WEIRDLAND

Thursday, March 30, 2017

'Damage & Joy,' Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison


The Jesus & Mary Chain have addressed a lyric from their new album that includes the line: “I killed Kurt Cobain/I put the shot right through his brain”. The Scottish shoegaze veterans are currently gearing up to release their first album in 18 years with ‘Damage & Joy.‘ The album’s twelfth track ‘Simian Split’ includes the Cobain lyric, with Pitchfork asking the band’s Jim Reid if it was a call-back to their 1992 song ‘Reverence’ in which he sings: “I wanna die just like JFK”. Reid explained: “It’s fiction. It’s total fiction. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s just a work of fiction, and people shouldn’t get too het up about it.” Meanwhile, Reid recently spoke to NME about the state of modern guitar music. He argued that in the time that the group has been away, rock and guitar music has seen a sharp decline. “There’s not much of guitar music left at the moment, I don’t hear many guitar bands out there,” the frontman told NME. “It’s kinda pushed underground, guitar music seems to be limping at the moment.” Source: www.nme.com

The 1990’s was a great decade to grow up in. Music was a huge pivot point for society, with the 80s punk movement morphing into grunge. Grunge became the voice for the ’90s young people, bringing socially conscious issues into popular culture. One of the biggest bands of the era was Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was what many would call a tortured soul. He was unusually negatively affected by his fame and popularity as lead guitarist and vocalist of Nirvana. Often hailed as “the spokesman of Generation X”, Cobain was uncomfortable with the label as he believed his message and vision was misinterpreted. Nirvana has sold over 25 million albums in the US alone, and over 75 million globally. However, this massive success had profound effects on Cobain, who struggled to reconcile it with his underground roots. The frontman developed a resentment toward people who claimed to be fans of the band and yet misinterpreted, or refused to acknowledge, the core social and political views of Nirvana. Source: www.m2now.co.nz


It could be argued that without Jim Morrison you don’t get Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, or going down another line, Kurt Cobain. I can’t say I agree with Lester Bangs’ quaint notion that there ain’t NO SALVATION without rock and roll, and I’d bet Jim Morrison didn’t either. I couldn’t really tell you whether rock & roll has ever needed anything as ridiculous as a king, or if kings especially need rock and roll, but if there ever was an approximate, I would hafto insist on Jimbo as the goddamn King of Rock and Roll.  ―"Best Goddamn L.A. King: Jim Morrison" (2003) by Richard Meltzer

Jim Morrison: "A bad photograph can give you several moments of real psychic loss. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People seek tyrants. They worship and support them. They co-operate with restrictions and rules, and they become enchanted with the violence involved in their brief, token rebellion. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession. The LA cops are almost fanatical in believing the rightfulness of their cause. They have a whole philosophy behind their tyranny. Religion is like philosophy, what you devote most of your time to. It might be a woman. It might be money. It might be literature. I think religion is what you think about the most. Philosophy doesn't interest me as much as it used to. I finally was forced to realize that no one in the world really knows about what's going on. Poetry is the ultimate art form, because what defines us as human beings is language. And so I appreciate philosophy these days from the standpoint of poetry, the use of one word next to another word next to another word. So, philosophy is semantics, I guess."

Frank Lisciandro: Jim Morrison was an alcoholic, but not a 'drug addict'. He might have used LSD, and even abused it, but he used it to search for something, not to escape. He lived his life with a calm, unhurried simplicity. He read novels, pulp fiction, scientific journals, history, philosophy, psychology. Alcoholics suffer from their disease. Do we say that people who have cancer or heart disease destroy themselves? No! We acknowledge that the disease destroys them. The myth of the tortured artist is a literary conceit. I don't know how Jim died, but I think that his death must have been an careless accident. Or the culmination of a life of alcoholism. 

