Facts About The Doors’ Last Album – L.A. Woman
The Doors were a rock band from the United States, formed in 1965 with members Jim Morrison (vocals), Ray Manzarek (keyboard), Robby Krieger (guitar), and John Densmore (drums). While they were world-famous, their career as a band lasted a surprisingly short 5 years.
Despite their short run, Morrison and the band released a surprising 8 records in the 5 years they spent on stage together. Considered one of the more obscure bands of the 60s and 70s, there are a few things people may not know.
Here a few things you most people don’t know about The Doors’ final album, titled L.A. Woman:
1. The Doors Longtime Producer Quit The Sessions
Whether you’re a solo act or a group, it is important to have a producer that cares about the music as much as you do. The Doors gave their producer, Paul Rothchild a first taste of L.A. Woman in November 1970. Having only a handful of mostly completed tracks, the band’s producer was not impressed. The song “Riders on the Storm” was cited by Rothchild as “cocktail music” and “Lover Her Madly” was the track that finally drove him out of the studio.
“The material was bad,” Rothchild is quoted saying in the Morrison biography, “the attitude was bad, and the performance was bad. After three days of listening, I said, ‘That’s it!’ on the talk-back and canceled the session.”
Rothchild was so incensed by how bad he thought the album was, he went so far as to tell the band, “Look, I think it sucks. I don’t think the world wants to hear it. It’s the first time I’ve ever been bored in a recording studio in my life. I want to go to sleep.” Those were the producer’s last words to the band before they parted ways.
2. Jim Morrison Recorded His Vocals in a Bathroom
Upon Rothchild’s exit, the band decided to return to the room that was always home to their creative process. “It was the room we had rehearsed in forever,” stated Densmore in a documentary. “Our music was seeped into the walls. We were very comfortable. It was home.”
Their long-time rehearsal space was cramped space ‘decorated’ with beer bottles, a tangle of cables and instruments, with a jukebox and pinball machine to boot. “It was tight,” Botnick recollected. “It was like sardines.”
Because the bathroom in the space had great natural acoustics, it was common for Morrison to grab his Electrovoice 676-G stage mic and record his vocals in the space. He made sure to rip off the door to have better communication with the other bandmates.
Whatever works, right?
3. The Band Called Upon Elvis Presley’s Bassist
It was common then and is now for musicians to collaborate in order to make something great. Before L.A. Woman, tracks from other artists were recorded separately and then put together for the album. The band wanted something different for their last album.
Bruce Botnick, the engineer who took over Rothchild’s producer position, suggested getting Jerry Scheff, Presley’s bassist, come in and perform live in front of a studio mic.
Morrison was a huge fan of Presley, and both he and Densmore were ecstatic. “Jerry was incredible; an in-the-pocket man,” said Densmore in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. “He allowed me to communicate rhythmically with Morrison, and he slowed Ray down when his right hand on the keyboards got too darn fast.”
4. “L’America” Was Originally Recorded for a Michelangelo Antonioni Soundtrack
The particular track “L’America” was recorded a full year before L.A. Woman was put together. It had been recorded for psychedelic 1970s drama Zanbriskie Point, by Italian producer Michelangelo Antonioni.
While the band may have enjoyed playing it, Antonioni’s was a little less enthusiastic. It was a little too much for him when played up close. “We played it for,” Manzarek said back in 2011, “and it was so loud, it pinned him up against a wall. When it was over, he thanked us and fled.”
Jerry Garcia, John Fahey and Pink Floyd all had music rejected for likely the same reason.
5. “Love Her Madly” is a reference to a Duke Ellington catchphrase
The inspiration for the track was inspired by a loud fight between guitarist Robbie Krieger and Lynne, who would later be his spouse. “Every time we had an argument, she used to get pissed off and go out the door and slam the door so loud the house would shake.” He stated in the Mr. Mojo Rising documentary.
The title was actually a reference to the jazz legend Ellington’s sign-off, “We love you madly.” Thanks to all the members being familiar with jazz, the reference was easy to spot.