Saturday, May 25, 2024



By chance this extraordinary book fell into my hand first in a tattered paperback [Abacus 1966] with a Ralph Steadman cover and gonzo style chapter headings. I was fortunate to meet Ralph and Hunter S. Thompson. The US hardback version [ William Morrow & Co/New York. 1989] came from AbeBooks.

My archive is stuffed with a cornucopia of Beat literature and music history books and drug material but this  book had missed my notice. I have spent the last couple of months off and on absorbed in its world.

Danny Sugerman's autobiography Wonderland Avenue /Tale of Glamour & Excess  was followed by several books about Jim Morrison and the Doors, including No One Here Gets Out Alive (co-authored with Jerry Hopkin) and The Doors: The Illustrated History]

The cover notes of the Morrow edition reads as follows:

Danny Sugarman had it all: a gorgeous house in Laurel Canyon, all the money, drugs, fast cars and pretty girls a young man could want. He was a success in the record business and he had been as close to Jim Morrison and the Doors as you could get without being a member of the band - until Morrison died and Sugerman had to continue all alone. Wonderland Avenue is the story of how Danny lost everything and ended up in a mental ward with a $400-a- day heroin habit.

Praise for the book: 

"Jim Morrison comes back to life in this hard-hitting, unique, and bizarre account of Danny Sugerman's coming of age in L.A. in the sixties" - OLIVER STONE

" This wonderful book is just like the fast-lane scene it d scribes - big bawling, excessive, scandalous, irreverent, entertaining, and scary - Wonderland Avenues is absolutely fascinating"  - TIMOTHY LEARY

'Reality beats fiction with maniacal laughter and crazy crying on Wonderland Avenue.  This book is a black diamond reflecting the high life and low life of siren-soaked Hollywood nights and scalding Los Angeles mornings." -  MICHAEL McCLURE 

" Danny Sugarman spent his youth in Hollywood's rock and roll fast lane, following the example of his mentor  and idol Jim Morrison. Although he crashed at age twenty-one, Sugarman ultimately survived and has given us this savagely engrossing account of his wild misadventures. Wonderland Avenue shatters the myth of the glamour of hard drugs and Hard living. a most entertaining and Informative book." - WILLIAM BURROUGHS

Daniel Stephen Sugerman (October 11, 1954 – January 5, 2005) 

He began working with the Doors answering their fan mail at the age of 12 years old,  Five years later, following the death of Jim Morrison in July 1971 he took over as the Doors'  manager and then to manage Ray Manzarek's solo career and first album. 

He was also Iggy Pop's manager for a while before their drug and alcohol addictions meant they both ended up in a mental hospital.

Later Sugarman managed The Joneses  a L.A based glam/punk band, founded by Jeff Drake, who supplied them both with high quality heroin. 

 He had appeared to go out of his way to appear visually like Jim Morrison. Same type of haircut, similar clothing. The similarity was uncanny. 

Sugerman died in Los Angeles, from Lung Cancer.

“He was a fine, good and decent man,” Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek told Rolling Stone. “Smart as a whip with a very high I.Q. He was my great friend. I’ve known him since he was fourteen years old, and he gradually developed into one of the new breed of Jewish American Buddhists. His heart was in the heavens and he is now in the light with the Buddha and Jim Morrison.”