Johnny Echols, the musician from the band Love, is revealing why he regrets getting Jim Morrison and The Doors a record deal.

Echols, who is part of the new Laurel Canyon docu-series on Epix, spoke to uInterview’s Erik Meers about the challenges the band faced with their record company, Elektra Records. Part of the documentary follows the band’s attempt to get out of their record deal in order to switch to a much better deal with MCA. They decided they would try to get out of their deal with Elektra by pushing The Doors on the record company.

“That was the mistake of my life,” said Echols, as the attempt to get out of the record deal failed, though Elektra Records still booked The Doors.

“All of the promotional money and impetuous that was going to promote Love was now used to promote The Doors,” Echols said. “So, we basically shot ourselves in the foot by that move, but The Doors were our great friends, Jim Morrison was a wonderful friend until he passed, so we had no animus towards them.”

He remembered Morrison fondly, with an anecdote about finding the rock star sleeping at his front door one night, and remembered what it was like to live in a community of musicians.

“Meeting all of these people and being neighbors with so many different musicians it was just amazing, and because of that being together with people that you saw every day and making music with these people, you had a friendly warm kind of rivalry going, and that pushed the envelope,” said Echols. “Just because we were neighbors and friends everybody wanted to out-do the other group, the next album would be a little bit better than the one before, and so that gave everyone that little push.”

Echols also described the challenges he faced being in one of the first interracial rock bands:

“We basically were an East Coast or a West Coast group because many parts of this country we just weren’t able to play, the South especially, because you know what was going on at the time: the civil rights movement, the anti-war demonstrations, all these things were happening, and here’s a bunch of race-mixing California hippies,” laughed Echols.

The documentary also deals with the band’s relationship with Little Richard, who died earlier this month at 87.

“He was a really warm, very, very intelligent man, and he knew a lot about self-promoting, which he did all of the time,” said Echols. “But when you talked to him one-to-one he was a very serious, very intellectual man, and a very spiritual man.”

Before playing with Love, Echols had started playing in bands as a teenager, but first got into music when he was just 8-years-old.

“There was a show-and-tell in elementary school, and a gentleman gave me his guitar to hold while he went to see the nurse, and I strummed it and fell in love,” he said. “And Billy Preston was also a classmate, but he was already starting to make noise as a gospel musician, and we started our first group.”

“We traveled around and we played weddings and funerals and bar mitzvahs and you know we just had a grand ole time, and we were kids,” said Echols. “I used to pencil in a mustache, cause I was at that point 15, and we’d be playing at adult clubs. And of course they knew, but they said as long as we stayed away from the bar we’d be okay,” he joked.

You can watch the Laurel Canyon documentary on Epix. Watch the trailer below.

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