Kubernik: The Doors 'L.A. Woman' 50th Anniversary

On April 18, 1971, the Doors released L.A. Woman recorded during December 1970-January 1971 in Los Angeles at the Doors’ Workshop studio at 8512 Santa Monica Blvd. produced by Bruce Botnick.

The Doors (Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger) employed bassist Jerry Scheff and rhythm guitarist Marc Benno on the sessions.

Just before the album L.A. Woman formally began, the Doors’ longtime producer Paul Rothchild left the project. He was dissatisfied with the material the band presented after hearing several songs in a pre-production meeting.

In 2008 I interviewed keyboardist Ray Manzarek about Rothchild’s departure and the subsequent L.A. Woman LP.

“Paul did a great service to us,” suggested Ray in our dialogue. “We played the songs in the studio so Paul could hear what the songs were. First at the rehearsal studio and then over to Elektra. I think we went back to Sunset Sound, too. We were bored. He was bored. We played badly. And Paul said, ‘you know what guys? There’s nothing here I can do. I’m done. You’re gonna have to do it yourselves.’ And he walked out the door.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘Shit. Bummer.’ And Bruce (Botnick) said, ‘Hey, I’ll do it! I’ll be the producer.’ John said, ‘We’ll co-produce with you.’ Bruce said, ‘That’s a deal. Let’s all do it together.’ And then Jim said, ‘Can we record at our rehearsal studio?’ And we all said, ‘Hey, we play great at our rehearsal studio. Let’s do it. Can it be done?’ And Bruce said, ‘Of course I can do it there. I’ll set the board up and a studio upstairs. You guys record downstairs. That’s where we make the album and it will be virtually live.’ ‘Yeah! And we got excited like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland ‘Let’s put on a show!’

“Botnick brings in a guy [Jerry Scheff] who is going to be playing with Elvis Presley. ‘I got Elvis Presley’s bass player.’ ‘Shit, man.’ He came in, a very cool guy who is playing with Elvis Presley.’

“I think it’s the same Doors but a continual growth, continual evolution of the Doors. Continual revolution of the Doors,” volunteered Ray.

“‘L.A. Woman’ is just a fast L.A. kick ass freeway driving song in the key of A with barely any chord changes at all. And it just goes. It’s like Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg heading from Los Angeles up to Bakersfield on the 5 Freeway. Let’s go, man.

“I saw Al Kooper’s new band at the time, Blood, Sweat & Tears at The Café Au Go-Go in Greenwich Village New York, and it was probably the best use of horns we’d ever seen up to that point in rock and roll or since then. He captured the essence of the four horns with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard absolutely superbly. I play at the end of my piano solo on ‘L.A. Woman,’ my homage and tip of the hat to Al Kooper. I play a musical quote from ‘House in the Country.’”

In our discussion I asked Ray about “Riders on the Storm.”

“It’s the final classic, man. Interestingly, Robby and Jim come in and were working on ‘Riders on the Storm.’ And then they start to play it and it sounded like ‘Ghost Riders in The Sky.’ No. We don’t do anything like ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ as much as I like it by Vaughn Monroe. And Jim likes it. What’s next? A version of Frankie Laine’s ‘Mule Train?’ Doors don’t do that. Let’s make this hip. The idea is good. We’re going to go out on the desert. This has got to be dark, strange and moody. Let me see what I can do here.

“It was like ‘Light My Fire.’ It just came to me. I got it. The bass line. It became this dark, moody Sunset Strip 1948 jazz joint.   That highway and freeway chase.

“The storm is an unresolved psyche. We are moving into the Jungian collective unconscious. And those motivations in the collective unconscious are the same in 1976, 1968, 1969 as they are in 1994, 1995. There are needs that we all have on the human planet, and we must satisfy those needs and come to grips with the darkness and the interior of the human psyche.

“We never tried to be of the moment. We always tried to make pictures in your mind. You hear pictures with the music itself,” underscored Manzarek, who like Morrison, graduated from the UCLA School of Film.

