I am the Lizard King. I can do anything.
A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom
to be yourself.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear
has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes.
You are free.
We’re like actors, turned loose in this world to wander
in search of a phantom, endlessly searching for a half-
formed shadow of our lost reality. When others demand
that we become the people they want us to be, they force
us to destroy the person we really are. It’s a subtle kind
of murder. The most loving parents and relatives commit
this murder with smiles on their faces.
I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human with
the soul of a clown, which always forces me to blow it at
the most important moments.
I think the highest and lowest points are the important
ones. Anything else is just…in between. I want the freedom
to try everything.
I’m kind of hooked to the game of art and literature;
my heroes are artists and writers.
If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver
people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.
I’m a word man. See, there’s this theory about the nature
of tragedy, that Aristotle didn’t mean catharsis for the
audience but a purgation of emotions for the actors them-
selves. The audience is just a witness to the event taking
place on stage.
When you make your peace with authority, you become an
Los Angeles is a city looking for a ritual to join its
fragments, and The Doors are looking for such a ritual also.
A kind of electric wedding. We hide ourselves in the music
to reveal ourselves.
We are from the West. The world we suggest should be of a
new wild West, a sensuous, evil world, strange and haunting.
The path of the sun.
A hero is someone who rebels or seems to rebel against the
facts of existence and seems to conquer them. Obviously that
can only work at moments. It can’t be a lasting thing. That’s
not saying that people shouldn’t keep trying to rebel against
the facts of existence. Someday, who knows, we might conquer
death, disease and war.
Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was
curious to see what would happen. That’s all it was: curiosity.
It’s a search, an opening of one door after another. Our
work, our performing, is a striving for a metamorphosis. Right
now, we’re more interested in the dark side of life, the evil
thing, the night time. But through our music, we’re striving,
trying to break through to a cleaner, freer realm. Our music
and personalities as seen in the performance are still in a
state of chaos and disorder, with maybe an element of purity
just showing. Lately, when we’ve appeared in concert, it’s
started to merge.
Think of us as erotic politicians.
The only time I really open up is on stage. I feel spiritual
up there. Performing gives me a mask, a place to hide myself
where I can reveal myself. I see it as more than performing,
going on, doing songs, and leaving. I take everything
personally, and don’t really feel I’ve done a complete job
unless we’ve gotten everybody in the theatre on common ground.
I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone
stops, points up and gasps “Oh look at that!” Then- whoosh, and
I’m gone…and they’ll never see anything like it ever again…
and they won’t be able to forget me- ever.
I offer images- I conjure memories of freedom that can still be
reached- like the Doors, right? But we can only open the doors,
we can’t drag people through. I can’t free them unless they want to
be free. Maybe primitive people have less bullshit to let go of,
to give up. A person has to be willing to give up everything- not
just wealth. All the bullshit that he’s been taught- all society’s
brainwashing. You have to let go of all that to get to the other
side. Most people aren’t willing to do that.
I’ve had a good time these last three or four years. I’ve met
a lot of interesting people and seen things in a short space of
time that I probably would not have run into in twenty years of
living. I can’t say I regret it. If I had it to do over, I think
I would have gone for the quiet, undemonstrative artist, plodding
away in his own garden.
The birth of rock ; roll coincided with my adolescence, my
coming into awareness. It was a real turn-on, although at the
time I could never allow myself to rationally fantasize about
doing it myself. I guess all that time I was unconsciously
accumulating inclination and listening. So when it finally
happened, my subconscious had prepared the whole thing.
Initially, I didn’t start out to be a member of a band. I wanted
to make films, write plays, books. When I found myself in a band,
I wanted to bring some of these ideas into it. We never did much
with it, though.
People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their
feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but
that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People
are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal
with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up.
People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is
something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the
experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what
matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you.
Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide
them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should
stand up for your right to feel your pain.
I think there’s a whole region of images and feelings inside
us that rarely are given outlet in daily life. And when they
do come out, they can take perverse forms. It’s the dark side.
Everyone, when he sees it, recognizes the same thing in himself.
It’s a recognition of forces that rarely see the light of day.
The more civilized we get on the surface, the more the other
forces make their plea.
They claim everyone was born, but I don’t recall it. Maybe
I was having one of my blackouts.
That’s what real love amounts to- letting a person be what he
really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To
keep their love, you keep pretending- performing. You get to
love your pretence. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act-
and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow
attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all
about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they
hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most
You could say it’s an accident that I was ideally suited for
the work I am doing. It’s the feeling of a bow string
being pulled back for 22 years and suddenly being let go…
I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of
established order. I am interested in anything about revolt,
disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no
meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom –
external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom.
I like people who shake other people up and make them
I’d hate to think I’d stop having anything to do with music,
but I think that in the future, I’ll tend towards an exclusive
I get an instinctive feeling for the film media. I think
I’ll do pretty well at it.
