Miscellaneous Rumbles

Oliver Stone got this wrong….Jim Morrison content

1

I always wonder/question when I watch a movie...biopic/true story/based on a true story movie. I was born in '73 so of course I had no idea what the vibe of DJs, or publications, or any "buzz" in the media circulated about The Doors and "the mystique"(if there was one) of Jim Morrison.

On seeing "The Doors" by Oliver Stone, I thought it was a little too Morrison-centric and was hoping for more of a story of vs. a sensational-building "urban legend producing fodder" I thought the movie spun into. Just because I thought "Wall Street" was a great narrative doesn't mean Stone nailed this.

I get it, Jim was the lead singer and the creator of the chaos that created the media frenzy and the "sexy-just ahead of the devil" character that made for great musical and poetic mystery.

I've always been a fan of Ray Manzarek and thought he was a fantastic talent. Sooooooo...... When I stumbled upon this youtube clip from Ray Manzarek, I was happy to hear the story from someone who was part of the story, and hear his narrative vs. last part of the movie that is more insulting to who Jim Morrison might really have been.

Anyway, Ray's story is certainly different than the movie which I felt serves a cheap and quick closing that seems to want to paint Jim Morrison as a self-absorbed and completely alcohol dependent lost cause who just didn't care.

2

IIRC the three remaining Doors weren't happy with Stone's vision. Stone missed Morrison's humor. But it worked as cinema and it certainly was cool. I keep hoping that somehow, Morrison is on some deserted Greek isle planning the comeback of all time. It would be glorious.

3

Stone is not a documentary maker. In his own words, he is “a dramatist, poaching history” serving the story more than the facts. In fact, when one see a bio-pic, a person should remind oneself that it is not a documentary.

4

Actually, in an interview a full 24 years ago, Robbie Krieger was aksed about a possible 'return of Morrison'. He said dryly, "Well, it's been 24 years. I think he would have gotten in touch by now."

5

In ‘Please Kill Me’ and ‘Janis’ Jim made appearances. And both cases reported Morrison’s behavior one of an asshat. In the Janis biography, they report that Janis broke a bottle over his head in NYC while he was giving Hendrix a hard time during a jam session. In another incident, he pushed her through a glass coffee table. In ‘Please Kill Me’, he was just out of control and showing a death wish. I’m not a Doors fan, or a hater either, but I always felt from what I’ve seen and read about him, he was not a person I would want to hang with. Listen too? Sure. Drink a beer with? Probably not.

Movies like Stone’s are usually more entertaining than factual in my opinion.

6

Matt, I've always thought the same. But I would have gone to his shows....

K

7

Heard them once from outside Randolph Park in Tucson. They sounded like the record.

8

I was 15 when it came out. At that age, it definitely inspired a desire to grow up to be a degenerate rock star.

9

I saw an interview with his father and his sister and that certainly paints him in a different light than Stone’s depiction. Obviously he had some difficulties socially as do many artists that can’t handle the fame. I was never a fan or a hater either but I don’t change the channel when they come on.

10

I saw an interview with his father and his sister and that certainly paints him in a different light than Stone’s depiction. Obviously he had some difficulties socially as do many artists that can’t handle the fame. I was never a fan or a hater either but I don’t change the channel when they come on.

– Suprdave

I also saw on youtube an interview with both his dad and sister....probably the same one. I was surprised as I was expecting them to describe a fractured person vs. his father's acknowledgement and encouragement of Jim's writing abilities. I think I remember him as saying he was less than thrilled, and even a little confused, at his music path but wanted to support his son.

11

GEEZ man, it's like Manzarek WON'T SHUT UP. On and on and on he drones, saying the same things over and over in recursive loops, in that fake radio splainin'-it-to-idiots tone. "That was it, man."


I don't know the truth about JM any more than anyone else, but this account sounds a bit like white-washing and myth-enabling, and the Stone version was cinematically exaggerated in dark dramatic strokes.

I suspect the truth falls between the extremes. Jim was acknowledged by all who knew and met him to be intelligent, witty, sensitive, verbal, and creative. His best lyrics and poetry make that clear.

I think he was experimenting in his performances with...well, performance art...seeing how far he could take incitements to dionsyian license and release, what hysterical energy he could draw from a crowd, to what extent he could control it. And I think that was part of his artistic credo, his intention, his interest from the beginning. "Break On Through" was the first track of the first album...how much clearer could he be? The strain of ecstatic transcendence runs through at least the first four albums.

