It’s odd. A lot of my life seems to have revolved around a loose association with The Doors but when Ray Manzarek passed away recently, I was wandering the Midlands of England, looking at narrowboats and unable to comment here.
Back in the 1980s, I was lucky enough to interview Ray, Robbie and John when they were in London to launch “Alive She Cried”. Several weeks later, when Ray was back promoting his solo album, “Carmina Burana”, he was kind enough to invite me back to interview him at length about his solo work and life with The Doors.
I left our meeting with five hours of taped conversation, most of which has never been broadcast or even heard publicly. The tapes were recorded on a portable Uher reel-to-reel recorder on 5 inch reels. Both the tapes and recorder are somewhere in storage and would need to be digitized before being edited into something coherent. In the past, I had never found time to sit and sift through them. Ray was always there; a fixture of life and an articulate, entertaining ambassador for The Doors music.
My feeling was always one that at some point we’d catch up again and I could fill in the blanks surrounding the history and myth of The Doors but that will never now happen.
I think I need to dig out those tapes and find out if my old Uher still works…
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 16th September):
1944. Betty Kelly (Martha And The Vandellas) born in Detroit, Michigan.
1979. Passing through London’s Heathrow Airport enroute for the United States, Elton John reveals what he’s been keeping under his hat until now – a new head of hair! Speaking of the hair transplant, Elton said, “I had the operation done in Paris and I have another two operations to go before it’s completely finished”. He refused to reveal how much the treatment cost but did say, “Looking at it now, I think it was absolutely worthwhile”.
1970. Robbie Krieger and John Densmore are called to give evidence at Jim Morrison‘s obscenity trial in The Circuit Court for Dade County, Miami, Florida. Judge Murray Goodman, presiding.
1970. Sandie Shaw announces that she’s preganant. The news came after the singer had collapsed in her car on the way to Heathrow Airport where she was due to leave for the Venice Festival. Doctors today revealed the reason for her exhaustion. Sandie’s been married to the fashion designer Jeff Banks for the last two years. The baby, which is due early next year, will be the couple’s first. Sandie’s performance in Venice has been cancelled and she’ll be resting for the next few days.
1965. Shindig! (ABC, U.S.A.) Opening medley (song excerpts): The McCoys, The Byrds, Jerry Naylor, The Everly Brothers and Chad & Jill; The Everly Brothers; The Byrds; Billy Preston; Jerry Naylor; Ketty Lester; The Byrds; The McCoys; Chad and Jill (Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy, and his wife Jill); Chad Stuart; The Rolling Stones; Finale: Everly Brothers. Here’s the first segment of the show which will link to the other two parts to give you the complete programme. 8m 57s.
1977. Marc Bolan dies when the Mini in which he is travelling skids and hits a tree on Barnes Common in London. The car is being driven by Marc’s girlfriend, Gloria Jones, who survives.
And on this day in 1997, the Performing Rights Society erects a marker at the site of Marc’s fatal crash. On hand to assist in the proceedings is his son, Rolan.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Monday 4th August):
1927. Ralph Peer, a producer working for The Victor Talking Machine Company cuts the first “Country” records when he records Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family in a hotel room in Bristol, Tennessee. Rodgers is paid $ 50 a song for the session.
1979. Fairport Convention play their last gig as a working band at Cropredy, Oxfordshire. The village will become the site of an annual reunion concert.
1970. Jim Morrison is arrested after falling asleep on an old lady’s porch after drinking too much. He is charged with public drunkenness.
1965. South African singing star Eve Boswell is granted a divorce from her estranged husband Trevor Garfield McIntosh at a Johannesburg divorce court. The 41 year old singer was awarded a restitution order against Mr. McIntosh in June after telling the court that he had left and would not return after 23 years of marriage.
1965. Shindig! (U.S.A.) 47. Opening medley (song excerpts): Jerry Naylor/Billy Preston/Jackie & Gayle, Bobby Sherman/Righteous Brothers; Nooney Rickett Four; Billy Preston; Marianne Faithfull; Jerry Naylor; Bobby Sherman; The Righteous Brothers; Linda Clark; Jackie and Gayle; The Great Scots; Bobby Sherman; Bobby Hatfield; Dixie Cups; Nooney Rickett Four; Linda Clark with Jackie and Gayle; Billy Preston; Terry Allen; The Great Scots; Dixie Cups; Jerry Naylor; -Marianne Faithfull; The Righteous Brothers; Linda Clark; Finale: Nooney Rickett Four (with the Righteous Brothers, Jackie and Gayle, and other guests). The clip above will link to another 7 which build to give you the whole show. A great slice of mid sixties pop TV.
