The Doors, April 1967


April 7, 1967
April 7, 1967

The Doors_ 1967

April 7, 1967 (Merced)

Love, The Doors, Eisage, InfinityNew!  8/29/11  I was able to locate copies of the Modesto flyer and I am working on getting quality scans of it.   show was headlined by Love,The Doors, Eisage from Modesto and Infinity from Turlock.  Held at the Modesto Skate Arena.  

Scheduled to go for 2 sets by each band the night was cut short by some kind of audience brawl.  I don’t think it involved Jim Morrison!  



  1. I was sixteen at the time. Myself and the rest of the members of the group were still in high school.
    The local promoter,Vincent Lavery (VJ productions) was our manager at the time.
    Two months prior to the gigs on the poster , we opened for the Doors in Modesto Ca at the Ice rink.
    They actually weren’t the headliners on that bill.
    Love was the featured act.
    The Doors of course stole the show. They blew everyone, including Love, right off the stage.It was interesting to see the looks on the 13 year old girls in the front row watching Jim hump the Microphone stand. They looked intrigued and horrified at the same time.
    On that gig the local music store provided all the amplification.
    They set up Vox Super Beatle Amps and vocal amplification.
    In that day that was the priciest stuff you could get.
    I recall during the last part of “The End”, Robby picked up the amp head and dropped it to the ground.
    The spring reverb in those amps would produce a thunderlike effect when you did that.
    The owner of the music store was at the front of the stage screaming/pleading for him to stop.
    Kind of funny.
    The Turlock gig is a bit fuzzy to me but I remember the Merced gig .
    In Merced, Morrison was pretty much as drunk as possible and the other 3 looked as though
    they smoked some very good stuff or were on Acid.
    The venue was the American Legion hall and it had, I believe, a baby grand onstage which belonged to the hall.
    On one number, in a full rage of chaos Jim jumped on top of the grand piano (which of course didn’t belong to him)
    and started stomping on it with his boots. a total wild man in a frenzy.
    Completely unleashed…….
    I thought to myself, wow …….can he really do that?
    Apparently so……he was doing it and no one was stopping him.
    Prior to the gig Morrison was slumped in a folding chair and I complemented him on the look of their album cover and I also said that I couldn’t find it in too many stores.
    He only spoke two words to me………………………….”YOU WILL”.

    Their performances on those 3 gigs were outstanding.
    Val Kilmer and the rest of the actors in Olivers Stone’s “The Doors” movie really nailed it as they captured the whole vibe at that time.

    A few months later “Light My Fire” zoomed up the charts and they became mega famous.
    I saw them at the Mount Tamalpais and by then they had rows of Jordan amplifiers of which they were endorsing.
    Jim was just TOO drunk to be coherent, and they pretty much sucked at that gig .
    They were not in sync at all…… Kind of sad…….
    People were raving about them and they never got to see them in their true element.
    It’s funny how they sounded better using our equipment versus their brand new gear of their own.

    Anyway ..that’s about all I remember…..
    I’m glad I got to witness them in their prime though………………..

    Tom Aragon

    • I was a “horrified and intrigued” 15 year old girl in the front row at those Merced Doors’ shows. The concept of that beautiful, dark-haired man out front in black leather pants (with apparently no underwear) was just about too much for my 15 year old virgin heart, mind, and body! I stood there, totally mesmerized. I could not look away, even when my boyfriend was talking to me…so he left! I had no idea I was witnessing rock history, all I knew for sure was I wanted to be there for every note, every sight, every smell. And so I was.

  2. Hey Michael
    Am thoroughly enjoying the Merced music chronicles that you have organized so well and published for all to see and reflect on. I was at many of the valley concerts Doors, Quicksilver, Airplane, Big Brother, Moby Grape, Grassroots, Charlatans, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Mojo Men and others but the one that made the biggest impression on me was my first real rock concert with Them, Love, and Leaves in Modesto. We traveled form Merced in a black hearst that was purchase from the Reinero’s by Ms. Baker-Alice and Kathy Dalrymple’s mother. The motley group included Renee Reinero, Kathy and Alice, Steve Gosset, Marv Greenley and I think Steve Walsteadt. As I remember Marvin could not get a ticket so he sat in the car all night smoking cigarettes and making comments about everyone being a fag.