-I'm not especially fond of Ray Manzarek, but he had a point when he told Rolling Stone magazine: "we can't let the fascists joke about the Sixties and the counter culture." Too much was at stake. My generation, Jim's generation, we stopped a war, but we took casualties. He fled to avoid being another one. I can understand that. Mike Jahn in "Jim Morrison & The Doors"  (1969)

-Frank Lisciandro: Jim dedicated his books of poetry to Pamela who was his companion, lover, muse and friend. She encouraged him to write and publish his poems, and in many ways she was the most important figure in his life. Pamela was beautiful, intelligent, creative and as wild and willful as Jim was. They made a perfect pair. I think they loved each other as only very strong hearts can love. I can say that when Jim talked about her, it was always in praise of her. Jim was very supportive of her. There was a consistency to their relationship that far, far transcended any other relationship that Jim had with any other woman. Jim’s appreciation of the Living Theater led to his over-the-top behavior in Miami. Another possible contributing factor was an argument. Jim and Pam were going to Jamaica right after the Miami concert, but, at the last minute, they had an argument and Pam decided not to go, and Jim missed his airplane to Miami. Then, in order to get to Miami close to the starting time of the concert, he had to take a series of connecting flights. And he was drinking the whole way there.

“Jim was a humanist because he accepted people and believed that all human beings deserved to be treated with dignity. He was a direct, no bullshit dude and hated being lied to, conned or exploited. By the time he left for Paris in March of 1971, the friends he could depend on numbered less than ten. Jim was a performer and he would get up on stage and weave a spell for you. I didn’t see him as that leather-clad heartthrob icon that other people did. Jim was more Rimbaud than Mick Jagger. He was just a tremendously likeable person to be around.” Source: www.lisciandrophotos.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Nietzschean Influence of Jim Morrison

'Those who envy or culminate great men hate God, for there is no other God.‘ ―"The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"  (1793) by William Blake 


Although Jim Morrison‘s work displays a strong Nietzschean influence, his early explorations with sensory perception relate more specifically to William Blake and Aldous Huxley. Jim Morrison eagerly joined the pursuit for personal freedom in the Nietzschean fashion accepting both the rewards and the sacrifices. Through the process of misprision, Morrison accepts the role of poet which allows him to reinvent Nietzsche. In his poem 'The Opening of the Trunk,' Morrison reflects this idea: "Moment of inner freedom/ when the mind is opened and the infinite universe revealed/ the soul is left to wander." In order to set himself apart from his precursors, Morrison‘s work often contains an aspect of fear and revulsion. Morrison was no stranger to experimenting with mind-altering drugs like marijuana and LSD and found himself drawn to Aldous Huxley‘s essay 'The Doors of Perception.' In Morrison‘s view, everyone designs an alternate life for themselves in their mind which sometimes conflicts with their life in the real world. In "The Lords and the New Creatures" (1971) he states: "Drugs are a bet with your mind/ Where I can construct a universe/ within the skull, to rival the real." 

Jim Morrison writes: "I drink so I can talk to assholes/This includes me." Morrison‘s experimentation left him with an expanded consciousness yet increased his anxiety about life. In keeping with his darker thoughts, Morrison writes: "Films are collections of dead pictures which are/ given artificial insemination." Morrison describes the moment he accepted the task of creating: "Those first six songs I wrote, I was just taking notes at a fantastic rock concert that was going on inside my head. I just got out of college and I went down to the beach…I was free for the first time… It was a beautiful hot summer, and I just started hearing songs… This kind of mythic concert… I‘d like to reproduce what I heard on the beach that day." In 'The American Night" he remembers: "One summer night, going/ To the pier, I ran into/ two young girls. The blonde was called Freedom,/ the dark one, Enterprise./ We talked and they told me this story." Another version of that poem alludes to Nietzsche as he concludes with the lines  "At night the moon became/ a woman‘s face./ I met the Spirit of Music." 

The terror celebrated in Morrison‘s work goes beyond the Nietzschean acceptance of life‘s suffering. Morrison‘s familiarity with the poetry of Blake, as well as Rimbaud and Baudelaire, encouraged his attraction to darker themes. Although many of the nihilistic thoughts echo those of Nietzsche, Morrison‘s fondness for absurdist texts instills in him a preference for nonsense rather than rationality, telling a generation starved for love that 'music is your only friend.‘ Morrison sees no point in trying to combat nihilism. His work suggests that the absurdity of the world enhances man‘s sensory perception and allows the world to be whatever can be created in the mind. Morrison confronts conflicting feelings of remaining in the comfortable role of the spectator or assuming the unpredictable role of the actor—a problem he will ponder often during his career. Morrison recognizes "self-deception may be/ necessary to the poet‘s survival." Morrison‘s self-doubt extends beyond his abilities as a writer to his abilities as performer as well. 'The Discourse of the Sublime and the Inadequacy of Presentation' essay contends that an interest in the alliance between the mind and imagination challenged traditional views on aesthetics and in turn redefined the boundaries of disproportion, obscurity and monster-like appearances.  Morrison‘s poem 'Crossroads' depicts his perception of this process while showing his proclivity for darker images: "Meeting you at your parent‘s gate/ We will tell you what to do/ What you have to do to survive/ Leave the rotten towns/ of your father/ Leave the poisoned wells and bloodstained streets/ Enter now the sweet forest."


