A Fascination With The The Doors
A Fascination With The The Doors
Jim Morrison died on this day in 1971, 44 years ago. People are still obsessed with him
I’m a fan of the music of the doors, I think some of the things they did were beyond innovative and are still influencing music. Jim Morrison’s voice was so rich and powerful, Ray Manzarek filled the background with huge sounds, Robby Krieger’s guitar work was amazing and John Densmore drums drove almost everything they played. I also love how much of their music f really bluesy. I find myself getting lost in the music to this day. I don’t worship this band, I’m just a fan of them as musicians and love to hear them play.
What fascinates me is the cult like following of the Doors and in particular Jim Morrison that continues to this day. Like any writing I think the lyrics are open to interpretation. A lot of people put metaphysical importance to them and see deep spiritual meaning. I see a person who was most likely fascinated by society and the way people behaved. I’m pretty sure the majority of the people who see Morrison as a messiah of sorts have done drugs and having done some drugs I get it, but I don’t get it. We are surrounded daily by this cult of personality with people looking to celebrities for guidance on everything and letting their lives be driven by their fascination. I think Morrison may have been one of the first really big ones other than Elvis. From my take on it Elvis started to buy into his hype whereas I think Morrison did not. The events leading up to his arrest in Florida kind of show that, basically him telling the audience they were sheep and they would let him pee on them.
A documentary included on The Doors movie DVD shows some of this behavior. Oliver Stone seems to have been taken by Morrison in some way obviously, though at times it seems more fascination than worship. I watched a number of other documentaries about this and it makes me uncomfortable when I listen to people talk about Morrison as a Shaman or messiah of sorts, at times voicing out loud speculation about their use of drugs.
In high school I stopped listening to the Doors for a while because so many people around me were discovering the joys of smoking pot and the coolness of the doors. It bored me and I moved on to broaden my musical horizons. People around me were also rediscovering the movie Hair and it had a similar effect on me as I saw these suburban kids as funny hippie wannabees. Watching Hair now, I like the music but find my older self wondering what the Hell was wrong with these characters that they thought spending every day getting wasted and boinking in the park was helping to stop a war. Being rebels for the sake of being a rebel is kind of self serving. Ok, I’m getting off point.
I think Morrison dying at 27 plays a part in this legacy. People dying young leaves a hole and like with Hendrix and other artists people are left wanting more and so we get conspiracy theories about faked deaths, out of the woodwork unreleased material shows up and people hoping for more. I’m of the school of thought that Morrison is in fact dead, I’ve always thought this. I also believe, especially now that I’m older and at least a bit wiser that if he had not been hanging out with the people he was that maybe he would have lived longer. This is not to say that anyone was going to be able to tell someone with such a strong personality not to do drugs and have them just stop, but I do think Pamela Courson played a part in his death, if nothing else by encouraging his drug use.
I think people finding different meaning in stories and books and music is what makes it such a great art form. Words are at times powerful and are always fun. Morrison’s lyrics seem to draw some very emotional responses from a lot of people. The fact that 41 years after his death in Paris people are still so invested in the music and his poetry is telling of his talent. To this day when I hear The Doors I think of summer, in particular hot summer nights and having long talks and a good time.
Here are some thoughts from Libby Hellman:
The Doors were America’s response to the eager-to-please (early) Beatles and the so-called rebel boys of the Stones. Both reputations were wrong and were the result of marketing folk, not reality.
Not so the Doors. Their music was real… from their gritty but seductive music… to Morrison’s No-holds-barred rejection of everything when it suited him (yeah.. hypocrisy was a part of him)… to his constant search for meaning and identity through experimentation… the Doors captured the discordant and destructive notes of the late Sixties… the desperation, hopelessness, and impotence of fighting the system.
It’s ironic. When I saw Oliver Stone’s movie, it was like a trip back to those years and was so hard to watch. But when I listen to their music, I immediately feel less isolated.. and more plugged into the knowledge that we weren’t alone back them. That’s why there was no question at all that my Sixties thriller would be called “Set The Night on Fire>”
And Ian Rankin:
I was a Doors late adopter. It was Apocalypse Now. I was 18/19 and a student. Saw the film 3 times in a week. Bought the soundtrack LP. Loved The End. Bought the first Doors album. Coincided with a friend buying me the JM biography No One Here Gets Out Alive. I fell hard for this difficult shaman. The band were tight and spacey and those keyboards sent me flying. The other LPs never quite did it for me in the same way, though there were sporadic highlights. But that first LP I still play. It’s a keeper.