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Last December 8 would’ve been Jim Morrison’s 60th birthday. Two of the surviving Doors threw a party in Hollywood at Barney’s Beanery, famous in the ’60s for the stars who hung out there.

I wasn’t invited to the Morrison birthday bash, but I decided to drive up and crash it. On my way, I was talking to a friend on the phone. I pulled over on the 805 as cops and fire engines zoomed by with lights on and sirens blaring. My friend said, “Are you getting a ticket for talking while you drive?”

A minute later I drove by smoke and fire to my left. My friend said, “That’s probably where that jet just crashed into a house. I just heard that on the news.”

I got to Barney’s a few hours early. I knew that L.A. radio station KLOS was letting in only a handful of listeners, so I was happy I talked to the right people and was told they’d let me in. Then I walked down the street to grab a bite.

I sat down in a Greek restaurant and began reading the L.A. Times. A guy on his way out the door said, “I like your shirt!” It was an L.A. Woman tee. I didn’t look up from the paper but said, “Thanks.” The guy then put his finger on my chest and said, “I especially like that guy there.” I looked down and saw he was pointing at Ray Manzarek, the Doors’ keyboard player. When I looked up, I saw it was Manzarek himself. I laughed, and we talked for a few minutes.

When he left, a big group at another table said, “Is that guy famous?” I explained who he was, and a woman with a French accent said, “I love the Doors!” She sprinted out and talked to him on the street corner for five minutes. When she returned, she texted everyone on her phone and asked me six times how to spell his last name.

Back at Barney’s, there was a crowd of autograph seekers. I saw Henry Diltz, who took the Doors’ photo for their Morrison Hotel album and has a gallery in La Jolla by the same name. We chatted for a few minutes.

I went inside and started talking with a woman named Melissa who works for Rhino Records. I talked about compilation CDs they’ve released that I like. For a woman in her mid-20s, she knew a lot about the history of rock.

We watched some people bring in a huge cake with psychedelic-colored frosting. I said, “It should’ve been shaped like a microphone or a record album. That thing is just some huge square thing. Although...it’s probably the size of Jim’s coffin.”

Someone heard this and said, “That’s messed up, man.”

After Melissa started telling me a story, a guy came over and said, “Come on, let’s go.”

She paused, looked at me, and apologized. She explained, “I’m just starved, and we supposedly get free food, but I have to go with my group now.” I said, “Hey…for free food, I’d stop talking to me, too.”

While I talked briefly with the owner of Barney’s, I heard a crowd of 100 screaming fans outside. I looked out the window and saw Doors guitarist Robby Krieger walking up with Manzarek. Manzarek saw me and said, “Hey, it’s you again! How was your dinner?”

Krieger did an interview with a TV station, and then I spoke with him. I asked about some rare Doors songs, including “Spanish Caravan,” which had a flamenco-guitar intro. He said, “Yeah, that intro never got saved. But I’m reworking that for a new CD.”

After we were done talking, I heard Krieger tell deejay Jim Ladd a story about being in Barney’s when Morrison threw a pool ball at him. It missed and shattered a mirror.

KLOS started to broadcast live, and I sat down at the only table left. I felt guilty about all the fans standing outside in the cold.

A bouncer told me about someone being stabbed a few weeks earlier. He said they only have trouble with drunk bikers once in a while.

He informed me the food and booze were free, and I replied, “Yeah, I’d get a few drinks, but I’m not hungry. I just don’t have any money to tip the waitress.” He said, “They get paid extra working this. They aren’t expecting tips.”

I ordered a chocolate shake and, later, shots of whiskey.

Two gorgeous women asked if they could join me at my table. One was about 6´1˝, and when we started talking about kids, she told me, “I think if I ever have a daughter, she’ll look like Natalie Portman.” I glanced at her friend and said, “Does she know she’s black?” They laughed. The woman replied, “I don’t mean skin color, but my facial structure, my cheekbones.”

Her friend looked like Scarlett Johansson. She asked me if I wanted kids and I said, “With you?”

We saw actor Corey Feldman walk in. He stood near our table and, instead of asking about Lost Boys or Stand by Me, I said, “My friend loves your show The Two Coreys. If I call her right now, could you give her crap? Tell her she should get a life and stop sitting around watching what you do in your life.” He smiled and said, “I would, man. But I have a sore throat. I shouldn’t be talking much.” A guy next to him offered, “If you need his wacky assistant to do anything, I’ll be happy to.”

During a commercial in the broadcast, Krieger walked to the cake and a few people asked to take a photo. I said, “I bet you hate those cell-phone cameras. Everyone now has to get a picture, and they can never work them.” He replied, “Oh God, I know. You would be amazed at the amount of time I’ve wasted just standing there, waiting for people to figure out their cameras.”

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Comments

sergal Feb. 4, 2009 @ 9:53 p.m.

