The Doors and Buick
It never happened, but I think that screwed up Jim Morrison; the other guys have kinda hid while having opportunities to write books about Jim's flaws. We never hear about their flaws. I'm going to paste an excerpt from Ray's book "Light My Fire", but I'm simultaneously reading John Densmore's "Riders on the Storm", and find more truth by the comparisons.
But before the madness came a Buick car commercial fiasco. They wanted “Light My Fire” for a television commercial. But not for a big-ass Buick boat machine. Rather, for the neat little Buick Opel. A cute four-cylinder two-seater. Like a little Corvette but with a fuel-efficient engine and easily over forty miles to the gallon. It was both ecologically correct and stylish. I thought it was a use of technology geared toward the New Age. Lighter, smaller, cleaner, more efficient. Using our brains to save the environment while maintaining a lifestyle and standard of living we really couldn’t live without. I wanted a simpler, more natural way of life but I wasn’t a Luddite. I didn’t want to abandon all technological advances. And here was one that made sense. A cool little car. And they wanted “Light My Fire” to sell it on the tube.
At the time, there was not a lot of rock and roll on television. There were no all-music channels on cable where you could see the latest hot video by the latest flavor-of-the-month rock band. Hell, there was no cable. Only the three networks and four or five local outlet stations. And hardly any rock and roll. Only on a couple of Saturday-morning local teen dance shows. And then on network Ed Sullivan. And that was it. Our psychedelic, subversive rock music had not yet permeated the visual spectrum. That was to come much later. In our present era.
So to be asked to use a rock song over a commercial for a new, sharp little machine was at once lucrative and subversive. We could get “Light My Fire” played again on national television. We could get rock and roll on a medium that had very little to do with rock music. We could make a few inroads in the changeover of consciousness. Or so I thought. Back then. Back when I was a naïf.
I approved the request posthaste. So did Robby and John. Jim was nowhere to be found. He was on one of his now more frequent disappearing trips. Probably off cavorting with Jimbo. Or perhaps locked in battle with Jimbo. Wrestling for control. Fighting for the destiny of the entity christened James Douglas Morrison.
When he finally did show up a few days later, the Buick commercial was a fait accompli. They needed a yes or no immediately. We said yes and signed paper. Jim freaked.
“You can’t have signed without me!” he yelled.
“Well, we did,” I said.
“Why, man? We do everything together. Why’d you do this without me?”
“Because you weren’t here,” said Robby.
“So what? Couldn’t you have waited for me?”
“Who knew when you were coming back?” added John.
“They needed an answer right away,” I said. “So we signed.”
“It’s not like it’s a typical Buick road hog or something,” said Robby. “It’s a cool little car.”
“Gets real good mileage,” said John.
“Four cylinders,” I added. “A sports car. Two-seater.”
“Fuck you!” shouted Jim.
A silence filled the rehearsal room. Jim had never screamed like that before. He was enraged. And he looked wasted. He looked as if his nerve ends were frazzled. He looked as if he had been doing things he shouldn’t have. And now he was paying the physical price for his excess. And he looked shattered. He was clearly not in control of himself…or his emotions. He stomped around the room, agitated, hyper, angered.
“Fuck you guys!” he said again. “I thought it was supposed to be all for one and one for all. I thought we were supposed to be brothers!”
“Jiiim, we are, man!” I said in feeble response to his strange and terrible outburst. “Nothing has changed.”
“You weren’t here,” said Robby.
“Everything has fucking changed, Ray!” Jim said. “Everything!”
“Why? I don’t understand. Just because we signed a contract for a fucking song…why has everything changed?” I asked him.
And then he came back with a line that really hurt me. Hurt John and Robby, too. Stabbed the Doors in their collective heart.
“Because I can’t trust you anymore,” he snarled.
“But it’s a good little car, man,” protested John.
“It’s fucking industry! It’s corporate! It’s the devil, you asshole.” Jim glared. “You guys just made a pact with the devil.”
“The hell we did,” said Robby.“Oh yes you did, Robby. He seduces you with cute little gas-efficient cars. He shows you what you want and then he puts a little twist in it. Makes you say yes to him when you know you shouldn’t….” He paced the room, manic. “But you go along with it because the deal’s just too good. It tastes too good.” And then he looked at me, “It’s too much money, isn’t it, Ray?”
“Fuck you, Jim.” I was getting pissed, too.
“I know you, Ray. You’re only in it for the money.”
Another knife in the heart. Was this actually Jim saying these things? Did he really believe wha