Voici un extrait de l'autobiographie de John Densmore, Riders On The Storm, que j'ai particulièrement aimé, car il exprime très bien que'est-ce que je ressens quand j'écoute The Doors...
"Is that you, Ray?" I asked, hearing someone come into the stall next door to me.
''Yup,'' he responded in that deep, ponderous voice.
I could tell by the white buck shoes. We were sitting on toilets in the basement of Madison Square Garden.
''Having your preconcert shit?'' I joked.
"Yup." Ray laughed. We could hear the crowd upstairs starting to stamp their feet.
"Boom-boom-BOOM-BOOM . . . Doors-Doors-DOORS...Jim-JIM-JIM!''
''Time to go,'' Ray and I said simultaneously.
Jim seemed in pretty good spirits. If his state of mind was in that delicate balance where he had a buzz, but not too much, my confidence was strong enough to reduce my preperformance nerves to small butterflies. I've always thought that if you aren't a little nervous, then you aren't risking enough.
We came out to the center boxing ring and twenty-four thousand people gave us the biggest roar I had ever heard. It was the ultimate in mass affection. How could this he topped? And the stage was still dark! Since there wasn't any curtain, we chose to be led our with flashlights and were tuning up in the dark-and they were already going crazy!
Ray lit a stick of incense that was preset on the organ, an idea we copped from Indian music. It had evolved into a ritual that signaled we were leaving the outside world behind, and the smell put us in a collective mood to play.
I started the beat to "Break On Through" in the dark, which drew more response, then after a few bars, when Ray and Robby came in with their respective organ and guitar lines, the lights came up. The combination of powerful electric instruments crashing in over primitive drums with simultaneous stage lights blasting in out of total blackness was very effective, an electronic coming of Christ. Or the Anti-Christ, to be more precise.
Then came Jim's voice, the voice of total belligerence, spouting out an improvised poem about "FAT CATS, DEAD RATS, suckin' on a soldier's sperm. CRAP-THAT'S CRAP!"
We settled down into the song's groove and built it up to its abrupt climax.
"Back Door Man" was next, not giving the audience a moment to breathe. The guitar started it, then Jim let out one of his bloodcurdling screams. No one could scream like Jim.
"Whiskey Bar" followed as a change of pace. The lights were meticulously programmed to the mood of each song by Chip Monck, our new lighting designer. For "Whiskey Bar," Chip would bathe the band in blue light while giving Jim a yellow halo.
We argued in front of everybody about which song to play fourth. Harvey Brooks, our bass player, doubled over in laughter at the audience's response to our unprofessionalism. They loved It.
"You guys could take a crap onstage and they'd eat it up," Harvey whispered in my ear. "Incredible!" I was acutely tuned to not letting the ball drop for the audience, hut by this point in our career we could do no wrong.
Jim, as usual, wanted to play "Little Red Rooster"; Robby was amenable to anything; Ray and I pushed for an original. We finally agreed on "Unknown Soldier." The execution section in the middle was terrifying. I would start the military drumming with Jim vocalizing "Hup-two-three-four;" Robby would go to his amp and turn a knob that made a siren sound.
"COMPANNYYY HALT!! Preessenntt ARMS."
Robby would aim his guitar at Jim like it was a gun; Ray 'would hold a fist in the air with one hand and pick up the top of his amplifier with the other, dropping it on cue. The sound blasted out like a gunshot.
This was the usual routine, but I could tell Jim was very concentrated tonight. When he got "shot," he slammed himself to the floor like never before. I stood up from my seat and looked down at him over the drums. He didn't move. Maybe he banged his head on the edge of the drum riser or on one of Robby's guitar pedals? He seemed unconscious and was all tangled up in the mike cord, a stillborn baby who'd just arrived with umbilical webs. Panic was setting in when finally, after a few long seconds, he started moving one of his legs. The shaman was returning from his seizure. All of a sudden, out of the PA, in slurred speech, came "make a grave for the unknown soldier, nestled in your hollow shoulder." Jim had the mike at his lips. I quickly sat down to play the accompanying cymbal splashes. We finished the song as usual, with Jim jumping up and ending the war lyrically. I thought to myself, The song really has evolved into a miniplay. The audience was so stunned it didn't know whether to keep quiet or applaud. I liked that response.
It was time for our anthem, "Light My Fire." As usual, the opening drum crack organ tiff brought the house to its feet. We had played this number probably a thousand times already, but I always looked forward to it. The solo section in the middle allowed for long instrumental improvisation, which made it new each time. With improvisation there is danger. The chords we used were similar to Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things," only stretched out and in 4/4.
I enjoyed spurring Ray and Robby on in their solos. It somehow evolved that I played the cue, two bars of fortissimo eighth notes on the snare, to signal the end of each of their solos. When Ray and I locked into a groove, it was unbounded joy. Robby floated on top, and Ray and I were the rhythm section, the bottom. At this particular gig, we were one.
When it was good, you wanted the groove to go on forever. Don't change to another set of chord progressions, don't go to the next section of the song; just stay right there and ride.
After twenty years, trips around the world, and two marriages, this is still one of the moments I miss the most.
Jim had to hang out sometimes for up to fifteen minutes waiting for us to finish. He loved to play his maraca, though, and dance like an American Indian. He would lift one leg and jump around in a circle as if he were at a campfire. This wasn't no James Brown dance imitation. Sometimes he would be so loose with his movements, I got inspiration for what l was playing from watching him. I drummed harder when Jim, Ray, or Robby were "into it." The groove got so deep, the mud splattered a third of the way up our pant legs.
Those inspired moments made me think that Jim's boyhood story about the American Indian shaman who possessed him in the desert was true. He said that when he was four years old, he and his parents were driving through New Mexico and passed a serious car accident. Jim said later that he felt the soul of the old Indian who was lying on the side of the road leap into him. A leap of faith if there ever was one.
At times like this it seemed that Jim was our puppet and we could take him, 'with our music, in any direction we wanted. He probably felt like he was doing the same to us, although he knew that music could hypnotize. And he allowed it to happen to himself, which one has to do in hypnotism.
He surrendered so totally some nights that we released the sorcerer inside him. We were caught in a ritual. Control seemed to be exchanged among the four of us until the ceremony was completed-three Apollos balanced by one intense Dionysus.
The last verse and chorus of "Light My Fire" was usually very strong, and the instrumental tag at the end left everyone sort of hanging. But they loved that song!
I had to take a deep breath and gather all my strength to play our last number. No wonder. "The End" was Jim's voyage into pain and death.