate and receptive ears could he find than those of the women who saw Pamela as their only stumbling block to bliss? “The only person he ever really talked to me about was Pamela,” says Anne Moore, “and that was mainly when he’d come over after having a fight with her, and he’d be wanting to let off steam and wanted someone to talk to who wasn’t going to give him any hassle.”

Raeanne Bartlett: Pamela stabilized and inspired Jim. I'm sure Pam liked the lifestyle afforded to her by Jim's involvement with The Doors, but she also blamed them for exposing him to so much excess, more women, psychological stress... Jim couldn't be himself when he had a "persona" to maintain. And that persona was killing Jim. That persona started to lash out at Pamela as well. Pamela encouraged Jim’s creative gifts and tried to save him from the toxic rock scene that was swallowing him alive. People seemed to think Jim being in a band meant they were allowed to treat him like an object. During the boom of The Doors, he sometimes lashed out a Pamela, but it's obvious he loved her immensely. Through the bad times and good times, I do think Pam knew she held Jim's heart. Also, she truly was pretty in a way that I don't think fully translates in the few photos we have of her. The Doors handlers didn't like having Pam around, they pushed Jim to remain a sex symbol. I think Jerry Hopkins tried to give Pamela voice and presence in the press, but she was a very guarded and private person, almost pathologically shy with the press.

Kathy Lisciandro: Pamela had a really unique and separate personality from everybody else that was around Jim at the time, and I think she was very smart, and I think she was creative in a way that appealed to Jim. I think those are the things that probably intrigued him the most about her and that kept him and Pamela together. Pamela was a distinct personality in her own right. Socially she didn’t care, and she was shockproof emotionally. Jim respected anybody who had a sense of their own self. And Pamela certainly had that, and Jim really felt a respect for people like that. Was Jim a womanizer? I never felt that way about Jim. Yes, he had a lot of women. I think he really liked women. I’d say at least a dozen, in and out, a relationship of one form or another, but mostly short-term, because Pamela was his long-term relationship. There were some women he dated, you’d think: “Why is he going out with this person?” And then there were some that were very beautiful, some that were very smart, so there was a wide range.


Stephen J. Kalinich (American poet mostly known for his songwriting collaborations with Brian and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys): Jim Morrison was a great guy. He loved Brian Wilson’s music. We were not great friends, but we knew each other, and he was always receptive, kind, and loved it when I recited for him and Pam. I had just signed with the Beach Boys’ Brother Records. I did not yet have a car. I was hitchhiking on Santa Monica Boulevard in the early afternoon, and a little green Bug pulled over and a sweet young woman picked me up. It was Pam Courson. The Doors were not huge yet. They were playing at the Whisky on Sunset almost every night. We started talking and I recited to Pam and we spent a couple of hours together. I thought she was hot cute, but I did not flirt with her out of respect for Jim. She loved the poem and said Jim would love it. She really liked the words to “Leaves of Grass,” my version based on the Walt Whitman poem. Everyone thought it was about marijuana, but it was not. Carl Wilson produced this song. A few days later she called and we got together with Jim. He was very kind, appreciative, and really enjoyed the poems. He loved “The Magic Hand” and “If You Knew.”

-Paul Kantner, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of Jefferson Airplane: Jim talked often about marrying Pam. I am sure when he knew her, she had a certain aura of 'party girl', but that type of gossip unfazed Jim completely. There were bouts of jealousy and gossip that Jim didn't like to hear within the Venice scene. I had a fling with Pam and it was fun and romantic. I don't think she had so many lovers as Val Kilmer (not very gentlemanly) alludes in The Doors DVD commentary. Arthur Lee complained Morrison stole Pamela from him, but they had long broken up. Pam was a very sweet girl, and I don't think she deserved that "party girl" label among the so-called 'insiders'. Fortunately, Jim knew to see through all the bullshit and ignore the spread rumors of musicians who bragged about having Pam before Jim. On one ocassion some executive of The Doors' office referred to Pam as 'groupie', and Jim refuted him: "No, she's not a groupie, she's my girl. We are serious about each other." He was very protective of her. It may be sound so old-fashioned in 2015, but Jim actually told me something to the effect of "I don't mind her past. I live in the present."