Jim Morrison summarizes his philosophy as he writes in 'The American Night': "We have assembled inside this ancient/ & insane theater/ To propagate our lust for life/ and flee the swarming wisdom of the streets." Both Nietzsche and Morrison believe in the destructive condition of the creative process. Morrison uses elements of Dionysian myth in his poetry to describe his own creative experiences: "Running, I saw a Satan/ or Satyr, moving beside/ me, a fleshy shadow/ of my secret mind. Running, Knowing. As the body is ravaged/ The spirit grows stronger./ Forgive me Father for I know/ I want to hear the last Poem/ of the last Poet." Morrison‘s lonely trip takes him to places that even he cannot endure: "I had a splitting headache/ from which the future‘s made." Following a long tradition of strong poets, Morrison uses Nietzschean themes to rewrite/reinvent Nietzsche and develop a philosophy of willful absurdity. ―"The Nietzschean Influence of Jim Morrison" (2008) thesis by Megan Michelle Stypinski 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bob Dylan's "Triplicate", Jim Morrison and Lou Reed (Rock & Roll Masculine Mystique)


Triplicate (planned to be released by Columbia Records on March 31, 2017) marks Bob Dylan’s 38th studio album to date following 2016’s Fallen Angels. Triplicate sees the Nobel laureate covering 30 American standards by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams, Harold Hupfield, and Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh. All three discs of Triplicate are presented in a thematically-arranged 10-song sequence. "Rock and roll was indeed an extension of what was going on – the big swinging bands – Ray Noble, Will Bradley, Glenn Miller, I listened to that music before I heard Elvis Presley. But rock and roll was high energy, explosive and cut down," says Dylan: "It was skeleton music, came out of the darkness... Rock and roll was a dangerous weapon, chrome plated, it exploded like the speed of light, it reflected the times, especially the presence of the atomic bomb which had preceded it. Back then people feared the end of time. The big showdown between capitalism and communism was on the horizon. Rock and roll made you oblivious to the fear, busted down the barriers that race and religion, ideologies, put up. We lived under a death cloud; the air was radioactive. There was no tomorrow, any day it could all be over." 

Here’s Dylan on whether he picks vocal approaches like an actor playing a role: “An actor playing a role? Like who? Scatman Crothers? George C. Scott? Steve McQueen? It would probably be more like a method actor, whatever a method actor is. Remembrance of things past, I do that all the time.” Asked if he was a fan of the tragic singer Amy Winehouse, Dylan says, "Yeah, absolutely. She was the last real individualist around." Source: www.billboard.com

-There are stories of Jim Morrison being courted by the Hollywood industry, but he torpedoed any chance of that by alienating producers, directors, agents and actors with a cocky attitude... 

-Frank Lisciandro: I just didn’t see that type of behavior from Jim in these situations. Jim was much more passive than actively hostile to people. So rather than become abusive or cop an attitude, he’d get drunk and screw it up that way, ducking out of situations that frustrated him. The fact is that 90% of what I hear about Jim Morrison strikes me as being absolutely wrong. And the ultimate irony is how that type of spin has impacted his own life story and turned it upside down to the degree that it’s nearly impossible to find any truth…I think he would be amazed at what has been said about him over the years. He was more interested in whether the media was beginning to control the thought patterns of society in some horrible ways. His main concern was that the media should not have control over our lives, that was the strongest political statement he ever made.