Bruce Botnick is acclaimed for engineering the entire Doors’ recording catalogue as well as engineering Love’s first two albums. He also produced their epic Forever Changes LP. Bruce engineered and co-produced the Doors’ L.A. Woman.

“I brought Jerry Scheff in because I had just done an album him playing on Marc Benno’s solo album,” Botnick explained in a 2009 interview.

“So, I thought, ‘Gee guys. How ‘bout if I bring in Jerry Scheff. Oh, by the way, he’s Elvis Presley’s bass player. And Jim thought, ‘Wow. That’s cool. I like that. I love Elvis.’ Then I suggested to Robby, ‘what would you think about bringing in a rhythm guitar into some of the songs so you’d be free and not have to do any overdubbing. He said, ‘I like that a lot.’ ‘Cause he always had to do his rhythm part and then play his solos separately.

“It was done at the Doors’ rehearsal space, not Sunset Sound or Elektra. We just wanted to get it on tape. Going again for performance and not trying to be too perfect. Go for a little bit more raw approach.”

In February 2021 I asked drummer/percussionist John Densmore about L.A. Woman.

“The concept was like the first punk album.  Just a few takes, go for the feeling, fuck the mistakes.  During the sessions I told Ray that Miles's engineer said there was a trumpet mistake on the opening of ‘So What’ on Miles Davis Live at Carnegie Hall, and Miles said, ‘leave it in... It feels good!’"

“Jim and I had a telepathic relationship,” offered guitarist Robby Krieger in a 2008 interview we conducted. “It was a perfect combo. That’s how you make a great group. You have three, four or five guys who come together and have that perfect intuitive relationship and stuff comes out.

“When we did the first Doors’ album Jim was totally un-experienced in the studio as far as recording his vocals. He had a year with his voice playing live every night. He had never done anything in the studio. And I think by the time The Soft Parade came around his voice had matured a lot as far as low notes and range. Stuff like that. I don’t think he could have sung ‘Touch Me’ nearly as good if that was on our first album.”

“At the L.A. Woman sessions they were having fun,” revealed Tony Funches in a 2014 interview we taped in the former Laurel Canyon residency of Jim Morrison. Funches was a Doors’ confident who served as Morrison’s bodyguard 1970-1971.

“It was a whole different vibe than the informal formality of being at the Elektra Studio or Sunset Sound because they were so at home there downstairs, which was essentially their rehearsal room.

“When they decided to do the album there, Vince Traynor [Doors’ road manager] wasn’t really elated to have them record there because nobody knows where Vince got the knowledge.

“Vince Traynor who did the Doors’ equipment, he built it and took it all apart and you’ll never see the likes of again. Amps, speakers, more than the task of driving crystal clear studio sound through the biggest venues they played and Jim with his sense of humor, knowing how idiosyncratic Vince was about that equipment.

“Jim quite often would tape his vocal microphone and stick it in the PA so the defect was cracking windows and people’s ear drums just to watch Vince get demonized of daggers because Vince was fucking with his talents. How glamourous is it to have an article about a tech freak mad scientist that built a sound system the likes of which no one will ever see again. And nobody knew how it worked! How he’d do it? He didn’ tell nobody what he did.

“Some people are idiot savants. But the idea of the Doors recording there doing L.A, Woman allowed him and them to fully employ all those things that he knew he could do and of course of them recording. All the equipment that he had taken apart and modified was in the same room with the Doors downstairs and now he’s gonna configure the room to work with the equipment that he built. So he stepped into his own element in the process of them recording there, Vince, I think, in that current was able to do his master work expression as it were. And I think the sound of L.A. Woman reflects Vince’s contribution,” underlined Tony.

During 2021 I asked some friends, music/literary associates, several like myself who witnessed the Doors in concert, to comment on L.A. Woman.

