SURF CLUB - 10/12/1967


Venue Address: 45 Hull Shore Dr. - Hull, MA 
Promotion: The Surf Club
Event: In Concert

Also Performing:
The Ramrods

Early Show
Late Show
Break On Through
Light My Fire

Recordings / Film:


Reviews / Info:
-Promotional artwork by Ron Rampiss (Poster)
-4:00pm & 8:00pm scheduled start times.
-The Ramrods perform an extended set.
-The Doors arrive in time for one show only.

"I remember the night of 10/12/67 very well. I was playing keyboard for The Ramrods. Our manager owned three Surf Clubs in Massachusetts and The Ramrods were fortunate to open for many famous acts. We were the house band at The Surf Ballroom and that night we were the only other act on the bill. Mysterious and cool, The Doors, with their moody lead singer, Jim Morrison, were growing in popularity, so that night The Surf was packed to the rafters with rocking teenagers. I'm not sure what the ballroom's capacity was, but I bet there were five hundred kids there just waiting for those low, haunting chords to cast their spell over us all. You could feel the electricity and excitement in the room. But The Doors were special.

We had all heard all the stories of legendary bad-boy Jim Morrison and appreciated the band's unique pre-grunge appearance, which fit so perfectly with their unique sound. East Coast kids, especially, had never seen or heard anything like them before. The Doors were supposed to do two shows that night but the Ramrods started things off and got the place warmed up and ready for a night of rockin' nonstop. It is a memorable phenomenon for anyone who was there that night. When a big crowd got dancing at the same time, the Surf's dance floor would actually shake and undulate beneath our feet, as though the whole building were caught up in the groove. The people who came to the Surf were die-hard rock and roll fans, there to see great bands in their infancy, so there was never any real need for security of any kind.

We finished playing our set and our manager, Bill Spence, told us the Doors had not arrived, so we happily played a little longer. We had many fans at the Surf so the crowd either didn't mind or didn't notice that the big act was late. We took a break and, in the dressing room, we were told The Doors were not going to show because their flight had been held up and they did not want make the trip from wherever they were coming from to the Surf. Our manager was on the phone demanding they show. We went back and did another set. I think by this time, we were running out of material. Bill Spence, owner of the Surf, courageously took the stage and announced The Doors were coming but would be late. Bill told the crowd anyone there for the first show could stay until The Doors arrived or receive a refund. No one left.

You could hear the word spread through the ballroom that The Doors had arrived. I cannot remember anyone even introducing The Doors. I think our bass player introduced them. I got a spot on the floor right in front of Jim Morrison. I could have touched him. I had never seen leather pants before or seen someone become part of the microphone like Morrison. All eyes were fixed on him. I can't even remember seeing the others in the band. He had that kind of singular presence on stage. I do remember how much sound the piano bass had and being amazed that someone could play both the bass and melody at the same time. Jim held the microphone in that classic stance he had and held it in his hands like it was a small bird or something valuable. Everyone, especially the females, were in awe. He hardly looked at the crowd; too busy concentrating on the lyrics and the mike. He did not say anything but "thank you". To this day, I have never met anyone with such charisma. Jim Morrison was clearly larger than life and larger than the band. The few policemen that were there gave the band dirty looks which just added to the legend. Jim was handsome. His hair was long and beautiful. His smile, which you did not see often, was magical. He had on a white puffy shirt, the kind you often see him wearing in photos. Classic Morrison! When they ended the set with 'Light My Fire', the place was cheering, dancing, watching.

After the set, The Doors quickly left the stage and the building, but each person in the crowd that night knew instinctively that they had experienced something special. We all kind of lost our communal breath and sensed that none of us would ever be the same. It would be one of those nights people would talk about, claim to have been there, and speak of reverently forever.

Later, I heard the members of The Doors were kind of upset that they were forced to come and perform as their contract said. It may have been the only time during my misspent youth that I was glad the 'Man' stepped in and enforced a rule! Myself and the rest of the Ramrods were just amazed at the sound and the look of these guys; The Doors had opened a new perspective for us. Rock had come a long way since The Ramrods backed up Freddy Boom Boom Cannon. When I look back at the night, I realize how fortunate I was to have shared the same stage with The Doors. As I write this, it is still difficult to put into words the magic of that night. The Doors were true artists. The Ramrods never played any Doors songs. After seeing them, it seemed like we were 'not worthy'. The Doors 'owned' that sulky sound and magically apathetic affect. After seeing Ray play the keyboard and the piano bass, I realized I had much to learn musically.

Now I am sixty four years old and still remember the night we played with The Doors. That night was part of Rock and Roll history and I am SO proud to have been a small part of it. The price of getting into the Surf Ballroom that night? $2.50. Being on stage with the legendary Jim Morrison and the iconic Doors? Priceless..."

Len Cirelli
West Newton, MA
Copyright © 2011 Len Cirelli

A Special Thanks to Len Cirelli for providing his review of the concert to!



Surf Club - Poster
Contributed By: DBurns