On this day in music history: April 29, 1971 - “L.A. Woman”, the sixth studio album by The Doors is released. Produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick, it is recorded at The Doors Workshop in Los Angeles, CA from December 1970 - January 1971. After the departure of their producer Paul A. Rothchild (leaving after having differences with the band over musical direction), The Doors along with recording engineer Bruce Botnick handle the production duties on their sixth studio release. Unlike past albums, much of “L.A. Woman” is recorded live with few overdubs. They will be augmented by bassist Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley) and rhythm guitarist Marc Benno (aka Leon Russell). It is the bands last album with lead singer Jim Morrison who dies three months after its release. The first press run of the LP features a die cut cover (with rounded corners similar to a photographic slide) with a portrait of the band printed on transparent yellow acetate plastic with the title and band name embossed on the front. Subsequent re-pressings of the LP are printed on standard cardboard stock without the die cutting and plastic window. It spins off two singles including “Love Her Madly” (#11 Pop) and “Riders On The Storm” (#14 Pop). To commemorate the albums’ fortieth anniversary, it is remixed, remastered and reissued as a double CD set. On the first disc, some tracks are extended, running past the fade out point of the original mixes. The second disc includes alternate versions of several songs and previously unreleased tracks. The album is also reissued in 2009 as a 180 gram vinyl LP, restoring the original cover artwork featured on the initial pressing. “L.A. Woman” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
You made a series of mirrored shields that you distributed to people on the front lines. How did that come about?
I was inspired by these activists in the Ukraine. These women — old women and children — and they came out and carried mirrors from their bathrooms and into the street to show these riot policemen what they looked like. From the photos I saw, it seemed profoundly effective. I wanted to bring that same level of recognition to the front lines there.
But Standing Rock is in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t want people to bring mirrors to the front line and get hit with batons and cause more damage than good. So what we needed was a mirrored shield. So I came up with a simple, easy and cheap design to make these mirrored shields using vinyl and Masonite — materials you can find in any hardware store. From one sheet of Masonite, you could make six shields.
I started making them after that Sunday that they were hitting people with hoses. I personally made close to 100 of them. But then another group out of Minneapolis made 500. I have no idea how many are in circulation. But I keep seeing them here and there.
What role do you think artists can have in protest?
Being an artist, it is a way to weaponize privilege. I could have been on the front line a dozen times, but my wife said, “You are one person there; you are 10,000 here — where you can engage all of these resources.”
–Cannupa Hanska Luger interviewed in the L.A. Times by Carolina A. Miranda