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Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together [Paperback]

Frank J. Lisciandro
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jan 2014
Jim Morrison… We know the stories, but does anyone know the real man? If you don’t know where the truth ends and the fiction begins, you’re not alone. Lies, myths, rumors and tall tales spread by people who didn’t know him have masked Jim Morrison and clouded what he accomplished.

Fearing that the original, actual real Jim would become hopelessly lost, Frank Lisciandro, Jim’s friend and film collaborator, gathered together more than a dozen of Morrison’s friends for a series of conversations and interviews. In the transcripts of these talks Jim Morrison is candidly brought to light by the people who knew him, who were his pals, colleagues, mentors and lovers. Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together confronts and sweeps away the fantasy to illuminate an extraordinary man and gifted creative artist.

A quote from the book:
"To call him a rock star is just a total insult to him and his intelligence and his awareness and this philosophy that was inside of him. His life was a philosophy. He didn’t tell people what they have to do, he just did it himself. He just put it all out there."– Ron Alan

The conversations covered a multitude of topics and events. The people who share their stories were themselves active participants in the West Coast music scene: musicians, concert promoters, publicists and band managers. Readers will discover funny stories, secrets revealed and truths more astounding than the fabrications published during and after Morrison’s life.

Another quote from the book:
“I loved Jim when he would get an idea, he'd say, ‘Uh oh, I think I'm getting a cerebral erection’. And then he'd hold his hands to his head because he had a new idea for a poem or song and then laugh about it. It was the laughter that followed that was wonderful.”– Leon Barnard

From his first year in high school and his student days at UCLA to the formation of The Doors and his rise to fame, this book weaves an amazing tapestry of honest information about Morrison the poet, the brilliant lyricist, and the iconic singer and performer of The Doors. The book is a treat for Jim’s fans worldwide and for curious readers who want to know the true Jim Morrison story. The conversations also offer a unique oral history of the restless and turbulent Sixties when L.A.’s Sunset Strip was the focus of a cultural renaissance and musical revolution.

The book contains more than 50 original Frank Lisciandro photographs, many never published before.

More quotes from the book:
"Jim was totally not interested in the economic aspect of his career. I never met anybody like Jim. He was seemingly disconnected with the meaning of money. He truly had no interest in physical possessions." – Bill Siddons

“The biographers seem to have lost Jim’s sense of humor. I can’t impress upon you enough that it was always there….He was the funniest human being I ever met. Simply that, the funniest human being I ever met.” – Fud Ford

"A few weeks before he left for Paris, I organized a (touch) football game. Jim was relentless in his pursuit of my brother, who was the opposing quarterback. Jim would go diving after him and hit the ground, and get up and chase him again. I remember him going, ‘Boy, that guy’s really squirmy, isn’t he?’ I remember Jim’s enthusiasm that day. He just didn’t quit.” .” – Rich Linnell

"Sometimes when I was typing his poems, I’d come across a word and I’d ask him, 'What does this mean?’ And he would give me the history of the word. What was the antecedents of that word, epistemology. So I would have an idea what that word meant in time and space. He had that kind of knowledge.” – Kathy Lisciandro


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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Vision Words & Wonder LLC; 1 edition (16 Jan 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0991252527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991252527
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 18 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Frank Lisciandro is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. He attended the UCLA Film School with Jim Morrison and Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and later collaborated with Morrison on his two films—Feast of Friends and HWY. A close friend and confidante of Jim, he was the co-producer of the Grammy-nominated album, An American Prayer, which featured Morrison’s spoken word poetry with musical backing by the three surviving Doors. In 1982, he released his first photo book, An Hour for Magic, which featured more than 100 photos and personal anecdotes about his work, travels and friendship with Morrison. In the late Eighties, on behalf of the Morrison Estate, Lisciandro went through the vaults containing Morrison’s personal writings and co-edited two volumes of previously unreleased Morrison poetry for Villard Books: Wilderness (1989) and The American Night (1990). Lisciandro has made more than 25 documentary films and shown his photographs in the USA, Canada, England, France and Italy.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not out this down! 26 May 2014
By njc
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a life long doors fan and can say that this the best Morrison book I have ever read! I couldnt put it down and especially loved the sections by Eva Gardonyi and Babe Hill. Lots of references to Pamela aswell which I have not read before, even after reading Angels Dance and Angels Die. A great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable 22 May 2014
By alan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many moons back I bought Frank's other books 'An Hour for Magic' and 'Feast of Friends' and both were a refreshing take on the Morrison tale. This seems to be an amalgam of those two books with additional material. The story is presented through a series of interviews, very relaxed feel of two friends at any given time recalling their own friend. It's a welcome and refreshing approach to the conventional biography format, a format in desperate need of new ideas.

