“I started surfing at fourteen. There was lots of classical music in my house. My father liked march music. There was a piano at home. I studied trumpet at ten, but nothing came of it. Then I started playing blues on the piano?no lessons though. When I was seventeen, I started playing guitar. I used my friend’s guitar. I didn’t get my own until I was eighteen. It was a Mexican flamenco guitar. I took flamenco lessons for a few months. I switched around from folk to flamenco to blues to rock ‘n’ roll.
“Records got me into the blues. Some of the newer rock ‘n’ roll, such as the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. If it hadn’t been for Butterfield going electric, I probably wouldn’t have gone rock ‘n’ roll.
I didn’t plan on rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to learn jazz; I got to know some people doing rock ‘n’ roll with jazz, and I thought I could make money playing music. In rock ‘n’ roll you can realize anything that you can in jazz or anything. There’s no limitation other than the beat. You have more freedom than you do in anything except jazz – which is dying – as far as making any money is concerned.
“In The Doors we have both musicians and poets, and both know of each other’s art, so we can effect a synthesis. In the case of Tim Buckley or Dylan you have one man’s ideas. Most groups today aren’t groups. In a true group all the members create the arrangements among themselves.”