Guitarists tend to lust over certain models – vintage Les Pauls and Strats and so on. Were you ever that way when it came to drum kits?
“No, not really. I liked a small kit – I felt as though you could do everything with that. When I saw Mahavishu Orchestra – we were on a bill with them, after Jim died – and they pushed out 30 drums or whatever Billy Cobham had. I thought it was a joke, that he would never hit them all – but he did! [Laughs] A mind-blower. Everybody should have what’s right for them.”
What brought about your move from Gretsch to Ludwig in late ’67?
“I liked the sound of Ludwig. I have a Ludwig piccolo chrome snare and a regular-sized one, and I just like them.”
For the most part, you stuck to a four-piece configuration, but in 1970 you added some small tom-toms.
“Yeah, I started fooling around with more tom-toms. It wasn’t really my thing, though. I only had the two, and then I had a floor tom.”
You weren’t seduced intro trying double bass drums like so many other drummers.
“No, I wasn’t. If I couldn’t do with my right foot what Billy Cobham could do, then I didn’t deserve another bass drum.”
Billy Cobham made quite an impression on you.
“Well, I’m just thinking of him as the ‘foot man.’”
The Doors made it in fairly short order. You didn’t have to slog it out for years and years like some bands –
“Yeah, but each of us had rehearsed our particular instrument, and Jim had read every book on the planet for years before that.”
How long would you have stuck it out with The Doors if you didn’t get signed right away?
“That’s an interesting question. The Doors were dedicated. We were a band a brothers, the four of us. We were gonna keep at it.