In her time, Grace Slick has written masterpieces that approach encapsulating the meaning of life, blacked-up and spoken about her experiences as a person of colour, and found herself in armed stand-offs with the police. Nevertheless, along this wild ride she has only amassed two regrets in life: “The things I wish I did do that I did not do, were screw Jimi Hendrix and ride a horse.”
Fortunately, she didn’t have the same experience with Jim Morrison, successfully managing to screw the apparently horse-hung frontman in her time, but it still proved to be an encounter touched with at least a tinge of regret for the Jefferson Airplane star. At the height of the counterculture trip, Slick and The Doors frontman happened to be the King and Queen of the west coast and all the acid and mind expansion under their acidic dominion.
However, it was ironically in Europe during respective tours in 1968n when their paths crossed in a notable way. They duetted together during Airplane’s set, embraced on stage after the impromptu singalong, and then did a little more than embrace in a hotel thereafter. Sadly, the bastard frontman never called her back thereafter. “Jim was a well-built boy,” Slick candidly recalled in a Louder Sound interview. “Large than average. When I left, I said, ‘Call me if you want.’ And he never did. So apparently, I’m a terrible lay.”
Nevertheless, she was able to comfort herself with the knowledge that Morrison was such a flaky character that he would’ve forgotten the bank code to unlock world peace let alone her phone number. As she said of some of her other encounters with the hashish-laden Lothario: “I remember coming back from an Airplane gig in 1967 and going to the Tropicana Motel with Kantner, and Morrison was in the hallway, goofy on acid, stark naked and barking like a dog. Paul just stepped over him and went into his room.”
That whacked-out state far from diminished the lure of messianic rocker, after all, this was the 1960s, and Morrison was far from alone in finding himself nude in funny places. “I liked Jim,” Slick said. “Most women did. He was gorgeous, but he was so screwy – half the time you couldn’t talk to him. He used himself as a human guinea pig, see how far you can push the human brain.”
It was just people interested in love drawn in by his strange magnetism either. As Life journalist Fred Powledge wrote upon first seeing Morrison on stage in 1968: “Once you see him perform, you realise that he also seems dangerous, which, for a poet, may be a contradiction in terms.” Powledge, by all accounts, was not your typical Doors fan, his role in journalism at the time was covering the civil rights movement, however, Morrison seemingly captivated him as a sort of unfathomable rock ‘n’ roll Christ at the precipice of counterculture and pulled him away from the front pages to a rather more Far Out realm of thinking.
“Morrison is a very good actor and a very good poet, one who speaks in short, beautiful bursts, like the Roman Catullus,” Powledge wrote. “His lyrics often seem obscure, but their obscurity, instead of making you hurry off to play a Pete Seeger record that you can understand, challenges you to try to interpret. You sense that Morrison is writing about weird scenes he’s been privy to, about which he would rather not be too explicit.”
In this regard, Morrison and Slick seem like the ultimate what could have been couple of the counterculture movement. Perhaps they were simply a duo too wild for this stilted world to allow. Their symbiotic influence lives on all the same, conjuring up the words of Hunter S. Thompson: “Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”