Doors managers here tonight, tomorrow
Despite helping cement their role in music history, Bill Siddons may always face second-guessing over his management of the Doors, the late 1960s rock and blues band whose albums have sold over 50 million copies and counting.
Siddons, in Charlottesville today and tomorrow as part of a music business symposium, began working for the Doors while still a teenager but never quite managed to rein in the excesses of frontman Jim Morrison. Backers of the Jim's-still-alive conspiracy theory still wonder about Siddons' decision not to peek inside the casket when Morrison died in Paris at the age of 27.
"Yeah, I recognized when somebody pointed out, when I got back, that that was my professional responsibility," explains Siddons. "But I didn't go there professionally. I went to help Pam."
Pam was Pamela Courson, Morrison's girlfriend who took his surname and lived with Morrison as his wife. The public spectacle that greeted the drug-related deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin less than a year earlier provided a powerful example of how not to bury an artist when Morrison died in July, 1971.
"We buried Jim correctly," says Siddons, "and that perhaps was my greatest achievement: making sure we kept it quiet until it was done the right way. Nothing to hide, but we knew what was going to happen because we'd just been through it with Jimi and Janis."
Business-wise, Siddons is credited with helping revive the Doors' reputation in the late 1970s with the release of An American Prayer, a recorded mix of Morrison's music and poetry. While Charlottesville has a paucity of Doors connections, Siddons is one of three Doors managers invited by their old friend, UVA arts/business professor and former promoter George Sampson. They'll speak tonight at 6pm in a panel discussion at the Music Resource Center and again tomorrow at 2pm in UVA's Newcomb Hall.