I really enjoyed this book. Instead of peeking through the keyhole of an artists life, as is the case in many music bio's, this one invites you into the conversations held in this book. It's a welcoming and informative read, maybe even best explains the what this Morrison fella was actually like.

As Morrison books go- this is well worth your money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Jim Morrison read that there is!!!! 3 Aug 2014
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Very moving. As a fan of the Doors, simply the best book that I have ever read about Jim Morrison. Full of personal memoirs and anecdotes from those that really knew him , it's a three dimensional book; awarding a detailed, realistic account of this talented but hugely complex character. Easily readable, divided into individual memoirs. You can start anywhere with this book; the beginning, middle or end. A treasure for fans, I thoroughly recommend it!!!
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Essential 25 Jan 2014
By Jym Cherry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The perennial question for those who knew Jim Morrison is “what was he like?” Jim’s friends along with The Doors have spent a lifetime answering that question and in “Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together” Frank Lisciandro succeeds magnificently in answering that question and presenting the many facets of Jim Morrison.

In the spring and summer of 1990 Lisciandro, a film school friend of Jim Morrison and Ray Manazarek as well as editor for The Doors documentary “Feast of Friends” and collaborator on Morrison’s film “HWY,” endeavored to talk with and interview on the record Jim Morrison’s friends. These are the interviews that comprise “Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together.”

The interviews in “Friends Gathered Together” were also the raw material for Lisciandro’s 1991 book on Morrison “Feast of Friends.” The question has come up how “Friends Gathered Together” differs from Lisciandro’s ‘91 book? The answer is, “Feast of Friends” is only 178 pages while “Friends Gathered Together” is 376 pages. The interviews in “Friends Gathered Together” are the full, unabridged, unexpurgated (slightly edited, by journalist Steven Wheeler) interviews conducted by Lisciandro in 1991.

Many books mention the different aspects of Jim Morrison, but “Friends Gathered Together,” through the differing viewpoints of the interviewees the reader is able to see the habits, temperament, and eccentricities of Jim Morrison. If you want some insight into Morrison’s personality read the interviews with Phil O’Leno and Rich Linnell, if you want to know what the Sunset Strip scene was like in the 60’s read Ron Alan’s interview, if you’re looking for Jim Morrison, the poet, read Michael McClure’s, what was Pam Courson like on coming back from Paris after Morrison’s death read the interview with Cheri Siddons, what was Jim like as a lover, read the interview with Eva Gardonyi. That’s not to say the interviews aren’t multidimensional, you will find elements of all in every interview, and it is through the commonalties in their reports the reader can bring the picture of Jim Morrison into closer focus.

“Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together” is a great reference book for any Doors/Jim Morrison fan. The look into Jim Morrison‘s personality and life is unparalleled. The interviews are annotated with dates of events that the interviewees’ memories are weak on. I’m sure “Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together” is a book that will be kept close by and referenced regularly.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...the best book about Jim Morrison 26 Jan 2014
By jlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of conversations that Frank Liciandro had with friends and colleagues of Jim Morrison.

These accounts illustrate who this man was -- warts and all. One topic discussed time and time again is his amazing sense of humor -- something that is probably not associated with Jim Morrison. These stories describe a man who is the polar opposite of the lunatic portrayed in the Oliver Stone movie. This book is a must read for someone who wants to try to understand this amazingly talented person and have an insight into what made him tick; from people who were there and who were witness to both Jim Morrison's history and the history of the 60s and early 70s.

It is the best book I've read about Jim Morrison because it contains the words of people who do not have anything to gain by clouding what happened with sensational stories. The conversations feel like those between friends, fondly reminiscing about the past. Every one of these conversations is interesting to read.

