I had been preparing to play Jim Morrison in The Doors movie” for a year and I had grown my hair to the correct length it was the right color and I was the right shape size and age, I was 6 foot 2 163-168 and Jim was 5 foot 11 148, so on screen all that matters is relative size compared to your fellow actors also playing real life people ie; Ray was taller than Jim, Robby and Pam were shorter than Jim et cetera,
so this one day I put on some jeans that belonged to a girl my age I had recently slept with when we retreated from an “orgy” to be alone in a room that wasn’t either of ours, she was mad because she said “he looks better in my jeans than I do!” I put on my black engineer style cowboy boots and my black leather jacket and decided to do some method acting and walk around as Jim, I was living on Norton and Curson where Pam and Jim lived by accident that is my friend got the place next door without any knowledge of it, Danny told me that day, so I walked to Sunset and West even tho I had a car, I ended up at Licorice Pizza across from the whisky and across from the Union 76 station, I was looking through The Doors records, just checking the inventory when a stranger approached me, “do you like The Doors? What did you think of No One Here Gets Out Alive?” “It’s like my Bible,” or “it’s like the Bible to me …” I was talking to a stranger so I wasn’t being literal I was in character and had dropped out of character by this interaction,
“I wrote it,” the guy said, “the guy who wrote it had long hair you have short hair you didn’t write it,” “I got a haircut, do you want me to sign a copy for you?” He motioned to the display of a hundred copies stacked like cans at a supermarket, “No thanks, I already have one,” “Where do you live?” “I live at Norton and Curson, why?” “That’s where Jim and Pam lived, I like yr button, can I have it?” He was referring to my “people are strange” button I had just bought from Matt Groening behind the counter at Licorice Pizza where I was standing talking to the Doors and Iggy’s manager who seemed to be fixated on me, the button was $1 the cost of a pack of Marlboro’s or a joint or a gallon and a half of gas, I told him I just bought the button and I was going to keep it, he asked if he could trade me his “Official Doors Fan Club” button of which he was the president and founder, he was in charge of it as a teen and friends with Jim as a kid and worked in the Doors’ office, I liked my button better but I traded him,
we talked more and he asked me for my phone number and address he said he wanted to stay In touch about some things and projects, I was weary of giving my phone number to a stranger and he brought up the autograph book thing again and I told him I had the book already and he autographed a postcard I had found on the ground with a painting of the Cliff House SF on it, I asked him what he was doing there that day and he pointed out the window to his new car which “had a tape deck and he needed every Doors cassette for his new car,” he bought every Doors cassette from Matt behind the counter and to me it was really wild to see someone spend money like that, I had never bought 10 $5 tapes in one trip to the store and he pointed into the glass case and bought some more Doors pins and all the tapes were in alphabetical order behind the counter as to prevent shoplifting, so the one day I decide to really push my obsession with playing Jim in the Doors film I somehow magnetized the Doors’ manager and the author of his biography to me which is strange to say the least,
Danny started watching me all the time, the Sunset Strip is a small area and I was going to the Whisky nightly and he was staring at me all the time and calling me by my first name “Tom” and I was playing this role to him in order to be invited to audition for the role, so your delusions and ambitions can manifest themselves in strange ways, I read all these books, studied tapes and articles and films and videos, and now Jim’s close friend and their manager were aware of me only maybe a few weeks or a month after I arrived in Hollywood, a year-and-a-half later In a magazine called “Movies” listed the potential actors being considered to play Jim Morrison with a list of famous movie stars from the US and England, John Heard, Michael O’Keefe, Miles O’Keefe, Travolta the list went on and then it said and “some unknown Morrison clone” that Danny Sugarman met at a record store.
A month later on the anniversary of Jim’s death, Matt Groening unlocked the record store after hours to hand me the special Morrison issue of “BAM” with unpublished photos.
Click to Visit More from Thomas Peters
TOM PETERS was born in Detroit, attended Texas Christian and Central Michigan universities, graduated Naropa Institute. He also has made films, acted in films, television, and music videos. He runs the Beat Book Shop in Boulder, Colo. and curates and hosts the longest-running weekly open poetry reading in the world, every Monday since 1987. Films of him reading at The Denver Art Museum with Allen Ginsberg are broadcast on PBS. Peters has performed with members of The Laughing Hyenas, Mule, Negative Approach, L7, Sonic Youth, DeVotchka, A Tribe Called Quest, and Architects Office, among others. He has read with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Jack Micheline, and hundreds of other poets. Peters has shared a stage and opened for The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Beastie Boys, The Smashing Pumpkins and the bands mentioned above. His performance at Lollapalooza was said to be “the first time a poet of his generation engaged a crowd of that size (30,000 people) in a positive manner.” The poet Robert Creeley said of Peters as a poet that he is “the real thing.”