I don't know if he truly saw himself as the apotheosis of a beat Whitman, Ginsberg with a band and a microphone, or whether this - the Lizard King with license to do anything - was an artistic pose or something he truly believed. Whatever his original motivation, the pressures and pleasures of fame, the perpetual party of the lifestyle in which he indulged, and the diet of drugs and alcohol no doubt eroded his clarity and blurred his sense of self.

Both David Bowie and Alice Cooper have reported how they got sucked up into their personae at various points, and had to go through both literal and psychological detox to take off the masks and re-establish their own identities. The last two Doors albums were less mystical and transgressive, hewing back to an exploration of musical roots and more concrete subject matter. I kinda think going to Paris was a lost-boy attempt by Jim to at least think about starting to reset.

Too, as I understand it Jim had largely transitioned from a pharmacological cornucopia of late-60s drugs to mostly alcohol. The godlike chiseled young lion had grown a bear's beard and put on a beer-belly. It can't be said he was in a good place - but I kinda think he'd taken the Lizard King as far as he could, saw it as a dead end (or a route to a place where only self-immolation could consummate the extremity he sought) ... and was unsure about what to do next.

Though he was often an ass, I don't think he'd become a self-destructive idiot. To the extent he did go to Paris to escape the prison he'd created for himself in LA, and to make things up with Pam, it could be he was less self-absorbed at the end. I have no idea what he and Pam did in Paris that summer. Was he on an extended helpless bender, or was he clearing up but punctuating the process with backslides into the bottle? Dunno.

Was he in the box? Ditto, dunno. Humoring for a speculative moment the myth of Jim the Eternal, would he have faked his demise, then disappeared into anonymity? Well, you know. Maybe. It's possible to imagine a couple motivations for that: one, as an arty conclusion to the reign of the Lizard King; another, as a way to break with everything in his life up to that point, including the fame and the substance abuse. Maybe he would go away and publish poetry under another name.

Pfft, I don't know. If so, it's hard to believe he'd stay disappeared and anonymous for fifty years, or that in all that time no one would figure it out and out him.

If anything, I'm more of a Doors fan now than I was at the time...and I'd've thought that was impossible. The band was so early in the "psychedelic" / new rock cycle of the 60s, and came on so fully developed, with such strong writing and brilliant arrangements. As a 7th grader, I could have no idea what an accomplishment that was, what a statement the band made on their first two albums, how different it was from anything else going on - and yet how direct an evolution it was musically at the time.

It's finely crafted pop, just with fresh elements, and with subject matter, lyrics, and a unique and considered "artistic" intention waaay beyond anyone else at the time. So melodic, so hooky, so memorable - and yet strewn with pretty radical thematic underpinnings it's hard to imagine coming out of the radio.

I just liked the band at the time; I couldn't appreciate all that stuff till later. Years later. Musically it all still sounds fresh to me, almost completely devoid of clichés which mark its era. (Partly, I think, because no one else really tried to copy what the band did. Or if they did, they didn't succeed.) And thematically, lyrically, I still find poetic and intellectual content to chew on. You'd think I'd've got to the bottom of it, but as I age I just get different perspectives.

In the late 60s and early 70s, lots of rockers were trying to be transgressive and outrageous, defiantly f-bombing whatever they could get away with, suggesting sexual escapades to outrage conventional morality, slyly or blatantly promoting drug use, even inciting revolution. The Doors had come out of the chute in 1967 with patricide and incest. But no one but Jim quite had the audacity to bellow "YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER."

Not that Jim's extreme pronouncements attracted me at the time. The money-shot in "The End" was edited out for release, the whole Oedipal drama sailed right over my head - and I didn't fully understand the theology in "Soft Parade” anyway. I just liked the music.

And durn, I still do. There's just nothing else quite like The Doors.

12

I am too young to know them as anything but a memory, But I think that their approach without the bass player may have helped keep them on their own level, maybe?. As the White stripes were just a drum kit and a guitar, it is almost impossible to do that and not sound like a copy. I.e the Black Keys. They weren’t original in their approach, but able to creat tunes that were just as catchy. And I don’t mean this to take away from the musicianship of the Doors, but that they were good enough to make it work, and me not even know for a long time, that there wasn’t a bass player at all.