    I was really young at the time and hadn’t even started ‘turning on’, so I didn’t know what to expect. The venue was a theater with individual seating and no real open space for dancing or moving around so everyone sat politely in seats and watched as the bands performed. The first groups were great, sounded like their songs on the radio and we sat in our seats and ‘rocked out’. But when THEM came on it was a different vibe. They had a lightshow and Van Morrison moved all over the stage, unlike the previous bands and they had a flute player that made their sound unique even ‘trippy’ when compared to the others. I basically sat in my chair mesmerized and experienced my first ‘natural acid’ high and walked out saying they were weird. On the ride home the comments ranged from “they’re ahead of their time” to “I think they were ‘smoking grass’ or were ‘on drugs’ or something”.

    It’s amazing how the first of anything real good leaves a lasting impression. That first concert wet my appetite for all the great music that came after. And I’m grateful that I was able to enjoy that era of music and live to talk about it 40 years later. Thanks again for keeping those memories alive through

  3. Mike Kennedy – Many thanks for bringing all of this information together. I get emails asking me if I had this group and that group – Please allow me to name all of the groups that VJ Production brought to the Central Valley – as I remember -: The Doors – four times, – Eric Burdon and the Animals, Love, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Sam the Sham and the Pharoes, The New Breed, Them with Van Morrisson, in concert at the Strand Theater in Modesto, 23 July, 1966 with: The Immediate Family, The Ratz, The Canadian Fuzz, The Nimitz Freeway, Peter Wheat and the Breadmen, The Grassroots,……. also The Kitchen Sink, Charlie Musslewhite’s South Side Sound System, Infinity, Hair, The Plastic Explosion, The Horizontal Trip, Mothers Harvest, Moby Grape, The Flaming Groovies, Sunday Punch Blues, – Walt Trinidade, The Lavender Hill Mob, Roosters, Mourning Reign, The Collage, Mother’s Harvest, Bo Diddley, Michelle and the Mademoiselles,Thee Sixpence, Janis Joplin, (Lights by Ben McKenzie) Good Togther Happy Times Band, Question: Was “Brown Eyed Girl – The New Breed?, and others – help fill in the missing – thanks! And of course for me it all started with a band from Castle Air Force Base called “The Eckos” And of course Richard DeLong, Jamie Murdock, C.O. Williams, (Jim Parber, Campi, incredibly tallented poster makers – and M. Kennedy – Spiritual Adviser.!!!!!)) all helped to make it happen – And of coursed The Record Rendezvous on 17th Street in Merced, and Julio’s mens clothing store, and Cecily Muratore – Records by Twilight, McHenry Village, Modesto, as soon as I send this message I know I will remember other bands and individuals who helped make VJ Productions a small part of the California music scene from 1965 to 1968. Peace and friendship to all Vincent J. Lavery A.K.A. V.J. Incidentally a band in Dublin has asked me to manage them – I am meeting with them shortly to see if they have what it takes to enter this very ruthless business.

    • Hi Vince, long time no see. This is Andy Derrick. Greg Gaffney and I lived in the apartment below you on I believe H street. I was also in the Ekos with Bob Kaywood and Greg for a short time. I still have a poster My cousin Randy Mitchell did for you – The Doors as Aqua Sign 722-1812, I can post. I still remember the red parachute you had hanging in your living room.

