Adams County circuit clerk a big fan of ’60s rock band

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 22, 2009

Step into the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office, and you’ll likely see a man with glasses and a festive tie, tons of paperwork, pictures of a beautiful family, classical CDs — oh, and posters of a famous psychedelic rock ’n‘ roll band.

To say Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker is a fan of The Doors would be an understatement.

The man has not only all The Doors’ CDs, including those recorded after lead singer Jim Morrison died of a drug overdose at age 27 in 1971, but also owns posters, handbills, original vinyl records, T-shirts, books and videos of the band.

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The fascination is something he said started when he was a teenager in military school at Chamberlain-Hunt Academy.

“When I first heard ‘Light My Fire,’ I thought it was a great tune,” Walker said. “I loved it and became pretty much a fan right then and started buying their music and their albums. I even learned a little bit — not much — on the guitar.”

From the moment he heard “Light My Fire,” Walker became a lifelong devotee of the California band, buying their first CD, “L.A. Woman” immediately.

He bought their next album, “Strange Days,” and although he never saw the band in concert — the closest they came was to New Orleans in 1970 — he’s heard them in every form possible, including live.

“I bought a CD called ‘Alive She Cried,’ and it was their warm-ups,” Walker said. “When they would go in and get ready to do a concert, in their warm-ups they’d play a set, making sure the sound was set, and it was recorded.

“Some of them are studio quality almost. It’s probably The Doors at their best.”

While Walker said he never has condoned Morrison’s lifestyle, he can understand Morrison’s troubled soul.

Most of his problems came out in the poetry he wrote. It was made into books and was even recorded onto a CD called “American Prayer” after his death.

“It’s not something to woo a girl with,” Walker said.

“Morrison was absolutely brilliant, had a very high IQ, but he was very bored with life. Life was mundane, it was plain — and he was looking for that extra something. He never did quite find it.”

Walker has an original Doors concert poster framed and hanging on a wall in his Adams County Courthouse office, next to two framed original handbills from a Doors concert.

He also has a vinyl single of “Light My Fire” framed with a write-up of how the song went to No. 1 in 1967.

“(The handbills) were $10 each when I bought them, and they’re worth over $100 each now,” he said. “The poster, when I last looked, was $1,200, and I think I paid $30 or $40 for it. I was rather pleased because I don’t make investments like that.”

He said he also owns 25-year-old T-shirts he cannot bear to throw out, even though they never get worn.

As big a fan as he is, though, there is no shrine to The Doors in his home — just a bookshelf that holds some books and CDs.

“When I first got the poster framed, my wife said, ‘I hope you have somewhere to put that because I don’t want it in my house. I said, ‘Yes ma’am,’” he said.

Before Walker and his wife had adopted their two sons, Andrew, 16, and Austin, 13, Walker said music was always playing near him.

He and wife Cathy would blast tunes while working or relaxing around the house.

“I don’t have time now for that,” he said. “There’s too much else going on to listen to music much anymore.”

Still, every once in a while Walker will crave a Doors song. And he usually indulges himself.

“I listen to music on my computer while I’m working,” he said. “I’ll go through periods of ‘I want to hear some Doors,’ and I’ll pop one in and listen to it. Or maybe if I’m traveling by myself, I pop in a CD and I can crank up the volume a little bit. I enjoy doing that.”

Walker owns VHS and DVD versions of the movie “The Doors,” starring Val Kilmer as Morrison, and he has even been a source for a college student’s research paper.

His wife went back to college after they were married, and when a student in one of her classes wanted to do a report on The Doors, she referred him to her husband.

“She said, ‘Come by and meet him, I’m sure he’ll let you borrow some books,’” Walker said. “So he did, and I said, ‘The one thing is I would like to have a copy of your report when you’re finished with it.’ I still have a copy, just to have it.”

Walker has an affinity for most classic rock bands, and while he is not a fan of country or rap music, he does enjoy some new rock ‘n’ roll songs he hears when his sons are in the car.

He would like to have photos with the remaining three band members, drummer John Densmore, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger, and he said he would love to have autographs from The Doors, but Walker said that’s something that may be hard to get.

“It’s virtually impossible,” he said. “I’m not going to traipse to California and try to run them down. I’m not that bad.”