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:

Friday, May 18, 2018

"Danny Says", Jim Morrison & Pamela Courson

Danny Fields was instrumental in the stardom of some of the biggest bands in the ’60s and ’70s from The Stooges to the Ramones to The Doors, acting as a manager, a publicity director, and a writer and editor of such popular magazines as 16.  Fields was everywhere, so much so that his biography might read more like a who’s-who list of the music world. The film starts with some rapid-fire interviews from music legends such as Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. Then we are taken back and formally introduced to Danny Fields. At Elektra Records he worked with The Doors and was instrumental in signing such artists as MC5 and The Stooges. After being fired from Elektra he became the manager for the Ramones. But as the film shifts into Fields’ time in the music industry, the focus zooms between micro stories about Jim Morrison, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, MC5, and the insane Iggy Pop. Danny Fields: 'I was The Doors’ first press agent in New York. Jim Morrison hated me from then on, because I restricted him. He asked the president of the record company to fire me. God, we hated each other.' But, while these stories are fascinating glimpses into the antics of the icons of the era, they seem to have very little to do with Fields other than the fact that he was there, trying his best to make records sell and prevent everyone from overdosing. And these stories seem to unravel chronologically, moving ever forward through the ups and downs, with no real structure in sight.  Source:

Feast of Friends (The Doors Tribute & More) will perform at The Cutting Room, 44 E 32nd St, New York, New York 10016 on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 9:00pm. Feast of Friends captures elements of the bands studio sound and fuses that with the epic improvisational jams that shaped the bands live performances. FoF perform a variety of songs from The Doors historic catalog ranging from 1967 to 1971. You'll hear all the greatest hits and psychedelic deep cuts, plus a unique twist as FoF also include their original music reminiscent of The Doors unmistakable sound into their set lists. Advance tickets available here: Source:

If you timeline Patricia Kennealy's "Strange Days" and compare with The Doors schedule you will find that Miss Kennealy spent less than a week and a half with Jim Morrison -- days, not even a month, let alone a year. Angels Dance and Angels Die by Patricia Butler is the bane of her existence and her worst nightmare because it is utterly incompatible with her narrative. Not only is it about Jim Morrison’s love relationship with Pamela, but it describes her as “Pamela Morrison” and people who read this book find it totally plausible and assume it as Morrison's only true relationship. Jerry Hopkins wrote a foreword for Angels Dance and Angels Die, and in it he says all the things that Patricia wants the world to not hear: Hopkins calls Pamela Jim’s “cosmic mate” and “common-law-wife,” saying Butler’s book should be “the final word on the matter,” praising Butler’s work ethic. Hopkins compares Jim & Pam to Heloise and Abelard, and Romeo and Juliet. Also he writes: “thereby, finally, giving Pamela Susan Morrison the consideration she deserves,” and “I believe The Doors sometimes resented Pam’s presence in Jim’s life, because she was a recurring voice that urged him to leave the band and turn his full attention on writing.” Finally Hopkins talks about how he had met Pam about a year before her death, waxes eloquent about her beauty and even chastises Oliver Stone for his depiction of her in the film The Doors

Alain Ronay, Jim Morrison's photographer friend, said of Pamela Courson: “She is practically his real wife.” Jim Morrison on Pamela Courson in Circus magazine (1970): "There are no words to describe my relationship with her, but no matter what we did to each other, we always found our way back and now our love is stronger than ever." Morrison's final will and testament reads: "To whom it may concern I bequeath all of my worldly possessions to my only companion in life, Pamela Susan Courson..." Source:

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Lou Reed's poetry book, Jerry Lewis' trauma

'We are the people who are desperate beyond emotion': Lou Reed's lost poetry to be published for the first time. The verses “We are the people who have known only lies and desperation. We are the people without a country, a voice, or a mirror. We are the crystal gaze returned through the density and immensity of a berserk nation” belong to the poetry volume Do Angels Need Haircuts? (80 pages), published by Anthology Editions on May 1, 2018. It was Anne Waldman who facilitated Reed's first significant reading, on March 10th, 1971, at the Poetry Project, which she ran out of St. Mark's Church just around the corner from The Dom, on Second Avenue and 10th Street. The pieces Reed read that evening, along with bits of his introductions transcribed from an archival recording, form the core of Do Angels Need Haircuts? Bettye Kronstad was in the audience the night of his reading. Having quit the Velvets, Reed began dating Bettye, a young college student with no ties to the downtown scene. They had bagels for brunch and Chinese for dinner with his parents. He told her he was thinking of quitting music to pursue writing. He'd sent out a love poem for Kronstad to The Harvard Advocate magazine. Reed's widow Laurie Anderson explains her relationship to these poems: 'I got to spend twenty-one years with Lou. I married him. It wasn't until a lot later that I fell in love with the young bad boy Lou. He was dead by then and I read his poems. Now he is my muse.' Source:

Jerry Lewis' father Danny would show up at the office or on a set, and Jerry would immediately shrivel into a depression. Bogdanovich witnessed this exchange between the two of them in 1962 on the set of It’s Only Money, recalling that “every time his father came into the studio, he went into a funk. I remember producer Perry Cross practically had sentries out: ‘If you see Danny Lewis coming, slap him in irons.’” Jerry Lewis was also depressed about the bad reviews of The Bell Boy (1960) and when he ran into Wilder, the director told Jerry why the town was against him. "The only reason that they're talking is that they can't do it. And the thing they hate more than anything is that you're doing it and you're showing them they can't." —"Billy Wilder, Movie-Maker: Critical Essays on the Films" (2010) by Karen McNally 

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, performing artists who experienced more abuse, neglect or family dysfunction in childhood tend to have a more intense creative process. “This study reflects years of dedicated research. In general, the performing artists in our sample who experienced a high amount of trauma may suffer more pathology but they also thrive with heightened experiences and value the creative process as a healing and meaningful component in their lives.” The artists with more childhood adversity were more likely to be more fantasy prone, experience more shame and anxiety, and had experienced more traumatic events. Perfectionism is a risk factor for suicide ideation but probably does not indicate a further risk for attempting suicide. Thomson said future research will examine the physical health of artists with a history of trauma. Source: