A Novel and T.V. Hit
Back stage at the Northern California Folk-Rock Festival, Smoky and the Flying Maggots are listening to Jim Morrison rave about his Potato Chile. The Maggots looked at their mascot who gave them – the nod. They dug in not knowing Smoky’s ears were still ringing after standing in the front row next to a wall of speakers. What Jim was raving about, was the Peyote Chile he had some phony shaman from the Height mix up. Legend has it one of Kesey’s Pranksters dropped in some Orange Sunshine. Did you pass the Hippie Chile Test? This was the day the Maggots lost Wheezer.
It was Jim’s idea to go on a vision quest to Yosemite National Park. He wanted to see the Fire Fall. Morrison followed thirty-one hogs in his Cadillac. Outside Mariposa the grandson of Chief One Eye Dick made a left into his driveway thinking the pack was three hundred yards down the road. He did not expect, nor did he see, Wheezer riding fifty yards ahead of his brother due to his emphysema due to chain smoking Chesterfield cigarettes’. His doctor told him to avoid the fumes of the choppers. The native Americans let out a whoop at the oxygen tank strapped on the bike – exploded in a ball of flame! Wheezer went flying fifty feet into the air and was still alive when he landed on the hood of Jim’s Cadillac, and smoldered there for an eternity. Jim was in shock at the sight of Wheezers burnt whiskers.
Members of the Dukadu tribe were chanting over Wheezer, helping him get to the other side. He was – toast! But, four Maggots were now lifting Wheezer off the hood and tried the back door of the Caddy to put their comrade inside.
“Unlock the door! We got to rush Wheezy to the hospital!”
“No fucking way!” said Sparky O’Reily, Jim’s bodyguard and paralegal who studied under Bill Lindhart.”If he dies inside your car, you are open to a big time lawsuit. Get us out of here!”
The Chauffer threw the Caddy in reverse, squealed rubber for twenty-five yards, then, did a spin around that pointed the famous hood ornament the other way.
One Eyed Dick Jr. threw Morrison the bird, while his son ran to the house for his Ford truck. Dick’s daughter whipped out a stick of sage, lit it, and ignited Wheezer all over again, she failing to see the rivulet of gasoline that sought out the latest victim of The Mariposa Curse. Vision Quest Time……was over!
I suspect Michael McClure was responsible for the Hell’s Angels being present at our Hippie concerts that ultimately led to the death of a Historic Peace and Love Bohemian Movement – that I am reviving in this blog! I also suspect McClure is behind Jim’s Vision Quest. Michael used people and our scene.
As for the demise of Jim, he was the door of perception that everyone wanted to use to get their day in the sun. There was a mad rush to get in Morrison’s door. He got trampled…….Altamont!
The Loading Zone played at this concert. I lived with them on 13th. St. in downtown Oakland. With the resent revolution of BLM and others, alas we have a non-money-making movement that JAMMED the Doors of the New Perception, and took White Men out of Bohemian Consciousness. I heard the sad arguments about the Zone’s first album. They had not made it big like other Bay Area bands, and realized they had a important place in history that was un-exploitable. As it should be! This is why I reopen this door with the help of Smoky who is allowing me to see un-comfortable truths. One being, my daughter and her mother are sociopaths’.
This might be one of the best-looking posters featuring the Doors; the central design is a photo of Jim Morrison surrounded by reclining women with flowing hair. This was one of two Folk-Rock Festivals held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, the second one taking place in 1969. This particular festival had a great lineup of bands, including the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, Big Brother & The Holding Company and others. San Francisco Music Columnist Ralph J. Gleason wrote that, “although there hasn’t been anything such as folk-rock since Bob Dylan ceased making personal appearances, this is the name of the event.”
It was held in a hot and dusty field with no seats and 28,000 tickets were sold. In a precursor to the tragedy at Altamont, the Hells Angels were there to guard the stage, described by reviewer Philip Elwood later as, “a free-loading, swaggering stage guard, treated as honored guests (and announced as “our guardians”), who were uncalled for and an obvious concession to intimidation.”
The Saturday lineup was instructive in terms of the hierarchy of San Francisco bands. When the afternoon rolled around, the lineup in order was the Youngbloods, Steve Miller Band, Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company and the Jefferson Airplane. Sunday, the festival closed with the Electric Flag, Country Joe & the Fish and the headliners, The Doors.
At the time of this sold-out Festival, The Doors were approaching the height of their powers and they had just finished their not-yet-released third album, “Waiting for The Sun.” They were playing a number of outdoor shows and inciting the police and the crowd had become part of their act. Jim Morrison cut his own hair on the way to this performance and there is footage from the event in the Doors movie “Feast of Friends.”
Here is what I know of Jim and the Indian.
Both Jim’s sister and Jim’s father verified an incident whereby the family was taking a road trip and came upon an accident involving an overturned truck and an injured Native American Infian bleeding on the side of the road.
Since Jim was quite a bit younger (he was just a little boy) than both his sister and his father at the time, he was likely far more influenced by the likely scary (for a little boy) scene. Whereas the rest of the family viewed it as just an accident with an injured Indian, Jim somehow internalized the whole thing and as happens with many of our old memories, it seemed to grow and expand over time.
In fact, Jim publicly recounted the incident on numerous occasions later in life. Interestingly, the story had morphed from one Indian injured on the side of the road to a number of “Indians scattered all over dawns highway bleeding and dying.” And then later to … “One of the Indians souls leapt into his own”.
Whether this change in story was manufactured by Jim or whether it was truly just his own memories morphing and expanding over time is unknown. What is known is that he had no doubt been traumatized by the experience and somehow personalized it to the point where it became a central narrative in his life from that day forward.
So to answer your question specifically, my personal opinion is that the experience was very real and life changing to him as a little boy, but as he got older and gained celebrity status, he added to and/or enhanced the tale to his own benefit. That is, he likely knowingly embellished the incident to further add to his Rock Shaman/Lizard King mystique.
At UCLA, Morrison enrolled in Jack Hirschman‘s class on Antonin Artaud in the Comparative Literature program within the UCLA English Department. Artaud’s brand of surrealist theatre had a profound impact on Morrison’s dark poetic sensibility of cinematic theatricality.
Morrison spoke fondly of his Irish and Scottish ancestry and was inspired by Celtic mythology in his poetry and songs. Celtic Family Magazine revealed in its 2016 Spring Issue that his Morrison clan was originally from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, while his Irish side, the Clelland clan who married into the Morrison line, were from County Down, Northern Ireland.
David Crosby said many years later Morrison treated Joplin meanly at a party at the Calabasas, California, home of John Davidson while Davidson was out of town. She reportedly hit him over the head with a bottle of whiskey in retaliation during a fight in front of witnesses. Thereafter, whenever Joplin had a conversation with someone who mentioned Morrison, Joplin referred to him as “that asshole,” never by his first or last name.
After his death, a notebook of poetry written by Morrison was recovered, titled Paris Journal; amongst other personal details, it contains the allegorical foretelling of a man who will be left grieving and having to abandon his belongings, due to a police investigation into a death connected to the Chinese opium trade. “Weeping, he left his pad on orders from police and furnishings hauled away, all records and mementos, and reporters calculating tears & curses for the press: ‘I hope the Chinese junkies get you’ and they will for the [opium] poppy rules the world”.