Photo of Jim Morrison by Kurt Ingham

“Thanks to the revival of vinyl LPs, we are transported to a bygone era before streaming services pushed music into intangible data,” observed writer Wendy Bachman in a March 2021 email correspondence.

“Rock bands were often judged by album cover art because it told us about the music inside. The Doors’ were no different and as their music evolved, so did the art for their LP covers.

“Jim Morrison had undergone no less than a dramatic change in both his appearance and the way in which he wanted to be perceived by fans both new and old.

“He was no longer the ‘Young Lion’ as brilliantly captured by photographer Joel Brodsky on the Doors’ self-titled effort released in January 1967. In 1971 the band would complete their contractual obligation to Jac Holzman and Electra Records with L.A. Woman which provided a sense of liberation and freedom to Morrison.

“On prior LP’s the band was not much involved in the artwork. The ideas were ideas of others in the industry, deemed best to be handled by those whose job it was to do so. They were fortunate to have benefit of great talent for studio releases, Guy Webster, Joel Brodsky, Paul Ferrara and Henry Diltz.

“The band had not previously been involved in the creative process of album cover art and saw proofs after completed by Elektra’s art department in New York.

“Contrary to what the talking heads on the East Coast may have stated, Morrison was in fact furious when he viewed the completed art for 13 (1970), a compilation album. His head as photographed by Brodsky years earlier was prominently featured with photos of the others, barely visible at the bottom.

“Morrison was so enraged that he took on the art for L.A. Woman for himself without notifying the art department, an unprecedented action. Once completed, it was sent to New York with implicit instructions from Morrison to leave everything exactly as is.  It should be noted that Jac Holzman retained the photos as he felt they might be the final taken of the four together.

“Morrison enlisted photographer Wendell Hamick to see his vision through, much as the Doors took charge of the creation of the L.A. Woman LP following the fiasco in Miami, Morrison’s meltdown in New Orleans and lastly the departure of producer Paul Rothchild put them on the outs with the public and with Elektra.

“The photos of the band were taken at night in a dimly lit Hollywood recording studio off Melrose Avenue in a mood that might best be described as eerie with music recorded for the LP playing in the background. The mood was relaxed, Jim drinking from a bottle of the cognac he had come to favor.

“To counter the image projected of Morrison on the 13 LP, cutouts from the photo shoot were placed to make it appear as if Morrison was sitting down, below the rest of the band standing beside him. The inspiration for the placement of the cutout heads was Mt. Rushmore. Familiar to Americans, this is a National Park in South Dakota featuring stone sculptures of US Presidents.”

Artist Carl Cossick created the album concept and design.

“There has been speculation on the crucifix,” stressed Bachman, “so let's clear that up. No, it is not Cher! It was an unnamed nude model, not present at the Doors’ photoshoot, but rather had posed at another time in Hamick’s studio.

“Lastly, the crucifix had great significance to Morrison and the use of it was his brainchild. He had been raised as a Protestant, but had explored other views and beliefs. He was interested in the ornate architecture often used in church buildings and had requested use of a church for a solitary photo shoot in 1968 while The Doors were touring in Europe. He was fascinated by religious symbolism. He often wore a crucifix, and stated that it was merely jewelry when asked. He kept is spiritual beliefs private for the most part.

“He did have a passing interest in astrology. He had his personal chart done which for a time he displayed above his desk at the office. In his final months before departing to France, Morrison was attending Blessed Sacrament Catholic church in Hollywood on a daily basis, even slipping out of the studio during recording of L.A. Woman to attend church.”

"He's hot! He's sexy! And he's dead!" trumpeted the September 17, 1981 cover of Rolling Stone magazine about the resurgence of interest in Jim Morrison a decade after his demise,” recollected photographer and writer Heather Harris in a 2021 interview we did. Harris is a former editor of The UCLA Daily Bruin.

“Visual icons of history who we know to be young and doomed ring true, which adds to the glamour for some. Egon Shiele contorts and stares out from his deliberately brutal self-portraits. He was a beloved protegè of Viennese art immortal Gustav Klimt, he was a true master of landscapes and seascapes for those in the know, and he was nothing but a coarse grotesquery to others.