13

Jim Morrison was possibly an ass and so much more, but I cannot think of anyone else from that era whose mere mention of their name could conjure up more smiles. He was an outrageous finger to so much.

14

The Doors were the band of a special moment. By all accounts Morrison was focused for the 1st two albums, starting to drift by the 3rd, and out of control, etc. for 4th/5th, and then just a ghost who turned in a good performance on LA Woman.

He also had a run-in with an equally big a-hole of the time, David Crosby.

I liked Krieger's guitar... an SG man but some very early pix of him with a Jet! Plus he played some slide before it was commonplace on rock records.

15

Oooh, what happened between him and Crosby?

16

I love the Doors music. I saw them live in a small venue before things got crazy. Just fantastic. All came from different musical backgrounds but mixed perfectly. I couldn't believe the sound they made with a singer and a trio. I'll never understand how Manzarek played the bass lines on the Fender Rhodes and the organ with his right. I know some of the recordings were done with a bass player in the studio but live it sounded the same. My band in high school in the late 60's played Light My Fire and Crystal Ship, among others, but it took 6 of us to do it right.

17

Whenever The Doors come up for discussion, it reminds me how surprisingly rare of an occurrence that is. For a band that was as successful, productive, talented and unique as they were, there doesn't seem to be much of a legacy. There are so many bands from that era, up and down the scale of fame, that have devoted followers constantly chomping at the bit to discuss them, but not so much with The Doors. I think I hear MC5 or NRBQ or Captain Beefheart discussed more than The Doors, and to my knowledge, I've never heard a single one of their songs. Odd.

18

I love the Doors music. I saw them live in a small venue before things got crazy. Just fantastic. All came from different musical backgrounds but mixed perfectly. I couldn't believe the sound they made with a singer and a trio. I'll never understand how Manzarek played the bass lines on the Fender Rhodes and the organ with his right. I know some of the recordings were done with a bass player in the studio but live it sounded the same. My band in high school in the late 60's played Light My Fire and Crystal Ship, among others, but it took 6 of us to do it right.

– johnsgretsch

Keyboards are my first instruments. Playing different things with the right and left hand is normal for keyboardists. You do two completely different things with your hands when playing guitar. Manzarek is classically trained, very Bach like.

19

For a band that was as successful, productive, talented and unique as they were, there doesn't seem to be much of a legacy.

Yep. I think Morrison's assumed role as a social and intellectual rebel, his dionsyian posturing both artistically and as a party boy, and his arc of fame and self-destruction had an impact - or at least helped rewrite the suffering/misunderstood/outrageous/deathwish artist narrative for the rock era. So in that way his legacy helped define what "rock star" means.

But musically, yep nope. It's hard to think of anyone who really picked up on the band's particular musical gumbo. To hear a description of the music, you'd think it should have been prog, or maybe fusion: a classical keyboardist (like Emerson or Wakeman) with full command of honky-tonk and barrelhouse idioms (like Emerson), a guitarist who took as many cues from big band horn arrangements as from blues guitar, a drummer every bit as driving-but-jazzily-decorative as Bruford.

And yet when you put them together, while you hear all those influences, it doesn't sound anything like what became known as prog. If anything, their transformations of their musical backgrounds and roots were more like the Beatles-as-mediated-by-George-Martin than the extended suites - and more obvious musical oddities and calisthenics - that would characterize prog. The Doors' musical inventions, like The Beatles', always served the song. In prog, the convolutions of the music itself were frequently more the point than "the song." (Perhaps an odd linkage, but if anyone in pop/rock at the time was plowing a similar row, it might have been Brian Wilson - I won't say The Beach Boys - on Pet Sounds, which preceded The Doors by 6 months.)

When I wrack my brain to think of bands who might have intentionally picked up on The Doors' style/compositional methods/musical mashups/sound...it's tough. To combine everything The Doors did - diverse musical influences; a keen ear for popcraft married with an appetite and talent for moody improv; dark but seductive psychodrama; socially and spiritually incendiary (even revolutionary) themes; impressive musicianship anchored by a dangerous, haunted and haunting, pretty boy in front - it's just a daunting recipe to emulate.

It occurs to me that early Santana might have taken some cues specifically from "Light My Fire" - centrality of the organ to the intro, extended minor-7th improvs. And in some ways "In A Gadda Da Vida" is "Light My Fire" dumbed down a little and stretched to the point of absurdity.

1967 was one of those years in which pop/rock changed - a lot, and in a hurry, more than in most years. Groundbreaking albums, debuts by bands which would shape the next 5-10 years, intimations of genres to come which were just then gestating. (More in a mo on that.)

If the Beatles and The Doors shared the role of breaking song-based rock pop into a new and more sophisticated phase, it's interesting to contemplate who was doing what, and when. The Beatles' Revolver, following Rubber Soul as it did, completed their transition from Beatlemania pop, arguably inaugurated the psychedelic era, and set them up for Sgt Pepper's musical revolution. It was recorded in April-May 1966 and released in early August.

The Doors recorded The Doors between August and September - meaning their seven-minute jam opus "Light My Fire" and the brooding 11-minute psyche-dirge "The End" were in the can before The Beatles even thought about "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" (their first New Studio Beatles efforts), much less Sgt Pepper.

The Doors was released on January 4th, making theirs the first intimation (or the second, if we count the brilliant Revolver as the first) of what was coming in the way of musical psychedelia and the stirrings of prog, heavy British blues-rock (eventually leading to metal), and music as social revolution. And it's a stunning debut, artistically fully formed and mature - especially in comparison to other debuts of the year revealing bands of promise which would only develop over time.

From wikipedia, here's a partial list of the year's albums seen through the lens of those developments:

• 1/4 The Doors
• 2/1 Surrealistic Pillow (Jeff Airplane)
• 2/13 Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields (single release)
• 3/17 The Grateful Dead (debut)
• 5/12 Are You Experienced (Hendrix)
• 5/12 Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum single release)
• 6/1 Sgt Pepper
• 6/6 Moby Grape (debut)
• 8/? Vanilla Fudge (debut)
• 8/5 Piper at the Gates of Dawn (P Floyd debut)
• 8/23 Big Brother & the Holding Company (debut)
• 9/? Procol Harum (late album release)
• 9/25 Strange Days (Door #2)
• 11/10 Days of Future Passed (Moodies)
• 11/10 Disraeli Gears (Cream as sophomores)
• 11/27 Magical Mystery Tour
• 11/30 After Bathing at Baxter’s (Airplane's freakier second)
• 12/1 Axis: Bold as Love (Hendrix)

Also appearing in 1967, dates unknown: Incense & Peppermints and The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack (debut of The Nice, Keith Emerson's first vehicle and a harbinger of prog things to come).

I can't not notice that "Whiter Shade of Pale" and the first Hendrix album were released on the same day. Man.

It was also The Year of the Organ. We'd had organ intros to pop songs in previous years - "Green Onions," "96 Tears," "Liar Liar", and "Red Rubber Ball" come to mind - but those were short blasts. In '67 we got the epic classicalite "Light My Fire" and "Whiter Shade" within months of each other, and they shared both the radio and the charts. Of the top five US singles, three begin with organ, one with a marching band horn fanfare - and one with Mellotron flutes, a sneaky innocuous introduction to that instrument and the role it would play a few years on. Here they are:

1: Whiter Shade of Pale
2: I’m A Believer
3: All You Need is Love
4: Light My Fire
5: Strawberry Fields Forever

So, you know. Big year.

(And I haven't even touched on everything else going on musically at the time. A quick read of the whole Year-in-Music-1967 wiki article will provide ample evidence of wild cultural diversity - maybe clash! - and doubtless generate a few wry smiles.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

20

If you want to see/hear the musical legacy of The Doors then you need to look at the “Madchester” bands of the late 80s and early 90s, notably the Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays.

The way I see it is that The Doors were inherently groovy, they made some fantastic dance music, obviously not everything they did but a fair proportion of their ouvre. (I wouldn’t recommend trying to get the party started with, say, Horse Latitudes.) They were cerebral and visceral at the same time. This really sets them apart. Try dancing to late 60s Beatles...rubbish. (Trying to put a winking emoji in here but it’s not working) And you can only really dance to prog if you can’t dance, (with the obvious exception of Camel, who I think were the finest prog outfit ever.)

I also see a bit of The Doors in Guns’N’Roses, who again had real moments of groovy-ness. Maybe even INXS too, but that might just be Michael Hutchence’s generally “similar to Jim” presence.

Oh and maybe The Cult too..

21

Good points. Cerebral and visceral, yes. And whimsical and dark at the same time (more accessibly than Syd's Pink Floyd).

I like Camel OK, but I can't think of them as any sort of apotheosis of prog. As you say, maybe too ... groovy, OK.

