There are certain people you meet and you just know they won’t be around forever. Jim Morrison was one of those people. He could have died 100 times": Alice Cooper on The Doors' Jim Morrison

Alice Cooper and Jim Morrison
(Image credit: Alice Cooper - Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images | Jim Morrison - CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

"When my band moved to Los Angeles from Arizona, we didn’t know anybody. One night we played some tiny place, and the wife of one of The Doors happened to be there as she was friendly with the girl who ran the club. She told her husband that we were pretty cool, and different from anyone else, so then The Doors came to see us, and kinda took us under their wings from then on. That was really sweet of them. I think they liked that we had this nefarious reputation and were seen as a bit ‘out there’. 

They were the best band in LA. They were amazing live – they never did The End the same way twice, but they were so tight that they were always on the same page - they made the most interesting records, and their sound was totally unique. Jim Morrison was a poet, no-one played guitar like Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek’s keyboards were the heart of their sound, and John Densmore was a great jazz drummer. We got to visit them at Sunset Sound [studio] when they were making Strange Days and it was so cool to see them at work. 

We got to know them properly when we played shows with them. They were the nicest guys. With Jim there was no real way of being his best friend, but we had a bond in that we were both lead singers, and we got along well because he was a drinker and I was a drinker. Robby Krieger has this great story where we were supporting The Doors in a theatre in Portland, Oregon, and he walks in to sound check, and Jim and I are hanging from the balcony with a 20-foot drop, having made a bet to see who could hang there for the longest time. We may have been drinking, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. 

There are certain people you meet and you just know they won’t be around forever, and Jim was one of those people. The guy was a genius, and I don’t throw that word around very often, but he did not treat himself very well. He would eat pills like you might eat Skittles, and he was a big drinker. He could have died 100 times. He was a risk taker, fearless. You’d be at a party and see him standing on the edge of a 300-foot-high building, balancing himself with a whisky bottle in each hand: that was a normal day for him. 

I’ll be honest, when I heard that Jim had died in Paris, aged 27, I told people that I was more surprised that he’d made it to 27. But I’ll say this: I never saw him out-of-control on stage or in the studio. He believed that it was perfectly fine to get high, as long as when it came time to do what you do for a living, you were focussed. It was the other 22 hours of the day that he needed someone to watch over him." 

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