Glossary entry for
The Doors

Jim Morrison and Van Morrison onstage at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, jamming on "Gloria".
Photo by George Rodriguez

As part of Them's 1966 tour of the States, the band was booked into the famed Whiskey-A-Go-Go nightclub in West Hollywood, California. You can imagine the atmosphere: in 1966 the West Coast music scene was just getting going. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band were booked in as a supporting act for the first week (if you can imagine that combination), with Frank Zappa on occasion joining Them on stage.

The second week opening act was The Doors; other acts appearing at the time were The Association, and Buffalo Springfield. In the audience at one time or another were Roger McGuinn, Mac Rebennack, and Grace Slick, among others.

On the last night of Them's residency Jim Morrison joined Them onstage for a big "Gloria" jam: 2 keyboards, 2 guitars, 2 drummers, a bass, and 2 Morrisons - Van and Jim - on vocals. It must have been quite a night. Unfortunately - as far as I am aware - there is no taped record of that meeting, which was never to occur again.

Ray Manzarek describes the meeting in his book "Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors":

Smash cut to the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. The headlines of our initial engagement week? THEM! Yes, my friends, Van Morrison and Them! Our favorite singer and perhaps our favorite band. "Gloria" and "Mystic Eyes" and John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom". What great songs. What a great band. And what a wild-man lead singer. Van was a possessed Celt. He was all over the stage. Manic. Arms continually raised in a hallelujah salute to the energy. A ball of black Irish plasma reconstituted as the lead singer of a wandering band of minstrels that had set down beside us on the Sunset Strip of Los Angeles, California. Jim was transfixed by Van. He studied his every move. He put the eye on him and he absorbed. Van Morrison was - and is - the best of the white blues men. No one has that soul, that torment, that anguish. And he displayed it all at the WHiskey ... and we watched, mesmerized. All of us. I especially loved the way Van would grab the mic stand, thrust it into the air, turn it on its head with the base pointing up to heaven, and continue wailing into the Shure 47. "She got one, two, brown eyes ... Hypnotize!" Goddamn he was good.

And could he drink. I wish Jim had't seen that part of it. What with Felix imparting the drunken secrets of the race and Van the Celtic Christian blues man idol of Jim's downing copious drafts ... well, Jim didn't stand a chance. He became enamored of alchohol.

But we all became friends, and the last night of our too-brief week's engagement with the Irish crazies saw us all in a monster jam session. The Doors and Them onstage together. Jim Morrison and Van Morrison onstage at the same time! And singing "Gloria"! What a fucking night. The Morrisons were amazing. There was more power coming off that stage than had ever been generated at the corner of Sunset and San Vincente. We were rocking and I was at the stage left, at the Vox. I'll never forget the picture I saw, to my right, of Van at the mic and Jim with a hand-held mic sitting atop a large amplifier, his head above, and slightly behind Van's, both of them bathed in a golden light. And they were gone! They were in another time and another place. They were in the music and they were wailing. We were all wailing! It was 1966 and were were young and alove and rocking. The future was ours.

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