1992. Ralph Cooper Snr. (Master of Ceremonies at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre) dies in Manhattan, New York, aged 80.
Another week and another blog. The last couple of weeks have seen the blog getting forgotten till late in the day and sometimes missed out altogether. Friends and family assure me it’s a midlife crisis but who knows. I know you all expect me to regale you with tales of my rock and roll lifestyle and excesses but I’ll probably disappoint when I say the highlight of my weekend was a visit on Saturday by the archive Puli’s brother. The archive Puli – Loki, was put to shame when brother Hu turned up sporting the world’s most incredible coat carefully draped around the frame of a small tank. Even his owners thought he was three times the weight of the archive dog.
Anyway, I know I’m sad but I thought I’d share a couple of pics of the visit with you. I’ll also drop in a vaguely rock and roll anecdote: About 7 years ago, I had a very well known rock journalist and his employers visiting as they were considering buying the archive. One of the directors of the company pointed at a single dreadlock hanging on my notice board and asked what it was. He’d been in the house for at least an hour and had met all three of the Pulis that were in the house. Needless to say, I looked him in the eye and honestly told him it was one of Bob Marley’s locks. There were gasps of awe from the assembled throng and I never had the heart to own up to the fact that it was a memento from my first Puli, Emma whose adventures have been on Rockmine since its earliest days. You’ll find them at The Archive Dogs Pages. Here’s a shot of Hu, in all his glory.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 22nd July):
1963. Emily Saliers (The Indigo Girls) born in New Haven, Connecticut.
In The Skies
1994. The Minor Planet Circular issued today, announces that minor planet 3834 which was discovered on 11th May 1980 has been named Zappafrank in memory of Frank Zappa.
1996. Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) is arrested in the early hours of the morning following allegations that he assaulted a fan at his hotel in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina. Soundgarden had returned to the hotel after playing the Lollapalooza at around 1am. Thayil went to his room and discovered it had been broken into. On going downstairs to discuss the matter with the hotel’s manager, he was harassed by drunk party-goers attending a wedding reception. He grabbed the disposable camera of one guest and threw it away. The guests then charged at him. In his flight, he is thought to have hit one of the group in the face. He is charged with assault on a girl and damage to property and released on $ 2,500 bail.
1997. Robbie Williams is in the High Court in London, defending a lawsuit brought by his former manager Nigel Martin-Smith. The ex-manager is seeking £ 1 million which includes £ 78,000 in unpaid commission on royalties and advances and a percentage of the singer’s earnings until 2006.
1967. American Bandstand (ABC, U.S.A.) 1784. The Doors – “Light My Fire” & “Crystal Ship”; Bee Gees (on film) – “New York Mining Disaster 1941”. Here’s “Light My Fire”.
1996. Rob Collins (The Charlatans) crashes his BMW on the journey from a local pub to Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales where the band are recording their fifth album. He is resuscitated by a nurse at the crash site but dies in the ambulance on his way to hospital. A sound engineer travelling with him escapes serious injury but is in shock.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday 3rd July):
1940. Soul singer Fontella Bass born in St. Louis, Missouri.
1999. Mark Sandman, lead singer and bass player of Morphine collapses onstage at a rock festival in Palestrina, about 30 miles east of Rome, Italy. The 46 year old could not be revived and was pronounced dead in the ambulance enroute to a nearby hospital. It’s thought he suffered a heart attack.
1975. Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night) is arrested for possession of cocaine in his hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky on the first night of the band’s tour. Charges are eventually dropped in October when a court decides that the warrant used in the bust was granted on a basis of “unfounded information”.
1978. Keith Moon is taken off a plane at Mauritius just before it was due to fly to London. The captain of the British Airways flight felt that the drummer was unfit to travel and referred him to the airline’s resident doctor who admitted him to hospital where he is detained overnight. It’s thought the illness was a reaction to sleeping pills taken before the flight.
1985. Shelley Preston steps into the limelight on the BBC-1’s “Wogan” show as the new member of Bucks Fizz. The 21 year old was chosen from more than 1,000 hopefuls who auditioned as replacements for Jay Aston last month.
