The Doors Get an iPad App: A ‘Major, Major Project’

The Doors by Paul Ferrara
The Doors by Paul Ferrara

As he painstakingly went through music and photos for the new Doors app on the iPad, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman found the bit he was looking for on a tape reel marked “Excited Utterances.” The clip was frontman Jim Morrison shouting “you’re all a bunch of fucking idiots!” – something Doors archivists knew he had said during a 1969 Miami concert, where he allegedly exposed himself and was later arrested. Holzman and his colleagues used software to compare waveforms of the Morrison clip with other bits from the same show and put together a sonic document of “the Miami incident.”

To tell the story, Holzman asked his son, Adam, to write a graphic novel called “The Doors in Miami” and comic-book artist Dean Haspiel to illustrate it. The “fucking idiots!” clip arrives at the beginning – a new way of telling an old story. “When you touch the balloon over Jim’s head, you get this miracle,” says Holzman, 81, who signed the Doors in 1966 and spent 16 months working on the app, out May 8th. “It really pulls you right into it.”

The app, which costs $4.99 and includes hundreds of photos, cartoons, FBI documents and court transcripts, essays by Patti Smith and surviving Doors members, interviews and concert footage, is Holzman’s attempt to document a storied band in the post-CD age. “The idea I started out with was, ‘How can I tell the story as if it were a box set?’ – without the advantages and limitations of $50-and-up box sets,” he says. “The best thing about the box set was generally the box. The problem was, you could not tell a contiguous story. If you had something on a DVD, it did not relate temporally with what you had on CD or in text or photographs. I wanted to unite the entire experience.”

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