**Road Manager for The Doors,
December 26 1967-January 19 1972**
AUGUST OF 1968 - THE TOUR BEFORE ENGLAND
Everyone has read fairy tales about peasants and just ordinary people who
have wishes that they cannot achieve. Suddenly, from a bottle or closet or
from thin air this magical person appears and tells this poor, sad, unhappy
person that their wish will be granted. People think this only happens in
children's books telling these happy stories for the entertainment and moral
education of the kids who hear the stories and the Grandmothers who read to
them. Well, Fairy Godfathers are real and two boys found out that it wasn't
only in magic stories, but real life.
It was in the last week of August, 1968. The eastern part of the USA was
hot and dry. In many places there were posters telling about the arrival of
a Rock Band Concert to be held in the Pavilion in Columbia City, Maryland.
This was a new city, all planned by people more interested in money than
understanding of roads, traffic patterns and damage to large areas of virgin
woodland in the peaceful Maryland countryside. This city was all laid out
with gracefully curving roads lined with houses. Periodically there were
service stations. But the heart of the matter was a large park area the
centerpiece of which was a pavilion. The Eastern seaboard of the United
States, is subject to some really violent storms during August. The
designers of the scar on the face of the land did have the common sense to
make a cover over the pavilion but they left it open at the sides. That was
so the music could get out an annoy the not too distant neighbors. It was
typical of many outdoor music shells, having an enclosed stage with all the
lighting facilities and other equipment that would be suitable for a
Broadway production. The seats were simple bench style in four groups set on
a slope rising from the stage to the rear of the Pavilion. There was even a
convenient loading dock where a truck could back up to unload sets or
scenery or, in this case, musical amps and the equipment associated
I had flown in from Los Angeles with all the equipment early the morning
of 1968.08.30. Toni Parisi, organist for a local Rock group, the HERE WE ARE
from Lawrence, Massachusetts, had driven a truck down to meet me at the
airport in Baltimore and move the equipment to the truck. Then we drove to
Columbia. So on a lovely hot afternoon, a truck rolled down the winding
roads to the Pavilion and a couple of guys got out and began to unload
equipment for the Doors concert to be held that night. It was about three in
the afternoon. After two hours of hard, sweaty work, the task was done.
It was a standing rule that once the equipment was on stage there would
be one person present at all times to protect it and also to keep other
bands from changing anything to make room for their equipment. So Tony,
drove the now empty truck to the local Burger stand and brought back some
food. While they munched on the junk food, a sort of staple diet for those
on the road with bands, the second billed group moved their equipment in and
unloaded it. Of course, having neither the notoriety or budget of the Doors,
it was all done by members of the group.
Since they were a sort of celebrity band in Columbia, they were used to
having any band that played before them take their equipment off stage and
make room for them. When they arrived and saw all the Doors equipment in
place the leader of the band came over to Tony and I, rightly assuming we
were with the Doors. He casually waved at the Doors equipment and told us to
move it so they could set up and rehearse. I looked up at this kid and
The kid stared at me not knowing what to say. He said "We have to play
first so you have to take your stuff off so we can set up. We have to
"If you have to rehearse at this time, you are not really ready to play
so you shouldn't be here at all"
The Kid stood there. No one had ever said anything like that to him
before. What could he say in the face of that kind of statement. He turned
and look at the imposing wall of amplifiers, the drum platform, on which
John's Ludwig drums stood on their red shag carpet, and the organ tucked
neatly at the stage right end of the amp line. He turned back and waved his
arms in sort of helpless frustration, "Please, we have to set up."
At this point, I had about finished eating. I stood up and walked across
the stage and with a swing of my arm, described a line along the stage in
front of the Doors equipment, "Set up here, in front. When you are finished
you take your stuff off that side", pointing to stage left, "and you can
take it out while we are playing."
