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Love’s Johnny Echols, featured in ‘Laurel Canyon’ docuseries, reveals how his band helped The Doors

Love's Johnny Echols, featured in 'Laurel Canyon' docuseries, reveals how his band helped The Doors

EpixThe second episode of the two-part Epix docuseries Laurel Canyon premieres Sunday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET.  It profiles the music scene that centered around the titular Los Angeles neighborhood during the late 1960s and early ’70s, and features new interviews with artists who were part of that community. One of them is Johnny Echols, lead guitarist of the influential L.A. band Love, the first rock act signed by Elektra Records.

In the docuseries, Echols relates how Love helped The Doors get signed to Elektra too, which he claims ended up hurting his own group’s career.

Recounting the story to ABC Audio, Johnny notes, “We were friends with [The Doors], but Jim Morrison especially, and Robby [Krieger]. So we had an offer to sign with MCA, and we felt that if we hooked Elektra up with The Doors, they would allow us to leave and sign with the much larger company.”

Johnny also recalls that “Jim had been asking us to hook him up with Elektra for the longest time.”

Elektra boss Jac Holzman initially wasn’t interested in signing The Doors, though, because he’d seen the band play poorly on a night when Morrison was drunk. Love’s members kept pushing Holzman to give The Doors another chance.  After he eventually saw the band when Jim was on his best behavior, he signed the group.

But, Echol says, “The Doors took off and were huge. But we always felt that we were kind of an afterthought after that point — [the label’s] promotional money and all of that was spent toward The Doors rather than us. So we kind of hurt ourselves.”

On top of that, Elektra wouldn’t let Love out of their contract.

But Echol’s band didn’t make out too badly: Their 1967 album Forever Changes is considered a classic.

By Matt Friedlander
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