Finally, a REAL glimpse into who this talented poet, artist and singer was.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Morrison up front and personal 1 April 2014
By Beth Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i liked that by the end of the book I felt I had hung around with Jim for a little while. Doesn't get much better than that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Veritable Smorgasboard of the Real Jim Morrison, An Irresistible Treat Of Intimacy for Any Jim Morrison Fan! 30 April 2014
By LA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a long awaited gem of a book, which pretty much shatters many of the persistent myths, rumors and speculation about the man, from the reality of the man. I came away with a new understanding, high respect, and yet more poignant view of Jim as a brilliant artist (poet) and unique and highly authentic, if somewhat haunted, person. Haunted, I should say, by the difficulty of escaping the expectations of celebrity, when one has outgrown the image that created the myth. The insights that his friends and colleagues present (minus the the thee other Doors, a very wise omission in my opinion) felt real. It was like sitting down with friends and chatting. It felt almost like sitting down and chatting with Jim. I like Jim. After this, I like him even more. This book gave him his humanity and allowed me a glimpse into Jim's authenticity that I had only glimpsed before. I came away wanting to know even more, which certainly cannot be said about many celebrities, once their more intimate lives are at least partially revealed.

The lost poems:
A big surprise to me was the revelation of what's now a lost portmanteau of Jim's final works of poetry. I certainly wish that the lost portmanteau could be located. It apparently contained perhaps 100 to 130 pages of Jim's poetry, arriving back from Paris with Pamela Courson after Jim's passing. Pam delivered it to Michael McClure (a friend and colleague of Jim's, himself a known writer and member of the Beat Generation), for editing purposes. Unfortunately, after holding it for some six weeks, McClure, busy with is own work, turned it back over to Pam, telling her that he felt Jim would have wanted her to be his editor. He also warned her to safeguard the work, and put away in a vault, lest it disappear from her home in the hands of some of the transient people who tended to wander in and out of her place. Unfortunately, that seems to be what happened. It disappeared.

According to McClure, there were often several versions of each poem. The descriptions of these poems as being the work of a mature poet, and one of the best poets of his generation, left me longing, really longing, and feeling a bit cheated in my inability to enjoy the privilege enjoyed by McClure when he popped open the portmanteau, spread the contents neatly across the floor of his apartment, contemplated and then read the neat stacks. I long to see what McClure saw. McClure stated, "It's almost mainstream and it's good poetry, real fine poetry, and it's as good as anybody in his generation was writing." When asked by Frank Lisciandro, "Do you still hold the opinion that Jim was one of the finest poets of his generation?" McClure responded, "Oh absolutely. And there are a lot of good poets, from Annie Waldrom to Tom Clark. I'm not lamenting, I'm not saying Jim's the best, I'm just saying that there aren't any better ones, because there are a number of good poets around, I'm not the one to decide that, but I'll tell ya, there aren't any better.", a review that knocked me sideways in its obvious esteem for Jim's work. Michael had collaborated with Jim on several works, and described Jim as having, "..a lyric gift..", but described these latest poems as, "...intellectually matured poems", extremely high praise for a young man who achieved only 27 years. It whetted my appetite to dive into these last poems for myself.

And I must acknowledge a certain sadness in knowing more about Jim, that it left me wanting more now than ever to have seen how he would have further matured as an artist, and saddest of all, what might have been...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The man, not the rock star 20 April 2014
By Jim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any fan of Jim Morrison should read this book. You will get far more than a glimpse of Jim Morrison, the human being, based on talks with the people who knew him best. The one thing about him that was repeated most often was his sense of humor, and I think so much of that has been missed in pretty much every other book written about him and his life. The rock star stuff, while still very interesting and oftentimes humorous, was not what he was all about. The fact that that aspect of his life so often overtakes the spotlight is sad, because after reading this book, he seemed to be, from all accounts, just a highly intelligent, normal guy who loved to laugh, especially at himself. Hats off to Frank Lisciandro for putting together such an incredible book! It will give any fan of Jim Morrison a whole new perspective of the real person he was.
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