-Jim's stage persona was the character he played. He was acting a part. Maybe it was insecurity that forced him to become someone else. Maybe some people might find it strange that Jim was a huge Elvis and Beach Boys fan, but Jim heard something in their music that he enjoyed. At parties, he would want people to put on either Elvis or the Beach Boys. Jim really, really loved the Beach Boys. I remember this one time we were driving around and Dylan’s song “And Dogs Run Free” from his album “New Morning”, came on. And it was funny that this amazingly abstract, jazzy song with almost spoken poetry was on the radio. I remember Jim smiling and saying, “Only Dylan could get that played on the radio”. Jim was honoring Dylan’s power as an artist that he could make something so out of the mainstream and still get it played on rock station. Source: www.lisciandrophotos.com

Lester Bangs wrote this defense of Jim Morrison back in 1981 for Creem Magazine, reminding people of the indelible mark Morrison had made on rock ‘n’ roll and the reach of his influence: Jim Morrison was really the end of the Masculine Mystique as celebrated American culture up to and through rock ‘n’ roll; he was a master of the sly inflectional turn, so that his every utterance, no matter how repetitious, rolled out oozing irony and sanity. A strategy scripted from day one to ultimately reveal that all rock stars were huge oafus cartoons. Jim understands the single kernel of no mind koan-truth that eluded both philosophers and poets (including Patti Smith) over the centuries: that our attempts to rationalize death are beautifully, lovingly funny. Jim was hip to the comedy implicit in romantic obsessor: “I pressed her thigh and death smiled… We could plan a murder or start a religion.” The Beatnik poets gave birth to Jim Morrison, a giant resplendent in the conviction that clowning is ultimately sexy.

Lou Reed enjoyed a solo career renaissance primarily by passing himself off as the most burnt-out reprobate around (and it wasn't all show by a long shot). People kept expecting him to die, so he perversely came back, not to haunt them, but to clean up. The central heroic myth of the sixties was the burnout. Lou Reed was necessary because he had the good sense to realize that the whole concept of sleaze, of decadence, degeneracy, was a joke and he turned himself into a clown. A large part of Lou's mythic appeal has always been his total infantilism. Like Jim Morrison, Lou Reed realized the implicity absurdity of the rock 'n' roll b├Ęte-noire badass pose and parodied it, deglamorized it. Lou Reed, like all the heroes, is there for the beating up. They wouldn't be heroes if they were infallible, they wouldn't be heroes if they weren't miserable wretched dogs, the pariahs of the earth.  –"Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" (2013) by Lester Bangs

Thursday, March 23, 2017

American Gods, Labyrinth, Fantasy Movies

American Gods is an American television series created by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for Starz, based on the novel by author Neil Gaiman. Its premise is what if all the ancient gods were still around and waging a war against the new gods of technology and media? The series focuses on Shadow Moon, a man who is just released after serving three years in prison. Shadow meets a man named Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job. Wednesday appears to be a con artist but is in fact the god Odin. Wednesday is making his way across America, gathering all the old gods, who have now incorporated themselves into American life, to confront the New Gods, including Media and Technology, who grow stronger. Left feeling like he is looking at the world from the bottom of a well, Shadow must literally walk his heroes' path back to a time where he even resembles sanity.

American Gods is a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The plot is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn protagonist Shadow. A special tenth anniversary edition, with the author's preferred text and including an additional 12000 words, was published in June 2011.

American Gods premieres on Starz on April 30. Gillian Anderson assumes in American Gods the role of the shape-shifting god, Media, the “new Goddess” of television, that’s to say a Goddess who’s been engendered by contemporary collective American desires. As opposed to the Old Gods, engendered by religion and myth, the new Gods are a result of a new form of religiousness: the cult to celebrities. 

Media takes the form of assorted icons: David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, etc. In Labyrinth (1986), a musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, produced by George Lucas, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) initiates a coming of age fantastic journey in search of Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie). Sarah is much like The Neverending Story's Bastian and Return To Oz's Dorothy in this respect. Her character has echoes of Alice in Wonderland's Alice, and Snow White, too. She's a romantic soul who prefers books, stories and her imagination to the real world. Sarah's route to adulthood is a convoluted trek through a magical world where normal logic doesn't apply. Critic Bruce Bailey admired the film's script, stating in The Montreal Gazette: "Terry Jones has drawn on his dry wit and bizarre imagination and come up with a script that transforms these essentially familiar elements and plot structures into something that fairly throbs with new life."