“At least later generations embraced him down through the ages, despite the boorish visuals bequeathed to us. He'd be dead by age 28 of the 1918 influenza which has been marginalized in these politicized Covid times, despite its killing an estimated, horrific  50 to 100 million people (1/5 of earth's then population) to Covid's two and a half million poor souls.

“We have contemporary likenesses of Alexander the Great from coinage minted in his lifetime, a Roman copy of his in-person sculpted portrait by Lysippus, and an astonishing mosaic of him astride his horse Bucephalus in the Battle of Issus, copied from a 4th century B.C. Hellenistic commemorative painting. Thus, there is consensus that Alexander was a beardless young man with a layered, flowing locks hairstyle that continues to look fashionable on any entertainment type male of the last sixty years. Alexander the Great would be dead by age 33.

“Jay Sebring to customer self-readying for album cover photo sessions: ‘What do you want to look like?’ Jim Morrison: ‘I want to look like this’ (showing a photograph of one the aforementioned portraits of Alexander the Great.)

“That's my Quentin Tarantino-ization of an apocryphal conversation, but one that rings true from its results. This look seen through superb photography helped cement an icon whom we remember for his Doors' music legacy, his headline-making performances, and his staring at us down through the ages, handsome and doomed.  Everyone in the world remembers exactly what he looked like, mirroring Alexander the Great's own visual legacy, just as he wished.

“By the time of L.A. Woman, Morrison's candle burning at both ends was beginning to sputter and his looks, bearded for anonymity as much as the early 1970s style, were getting terminally bleary. He'd be dead by age 27.

“In my Hollywood environs that I inhabit, folks would fixate on his in-person buffoonery and boorishness, a side effect of living where an artist on a downslide is acting out. At least we have the equivalent of Shiele's paintings, his last studio recorded, serious work L.A. Woman, to temper the Morrison image, and we have the Doors' enduring triumphs lasting for posterity. Like Shiele and Alexander the Great, despite the short time allotted, Jim Morrison beat the clock. We will always remember the endearingly personal additional aspect of how each looked, in addition to what each accomplished.”

“After their 1969 LP, The Soft Parade, (aptly titled for Jim Morrison's new style of crooning and the band's experimental horn-drenched backing) the Doors snapped out of their pop hit-making illusions and jumped back into being the bad-ass, Sea Witch Hollywood blues band they once were,” observed Gene Aguilera, East Los Angeles music historian, hall of fame boxing book author and University of Southern California graduate.

“In this, the 50th anniversary of L.A. Woman, the boys of Venice, California banged-out their last album with Morrison with songs meant to be heard on the fast lane of the 101. Sadly, Morrison would flame out three months later, his mojo still risin'. A painful reminder that nothing lasts forever.

“I've always seen L.A. Woman as a paean to paganism. A primer for runaways making their way to the land of lost dreams. In the title track, it's the age-old story of teenage girl loves rock star madly, gone wrong. Take the yellow sleeve out of the album cover. See the nude L.A. Woman crucified to a telephone pole. Another lost angel in the city of light.”

"In that old-fangled get-back-to-where-you-once-belonged Spirit of the Day, Messrs. Krieger, Densmore, Manzarek and Morrison wisely entered 1971 solidly stripped down ...and I don't just mean Miami," cautioned venerable Doorman Gary Pig Gold.

"The songs rooted to 4-bar, the board 8-track, and the number of takes only somewhere in between, L.A. Woman demonstrated as undeniably as unfailingly that beneath all their recent hoopla, hedonism and headlines The Doors were, once again, A BAND. Nothing less, and needing little more; save for the expert, direct-from-Elvis bass of Jerry Scheff that is.