Well that seemed reasonable enough. there was plenty of space, they did
not have a lot of equipment. What they did have was fair quality but barely
big enough to fill that large outdoor pavilion. I walked back and sat down
beside Tony. We watched as the boys unloaded their van and a station wagon
and set the equipment up on the stage. They had a pathetic little PA system
for the Singer and right away, I knew there would be trouble. They worked
while Tony and I waited for the inevitable.
They began their rehearsal. After ten minutes or so, I knew they were in
trouble. Their equipment simple was not enough for an open air pavilion.
Finally I got up and walked over to the "Manager" of the group, some young
fellow who was about 20 or so. Maybe a brother of one of the Band members. I
walked slowly but with deliberation - almost like the guys at High Noon
going for the shoot-out. I pointed to their PA equipment and said to the
Manager, "Get that crap off the stage".
The manager looked at me first with disbelief and then shock then maybe
anger. "But we have to use it. That's our equipment."
"Get it off or I will throw it off, NOW! If you think I won't, try me."
"Guys, he wants us to take the PA off stage." The group looked at each
other and at me and at each other. No one moved. they didn't know what to do
except they were standing in the way of a force bigger than they could cope
with. The questions started.
"What will be do?"
"How can we sing?"
They didn't know what to do. After a bit more hesitation, they took off
the guitars and with the drummer, moved all the PA off the stage. When they
were done, I told them to set up two more mike stands. I had Tony get two
extra mikes from the Doors box and get the proper cables, each of which was
color coded, and hook them up. Then I plugged the cords into the our mixer,
which was set on the bass amp just to John's left. Then I told them to
rehearse. They knew their equipment was certainly not the best. Suddenly
this guy they wanted to kill was allowing them to use a PA belonging to the
Doors. They didn't know why they got this favor, But they surely didn't
argue. Basically it was not that I was really doing this just as a favor. A
lot of kids had paid good money to hear the show. I really wanted them to
have a good show. It these kids benefited, so much the better.
When they began to sing, I made a couple of quick adjustments, balanced
them out against the amps and they were set. Of course when they
began to sing they had to get used to the sudden clarity and power they had.
It took a little time but they got it right.
They show went on and these kids did well for themselves. the crowd was
happy that their local heroes had been on stage with the Doors. Of course
their future as a very popular dance band was assured - at least for the
rest of that year. Their set ended. They took their equipment off stage and
got it stacked by the loading dock. Quickly, Tony and I took the extra mikes
off the stands and packed them and the cords away. Ray’s organ was moved
into position and checked and in less than 15 minutes, the stage was set for
It was a relatively good show. The group was very excited about the
upcoming tour in Europe. though Jim, as usual, did have some drinking before
the show, it was not excessive. It was not one of the most brilliant shows,
but it was a good one. Most important, the audience liked it. Maybe they
liked it too much.
The Doors performance ended and they went off stage. People at the back
of the Pavilion began to move out. Those along the sides could also exit
directly out. In the front, it was another story. There were a few who
wanted trophies. And they rushed the stage. It was fortunate that the lead
group was still there. They did not miss the opportunity to hear the Doors
play from positions on the stage. That was a position desired by many and
granted to Very Few. As the kids in the audience began to scramble on stage
a couple of them came forward to push the invaders off. Tony, Vince and the
two other boys managed to prevent any serious trouble though one kid made a
touchdown and grabbed the drumsticks John had left on the snare drum. He
made it to the edge of the stage and jumped off before anyone could get to
him. And about that time things began to settle down.
The heat, fatigue and sudden high tension activity got to me. I had a
splitting headache. So painful that it was agony to bend over to pick up a
cord. But the equipment had to be packed and certainly Tony could not do it
all alone. The work went on. In order not to tilt my head down I would squat
down without bending over to pick anything up. There were still people in
the pavilion the front half was fairly clear. I was disconnecting a mike
cord when a kid came to the edge of the stage . As I put the end of the
cord, each of which had a connector on it, together in preparation for
folding it up, this kid grabbed the end of the loop. It was a 30 foot cord
so there was a 15 foot loop with me on one end and this foolish kid on the
other. I did not tell him to let go. Instead I stepped forward, pulling the
two ends of the cord through my hand. When I had about 4 feet of cord
hanging out I swept my arm back and lashed this kid across his back. It must
have made a point because for some reason, the kid let go of the loop. I
immediately snapped the cord away from the edge of the stage. Add an
extremely painful headache to a riot and now this cord incident and I was in
a Very Bad mood. I was really not interested in any more distractions.