Bailey was also impressed by the film's depth, writing, "adults will have the additional advantage of appreciating the story as a coming-of-age parable." Bowie's music fits the story perfectly: the breezy ‘Magic Dance’, the darkly romantic ‘As the World Falls Down’, the celebratory ‘Underground’ and the menacing ‘Within You’, which is performed during a striking scene inspired by MC Escher’s lithograph print ‘Relativity.’ Combining the puppetry magic of director and legendary creator of The Muppets Jim Henson with the concept design of fantasy illustrator Brian Froud (who previously worked with Henson on The Dark Crystal), Labyrinth is a gorgeous demonstration of ‘old school’ special effects that rely on matte paintings, puppetry and other in-camera visual effects in contrast to modern CGI effects. There is a tangibility to the film that makes its dream logic inspired sequences and playful manipulation of perception even more impressive. As a regular follower of free fantasy movies online, you'll always find free time to stream a delighttul escapist movie, and you can count on 1movies to indulge your fantasies.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Desolation Row", Jim Morrison's "The End", Vietnam, 'Apocalypse Now', 'Kong Skull Island'


Jim Morrison "Desolation Row" video  Soundtrack: "Desolation Row" by Bob Dylan (from his album Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)  and "Love me Two Times" by The Doors (from their second studio album Strange Days, 1967), sung by Jim Morrison. The lyrics of "Love me Two Times" (Love me two times, I'm goin' away) were about a soldier on his last day with his girlfriend before shipping out to war (Vietnam).

Skull Island has made the decision to set its action in the very closing days of the Vietnam war, and in the aftermath of Richard Nixon’s 1973 televised speech ending US involvement in the country. Brie Larson plays anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver. Bill Randa (John Goodman), a member of the shadowy Monarch organisation, attempts to exploit the soldiers still stationed overseas - specifically a unit led by Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) - to act as escort to his expeditionary team, including Mason Weaver and Tom Hiddleston’s ex-SAS man. An undiscovered island has emerged in the advent of satellite imagery, shrouded in a perpetual storm and wrapped in several centuries of myth. Everyone who crosses paths here immediately greets each other with the synopsis take on their personal feelings towards American actions in Vietnam; as Packard tells an anti-war Mason, “the camera’s way more dangerous than the gun… we didn’t lose the war, we abandoned it”. “Sometimes an enemy doesn’t appear until you create one,” is uttered at one point. You get it? Kind of like in Vietnam? Source: www.independent.co.uk

“Kong: Skull Island” is more consistent and well-developed in its pursuit of the idea that the obsessive American quest for victory in Vietnam can only lead to disaster. Packard’s decision that he will kill Kong as a way of proving American valor and beating the Vietnamese by proxy ultimately leads him into serious strategic miscalculations and moral errors. In a nice moment that undercuts action hero tropes, Cole (Shea Whigham) tries to sacrifice himself to save his fellow soldiers: His efforts end up rather dramatically for naught. And Randa, who was willing to bomb another country and another people to prove his intellectual theories, meets an appropriately grisly end. Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now begins with “The End” and ends with it, too. A smattering of lyrics along the way seem to capture the nightmare atmosphere of the American War in Vietnam. “It just started out as a simple goodbye song,” James Douglas Morrison told reporter Jerry Hopkins. “Probably just to a girl, but I could see how it could be goodbye to a kind of childhood...” Morrison's father, George Morrison, commanded the U.S. Naval fleet during the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, an event that precipitated an escalation of the American War in Vietnam. Forged in the fading afterglow of World War II, America’s plans to save a backward people were elaborate indeed. To Washington, the Vietnamese seemed to be “Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand In a desperate land...” America’s moral superiority, its ingenuity, its technological know-how, were unstoppable; the fall of those Southeast Asian dominos would be arrested, and communism would be stopped. The lyrics of The End presaged: “It hurts to set you free, But you’ll never follow me, The end of laughter and soft lies, The end of nights we tried to die.”


