Burton Cummings had a bizarre experience on his first-ever night in L.A. -- he wound up driving Jim Morrison around town.
The Guess Who frontman writes on Facebook that he walked from the band's motel on the Sunset Strip to the famed Whisky a Go-Go nightclub.
As the night wound down, Burton grabbed a cab, thinking he'd return to the motel. Instead, the driver said, "I guess you're going to the big party!" Not being "a complete fool," Cummings replied "yeah" and was driven to a mansion in the Hollywood Hills -- where he wound up on a piano bench sitting next to Jim Morrison! They chatted about The Doors' frontman's recent arrest in Miami and shared a couple of beers. When a couple of girlfriends told him it was time to go, Jim was in no condition to drive, while Cummings was.
They went to Morrison's silver Pontiac GTO. Burton recalls, "He opened the trunk to reveal a huge aluminum washtub filled with iced bottles of beer. There must have been 20 or 30. He and the girls grabbed one apiece and the three of them climbed into the backseat," while Burton took the wheel.
Cummings was impressed by Jim -- even if he wouldn't pass a sobriety test: "My God, he was articulate. Even half drunk, he was more lucid and intelligent than 90 percent of the people I've ever met... He was so well read... Talked about the great authors, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling,Lewis Carroll...the great painters...poets."
They rode for several hours, stopping so Jim and the girls could grab fresh beers out of the trunk. "It was so surreal. My first night ever in Los Angeles and I was chauffering the Lizard King around on his turf. Just about sunrise [Jim and the girls] suddenly said they 'had to get back to their place.'" Burton pulled the car over on Ventura Boulevard and got out so one of the women could take over behind the wheel. "And that was that!"
Years later, Cummings met Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. "When I told him about my night with Jim, he told me, 'Hell man, you spent more time with Jim than almost anybody.'"