But distractions did come. It was in the form of three boys who had sort
of hung back from the crowd. They walked down the center aisle and came to
the front of the stage. One of them brazenly asked if they could have
drumsticks. Actually it was a very brave thing to do. they had just seen the
Cord Grabber get whipped with a mike cord. They must have known they were ri
sking the same treatment. Of course by that time the cord was in a neat
At first I just ignored them without even looking up. Again, another of
the boys made an appeal, "Please, Just one?"
"I suggest you get out of here before you get what the last one got." Of
course they knew very well what that was.
"We found a Wallet on the floor", one of them said as he held the wallet
up. There is nothing like a distraction to fend off trouble.
"Let me see." I took it and looked at it. It had one or two dollars in
it and a student ID card, driver's license and some papers. Not a lot of
value but inconvenience with the lost license. "OK, we'll give it to the
office. they can get it later". No announcement could be made since the PA
was now nearly all dismantled.
Again, an appeal was made for drumsticks. I had to bend over to pick up
another cord and that is probably what turned the situation for these boys.
"OK, One stick each. You see this equipment?", they all nodded. "You see
that truck?" They nodded again as they scanned the amps and equipment boxes,
"you get that packed and into the truck and you get the sticks."
The three boys jumped up and stage and, under the watchful eye of Tony
and I, packed the amps into the travel cases, put the drums away and in
general, got things done in fine shape. The equipment was packed into the
truck, ready to go to the next performance in New Jersey. The door of the
truck was closed and locked. Then I stood up and look at the three boys
standing in an expectant row looking back.
"Where are our sticks?"
That question burst like a bombshell. With all the pain and activity, I
had forgotten to take the sticks, which were kept for just this purpose,
from the drum case. I had to think fast - anything to avoid unpacking the
equipment to get to the trap case, buried under some other boxes. "I'll tell
you what. How about Pot Luck?"
"What is Pot Luck?"
"It is what I want to give you."
There was a moment of silence as they looked at each other. One of the
boys was firm, "I want the Drum stick."
The other two were more trusting, to their good fortune. We'll take pot
luck one of them said.
"OK." The lock was opened, the door raised and several boxes came out to
get to the trap case. I took out one stick and handed it to the boy who
wanted it. Everything was put back and once again, the door was secured.
"What do we get?"
"You get to go on the Doors Tour."
Those words fell like lightening. The two boys, both very close friends,
looked at each other and did something of a little dance, smiling and
laughing. It was not a really great display of surprise or emotion. One
might say, under the circumstances, it was somewhat restrained. Of course
the third boy knew he had made a mistake.
"I don't want the stick." he loudly exclaimed. The other two knew their
friend was in trouble. The sounds of excitement stopped. They all turned to
look at me, awaiting the decision. But the decision was already made by the
"You made your choice. You had the chance to take what I would offer and
trust it would be good. You took the stick and that is your reward just as
That was a lesson for them all. When you make a deal you make a deal,
there is no going back. The two friends were a little sorry for their
friend. But he had made his choice. They won and he lost.
They asked what was to happen. I told them that if their parent said it was
OK, they could go with Tony and I on the trip for the next two shows. We
would bring them back to New York and give them money for Bus tickets back
home. They could hardly believe what had happened to them. The began to
believe in Fairies that day. Maybe even Santa Claus.
Their friend left very sad indeed. The stage was checked to make sure
there was nothing left out. Tony took the wallet to the guard. They piled
into the truck and took off.