America’s grand plans later revealed themselves to be bankrupt. Bombing millions into slums and refugee camps didn’t necessarily mean those people would follow you. Soft lies mouthed by the military at 5 p.m. each evening were no substitute for actual victories. Laughter and glad-handing and talk of easy triumph were repeatedly blown apart. By the time it was all over, by the time the end had come, the entire American effort had hemorrhaged and bled out in a million hamlets across South Vietnam. Jim Morrison recorded “The End” in 1966, when the American project in Vietnam still had life in it. Unlike his father, who passed away in 2008, he never saw the end of the Vietnam War. He died in France — the country whose war in Vietnam the Americans had bankrolled and then taken over — in 1971. In a 1969 interview, Jim Morrison said that he was once approached by an attractive young woman “on leave” from UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. She said “The End” was a favorite of the kids in her ward. Source: www.huffingtonpost.com


While Jim Morrison rejected the type of radical political freedom associated with mass politics and the New Left, his focus on personal politics mirrored the consciousness-raising methods pioneered by second-wave feminism. The band took an unequivocal stance against the Vietnam War. The 1968 song “The Unknown Soldier” uses the war to address the core themes of fear and personal liberation. The song begins with a subdued tone; Morrison takes the role of a narrator oppressed by the conflict. After the eponymous Unknown Soldier is “executed” in a dramatic martial interlude: “Make a grave for the unknown soldier / Nestled in your hollow shoulder,” the dramatic confrontation with fear and pain—the death of the “unknown”—leads the listener to a climax of ecstatic release. While the Doors took a stance against the Vietnam War and in favor of personal liberation, Morrison was critical of some of the more “revolutionary” modes of sixties political activism and was deeply ambivalent about politics, focused more on personal expression. Source: quod.lib.umich.edu

Jim Morrison: "I think that for any generation to assert itself, it has to break with the past, so obviously the kids that are coming along next are going to create their own unique sound [punk, grunge]. Things like wars and monetary cycles get involved, too. Rock and roll probably could be explained by... it was after the Korean War was ended... and there was a psychic purge. There seemed to be a need for an underground explosion, like an eruption. So maybe after the Vietnam War is over — it'll probably take a couple of years maybe; it's hard to say — but it's possible that the deaths will end and there will again be a need for a life force to express itself, to assert itself." —Interview by Jerry Hopkins (Rolling Stone magazine, July 26, 1969)

Being in bed with Jim was like being in bed with Michelangelo’s David, only with blue eyes. He knew in his worst blackouts to put my diaphragm in and take my contact lenses out. His skin was so white, his muscles were so pure, he was so innocent. He used to suggest, “Let’s go to Ships and eat blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup.“ My friend Judy Raphael, who went to film school, remembers Jim as this pudgy guy with a marine haircut who worked in the library at UCLA. Like everyone back then, Jim hated his parents, hated home, hated it all. If he could have gotten away with it, Jim would have been an orphan. Jim, who’d lost thirty pounds in one summer (the summer of ’65, from taking drugs instead of eating, and hanging out on the Venice boardwalk), tried lying about not having parents, creating his life anew. My sister Mirandi never thought Jim was that cute, but then my sister was one of Pamela’s friends, and it was in her best interest to ignore Jim, even though, for a month, my sister and her boyfriend lived with Jim and Pamela, and it was almost impossible. “He was always a very dark presence in a room,” Mirandi said, “I’d say it was of a person who was severely depressed. Clinically depressed.” And she's a psychologist.

Pamela looked sunny and sweet and cute – she had freckles and red hair and the greenest eyes and just the country girl glow. So it was hard to believe her purse was stuffed with Thorazine. She wore mauve eyeshadow, soft expensive suede boots, and large shawls. My sister Mirandi and Pamela had to fight to persuade Jim to leave his hair long, because left to his own devices he’d get it cut preppy-short and break everyone’s heart. Pamela had control over Jim in real life. And he made his audiences suffer for that. The night I was in the bungalow of Ahmet Ertegun, it was February 9, 1971, the night of the Apollo 14 moon landing commanded by Alan Shepard.

Jim was guzzling Scotch and looking sullen, but he carefully took in Ahmet Ertegun's gossip about the Rolling Stones, now signed to his label. Jim rose to his feet and bellowed, “You think you’re going to win, don’t you?! Well, you're not going to win. We’re going to win, us – the artists. Not you capitalist pigs!” You could have heard a pin drop in this roomful of Ahmet’s fashionable upscale friends. Everybody was silent except the moon landing reporter on the TV, until I stood up and heard myself say, “But Ahmet is an artist, Jim!” The people who were there refused to remember what had happened; they shrugged. “You know,” Jim said, staring straight into my eyes, “I’ve always loved you.” It was one of those tricky nights when Ahmet was trying to make up his mind whether he was going to seduce Jim away from Elektra Records. Ahmet had lured Mick Jagger away from his label the year before. The last time I saw Jim with no shirt on, at a party up in Coldwater, his body was so ravaged by scars, toxins and puffy pudginess, that I wanted to kill him. Underneath his mask, Jim was dead. But then, by 1971, who wasn’t? Eve Babitz for Esquire Magazine, March 1991

