Gary James' Interview With The Author Of
Jim Morrison Is Absolutely Alive
Richard Rossberg has written a book titled Jim Morrison Is Absolutely Alive (Old Butte Publishing). Rather than say anything else, we'll let Richard explain.
Q - Richard, I should say right up front I haven't read your book, but I know enough about the subject matter to conduct an intelligent interview. I guess we'll start with the obvious question. Is Jim Morrison alive?
A - Well God, Gary, this is hard for me to answer you because the book is fiction of course. But it goes from the premise that I meet Jim Morrison in a small Montana town. I do not know who he is. I get it all the time. I think I write it well where a lot of people believe it's true, okay? I've got to put it that way to you so you know what to say in your writing, but it is a fictional book.
Q - How did you come up with the idea for the book?
A - Well, I'm a major Doors nut from thirty years ago and of course we all know the rumor that he faked his death. We all know he like little road house type bars and places like that, just like with the Morrison Hotel. There was a little bar, maybe ten miles out of our city that's on the way to a little bit bigger town that I bank in and it had an upstairs apartment in it and that's where I got the idea.
Q - Before writing the book, did you do any research into this subject matter?
A - Other than just knowing most anything you'd want to ask me about the band, no, not really. I attempted to write probably three or four books, gotten in the middle of 'em, thought they were lousy. I couldn't finish 'em basically and I wanted to prove to myself I could write one. When I came up with the idea of finding Jim as a person and not knowing it was him 'cause he'd be sixty some years old and didn't look anything like himself, just a loner, and I write poetry so I weaved poetry through the book too.
Q - This book was published by who, in what year?
A - It was published by a company called Old Butte Publishing, a guy named Mike Byrnes. First print was 2009.
Q - So, it's been out there awhile.
A - It has.
Q - Have you heard from anyone in the Morrison family about your book? I realize Jim's parents are dead.
A - No. The book did get sent to the remaining members of the band. I've never been contacted so I don't know if they actually got it in their hands or not. But I sent it to their headquarters, talked to the gal in their office. At the time Ray (Manzarek) was alive, all three of the guys got books as far as I know. I've never been contacted by anybody close to the band.
Q - That's too bad.
A - Yeah, I know. Trust me, it took me two or three years to settle down and decide maybe it's not going anywhere, to be honest with you. But, that's the way it goes.
Q - I don't suppose anyone called saying "This is Jim."?
A - No, I can't say they did. That'd be a trip, wouldn't it? (laughs)
Q - Not knowing how old of a guy you are, did you ever see The Doors in concert?
A - I'm 58, so it was just a touch before my time. My older brother was into it big time.
Q - Did he ever see The Doors in concert?
A - He didn't, but there were a lot of Doors albums around the house when I was a little kid.
Q - Have you seen any Doors tribute groups?
A - Yes, I have. I have done that. In fact, there's a story in the book about a tribute band.
Q - Let me guess, Jim Morrison is fronting the band?
A - The real Jim Morrison interrupts the band and causes commotion in the bar.
Q - It sounds like something he would do.
A - Exactly. (laughs)
Q - Did you promote the book?
A - It was promoted fairly hard in Montana. We sent it to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and we sent it to Rolling Stone. This guy isn't a big publisher. He's done mostly local style books, Montana type books. He's done well. It didn't get promoted probably as hard as it should have. He printed 20,000 or something. We probably didn't sell more than a few thousand books.
Q - You run a motorcycle shop?
A - Correct.
Q - And still you were able to find the time to sit down and write a book?
A - Yeah. It took me a couple of years. How I met the publisher is he actually came into my bike shop looking for parts. He wrote me a check. The check said he was a publisher. I mentioned to him I was writing a book. Of course I'm sure everybody does that. He said, "I'd like to read it." I'm like, "I'm not even done with it." But he talked me into it. He said, "You better finish it because I'm gonna publish it."
Q - Because he liked the subject matter?
A - He did, but he thought it would sell.
Q - Richard, there are some people who say that Jim Morrison did in fact fake his death and he's very much alive. Maybe you want to write another book.
A - (laughs) I am writing something right now, but it's been in the works for a couple of years, but it's not the same subject matter. You never know I suppose. I don't truly believe that he's alive, but you never know. There's a guy, if anybody could pull it off, it would be him.