      • Hello All: Yes “The Music Machine.” Particular memories: I will never forget “the first” light show brought into Merced. The operator mixed his oils from the balcony of the Legion Hall – I will never forget the faces on the young peoploe as they walked in and saw the Legion ablaze in colors. There was one young couple – 15 or 16 years old -and as they walked in they held hands and stood in the doorway of the hall for at least two minutes beofe they moved. Any other memories? Vincent J. Lavery, Dublin

  4. I was at almost all the these concerts and when I tell the younger generation today they can’t believe this ever happened in the little town of Merced, great memories and I do remember the Big Brother concert in particular as I watched Janis Joplin sing, I knew I was witnessing something great. Jim Morrison was chugging whiskey back stage and was an untamed force. What a time for us then. Thanks for reminding me what greatness I experienced so long ago.

  5. As you know, my Dad, Greg, recently passed. He left behind so much great art, and I spent so much time in his home digging around for these posters. Thank you so much for posting them! I’m not sure how many times in my life I have heard the story of my Dad hanging out with The Doors. Many, many, many!!!

  6. I would love to have copies of the posters. Believe it or not we actually had one at one time, not sure what happened to it. There must be some out there somewhere.

  7. OK…so at the first Doors show, I was elbows on the stage next to a guy who I don’t remember. When they were playing The End, (I think), Jim was back in the shadows squirming around as the music grew and thundered. When when the big scream was due, Morrison ran forward, slipped on some spilled beverage, slid like a baseball player and planted the heel of his beatle boot right between the eyes of my neighbor. He was knocked back, but came up grinning. If memory serves me right, Morrison finished the song laying on the stage, his face a few feet from mine. I had no idea I was witnessing rock and roll history…but a few months later I was wearing a v-necked sweater with a single string of beads, along with my valour hiphuggers from Julio’s.

  8. What about the Count Five at the Italian American Lodge? Also, the Goliwogs (later Creedence) had a tune “Brown Eyed Girl” I remember them being upstaged by the opening act, Crystal Syphon.

    • Hey Les, I definitely remember you, Greg Parle and the other members of your excellent band Sea of Grass. Your Atwater-based group and mine The London Fog both played at a Battle of the Bands outside of the Castle AFB Teen Center. Your drummer Bob Schrieber was the older brother of our lead guitarist and vocalist Jimi. Our other members were Billy (a.k.a. Chuck) Busic bass, Eric Rasmussen percussion, John perryman rhythm (his older brother Danny played in Nimitz Freeway) and me keyboards (and my older brother Mike played bass for the Scimitars.) The London Fog also opened a VJ concert for Count Five like you guys, but ours was at the Italian American Hall in Merced (small world, isn’t it?!) Speaking of small world, in the last London Fog concert we ever played, Mike Cobb played lead guitar and Norman Orr sang vocals. I too remember that Dooor concert in Merced… Morrison sure put on quite the show! Good to hear from you, Troy Burke

      • Troy,

        Yes, speaking of a small world: I was 12-13 at Castle A.F.B. during that time. (My dad was the brigadier general and division commander at Castle.) I was a guitar player. Had a cheap Guyatone electric guitar and Guyatone amp in 1967. No real band at that age but I ‘jammed’ with kids in our family room that was a former garage. One kid was a drummer named Russell Parr. Younger than I, maybe 11 at the time. Google him. Russell is a famous DJ and comedian now. Such a great time; so young and totally getting into the growing music scene.

        Anyway, I was at that battle of the bands with London Fog and Sea of Grass. I, of course, remember Mr. Schreiber ran the teen club. (He loved that trampoline!) I remember Jimmy (Jimi?) Schreiber, his son, as a pretty decent guitar player. He probably was 17 or so at that time. Remember him being sorta small? Maybe…it has been 50 turns of the calendar now here in March 2017. (Thought he was to join some semi-famous band…like The Electric Prunes? Vaguely remember his father bragging on something to that effect.) Moving on to a related note, I saw my first ‘real’ rock group in Merced in the spring of 1968…Eric Burdon and The New Animals. Awesome time and memory, including the violin player’s vividly purple Converse tennis shoes. Atwater/Merced were happenin’ towns fifty years ago.