"Yes, expertly applying the meager-is-always-more approach that is – or at least should be Requirement One in rock, the four-piece Doors' swan songs spun off a couple'a bona fide hit singles, while at the same time maintaining all-important hep-y factor via heavy (man) FM airplay for its over-four-minute tracks; a quite rare feat indeed which only their Creedence Clearwater rivals seemed concurrently capable of. Throw in a John Lee Hooker-claimed classic, throw out much of the pretension, musical and otherwise, which even found room or two in the Morrison Hotel and we can still point to this long-player as one of L.A.'s absolute finest and frankest of the era. Not to mention, as it turned out, an ideal time for Jim to exit on its high notes, leaving the remainder of the seventies to struggle with, for starters, Other Voices."

"My first and most abiding memory of the Doors was seeing them on one of those TV dance party shows that sprang up like mushrooms following the spring rains of the English Invasion,” recalled author and UCLA graduate Kenneth Kubernik. “It was, I believe, 9th Street West, built around the 'Boss Radio’ brand of L.A.'s reigning Top Forty AM station, KHJ.

“Lip-syncing to 'Break On Through,' their first single from their debut album, it caught me up short, like a quick slant from Namath to Maynard:  that back door bossa nova beat, the churning, left-hand keyboard bass continuo (more felt than heard), the insolent baritone command from the lead singer.  It felt more like a shiv to the throat than a song, a menacing undertow you could dance to.  Tommy James, bless his heart, this wasn't.

“I was young enough (12) to be both bewitched and bewildered by their impertinence; there was a palpable interiority to their presence, as if they were privileging us squealy teenyboppers with their pastiche of jazz and blues, Blake and Huxley.  They didn't crave our approval; rather, they took a road never traveled and dared us to hitch a ride.  'Light My Fire' was riding shotgun, waiting its turn to transform the impending summer of '67 with its baroque pageantry.

"I never totally succumbed to the band's cultish allure; Morrison's personal mishegas seemed to sap them of any real creative momentum.  Much of their music remains knotted to a very particular time and (psychic) space that occludes its continuing vitality (why, for instance, did Ray persist with that rinky-dink Gibson organ).  There were moments:  L.A. Woman was a great leap forward, the production doing justice to a raft of great songs that showcased the group's strengths.  And then the sun, suddenly, heartlessly, goes dark.  But not before offering a tantalizing glimpse of what lay magically, mystically, on the other side."

“L.A. Woman ties in a dead-heat with The Doors as the group’s finest album,” suggests poet and radio deejay Prof. James Cushing. “I thought so in 1971 and I think so today. In both cases, this listener was presented with something new.

“In 1967, the first album showed Morrison’s fully developed poetic sensibility, embodied in a uniquely jazz-derived sound, based on the organ-guitar-drums trio beloved of inner city taverns across the nation. Jimmy Smith meets Antonin Artaud.

“In 1971, the last album paired Morrison’s poetic sensibility with a tough blues band that relished jazz changes. Remarkably, the band was the same three men, with the addition of Elvis’ bass guitarist, Jerry Scheff. His bass lines somehow reinforce the impact of every other instrument.

“Both The Doors and LA Woman give a sense of having been thoughtfully sequenced so as to give a sense of overall coherence, a beginning-middle-end arc every bit as pleasing as Sgt. Pepper, yet no one ever called either one a ‘concept album.’ They do deep and powerful work on the listeners’ mind, and (to these ears) sound just as compelling on CD as on vinyl.”

“Morrison has his detractors, people who say he's writing above his boxing weight,” summarized writer/editor and UCLA alum, Daniel Weizmann, “but I think they're mostly losers in sweaty leisurewear, secretly jealous of his absurdly indisputable sexual charisma. Have you ever heard a young single woman diss the writing of Jim Morrison? The men don't know but the you-know-who understand.

“Speaking of women, I point detractors to the song ‘L.A. Woman,’ Morrison's lyrical masterpiece, a kaleidoscope of jarring noir imagery that posits female as city, city as female, taking the listener on a surreal journey to the heart of the shadow self. The song is a bait-and-switch: At first, the ‘singer’ is on a quest, in search of a single L.A. woman, but once he enters the labyrinth, this enigmatic feminine other becomes all L.A. women and finally all souls lost in the floating neon.