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Jim Morrison's Poetry and the 1960s Counter-Cultural Movement


"The Road of Excess": This 1997 documentary contains interviews with friends of the late Jim Morrison as well as several people involved with the making of the film, "The Doors" (1991) directed by Oliver Stone, delving into what Jim Morrison meant to everyone. The film only really touched the surface of what Jim Morrison actually achieved in life and, in a bid to shine light on what was left out of the movie, this documentary takes a closer look at Jim's career. “The Game Called 'Go Insane'”: Pamela was Jim's golden girl... She briefly wondered how long she had been hallucinating. She could almost see herself in his eyes: his blue-grey gaze moving over her face slowly. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered huskily. At that moment, Jim was more magnificent looking than ever, and then need for physical contact was too strong. She reached out to trace his pale features with a childlike sense of wonder, and he smiled. That smile made it all worth it.

The New York that produced the Velvet Underground doesn’t exist anymore. Lillian Roxon (journalist of The Sydney Morning Herald) picked me up in a taxi and dragged me downtown to Danny Fields’s place. It was dark, there were no lights on, but candles filled the room. Edie Sedgwick, his roommate at the time, was sitting in a corner in her bra and panties cutting out pictures from Vogue magazine. Jim Morrison was passed out drunk on the couch. Nico, from the Velvet Underground, was locked in his bedroom. She’d locked herself in as she was convinced that Jim Morrison was after her. “Do not let him in!" she’d scream every few minutes. There was no danger of that. He was comatose. Danny was on the phone with Leonard Cohen, who was looking for Nico. I played a song called “Secrets.” Edie Sedgwick didn’t look up. Jim Morrison didn’t budge. Nico didn’t stop shrieking in German and English. And Danny returned to consoling Leonard Cohen about Nico. Source: www.theparisreview.org


It all comes together, or falls apart, in 'Stoned Immaculate', the LP's most striking passage. Drunk in a dirty room, with a strange woman and his obsessions, he utters, slowly and simply, all it seems he'd ever really wanted to say: "Come 'ere. I love you. Peace on earth. Will you die for me? The end." Looking for once toward life, Jim Morrison says with quiet resolution in 'Lament': "Words got me the wound and will get me well." An American Prayer is shot through with youthful, flawed aspirations, yet whenever it touches its tongue to brilliance (which it does for long, sensuous moments on end), it illuminates the meaning of that loss and what might have been. —Nick Tosches, Rolling Stone, 1979

"Inside The Fire - My Strange Days With The Doors" (2009) by B. Douglas CameronAs an 17 year old from the mid-west he bought a ticket for a Doors show in Chicago, November 3 1968 that forever changed his life. In 1969 Douglas Cameron became a roadie for the band who worked very hard lugging 240 pound amps for gigs in the mid-west and down to Mexico City for $60 per week. According to Cameron, sometimes Morrison "would just hang on the microphone stand because he was absolutely demolished. He was being crucified by his own mind. Jim was the ultimate existentialist. It wasn't that he didn't want to talk about the band so much as he didn't want to talk about anything in the past. The image of the dead albatross hanging around one's neck was a metaphor for Jim's freedom. But he wasn't free because he had an albatross called the Doors hanging around his neck." Source: www.doorscollectorsmagazine.com

