**Road Manager for The Doors,
December 26 1967-January 19 1972**
MARCH 13 -SUGGESTION TO RAY - MANAGERS
At this point all the talk was about a new manager. Decisions had to be made quickly. Someone had to take charge and conduct the daily business. They had a booking agent at that time, Ashley Famous Artists. All the offers for performances came in through them. But someone had to co-ordinate publicity, rehearsals, recording dates, performance dates and all the other goings-on that a group has to deal with.
I knew two facts : : Bill was the prime candidate; though Bill Graham was making a very good case for his position as manager. Second, the choice was to be made very soon.
The Boys were to have a recording session in the TTG studios. Terry and I had brought all the equipment in and had it set up in preparation for the recording session that was scheduled for that night. Ray had come in before the other guys. He sat down at the organ and was going over some arrangement. I was alone with Ray, which is probably what gave me the courage to suggest such an audacious thing. While he was alone, I could talk to him and make my case for assuming the position as manager. He and I could discuss the situation in a more relaxed environment. He would then take my proposition to the three other guys.
I can tell you that I am shy. I know people find it hard to believe, especially when they see me in front of a crowd stopping a riot. But that is impersonal. This was face to face with Ray and I had only been with the group for about two months. My hands were sweating and my heart racing when I moved into the studio to speak to Ray.
I was not subtle. “Ray, How about considering me for the Managers Position?”
He stopped playing and turned to look at me. Ray is a tall guy and had shoulder length straight blond hair. He made about a quarter turn from the organ and looked at me sideways. ‘Well, what’s an interesting thought.”
“I know you have considered Bill. I think I can do a better job. I am older and have a lot of business experience. There is a lot of responsibility involved in running the organization and dealing with people.“
About that time, before anything further could be discussed, Jim walked in. Ray told him the proposition.
“Hey, Jim, Vince just suggested that we hire him as our manager.”
Jim was facing me, standing. He looked at me and, with his head tilted somewhat to his right said, “That’s an interesting thought. Maybe that’s a good idea. Let’s talk about it later.” From the time when Jim may have first proposed the change in management, to the time the final decision was made, at least one month had passed; more likely it was two. Jim had plenty of time to have second thoughts or, on the evening of my proposal, to have new thoughts.
At that point John and Robbie arrived. Ray turned to me and said, “Yeah, man, let’s talk about it.” They were followed by Paul Rothschild Paul Rothschild followed them.
I went into the Control room, where I usually stayed during the recording sessions. Terry was sitting there waiting for me. He knew of my plan. Paul came into the control room and told Bruce to pull all the input pots down and shut the studio monitors off. Bruce quickly acted to follow Paul’s request. Paul then told me that they were going to have a meeting and I should go out for an hour or so until they meeting was over.
It was a popular place for kids with cars. They would pull up to the restaurant and a girl in very skimpy shorts and bra cam out to take the organ order. When it was ready she came back and hung it on a special tray on the window. They also had an inside area with seating. Terry and I went in and sat down.
At some point, Bill Siddons arrived at the studio. We did not see him so were unaware of his presence at the meeting. I do not know how my proposal was debated by Ray and Jim Ray and Jim debated my proposal. I do know it was unexpected and caused concern. In the end, they followed their more favored choice and work out the conditions under which Bill would work for them as their Manager.
They were afraid that I would be offended or embarrassed by the decision to have Bill after I had made my bid for the Job job and I would quit. I know little more than the decision was made to give me a more formal standing and higher pay.
The one person who spoke strongly in my favor was Paul Rothschild. He reminded them of the efficiency with which I had worked to get their equipment in good order and that they had not had any trouble with their equipment in performance, rehearsals or in studio since I took over the job. He suggested that they should do what was necessary to prevent me from leaving. (Since my arrival they had never had equipment failure. ) While Bill was in charge, owing to his lack of experience, almost every performance had trouble of one kind or another. In the end they decided on the most basic approach first. They would offer to give me a sort of “ Promotion promotion” and a pay increase to make me feel better about the outcome.
I do not know what went on inside that room. I don’t suppose anyone who was there, and remains alive, can remember the details. No recordings were made of the conversations. Bill Siddons, Paul Rothschild, Ray, John, Robbie and Jim were the only participants. It is remotely possible, that Bruce Botnick was able to listen since he was in the Control Room alone. I was there when Paul told him to turn all the input pots down and the studio monitors off. Though I saw him sweep all the IN pots to the 0 level, that does not mean he did not listen when no one was there to see whether he had opened the board monitors or not. This is absolute speculation. I do not and would not accuse Bruce of spying. BUT - Bruce is human.... Enough said.
Robbie knew that several weeks earlier, Bill had tried to get rid of me. He impressed my value to the group on Bill by ordering him to perform his first official job. Bill was to tell me of my Promotion promotion. It was one job that Bill never expected to have to do. He did not like it at all.