The first stop was to the boy's house. It was necessary for them to get
permission to go. Of course there was a chance the parents would not allow
them to go running of with strangers from a group notorious for drug use.
they directed us to one of the houses. These boys had been friends for
years, often having sleep-overs and even sharing vacations with each others
families. It was assumed that permission from one would be permission from
all. Once of the Boys names was Randy. It is a shame and with sadness that I
cannot remember the other.
We came to Randy's house. He jumped from the truck and ran up the walk
and dashed through the open front door. It was only a matter of three or
four minutes that he came running out and hopped back into the truck.
"It is OK with your Parents for you to go?"
"Yes - they said OK."
Now if we had though about it, it would seem unlikely that a young
fellow, only about 16 at that time, would come running in the house, tell
his parents he was off with two strangers to go on a tour with a rock band
and have thing settled so quickly without the parents even seeing the people
who just might lead their precious children down the path of drugs, sex and
violence. But, it was 1968 and at time it was still safe for kids to
hitch-hike and the general attitude was Peace-Love-Dope. I am not sure of
the priorities, but that was the slogan of that time. In any case, without
further thought, we left on the great adventure. We did not know what lay
We were supposed to be booked into a hotel in Baltimore. But, as usual,
Bill had provided little more than a name and phone number without address,
reservation numbers or other information. On the way into the city we passed
a Greyhound bus terminal. Randy went inside to ask where the Hotel was. He
shortly came running out and said the security guard had thrown him out
without having a chance to find out where the hotel was. I decided to go in
myself, being older, it was unlikely that I would have trouble. Little did I
I walked up to the ticket counter and asked a lady there were the hotel
might be. She said that she did not know. I thanked her and backed away from
the counter right into the face of two black security guards. They told me
to get out. I told them I just wanted to get directions to the Hotel.
Again, I was told to get out. Instead of doing the logical thing, I turned
and stepped into a phone booth and called the hotel to get the location.
This I did get. I also told them to inform Bill Siddons who I was and that I
was going to be arrested. He better get me some help. I told them it was
urgent and if they could not reach Siddons to tell either Robbie Kreiger or
Ray Manzareck but to it fast. I told them where I was.
Outside the younger of these to blacks had barricaded the door so I
could not get out until he wanted me to. Of course he could hear me telling
the Hotel I was to be arrested. Sure enough, when I hung up and stepped out,
he grabbed me and held me until the Baltimore police arrived. As I went out
the door, I called to the guys in the truck and told them I was arrested and
going to a station. One of the cops told them were it was. Tony came apart.
He got so nervous he could not drive. Randy took over and this kid, only 16
and without a license, drove the truck to the police station where they
waited for me in the lobby. It took an hour or so but I bailed myself out
for "Disturbing the Peace" and we finally got to the hotel.
We got only a few hours of sleep but that was a help. In the morning I
had to appear in court. The black who started this process told the judge
that I had asked the lady at the counter where the hotel was. When she said
she did not know I yelled "Fuck You" at her. He observed the whole thing and
then arrested me. The judge fell for it and asked me my side of the story. I
told him that I had asked the lady where the hotel was. When she said she
did not know I went to the phone booth to call. The hotel should have a
record of the call to prove it. I did not yell at anyone, and this guard had
arrested me for not leaving before I made the call in a public phone in a
public bus terminal. I was guilty and fined $50.00. I paid it, Appealed the
decision, and we went on to bigger things.
It is of note that later, back in Los Angeles, when the incident came
out, there was a meeting in the Office. The boys wanted to know what and how
this event had occurred. When I came to the hotel call, Bill laughed and
said ' I got the message but I knew you could take care of it so I didn't
bother." John was a little shocked - "What if he was in jail and we
couldn't get the equipment?" Bill was not so smart with an answer to that
one. He was roundly scolded by Both Robbie and Ray for being so careless and
possibly allowing a situation to occur which would have caused them to miss
a performance. I never did know whether they were more worried about me in
jail or not having the equipment. I didn't press the issue.