        We left Castle in August 1968 for Taiwan and by October 1968 I had my first band, doing our first gig ever (also at a teen club) in January 1969. Our name? London Fog! You were influential! We knew 12 songs and dragged ’em out! An awesome start, as I have played and sang in bands ever since (although my last gig was in December 2013). Defining theme and activity of my lucky life.

        John Des Portes
        Tucson, Arizona

  9. I was in a band out of Atwater not yet mentioned at the time of the Merced American Legion Hall Doors concert, “The Sea of Grass.” We did a lot of shows for Vincent Lavery, including opening for Sopwith Camel at the Legion Hall and Count Five at the ice skating rink in Modesto, during my tenure in 1966 and 1967. Musicians were Bill Robinson (guitar, keys, vocals), Gregg Parle (guitar, vocals), Bob Schreiber (drums), and myself, Les Lizama, on bass and vocals.

    We we in the wings stage right at the Legion hall during the Doors April 1967 show, possibly as “backstage guests” of Vince, since we were one of “his” bands. Morrison was electric…I had never seen a performer crawl up on the gear and leap, literally, OVER Manzarek’s keyboard to the stage.

    After graduating from Awater High, college in Santa Barbara, and a year in Canada with the band “Bro,” I made it back to California, settled in the Bay Area, and my next performance, and, possibly, next visit, to the Merced American Legion Hall was during my stint with Eddie Money in 1976, before he signed with Bill Graham.

  10. I remember the graffiti “Sea of Grass” in dripping white paint on an ancient concrete block off the road to Exchecker dam. It was there for years…maybe still is. Sparrow told me he did it.

    • You are right, Steve, our guitarist, Gregg Parle, was one of the co-conspirators on that piece of grafitti…meant to honor our Atwater-based band, which lived about 1965 to 1968. Bill Robinson on guitar and keys, Bob Schreiber on drums, and me on bass rounded out the group, with Mike Cobb picking up the bass duties when I went off to UCSB in the fall of 1967. Gregg was particularly proud of the location of the tag, which, as I understand it, was quite hard to reach, shimmying out on a ledge to get to that piece of leftover trestle, but was perfect for viewing from the road. I don’t suppose they are particularly worried about getting busted at this point, since we both just blew their cover. Atwater bands live on! :o)

  11. Last week – July 13, 2012m – a second cousin took me to the O2 in Dublin to see Paul Simon – packed out house 15,000 – at $120 a seat – (what recession?) They played two nights and then departed for England. Part of the show was the Graceland gig. My last concert in Fresno, California in 2005 was Crosby, Stills and Nash – I sat stage left up in the “gods” with my sign saying “No war in Iraq” for the entire concert – as Crosby was leaving the stage he gave me the peace sign – and walked off the stage – he returned and gave it a second time! The memory will live with me for ever. Talk to you soon. Vincent Lavery, A.K.A. —-V.J. Dublin, Ireland – Email:

  12. Probably my most notable gig was playing a spontaneous ad-lib drum solo the length of the long beach parade with greg elmore playing tom tom, lee michaels playing tuba or trombone, (he used to do both} and eddie rodriquez on trumpet back in 61.. the following spring we had a free band period in the afternoon as well as one before school started. so we used to jam. it was something mike olsen wanted to do. he would play guitar, greg elmore on drums, me on keyboards or drums, eddie rodriquez and melvin boyd on guitar. i was the first chair drummer but because greg was a year ahead and my best friend at the time, i stayed away from playing the kit because the concept of two drummers was unheard of at that time and i was a totally shy dude anyway. i already knew michael lee because he lived down the street from me growing up and he showed me how good he could play keyboards when he was still a little boy. something he hid from everyone growing up and all through high school. he was a musical prodigy he could play almost any instrument. i sat on that piano bench next to him in the garage they lived in and was totally amazed at how good he was. lee graduated ahead of us and was giving music lessons at the record rendevoux and started going pro. then greg and eddie formed the brogues and i remember greg talking about how lee might hook up with them.
    instead the war hit, eddie went to nam and greg and gary cole went to the city as did i in the fall of 65. longshoremans hall was the place to go in those days and everyone was doing the beatles and stones. during the spring and summer of 66, things started picking up and city bands were getting some press in the chronicle. so in september of 66, i went to see quicksilver, janis, and the dead at the avalon and went to the avalon, fillmore, matrix, california hall every week thereafter. i saw the doors several times during this period and i can tell you that jim morrison was very laid back at the avalon. he really showed a lot of respect to the place which means he was very humble out front.. so when i heard the doors were playing in merced in the spring of 67, i had to come home just to check it out and to see if anything was happening in merced like it was in the city. i remember running into someone i knew who was hanging out with this girl named mona who had been partying with jim morrison either before or after the show. he invited me to this house on 140 with a tankhouse after the show and i met this mona person there and a few years later on haight street. that merced show was the best doors performance i had seen. jim really put on a show. the energy that night was unmistakable, the sixties had arrived to merced. i think that guy was marvin greenlee but i can’t remember for sure being fellow drummers, i used to run into marvin until the mid 70’s.
    i could tell greg was having a hard time back in the day and i was there the first time lee played the fillmore. i could see how the scene at that time was just blowing his mind. something he didn’t need. he already was the real deal. jim and janis didn’t fare too well either. not everyone could handle the shift in identity. all these people are legends to me and not really much different from each other. janis was just like any girl from winton and jim was a military brat just like greg was as his dad was stationed at castle. so just be careful what you dream, it just might come true.

    • Richard, really enjoyed your article above..we ran very close to each other at the time, and I don’t remember being aware of it, other than I knew you from highschool, and knew Sybil and your dad.

  13. American Legion Hall, Revisited

    The stranger’s open hands
    found mine
    grasped them firmly
    pulling me up
    on to the backdoor landing

    Clothed in black
    leather pants
    that hung low
    clung to narrow hips
    encircled by ovals of silver

    Long-sleeved white shirt
    hugged close to
    masculine shoulders
    several buttons open
    down his chest

    Restless curls
    wandered his head
    wild and free
    settling on his collar

    Intense cat eyes
    almost golden
    hungry with curiosity
    took my temperature
    With self-satisfied smile
    he purred

    “Hey Honey,
    What ya doing here?”

    Suddenly self-conscious
    I mumbled something
    about my old man
    being in the opening band

    “Too bad”

    his lips pursed into pout,
    showing me to a chair

    That night so long ago at the American Legion Hall
    hand in hand with a guy
    whose name I can’t recall
    lost in a universe of faces
    on a darkened dance floor
    one beam of light
    shone on the Vee-Jay announcer

    “ Time has come to welcome
    here from L.A.
    with their hit ‘ Light My Fire’
    topping the charts
    Let’s hear it for…The Doors”

    Like a clap of thunder
    the drums thumped solitary
    as strobe lights flashed
    the electric harpsichord played the intro
    as the young man
    in tight leather pants
    leapt onto stage
    like a panther
    microphone in hand

    It is only now
    in the luxury glint
    of recorded history
    I realize how closely
    I had come
    to being devoured

    Cindy Jones

    • Oh, my, Cindy…the temperature just went up several degrees in here. That was a perfectly poetic description of that night, beautifully composed, charged with youthful, wild, energy, and in ideal Morrison style. He was just that kind of magnetic warlock…and the guys felt it as well as the ladies.

  14. I was there at Modesto Skating Rink….my friend’s mother owned the McHenry Music store, so she had a few tickets….we were so young, she came with us! Came to see Love, and since Doors came out before Love, we started to walk out before they started playing as we say they had no bass player! Then they started playing (forget what song) and we RAN back in just before we walked out the door. Couldn’t have been more than 100 people there! Blew us away….beautiful performance, got to hang with Jim and Desmore for awhile backstage……not drunk or too stoned……never forgot those memories

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