And you can only really dance to prog if you can’t dance,

Now this is funny. My now-dormant trio (or sometimes quartet/quintet) Small Bllue World's material is shot through with proggy elements, but altogether comes across more as Americana-saturated power folkrock. If that's a thing, and it probably isn't, and my stentorian Zappa-esque crooning severely cripples its wider appeal anyway.

BUT we have/had one faux-middle-easty droning instrumental with sections of 7/4 and 5/4 (or occasional measures of 3/4 or 2/4, however you want to think of it). We didn't generally incite dancing, but at one gig that song filled the floor with whirling hippies, and one comely lass was moved to flash us!

So I can't say anything bad about girls who can dance to prog. Ishness.

22

So I can't say anything bad about girls who can dance to prog. Ishness.

That’s a special gift right there! It sounds like they wrote the Book of Ishness... oh no that was Tolkien.

Yes, Camel are probably too rooted in a jazz funk sort of idiom to take the Prog crown (and, indeed cape!).

23

If you want to see/hear the musical legacy of The Doors then you need to look at the “Madchester” bands of the late 80s and early 90s, notably the Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays.

The way I see it is that The Doors were inherently groovy, they made some fantastic dance music, obviously not everything they did but a fair proportion of their ouvre. (I wouldn’t recommend trying to get the party started with, say, Horse Latitudes.) They were cerebral and visceral at the same time. This really sets them apart. Try dancing to late 60s Beatles...rubbish. (Trying to put a winking emoji in here but it’s not working) And you can only really dance to prog if you can’t dance, (with the obvious exception of Camel, who I think were the finest prog outfit ever.)

I also see a bit of The Doors in Guns’N’Roses, who again had real moments of groovy-ness. Maybe even INXS too, but that might just be Michael Hutchence’s generally “similar to Jim” presence.

Oh and maybe The Cult too..

– noggsly

Nice noggsly.....mix your input with a lot of what Protues wrote and I get the picture of The Doors that I love but really can't describe in words.

Wabash was right on with Manzarek being a classically trained talent. The songs and the "somewhat different" material and arrangements really made them special.

I personally think "L.A. Woman" is one of the greatest Rock 'n Roll songs ever....exploding with tension but not really needing the volume to explode. I love a ton of their stuff but also think it was unique in that during my high school years from '87 - '91, the most popular music (either via car, hangin' w/ friends, or at big parties), was "classic rock" with the top favorites amongst my peers being The Doors and Led Zeppelin tied for 1st and then Cream playing on a never ending loop, big doses of Pink Floyd, The Who, and Rolling Stones and of course anything Hendrix. That really was our "pop" music. We saved Duran Duran and other '80s stuff because the girls liked. And yes, any time a GNR song was played it was blasted.

I think the "rock and roll/living on the edge/non-compromising bad boy mystique" of Jim Morisson certainly was rooted in some truth. Much of the truth expanded in myth and we all had the man who represented the middle finger we wanted to flip off to a person of authority when told "NO" to anything we wanted to do.

It was a time, at least where I grew up, that the revolution created by Rock music of the '60s and early '70s really played a major part in our lives during our formative years into college.....even to the point that Pearl Jam and Nirvana took a back seat to it.

24

NJ Devil, we’re the same age and over here in the UK The Doors, Zep and Hendrix were huge in the late 80s early 90s. That being said, I didn’t really get into The Doors until I read Ray’s book, Light My Fire in 1998. I bought it on a whim in the University of Queensland bookshop and sat and devoured it in one go. Like Wabash my primary instrument is piano/keys so Ray became a bit of a hero to me. He was a great raconteur, I can thoroughly recommend tracking down a copy of his book.

25

NJ Devil, we’re the same age and over here in the UK The Doors, Zep and Hendrix were huge in the late 80s early 90s. That being said, I didn’t really get into The Doors until I read Ray’s book, Light My Fire in 1998. I bought it on a whim in the University of Queensland bookshop and sat and devoured it in one go. Like Wabash my primary instrument is piano/keys so Ray became a bit of a hero to me. He was a great raconteur, I can thoroughly recommend tracking down a copy of his book.

– noggsly

Very cool moggsly as I will look out for that book. That period definitely created special music and it isn't by chance that people our age hooked into it as our tunes of choice....for both individual listening and "a vessel" fo friends to hang out, party, eat and drink to.


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