Well, we drove to the next show which was in a big theater in Asbury
Park on August 31. As we were moving in, someone was playing a big Wurlitzer
Theater Organ. Naturally, I stopped everything for that. When the music was
over, we got things moved in and set up. Randy and his friend pitched in and
helped move things around and even, with some coaching, connected the amps
to power and set up mike stands. With four of us, things went fast. As
usual, one of the guys ran out for food and brought back bags bulging with
burgers, cokes and fries. We had our pre-performance feast. Immediately
after we all slept right on the stage. There had been too much excitement
and too little sleep the night before.
I was rudely awakened by someone shouting, "Is there someone here from
the Doors?" it was a state trooper. I got up from the stage wondering what
could go wrong now. I went to the phone and answered. "Are you form the
Doors band?", a voice said.
"Yes, I am the Road Manager."
"This is Mr....... Do you have my son with you?"
"Yes", I was a bit surprised by this question. "Didn't he tell you he wa
s coming with us on the tour?"
"My wife and I were out of the house last night. He came in and told his
younger brother some fantastic story about going on a trip with the Doors.
We called his friends house when he didn't come home this morning. We didn't
believe it. Are they both with you?"
"Yes they are. They told me that they had asked you if they could go and
you had said yes. Otherwise they never could have come. We are playing a
performance here tonight and then we go to Saratoga Springs then back to New
York. We are leaving for England.".
"What will happen to them?"
:"We'll get them to New York and put them on a bus back home."
"Who will pay for that, I don't think they have money?"
"We'll take care of it."
"How about their food, where will they sleep?"
"We'll take care of them, no problem about that."
Then came the inevitable, "What about drugs? Are those kids going to be
"I assure you that no one on my staff uses drugs. If I so much as think
they have used drugs or they look at a can of beer, I will kick their ass
back to Columbia."
There was a long pause. What could he really do. I suppose we were in
danger of being arrested for kidnapping, but then, it was 1968 and these
boys, as it turned out, were a very adventurous pair. This was not the first
time they had taken an unauthorized vacation. "OK, As long as they behave
themselves and they aren't any bother they can stay. Thank you."
And that was that. It is a sad commentary to say that 40 years later
this could never had happened in such a casual manner. The parents would
have every agency in existence out looking for those kids, convinced that
they had been kidnapped for ransom by drug soaked terrorists. We would have
all been arrested and who knows how big the story would be. But it was 1968
and people trusted each other, Kids spent summers hitch-hiking across the
country, following the spirit of adventure or rock groups or whatever else
moved them to adventure. Grass was commonplace, Acid was the great adventure
and sex was free, easy and indiscriminate.
The second group came in and, as always, set up in front. One look at
their equipment and we decided once again to let them use our PA.
The show, fueled by excitement and Jim's moderate drinking, was another
success. There were no riots, no excitement. Just another good show. Again,
it might not have been one of the best but compared to the performances
after Amsterdam, it was magnificent.
It is interesting to note that these two kids, now allowed to be on
stage with the group, never once tried to talk to any of the guys, never
asked for an autograph or any souvenir. They had a place in those
performances that no money could buy, no one, without my permission, could
be on that stage. If they tried, and did not heed my soft spoken suggestion
that they leave, they very soon wished that they had taken the hint the
first time. When it was all over, the crowds still loud with excitement and
the experience went out peacefully. As the hall emptied and the main lights
went out, we worked on stage to pack the amps and equipment, each thing in
place, and make our way home. And where was that? Another motel and a
welcome night of sleep.
The next day came bright, warm and sunny. Full of anticipation, we
headed north. across the George Washington Bridge, which is an awesome
sight, and up the New York throughway to Saratoga Springs. This is Horse
Racing country with many farms where horses were bred, raised and trained.
