JC: Robby, I know you wrote a lot of the songs/music, but did Jim have ideas for chords ever, or was it just melodies?
RK: Well, he didn’t play an instrument but on some of the songs he definitely had the melodies in mind; he could sing the songs [beforehand].
RM: Exactly, Jim knew nothing about chord structure, which was great. Otherwise we’d be playing E, A and B all the time. So Robbie and I would determine the key he was singing in, then we would construct the chords to the melodies that he would sing. He had the melody line, which was great. He played some piano, he took piano lessons, so he had a great melodic sense. He just didn’t know chord structure, which was perfect. I think that's what allowed Robbie and I to stretch out and play different things behind him while he was singing the melody line that he’d figured out for himself.
On the first album, [Jim] would actually smoke this great pot that he had when he was living up on the roof at Denis Jacobs' house and he would say it was just like a concert. He could hear it in his head.
RK: On those first songs, on the first album, a lot of those, he would actually smoke this great pot that he had when he was living up on the roof at Denis Jacobs' house and he would say it was just like a concert. He could hear it in his head, somebody singing this song to him. And so he heard the song but he didn’t know how to make the music to it. That was Ray’s job, and my job.
JC: Would there ever be times when, with chords underneath, you'd suggest a certain note for him to sing here and there?
RK: It was pretty hard to tell Jim what to sing, man. He knew what he wanted to sing. Our job was to make the music fit what he sang—which wasn’t always that easy.
RM: He had a great sense of measure, you know, how many measures to allow to go by before he would come back in singing again. Allowing space for music to be played, for a little line to be played on the guitar or on the keyboard, then he would come back in where he was supposed to come back in.
RK: And on some of the songs that I wrote I would sing it to him and tell him how to sing it. And he would never do it how I told him, but it would always come out better.
JC: That’s nice of you to say.
RK: Do you play guitar or what?
JC: Yeah, and I play piano probably as good as Jim Morrison did.
RK: How old were you when you heard The Doors?
My stepdad gave me a tape of The Best of The Doors, back when there were still cassette tapes happening, and that was the first music that I heard where I felt like I could decipher all the intertwining parts clearly. And that’s when I wanted to play music.
JC: I was fourteen. My stepdad gave me a tape of The Best of The Doors, back when there were still cassette tapes happening, and that was the first music that I heard where I felt like I could decipher all the intertwining parts clearly. And that’s when I wanted to play music. I read a book about The Doors, and knew every song and all that—I don’t want to bore you with my fandom.
RK: that's cool.
RM: What’s great is that in music each new generation comes along and draws from the past. Robbie was listening to a lot of country blues and I grew up in Chicago so I was influenced by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reid and John Lee Hooker. I heard the Bo Diddley beat on the radio in Chicago and I thought Holy Christ, what tribe is this?! Right here in Chicago playing that incredible beat. That's all I wanted to do. I heard that and I was hooked.
RK: All those guys came up from Texas and Mississippi and places like that.
JC: I agree, though I do also love how you guys jazz it up, so to speak.
RK: In The Doors we were a mish-mash of stuff. I played flamenco before I was in The Doors. John was into jazz quite heavily, and with the blues. That’s what’s great about having a group. You get all those different influences.
RM: And everybody was free in our band to throw their ideas in—“Let’s try this!”—in the construction of songs and of the beat and the structure. We would experiment with anything, and try anything, anything we were capable of doing. We had a great time. The Sixties were fabulous…
JC: Now you’re showing off! (Kidding.) I have a weird question, and feel free to use your “No-Comment” card. Bob Marley had a lot of kids and there’s been talk of paternity suits. Are there any kids that you know of, or claims you believe?
RK: You mean as far as Morrison’s kids?
My theory is Jim was sterile. Look, think of all the girls he was with and you know a lot of them were trying to have his kid and it never happened. Hundreds of them. What are the odds?
RK: There is a kid called Cliff Morrisson who claims to be Jim’s kid, but I told the guy, "Do the DNA and then we’ll know.” He never did it. My theory is Jim was sterile. Look, think of all the girls he was with and you know a lot of them were trying to have his kid and it never happened. Hundreds of them. What are the odds?
RM: Yeah, never happened. Nobody came around and said “I’m Jim Morrison’s son” until after the Oliver Stone movie came out. Then they came out of the woodwork. 'I'm his son!' 'I'm his son!' There was one kid called Allen Los Angeles, guy was 6’2”, Jim Morrison as a blond. Boy was he handsome, he looked great.
JC: You should have got his number.
RM: I told him, "You don’t have to do the 'I'm Jim Morrison's son' schtick, man. That’s good for five minutes!" Who cares? Should have got his own band together. Make your own music. He insisted on being Jim Morrison’s son. “My mommy told me. I’m not the son of a roadie. I’m the son of Jim Morrison…”
JC: That's funny... Do you guys still fight? Do you argue like you used to?
RK: Fight? Oh yeah.
JC: What were the conversations like when you’d write set lists? Did one of you just write them?
RK: Usually we’d have a get together right before the set and figure out the first three songs. After that it was any man’s game.
RK: A lot of times we’d stop on stage and have a huddle.
RM: Right around the drums. we'd all come together. We’d all step back. I’d stand up, Jim would come over, Robbie would come over we’d all stand around in front of the drums.
RK: What do you wanna do, Larry?
RM: I don’t know, whaddya wanna do? It was fun, man. It was all spontaneous. It was all an improvisation based on what the audience was responding to. We’d give them three songs. What did we usually start with?
RK: Oh, God… “Break On Through”? Sometimes “Music’s Over”... I remember starting with that. That’s what we started with at The Filmore.
RM: Yeah, usually “Break On Through,” and “Roadhouse,” and then we’d do “When The Music’s Over,” and that’s a long song so after that we’d stop and talk to each other.