"I think Paris is a city for lovers. Not for loners like me. Well, maybe also for loners. But it wears them out. And kills 'em in the end."
I wrote those lines in 1986 and, to a certain extent, I still feel that way. Paris is not at all the romantic city most people expect to see. It's crowded and dirty. Parisians are not very friendly, don't speak any foreign languages and even if they do, they don't bother. In the summer, the parks are dustbowls and those who venture on the lawns can expect a hefty fine.
But all that changed in the late nineteen nineties, when I ventured for the first time into the realm of hardcore Doors fans. I was sitting on the terrace, quietly drinking my beer when a big guy came up to me and asked me to take a look at his book. That man was Jochen Maaßen.
That was the beginning of a very long friendship and turned my life into a dazzling roller coaster ride for the next couple of years. One moment I was one of the many Doors fans in Paris, the next moment I was rubbing shoulders with Robby Krieger and Danny Sugerman in the Doors offices in L.A. and signing my book 'Ein Schatten im Regen/Een Schaduw in de Regen' during the first European Doors Event.
When I was young I always relished the books of authors like Henry Miller, Jerzy Kosinski, Leonard Cohen and Charles Bukowski. I always craved to live a life such as they depicted in their stories. Forget "Quiet Days in Clichy". With Jochen, I got more than I had bargained for.
So when he told me, he was about to write a book about his experiences, I was not at all surprised. Jochen has a relentless energy and is incredibly creative. I'm usually pooped when I get home after work, but he continues to chase his dreams well into the weekend. He's also an amazing story teller and has the ability to inspire others. It didn't take him very long to drag me into his project.
I was absolutely flabbergasted when he showed me all the material he wanted to include: an unpublished interview with Eric Burdon, rare photographs of The Soft Parade and more. I felt like a kid in a candy store. This was going to be some book...
Of course, there was the question of copyright, but Jochen's excellent reputation as a craftsman and an artist got him the co-operation he needed pretty quickly. John Shureman of the Matrix Doors agreed to write an article on Paris, Darryl Read - a personal friend of Jochen - contributed a few accounts and a poem. Michelle Campbell and Gilles Yéprémian gave permission to use their pictures. Jochen was also allowed to reprint the magnificent artwork of Johanna Hébert. And very soon, the book grew into this compelling account of Jochen's voyage into the world of music you are reading now.
I don't think it will be his last book. The first working title implied that but I'm sure that, at some moment in time, he will come up with another. We've been going through a lot of things together and there is plenty of room for more.
Since the day we've met, many things have changed. Many years have gone by and rock 'n roll years count double. Recently I gave up the habit to go to Paris every year. Since Agnes came into my life, I speak French quite well and those Frogs are much more agreeable when you address them in their native tongue. Each and every year it seems to get harder and harder to survive the wild parties that are going on there. A beer? Thank you very much; I'll take a rain check. And now I'm a family man, I'm hardly a loner anymore...
But every time I want to go back there for a moment, I just have to open this book and remember. For that, Jochen, I thank you. And after reading this book, I think all of you will agree..