“It's no small thing that the song manages to feel like a lonesome afternoon driving through our town, caroming through the rolling foothills in the hypnotizing, hazy sunlight. The guy's a film major, and the visual complexity he deploys is unusual for rock, shifting POVs, throwing intimate super-close-ups next to Cinemascope wide shots. The day changes to night (change in an instant!) as afternoon flips to a midnight of LAPD units languishing outside strip clubs, motels where bad deals end in blood, and luck and loss are two sides of a coin in endless mid-flight.

“But maybe the most moving thing about the song is that line about people saying he never loved her, and how they're all liars. He's right.”

“In four short years the Doors released six studio albums that all had something to offer including the oft-maligned The Soft Parade, however it was their final offering L.A. Woman that registered with me more than the others,” happily confessed Australian-based writer Michael Macdonald.

“I had just turned 15 when L.A. Woman was released and beginning to appreciate music way beyond radio fare which may explain why the album still resonates with me. That and Jim Morrison’s death shortly after its release probably make L.A. Woman even more poignant.

“Had Morrison lived, the album would have been regarded as transitional as the Doors were reaching back into the blues and had severed their connection with regular producer Paul Rothchild. Virtually self-produced, L.A. Woman was housed in a rather non-descript cover with a standard band photo revealing a portly and bearded Morrison almost unrecognizable from the lithe Rock god of the late 60s. Sound wise, it was mostly lean and bluesy while Morrison’s lyricism, particularly on the title track and the closing ‘Riders On The Storm,’ seemed much closer to Ross Macdonald than Rimbaud.

“Australia embraced L.A. Woman as they had the Doors previous albums and gave ‘Love Her Madly’ (a song almost tailor made for Tom Jones or Chris Farlowe) and the brooding ‘Riders On The Storm’ heavy radio rotation. Fifty years on both songs are regularly played on Aussie Classic Rock stations and on any Saturday night at any suburban beer barn, the resident cover band, more often than not, will be cranking out ‘Roadhouse Blues’ (from the equally fine Morrison Hotel) or taking collective requests for it. Australia’s love for the Doors has never diminished.

“Where the Doors would have gone after L.A. Woman is purely academic- Morrison may ventured into spoken word recordings or become an independent film maker. He might have kept the Doors going well into the late seventies or maybe ennui would have set in. Whatever the direction, it would have been nice if he’d stuck around a lot longer.”

In June 2021, Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will publish The Collected Works Of Jim Morrison-an almost 600-page anthology of the writings of the late poet and iconic Doors’ front man.

The book is scheduled for publication on June 8, 2021. Executive Editor is Elizabeth Sullivan.   Created in collaboration with Morrison’s estate and inspired by a posthumously discovered list entitled “Plan for Book,” this landmark publication is the definitive opus of his creative output—and the book he intended to publish.

A news announcement from Harper Design detailed the product.

“A compelling mix of 160 visual components accompanies the text throughout: an abundance of previously unpublished material, including excerpts from his 28 privately held notebooks, with numerous examples written in his hand. An array of personal images and commentary on the work by Morrison himself rounds out this highly collectible volume, which includes a foreword by Tom Robbins, introduction and notes by Morrison’s close friend Frank Lisciandro, and a prologue by Morrison’s sister, Anne Morrison Chewning.

“This collector’s item includes: • Complete self-published poems and writings such as “The New Creatures”; “The Lords: Notes on Vision”; “An American Prayer”; “Ode to LA while thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased” • Published and unpublished song lyrics, with numerous examples in Morrison’s hand• Published and unpublished work and a vast array of notebook writings such as “The Anatomy of Rock,” “The Celebration of the Lizard,” “Dry Water,” “The American Night,” and “Tape Noon” • The Paris notebook, believed to be Morrison’s final journal, reproduced at full reading size, as well as excerpts from the journal he kept during his infamous Miami trial in 1970.