1971. Jim Morrison dies in Paris. Okay, that’s way too simple. Here are the three main possibilities:
a) Jim has a heart attack in the bath in his appartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis (pictured above) and dies.
b) Jim overdoses while out boozing in a nightclub or brothel.
c) Jim never dies but uses the story as a means of bowing out of public life and an impending jail sentence.
The Doors say they were sick of rumours about his death so they didn’t respond as quickly as they might have to yet another story regarding his demise. By the time Bill Siddons was sent by the band it was too late to see the body. All we’ve got is Pamela’s word that it was Jim in the coffin. Unfortunately she’s not around to question; or is she? Anyway, the closest we can get to finding out what did happen is to check out Pamela Courson’s statement to the Paris police:
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Sunday 8th June):
1962. Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran) born Nicholas Bates in Moseley, Warwickshire.
1999. The Rolling Stones play a secret gig at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The gig is meant to finish by 11pm but goes on until nearly midnight. The result is the band are fined £ 25,000.
1993. BMG Music is granted an injunction against Allen Klein‘s ABCKO label to postpone the re-release of Sam Cooke‘s seminal album, “Night Beat”. BMG claim to own the rights. The case goes to US District Court where Judge Loretta Preska instructs ABCKO and their distributors Polygram to ensure all copies carry a sticker stating, “Originally manufactured in 1963 by Tracy Ltd. for the RCA Records label.” ABCKO will be entitled to release the album until their rights expire on a date still to be decided in the courts.
1998. The three surviving Beatles appear together in public for the first time since 1969. George Harrison and Ringo Starr joined Sir Paul McCartney at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields church in London for a memorial service for Sir Paul’s wife, Linda, who died from cancer in April.
Crowds gathered in the rain outside and cheered as The Beatles arrived separately but only Ringo stopped to acknowledge them with a wave of his umbrella. Animal rights groups from across Europe staged a candle-lit vigil to celebrate the work that Linda had done to bring their cause to public attention.
Among the many stars who attended were Sir Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, Sting and Pete Townshend.
1978. Rockpalast (WDR, West Germany) Robert Gordon, Link Wray And The Wild Cats (WDR Studio-L Köln). Here’s Robert Gordon with “Hot Dog”.
1972. Bluesman Jimmy Rushing dies of leukemia in New York aged 69.
I must apologize, the blog is very late up today. I’ve been spending time trying to revamp the main Rockmine site and getting bogged down in just how much needs to be done. A brief check showed that huge parts of the site are in disarray. The Doors section is particularly bad!
It will hardly surprise you then, that I’ve started there with a revamped page for The Doors Tapes, the two-record box set that I recorded with Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore back in 1983. I have to say – and I know I’m biased – that there’s a load of stuff on these discs that’s a must have for Doors fans. Apart from Ray accepting that despite the myth of meeting Jim on Venice beach, they had been playing together as early as 1963 and the most hilarious story of the Amsterdam debacle where The Doors played the gig without Jim!
The other thing that’s hugely important is that PayPal has been added to the site and the box set can now, at last, be bought straight from the page. Why not check it out for yourself here.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Friday 30th May):
1955. Nicky “Topper” Headon (The Clash) born in Bromley, Kent.
Not On Tour
1997. Neil Young announces that he’s postponing his forthcoming five-week tour of Europe after injuring himself at home. The guitar legend had made himself a sandwich and was slicing it in half when he cut the top off a finger. Doctors have ordered him not to play for a month to allow the damaged digit to heal.
2000. Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) is back in Malibu Superior Court for a release hearing following five days in the county jail for violating parole. Judge Lawrence Mira warned him that unless he sticks rigidly to his parole conditions he’ll go back to jail. Lee will return to court on September 5th for a progress report. Meanwhile, he’ll join the rest of the band in Amsterdam on June 4th at the start of their “Methods Of Mayhem” European tour which had been threatened by his imprisonment.
1969. The Doors‘ movie, “Feast Of Friends” is screened as part of a benefit for Norman Mailer’s campaign for New York mayor. Jim Morrison also gives a reading of “An American Prayer” and later runs through some blues standards with Robbie Krieger.
1970. Beat Club (WDR, West Germany) 55: Black Sabbath, Rare Bird, Jody Grind, Blodwyn Pig,Renaissance, Canned Heat.
1993. Jazz composer Sun Ra dies in Birmingham, Alabama, several months after being hospitalised with a stroke.
Despite promising a babble that included links to new and updated pages on Rockmine, I haven’t got them finished. The moment I do, I’ll be back with more details.