RIDERS ON THE STORM
Patricia Kennealy-Morrison married Jim in a pagan service in a New York apartment on the 24th of June, 1970. For the first half hour I talk to her about her own career as a rock journalist, witch (!), and 'Celtic Sci-fi' writer before working up to Jim and why, after 20 years, she felt compelled to write about their time together.
The answer is an anagram: EVIL NOSE ROT! Unscrambled it spells OLIVER STONE, director of the 45 million dollar movie of The Doors that established what the 60's legends were about for the MTV generation — drink, drugs, groupies, and getting blow jobs from Nico in elevators. As Patricia puts it: "The whole movie is full of stuff that never happened anywhere except in Oliver Stone's mucky little imagination. It kills me that people see this movie and think that Jim was really like that — that's why I finally decided to write the book."
The book presents us with a much more positive picture of the LIZARD KING than the leather-kegged psycho image we're so familiar with, although even Patricia admits he wasn't the easiest person to live with. "I could never have seen me and Jim living together — he wasn't the 'Hi-honey-I'm-home' type. He was the most undomesticated person you could possibly imagine. It would have been like a Woody Allen/ Mia Farrow kind of thing where we had separate apartments. Of course people tend to concentrate on the darker elements but that’s not what he was like."
Jim remains a 'fallen hero' over whose body battles are fought on a battlefield more crowded than his grave in Pere Lachaise. Riding the storm of his legend we have not only the "sensitivity free and talent free" Oliver Stone; but also Danny Sugarman, "a 14-year-old druggy high school dropout who hung about the Doors' office" and later collaborated on the most famous Doors book, No One Gets Out Of Here Alive; tribute bands like the Australian Doors, "corpse-sucking vampires...psychic maggots;" and, in three years time, Albert Goldman with yet another scissors and paste attempt to butcher a dead man — "He's going to allege incest between Jim and his mom as well as incidents of homosexuality!"
It's an uneven battle between those who knew him and those who didn't, who are mainly interested in detailing the excesses that most of us vicariously leer after.
Despite the sensationalism and the lies about the man she loves, Patricia reserves most of her bile for someone who died a few short years after Jim — Pam, his long-time junkie girlfriend. In her book she makes a strong case for the possibility that, either accidentally or on purpose, Pam was responsible for the death of Jim by introducing him to heroin.
"I think she may have murdered him. This is what I'm coming to believe."
She tells me all about Pam's addiction and how it made her lose interest in sex.
"Pam herself told me she hadn't slept with him for over a year. Not the sort of thing you tell a rival!" She emphasises that Jim would never have taken heroin but that "the first law of addiction is to get the people near you into it as well. Junkies try to grab their nearest and dearest and get them involved so as to lessen their own guilt. She had a sort of low animal cunning. People like that can be incredibly tenacious. He was coming to the point where he was beginning to break free from her, but she thought, 'If I can't have him, Patricia's not gonna have him, nobody is'... I would have liked to have put her through a wine press and danced on her face when it came out the other side." (I'm still trying to visualize this one!)
A couple of nights before his death in a bath in Paris she mentions that his 'fetch' (a ghost that, according to Celtic legend, leaves the body before death) came to visit her in New York. At that moment she knew what was going to happen. "He was as real as you are," she says touching me!
At the end one is left with her aching sense of loss and an emptiness that comes from the fact that even Patricia — the one woman with whom he had an intimate relationship that wasn't dominated by rock'n'roll excess — isn't able to explain him: "Why is this god who had all this stuff going for him — he was brilliant, gorgeous. talented, famous, he had adoring people all over him. he had people who loved him — why is he doing this stuff to himself and everybody who comes into contact with him? Where is his motivation coming from?"
This is the question that Oliver Stone did not try to answer, and it is this 'heart of darkness' that allows grave-robbers like Goldman to construct whatever warped psychosexual theories they think will sell the most books. Like Elvis Presley, the legend of Jim Morrison seems to have a Frankenstein's life of its own.