“This beautifully produced, oversized hardcover, designed by Michael Bierut and Jonny Sikov of Pentagram, is not only the most comprehensive book of Morrison’s work ever published, it is immersive, giving readers insight to the creative process of and offering access to the musings and observations of an artist whom the poet Michael McClure called ‘one of the finest, clearest spirits of our times.’

“The accompanying audiobook makes available for the first time the full recording of Morrison’s last poetry recording session at the Village Recorder on his twenty-seventh birthday in 1970. A complete transcript of the poems Jim read during the session is in the book as well. ‘This is a historic moment,’ Sullivan says.

“The full digital audio book will not only include Jim’s reading, but readings of his work by other artists, including Patti Smith and Oliver Ray.”

An American Prayer, the ninth and final studio album by the Doors, was initially released November 1978. Seven years after Jim Morrison died, and five years after the rest of the band broke up, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore reunited and provided backing tracks over Morrison’s poetry recorded during 1969-1970.

In the July 1995 issue of MOJO magazine, Ray reminisced to me about An American Prayer.

“I don't think anybody was actually ready for the record. It was the first full-length rock 'n 'roll poetry record and it was 15 years ahead of its time. I think people are going to be surprised, because they think of Jim Morrison as this screaming, hell-bent-for-leather maniac, a wild lizard king.

“When they hear him read his poetry they're finally gonna know the sensitive Jim Morrison I knew when I first met him. You can hear the vulnerability.”

Harvey Kubernik is the author of 19 books, including Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows” published in 2014 and now available in six foreign language editions. Kubernik also authored Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972.  

Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. For October 2021 the duo has written a multi-narrative volume on Jimi Hendrix for Sterling/Barnes and Noble.

Otherworld Cottage Industries in 2020 published Harvey’s book, Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, featuring interviews with D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Albert Maysles, Murray Lerner, Morgan Neville, Dr. James Cushing, Curtis Hanson, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Andrew Loog Oldham, Dick Clark, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Travis Pike, Allan Arkush, and David Leaf, among others.    

Kubernik’s writings are in several book anthologies, most notably The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski. Harvey penned a back cover endorsement for author Michael Posner’s book on Leonard Cohen that Simon & Schuster, Canada published in October 2020, Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

This century Kubernik wrote the liner note booklets to CD re-releases of Carole King’s Tapestry, Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish, Elvis Presley The ’68 Comeback Special and The Ramones’ End of the Century.    

In November 2006, Harvey Kubernik was a speaker discussing audiotape preservation and archiving at special hearings called by The Library of Congress and held in Hollywood, California.

During 2020 Harvey Kubernik served as a Consultant on the 2-part documentary Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time directed by Alison Ellwood. Kubernik is currently working on a documentary about Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member singer/songwriter Del Shannon.

Kubernik also appears as a screen interview subject for director/producer Neil Norman’s GNP Crescendo documentary, The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard. Jan Savage and Daryl Hooper original members of the Seeds participated along with Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, Iggy Pop, Kim Fowley, Jim Salzer, the Bangles, photographer Ed Caraeff, Mark Weitz of the Strawberry Alarm Clock and Johnny Echols of Love. Miss Pamela Des Barres supplied the narration. Norman’s documentary is scheduled for a debut broadcast on television during 2021.

This decade Harvey was filmed for the currently in-production documentary about former Hollywood landmark Gold Star Recording Studio and co-owner/engineer Stan Ross produced and directed by Brad Ross and Jonathan Rosenberg. Brian Wilson, Herb Alpert, Richie Furay, Darlene Love, Mike Curb, Chris Montez, Bill Medley, Don Randi, Hal Blaine, Shel Talmy, Don Peake, Kim Fowley, Johnny Echols, Gloria Jones, Carol Kaye, Marky Ramone, David Kessel and Steven Van Zandt have been lensed.