-Gilles Yepremian, a friend of Jim and Pam’s while they were living in Paris: “Pamela always looked very shy, she didn’t talk very often and she always wanted Jim’s protection. She looked quite afraid and was always near him. Just look at my photos – when she felt somehow depressed, she went straight behind him. But they also made the impression of a big love story, they really behaved like that. They looked really together and happy.”

-Frank Lisciandro: "Jim’s womanizing is not a myth. Look, Pamela was the main woman in Jim’s life; in many ways, she was the most important person of his life. There was a consistency to their relationship that far, far transcended any other relationship that Jim had with any other woman. And while Jim was also extremely discreet about the women he was with, when he and I were out somewhere I saw how he attracted women. Sometimes he left with a woman, and sometimes he didn’t. Jim and Pam had sort of a “open” relationship, and Pam would go out with other guys too. Throughout it all, however, their relationship endured. They stayed together until Jim died. She was a fixture in Jim’s life and there’s something to be said for that. Through all the ups and downs and other companions they both had, they stayed together. No other woman had anything close to the relationship with Jim that Pam had."

-Robby Krieger: “You could tell that Pam was really the one that Jim wanted to be with. She was his golden girl. He would always come back to her no matter what happened. She was just as crazy as he was so it kind of worked out perfectly.” —The Doors Summer's Gone (2018) by Harvey Kubernik

Patricia Kennealy's claims about her alleged relationship with Morrison have been publicly disputed by former colleagues, friends of Jim Morrison and members of the surviving Doors—without Kennealy taking any meaningful action, legal or otherwise. Kennealy seems to be saying: "You're just gonna have to take my word for all of my completely self-serving, easily disproven statements that I myself will unintentionally contradict later on" - her strategy proves that she is about as bright as a small appliance bulb. And that she thinks the general public is even dumber than she is. Kennealy has become a latter-day Miss Havisham. Despite presenting herself as an expert on Pamela Courson, Kennealy let it slip in 2017 that she only briefly met Pamela "a couple of times". Kennealy is always tripping herself up and contradicting all of her delusion-based statements. Kennealy was hugely pissed off about the line in The Doors movie, "You actually put your dick in this woman, Jim?", which was a reference to her rather dubious sex-appeal! Patricia merely took things she read about Morrison in fan magazines, second-hand gossip she heard about Jim and Pamela and other people's experiences and then she tried to pass all of this off as her own experience or as factual "insider information". Pamela Des Barres said lovely things about Jim and Pam, stating Jim was basically a one-woman man. Des Barres respected that she was just a fling for Jim, and expressed her sadness at seeing him shortly before his departure for Paris, lamenting his visibly deteriorated state. Patricia Kennealy didn't really care about Jim, just about herself. 

Despite her abundant criticism, Patricia became another exploitative mercenary of Morrison's memories, even giving an interview to Playgirl magazine, where she shared intimate details, as Jim Morrison's endowement and how she had a fetish for dressing up in stockings and garter belts. She tried to defend her reasons to expose their private relationship: "What I actually said in the interview in question was, and it’s right there in print for those of you to read who actually know how, Jim liked me to dress up for him in stockings and black lace bra and panties and garter belts — a fairly common, dare I say almost universal male fantasy; Many people who never met Jim, who maybe even never even shared the planet with Jim can mouth boundless obscenities or lie about his sex life or capability, but when I who, actually made love with Jim Morrison, and more than once, briefly mention a harmless occasional fetish that both of us found arousing, or make the simple statement that yes, he was well-endowed, somehow I am guilty of  lèse-majesté or sacrilege? Also, however immodest it may be to gloat, I wanted to counteract some of the bad bedroom press Jim has gotten from women who obviously weren’t woman enough in the first place to inspire him to do his best, but being a lady I won’t brag. Well, not too much: Can you say “multiorgasmic”, girls? I could have been a lot more graphic than I was, but chose not to be." Patricia can rant all she wants, but Janet Erwin and other witnesses make it clear that Morrison didn't felt attracted to Patricia an iota. The reality is that Jim rhapsodized about the first time he made love to Pam, saying to his friend January Jansen: "I have a new girl, and she is wonderful. It's the first time I have ever really made love." Do you know who respected Jim Morrison to the end? Pamela Susan Courson. She never conceded an official interview to the press or wrote any book (which would have actually helped her during her costly litigations against The Doors in 1971). She's actually the only woman in Morrison's life with whom he had a significant relationship who demonstrated to be a real lady. Source: satireknight.wordpress.com

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