I think I was just fed up with the image that had been
created around me, which I sometimes consciously, most of the
time unconsciously cooperated with. It just got too much for me
to really stomach and so I put an end to it in one glorious
I wasted a lot of time and energy with the Miami trial.
About a year and a half. But I guess it was a valuable
experience because before the trial I had a very unrealistic
schoolboy attitude about the American judicial system. My
eyes have been opened up a bit.
The trouble with all these busts is people I know, friends of
mine, think it’s funny and they like to believe it’s true and
they accept it; people who don’t like me like to believe it
because I’m the reincarnation of everything they consider evil.
I get hung both ways.
I wouldn’t mind dying in a plane crash. It’d be a good way
to go. I don’t want to die in my sleep, or of old age, or OD…
I want to feel what it’s like. I want to taste it, hear it,
smell it. Death is only going to happen to you once; I don’t
want to miss it.
I’ve always liked reptiles. I used to see the universe as
a mammoth snake, and I used to see all the people and objects,
landscapes, as little pictures in the facets of their scales.
I think peristaltic motion is the basic life movement.
Swallowing, digestion, the rhythms of sexual intercourse. We
must not forget that the lizard and the snake are identified
with the unconscious, with the forces of evil. There’s some-
thing deep in the human memory that reacts very strongly
to reptiles. Even if you’ve never seen one, the snake embodies
everything we fear.
I think that more than writing and music, my greatest talent
is that I have an instinctive knack of self-image propagation.
I was very good at manipulating publicity with a few little
phrases like ‘erotic politicians’. Having grown up with TV
and mass magazines, I knew instinctively what people would
catch on to, so I dropped those little jewels here and there,
seemingly very innocently; of course, I was just calling signals.
I guess that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, even more than
being in a band, was working in films. I’d like to write and
direct a film of my own. There’s one that’s all in my head, but
I have a film which I made, which hasn’t been seen very much.
It’s called HWY.
Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names.
They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors.
I always liked the things I read. Of course- they were about
me. But they were concentrating on my progenitive organ too
much, and weren’t paying attention to the fact that I was
a fairly healthy young male, who also had something more than
the standard arms, legs, ribs, eyes and so on- had a
cerebellum, the full equipment. The press always does that.
Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.
Sometimes…I like to think of the history of rock & roll like
the origin of Greek drama. That started out on the threshing
floors during the crucial seasons, and was originally a band
of acolytes dancing and singing. Then, one day, a possessed
person jumped out of the crowd and started imitating a god…
I think people go to rock concerts because they enjoy being
in crowds. It gives them a feeling of power and security in
a strange way. They like to rub up against hundreds of other
people that are like them. It reinforces their trip. As a per-
former then, I’m just a focus for everyone’s attention,
because you have to have an excuse to mob together. Otherwise
it becomes a riot.
I like any reaction I can get with my music. Just anything
to get people to think. I mean if you can get a whole room
full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think,
you’re doing something.
Sex is full of lies. The body tries to tell the truth, but
it’s usually too battered with rules to be heard. We cripple
ourselves with lies. Most people have no idea of what they’re
missing, our society places a supreme value on control, on
hiding what you feel. It mocks primitive culture and prides
itself on the suppression of natural instincts and impulses.
I think we’re the band you love to hate- it’s been that way
from the beginning. We’re universally despised, and I kinda
relish the whole situation. Why, I don’t know: I think we’re
on a monstrous ego-trip, and people resent it…they hate
us because we’re so good.
For me, it was never really an act, those so-called perfom-
ances. It was a life-and-death thing; an attempt to communicate,
to involve many people in a private world of thought. I no
longer feel I can best do this music through concerts. The
belief isn’t there.
Being onstage, being one of the central figures, I can
only see it from my own viewpoint, but then I suddenly saw
things as they really are, that I am, to a degree, just a
puppet, controlled by a lot of forces I understand only vaguely.
I think in art, but especially in films, people are trying
to confirm their own existences.
The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really
are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your
sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in
exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale
revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on and
individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. You can
take away a man’s political freedom and you won’t hurt him-
unless you take away his freedom to feel. That can destroy
him. That kind of freedom can’t be granted. Nobody can win
it for you.
The first time I discovered death…me and my mother and
father, and my grandmother and grandfather, were driving through
the desert at dawn. A truckload of Indians had either hit
another car or something- there were Indians scattered all over
the highway, bleeding to death. I was just a kid, so I had
to stay in the car while my father and grandfather went to
check it out. I didn’t see nothing- all I saw was funny red
paint and people lying around, but I knew something was
happening, because I could dig the vibrations of the people
around me, and all of a sudden I realized that they didn’t
know what was happening any more than I did. That was the
first time I tasted fear…and I do think, at that moment,
the souls of those dead Indians- maybe one or two of them-
were just running around, freaking out, and just landed in
my soul, and I was like a sponge, ready to sit there and absorb it.