Seeing the farms, with the green paddocks enclosed by the three-rail wood
fences, the barns and the horses, recalled the history and memories of my
own home, Hobby Horse Farm. Here, in 1939, My parents had come to the rural
area of Andover, Massachusetts and purchased 69 acres of land in the middle
of which stood a farmhouse built in 1809 by the Flint family, Son-in-law of
one of the Osgood Family, for whom Osgood Street was named, and who had been
a signer of the Declaration of Independence. They purpose of this grand
place was to raise horses, thus the name Hobby Horse Farm. It was famous,
even being written up in the various news papers that dealt with the racing
community. But these sights were not the only things of memory. I was to
take a step back in Family History that day.
We arrived at the Holiday near the Venue. When I checked in the elderly
man at the counter looked at the name and looked at me. "Are you any
relation of Vincent Treanor, the reporter for the New York Sun?", he asked
I was really surprised at this question from a total stranger, "Yes, I
am his Grandson."
"I knew your Grandfather."
We put our things in the rooms. We then went to the venue and got set
up. We had our usual junk food dinners. The two kids made things more
lively. For them this was a great adventure. Not that they were
irresponsible or running around. They stayed on stage with us and worked
hard to get everything ready. It was just their youth and the incredible
situation they found themselves in. We learned that they often went on
adventures, sometimes without telling their parents who had gotten somewhat
used to their wild spirits. They were quite a pair.
We went through another good show. It was uneventful as far as any real
excitement goes. But it was, as usual in that time, excitement in and of
itself. We finished up and with the boys, now more sure of what they were
doing, put everything away, ready to go, in record time. We had to be
careful with this packing because the next day we were to leave for England.
Every box for each amplifier and all the equipment we carried had to be
labeled, numbered and have the weight stenciled on it. All of this had been
done in Los Angeles before we left. But there was also a requirement that
every item in each box be listed on a document called a Carnet. we had to be
sure that everything was in the right place.
We finished, packed the truck and drove back to the Motel. When everyone
was settled into the rooms I went back to the desk and talked to that man.
Even after he got through his work we went to the restaurant and, over a
sandwich or two, had a long talk about my Grandfather, race tracks, boxing
and all the life and times of the early part of the 20th century. It was
like opening a door on the past. My father was not an open person. and even
today, I know very little about my family history.
The next day was Monday, Labor day. We headed out early for New York
City and LaGuardia Airport from which we were to depart. All went well until
suddenly we hit a lot of traffic piling up. It was a traffic jamb that
lasted for more that 50 miles. It took us nearly six hours to get into the
city. We dropped the boys off at the Greyhound terminal, gave them some
money for tickets to return home and headed for the airport.
Even at that time I was crazy with worry. Because of the traffic jamb we
were late. By the time I got to the airport it was nearly 30 minutes after
the scheduled departure time. I was sure that the plane had left and I was
stranded in New York with all the equipment. I had no idea of what to do. I
had all the equipment, my passport (New for this trip) and my ticket. Tony
and I pulled up to the terminal and unloaded. I paid the cappies a bonus to
get things on the plane without all the excess baggage charges and went in.
We were flying Air India so I went to the desk to find out what could be
done. As I approached, I saw the sign DELAYED.
Boy, I can tell you never was I so happy at a delayed flight. Sure
enough, when I went into the lounge, Bill, Ray, Robbie, Jim were all there
waiting. They had also been in the traffic jamb. In fact, they had left
later than we did and were behind us on the highway. However, they had the
luxury of turning back and hiring a helicopter to get them into the city
right to the airport. We waited for 3 more hours before the plane finally
took off. All I could do was thank Air India for being so inefficient.
Randy and his friend got home safely. Their parents were justifiably
upset. They were grounded for a week or so but with indomnable spirits like
that, it could not last long. You can image the stories they could tell
their friends when they went back to school the following week. They must
have been celebrities. I was my first meeting with those two boys. For many
tours after that, they were on the stage with me whenever we went East.
And there it is. This is a good place to end this story
I have a book with all the names in it - it is, of course, in LA. I would
really like to hear from them rather than these Wanna-Be guys coming out of
the wood work.
How I hated groupies. Soulless, empty, blood-sucking people who had no self
respect, no ambition, nothing but drugs and sex and how many times they had
slept with whom.