Come on! Let’s get some tacos!
With this line, Val Kilmer’s slithery performance in Oliver Stone's The Doors comes to a close. No doubt that Jim Morrison was one of rock’s most intriguing front men, yet by the end of his short life, he was a tubby, poor man’s Burroughs with a penchant for whiskey, women and Mexican food.
The Doors were the antithesis of the 1960s preoccupation with love and good vibes. Although based in sunny California, Jimbo and the boys dealt in the dark, macabre and hypnotic—unconventional themes for the time.
The surviving Doors never turn down an opportunity to wax nostalgic about their long dead singer, presenting him as everything from a 20th-Century shaman to a resurrection of Dionysus. Morrison was certainly aware of how his image shaped the band. His canny and often cryptic use of media created a lasting icon. Morrsion’s peackocking visage has leered from dorm room walls for generations, and continues to serve as a visual touchstone for the sexy, rebellious side of rock.
Ride the snake, kids. Ride the snake.
And here we are, 39 years since Morrison’s bloated body was found in a Paris bathtub. People around the world still celebrate the life of a man who claimed that the souls of Native American auto fatalities leapt into his body when he was a child. Well, Morrison’s own soul has apparently leapt into another vessel: a taco shop on West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard called Mexico Restaurante y Barra. Specifically, their bathroom.
Forty years ago this building was actually Doors HQ. Artists, musicians and sundry ’60s hangers-on would lounge around the future enchilada sling-shop to experience the times and create art. Call it Warhol Factory West.
What now is a bathroom was once Morrison’s vocal booth. Here, he recorded the vocal track for numerous songs, including my personal favorite, “LA Woman.” The restaurant pays tribute to the The Doors by augmenting the Mexican décor with band photos, gold records and other memorabilia.
Owners of the eatery, self-proclaimed Doors fans, feel the presence of Morrison in the bathroom. Light bulbs pop, the building makes moaning sounds and voices can be heard within the stalls.
Haunted or not, Mexico Restaurante y Barra is worth a visit if you find yourself in the neighborhood. A true piece of rock real estate, the walls have absorbed more than just the aroma of nachos, they’ve reverberated with the sounds of one of America’s legendary bands.
So go ahead and have a burrito. And if it happens to “Break on Through to the Other Side,” take a seat in the bathroom. Maybe the Lizard King will help you light that fire.