MARCH 13 - NEWS OF PROMOTION
Terry and I were sitting in a booth I the Car-Hop restaurant that used to be on the South-East corner of Sunset and Highland Blvd. I had a Strawberry Sunday. At the Request request of Paul, we were waiting for the meeting to be done with before going in to watch and listen.
Suddenly, Bill Siddons arrived and was all smiley. He was carrying a brief case. He was a big executive now. He asked Terry to leave for a few minutes as he had some business to discuss with me. Terry, always polite, went outside. Bill then slid into the seat opposite me, where Terry had been sitting. He began to tell me about some important changes.
He would have to drop out of school to carry on with his duties. The Doors had agreed to get him one of the new breed of lawyers that had sprung up in that time - a Draft Lawyer. These guys specialized in the legal loopholes in the compulsory draft laws that enabled those who wanted to avoid going to Vietnam to Vietnam to escape the draft completely. So he had a new job and he would be safe from the dreaded jungles of Vietnam.
He said that his first job was to tell me that they had promoted me to the official position of Road Manager. I was to be in complete charge of the equipment as it related to the performances, rehearsals, appearances and recording work. I was also responsible for getting increased support from Ludwig and Gibson for promotional equipment for Robbie and John. Further , I was to take care of stage security, work directly with promoters and hall managers to provide dressing rooms, refreshments and security between the entry and the dressing room , and again between dressing room and stage. It was not necessary for me to worry about travel or accommodations. They had a travel agent for that.
In consideration of my Promotion - from a humble equipment manager to a glorified Equipment Manager (with an important title) I was to receive a substantial pay increase. I was to talk to Bob Greene about that the next day. In future I was to report to Bill and he would keep me informed of the schedules for the groups activities. This was Theory.
With that, he suggested that I finish my Sunday, pointing out that it was melting. He slid out of the Booth booth and stood up. He smiled and extended his hand, “Congratulations, Vince, let’s get to work.” And with that he walked out.
Terry had been keeping an eye on things. When Bill left, he came back in and resumed his seat. I told him what had transpired. He was excited and spoke of all the good times that would be had for the future.
We went into the studio to see what was going on. They had begun the recording session. Paul said it would be two or three more hours before they would be finished. I should just wait. He said nothing of the meeting or what had gone on.
Terry and I remained until they completed the recording that night. We had to pack up the equipment and put it in the Van van when the session was over. Other groups would use the studio before us the next day.
On the way out, Paul took me aside and conveyed his feelings. "You are the best I have ever met. They need you. No matter what happens don't leave them.” To say I was flattered would be a gross understatement.
Regardless of who or how, I received a promotion, increase in pay, and Bill's hatred from that meeting conducted in the TTG Studio in March of 1968. “After Billy was named “Manager”, as far as I was concerned, he was the Boss and I did all I could to support him even when he made what were, in my opinion, bad decisions. For his part Bill did everything possible to make my life difficult, even, on one occasion later that year, to nearly missing a performance in Phoenix in Phoenix.
My position was secured and I had the support of both Bob Greene and Paul Rothschild. I also knew that Robbie and John liked me and had complete confidence in my abilities to do the job. What more could I want? Certainly I did not need the constant migraine of how to deal with Jim. It was much easier to deal with rioting crowds. On occasion, I enjoyed kicked the little bastards in the face when they tried to climb onto the stage to steal.
One major factor that separated Bill from B&D was the power to make any independent decisions. He had to give the Doors the data and they said yes or no. He then carried out their orders. He was not independent of their control. Aside from Jim's Fear/dislike of Sal, there was the one really big factor in the dismissal of B&D - They told the Doors what to do. The group had no say in the conduct of their lives. Siddons was put on a tight leash and when he stepped over the line - which he did one time - he was fined cold cash.
But Bill did have authority to make some decisions. In time, a few of these proved an embarrassment to the Group group. Bill was immature, with a very large Ego ego at that point. He was the youngest manager of a major group in the world. Other people, far more qualified and experienced, had been pushed aside. He had gone from a very insignificant college student, worried about being drafted, to being able to sit with the biggest, best and most powerful managers of that time. Power corrupts. On more than one occasion he offended many people with his childish use of authority - Bill Graham was one of them and complained straight to the Doors about it.
Understand that . aside , aside from other powerful and controlling managers, they had little choice except Bill, (perhaps myself). They knew him, they trusted him with money and found him honest ( Stupid stupid but honest). And he knew the promoters and hall managers they needed to work with.
The Doors now had an organization to their liking. Bill was their puppet Manager; I was second in command as the Road Manager. The girl friend of a class mate classmate of Jim’s, Kathy, became our Secretary. She was more like a den mother to a bunch of Cub Scouts. I think, aside from Uncle Bill, Kathy had to be about the most considerate, kind and always helpful person in that organization.
Edited by Psychic Linda Lauren