Shells Interviews Jim Cherry-The Doors Examined

Why the Doors?

A few reasons actually. There’s always been a mystique surrounding The Doors they were a bit out of time in the peace and love flower power of the 60’s but even after 40 plus years of not being an active band that mystique still surrounds them, maybe even more so, as we move away from them in time and the 60’s become more of a golden age that exists as a modern mythology of gods and heroes.

The Doors are one of the few bands whose recordings don’t sound dated. A lot of 60’s bands sound exactly like what you would expect self-consciously psychedelic and using a lot of hooks and gimmicky things that instantly date the material. The Doors sound like they could’ve been recorded recently in a modern studio.

Lastly, The Doors aren’t nostalgia their influence still reaches out to us today in many different ways. The most obvious is that they continue to influence up and coming musicians and genre’s you can make the case for The Doors being the first punk rock band, the first gothic band (as a matter of fact it was in an article about The Doors that the term ‘gothic rock’ was first coined). But there are much subtler influences as well such as Matthew McConaughey’s recent Academy Award “alright, alright, alright, alright” speech, which he explained in an interview came about because of his listening to The Doors right before shooting his first scene, in his first movie.

 How did the idea for the Door's Examiner come about?

 I was unemployed a few years back and a woman I knew online, who knew I was a writer and a Doors fan told me about this online newspaper called The Examiner. They were looking for writers in all areas and she suggested I could write about The Doors. I didn’t have anything to lose, I thought they probably already had someone writing about The Doors but I could still send in a writing sample and if they liked it we could figure out what I could write about. They liked the sample article I wrote and to my surprise they didn't have anyone writing about The Doors, so I became The Doors Examiner starting in late August of 2009 and I’m closing in on writing the 1000th article as The Doors Examiner.

 The cover looks a bit reptilian. Where did the idea for the cover come from?

I stole it from Jim Morrison! The Doors third album was originally supposed to be titled “Celebration of the Lizard” and Morrison wanted the cover to be snake or lizard skin, so when the original idea for the book cover became unviable I remembered that Morrison wanted a snakeskin album cover so I thought that would really resonate with Doors fans, and that it would look really cool to the more casual fan.

The Doors Examined is a collection of The Door's Examiner articles. Where did the idea for the book come from?

 A long time ago I read Harlan Ellison’s “The Glass Teat” which was a compilation of articles he wrote about TV for the L.A. Free Press in the late 60’s and when The Doors Examiner opportunity came along I wrote the articles with an eye towards someday being able to compile them into a book. I thought that since I’m primarily a fiction writer I could add some flourishes that might not be there with a strictly journalistic approach, and I’ve tried to write articles that would be of interest to fans in years to come.

The shorter term answer is that I wrote a review for a book and the publisher liked it so much they contacted me and said “if you ever want to write a book let us know” so I told them my idea and surprisingly they said okay!

Inside this collection is so much trivia that most people would not know about. For instance, Did Jim Morrison Name Alice Cooper? That seems like a fascinating concept.
Can you tell the readers more about this?

 Vincent Furnier who became the character Alice Cooper, was in a band in L.A. right after The Doors hit it big, and Furnier, for various reasons was looking for a name for his band. He also hung out with Morrison and the other Doors. One of Jim Morrison’s interests was the occult, and when he was in high school had lived in Alexandria, Virginia and regularly visited the Library of Congress and read quite a few esoteric books. Reputedly, Alice Cooper was a 17th century which who was burned at the stake. Once you bring together all these factors it’s not hard to discern that a young Jim Morrison had run across the story in a book about witchcraft in his readings at the Library of Congress and when Furnier was looking for a band name it’s also not hard to imagine Morrison telling Furnier the story of Alice Cooper over a beer or ten. There are a few different versions of how the band Alice Cooper got its name and this isn’t one of them, but knowing a little of all the characters involved seems a likely scenario, and I present it as that, a little food for thought.

What was your most favorite article out of this book?

 It’s hard to say which is a favorite, but there are a couple articles that cover some little known people in The Doors world Linda Eastman and Tom Baker. Baker because he is known through a couple of incidents in Jim Morrison’s life but outside of that not much is known despite his writing an autobiography before he died. It was hard to write a profile on him because information is so scarce but I actually found an excerpt from his autobiography and I think the profile in “The Doors Examined” is one of the fullest you can find on him. Linda Eastman, who people better know as Linda McCartney, she had an affair with Morrison and although it’s known I had to pull together information from varied sources to get an account of the relationship.

 What do you hope readers will get out of reading this?

 I hope they find new perspectives on a band they think they know about. I have a lot of material on The Doors pre-history and unlike most books the articles don’t stop at Jim Morrison’s death but follow the other members and The Doors as a whole into the 21st century through reviews of current projects and their working with newer artists such as Skrillex and Techn9ne among others.

 Any future projects in the works?

 A couple I keep juggling. I’m finishing up a short story about an Indian shaman who brings the dead back to life to fight against the cavalry. I also have a screenplay titled “The Third Day” and an assistant producer at a movie company said it read like a novel so I’ve decided to turn it into a novel. It’s a pretty cool story about childhood friends who grow apart and in adulthood one discovers that he must kill the other so many others may live.

Where can readers get a copy of The Doors Examined?

 It’s available at Amazon physical and Kindle  Also on Barnes and Noble’s website as well as Nook Books, and I have a website at

Where can readers get in touch with you? or

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