I'd like inform you that Scarlett Johansson "actress"actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone was created illegally using stolen biomaterial.Original Scarlett Galabekian last name is nice, CHRISTIAN young lady.Original family didn't authorize any activity with stolen biomaterials,no matter what form it was created in,it's all need to be back to original family control in Cedars-Sinai MedicalCenter in LA.Controlling clones is US military operation.Original Scarlett never was engaged,by the way

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joelbmartin Feb. 5, 2009 @ 3:39 a.m.

So.. LA has less dorks, huh Josh?

I mean, Angelinos might have a shxxty attitude if you don't know them, but there's nothing to worry about. Unlike the traditional SD response to LA : "I just can't deal with all that traffic in LA." (Yawn....;) Yet, they've likely only driven through LA, if not only having landed once at LAX from an international flight, the only time they actually left the North American continent :}

Ummm, ok...

So then it's cool to be a freak who actually wants to go to a sports bar, say in the Kearny Mesa area on Clairmont Mesa Blvd, with 25 TV's, from 35" CRT's to 50"LCD's -- all tuned to Sports. I'm giving PB and Downtown a break from the usual tools walking the streets there. No news is good news, then maybe it won't exist. Just flip your condos around 2013..

Back to Kearny Mesa Sports Bar : No one is talking to anyone else besides whoever they might have come with -- Then, others who find themselves getting Bored (no pun intended) and walk 40' to Cheetahs.

Should one say, "Get a hobby."? How obvious could the answer to that question be?

Like, at least know who the Doors are. Even people from Phoenix are smoking the curiosity of SD... So it would seem. Plus, they're fours hours further... 'Come'on SD!!' Christ - even an '80's SD had an urban-bible-of-cool that included the Doors..

Nice one passing that VIP, Josh :)

Digression : Some might know this, but if you're in your late 30's, like Josh and I, Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood was a location for Body Double. That '80's, voyeuristic, Brian De Palma flick immediately after Scarface that used to always be on cable.. The scenes when Jake was sucked into Sam's web to be his alibi for Gloria Revelle..

I know.. Too much.. something..

Digression >> Best Bars in SD :

1 - Hamilton's Tavern (too many TV's, but when in Rome >> WTF can you do?..) Check the locals and Belgians on beer. Go Blair!

2 - Tower Bar - because they are what they are - a kitsch hang if you're punk, into Tatoos -- or just trying to maintain a safe distance. Keep it real, Mick. Oh, and I want that Hamm's bear life-size poster before another Cadillac takes out the bar again.

3 - Whistle Stop : 'cuz you're in South Park now and maybe we don't want you to know it. Great DJ's..

4 - Turf Club - Tried and True in an "OG" neighborhood. Since 1951, I think. Love the "Steaks" neon sign..

5 - Live Wire. Yeah, sort of, but are those Emo Fxxx Faces gone yet? Better in the '90's.

6 - Toronado -- again, like many of these bars, they're lucky I'm a sucker for a great selection of Belgians. However, unfortunately for them : I went to college in the Bay Area and they ain't no Toronado I used to know from the Lower Haight. This is like a safe and boring version, suburban style..

I can't even reach 10.. Scheiße.

"Not hating at all." One of my occasional favorite expressions of late..

Enjoy.

Joel

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Josh Board Feb. 5, 2009 @ 4:07 a.m.

Body Double was a great film. Nice little role for Dennis Franz as the jerk director (or is he really a jerk? if you are dracula, and can't stand being in a coffin, maybe he has a right to do a Christian Bale yell on your ass).

Turf Club is the most overrated place of all-time. The one inside Del Mar is cool. The one with a bunch of people that think they're cool before seeing a show at the Casbah...not so much.

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rickeysays Feb. 6, 2009 @ 6:35 p.m.

It's nice to hear Manzarek not sounding as much like the hippie he used to talk like in interviews.

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Corinna1983 Feb. 9, 2009 @ 9:08 a.m.

Hey Josh! it's nice to see, that you've still got my L.A. Woman Shirt =)

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bbeglinger Feb. 9, 2009 @ 1:48 p.m.

There is a big blunder in this story. December 8th, 2008 would have been Jim Morrison's 65th birthday not his 60th. I liked your story but as a Doors fan you really should know that. Here's a link: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=740

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Josh Board Feb. 9, 2009 @ 2:14 p.m.

Hey Corinna...nice to hear from ya! Didn't I trade that with you, for another Doors shirt I didn't care for? I thought the LA Woman tee would be best to wear. I don't care for shirts that just have Jimbos face plastered on it.

bb...my bad on that. I guess it's just that Jim looks so good for his age. It's like he doesn't look a day over 25 in all the photos I see of him!

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Corinna1983 Feb. 9, 2009 @ 3:55 p.m.

@ Josh

Yeah, you said, that I could choose between a Pink Floyd shirt and the Morrison shirt. I chose the Morrison shirt. I still have it and wear it, too =) By the way: great story! You're a lucky guy, because you met Ray and Robby.

enjoy your day!

Corinna

PS: What are they doing in the Hyacinth House....? ;o)

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