I am arguing against Jerry Prochnicky, James Riordan, and Danny Sugerman’s claims about how Jim Morrison uses the imagination to “gain entry into worlds otherwise locked and sealed off.” Riordan and Prochnicky state: "In 1966 and 1967, Jim Morrison used LSD to take his journey. He ventured into the same realms that influenced Blake, Rimbaud and Poe." Prochnicky, Riordan, and Sugerman’s interpretations posit that Morrison’s visions remain within a fixed system of order. What is the difference between the worlds within which Morrison lives as a result of drugs, and the worlds where he lives as a result of his senses? In keeping with Prochnicky, Riordan, and Sugerman’s examination, Morrison cannot be considered free within this world; instead, he is but a guest, living according to someone else’s structures, rules, binaries, and regulations. Morrison does not preach this message within his poetry and lyrics. As we have seen in “The Original Temptation,” “Break on Through,” “An American Prayer,” and in certain elements of “Moonlight Drive” and “Power,” Morrison gains control, not through drugs, but by allowing his imagination to refuse to abide by a fixed and innate system of order that dictates how he perceives reality. Unlike the prototypical ‘hippy,’ Morrison thought astrology was pseudoscience, rejected the concept of the totally integrated personality, and expressed a distaste for vegetarianism. The status quo of the late sixties viewed Morrison as a political revolutionary. However, he never had any such desire – Morrison argued that we should all set ourselves free from our mental prisons. Unlike the practice of Eastern religion and communal living, Morrison’s poetry and lyrics never dictate to his readers or audience members how they should live their lives. —"The Poet Behind the Doors: Jim Morrison's Poetry and the 1960s Counter-Cultural Movement" (2011) by Steven Erkel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Malick's Song to Song, Paean to Classic Rockers

Terrence Malick’s paean to indie rock: Beyond the rock‘n’roll window dressing, Song to Song turns out to be just another minor variation on Malick’s favorite theme—the power of love and spirituality to transcend the life-poisoning curses of ambition and greed. Malick fans will surely go into Song to Song longing to see him channel the almost religious quality of those live music performances. He soundtracks his obligatory shots of nature’s majesty with gorgeous songs that run the gamut from classical to classic rock. Malick’s great obsession is earthly transcendence. He frames Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as sages. In their own, sui generis ways, Patti Smith and Iggy Pop were both hungry, young strivers once. At the same time, he implies that Faye and BV can only lead fulfilling lives once they shift their focus from their careers to each other. What if making music—or any kind of art—can be both an act of love and act of ambition? Source: pitchfork.com

On July 5, 1968, Mick Jagger flew into LAX with his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and Jimmy Miller, the Stones’ producer. Mick showed up at the Doors’ office, and asked where Jim Morrison was. January Jansen picked up the ringing pay phone near Room 32 of the Alta Cienega Motel across the street. Jim was lying on the bed, looking at the TV with the sound off. Jansen: “The office called. They were in a panic. ‘Jagger’s here! He’s coming across the street!’ I said, ‘Jim, uh, Mick Jagger’s across the street. He’s coming over.’ Jim said, ‘That’s all right.’ “There was a knock on the door, very faint. Jim nodded and I opened the door. Jagger said, ‘Hullo, I’m Mick.’ If Jagger, who lived in an elegant house in London’s Chester Square, showed any qualms about Jim’s frugal motel digs, he hid it well. Jagger probably looked around and thought: ‘what’s with this poverty hole?’ The two rock stars had never met before. Jagger had been famous three years longer. Jim stood up and shook Mick’s hand, then retired to the bed, resting for the evening’s Hollywood Bowl show. Mick asked Jim if he meditated before a show. Jim looked at Mick as if he were insane. “Meditate? No, man. (sarcastically) We leave that up to John and Robby.”

–I knew Lou Reed in the 1980's and early 1990's. He was a straight up no-nonsense person by then. His word was solid and he was easy going. As an recording artist Reed was second to none, he had a complete vision of the end results and knew how construct songs and run sessions in a genius way. Lou disliked Mick Jagger; he once told me, "Street Fighting Man, what a joke, that little twerp's no street fighter." He liked Keith Richards, though. He also would say Sgt. Pepper and The Beatles were "bad Broadway" and not rock 'n' roll... I know how caustic he was about Jim Morrison's death in Melody Maker, 1975. Reed's humor was quite cynical but he was a straight up person who was rarely aloof to crew; he was patient and generous. His favorite singer was Dion and enjoyed and listened to many of the covers other bands recorded of his tunes. Source: iorr.org

Tony Funches (The Doors.com Interview, 2005): Jim Morrison was a helluva nice guy! He was a student of Voltaire. Much of that Sex God image was contrived by some marketing idiot and Jim went along because they babbled that it was good for the band and record sales. He was just a regular guy trying to be a decent person and suffering from his own genius at what the world and government would become. All that has happened since he left us and he saw it all coming. He was NOT pleased to have that vision. He was like Ray Milland in the film “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes” in that sense: The inexorable march of fascism, the long range futility of Flower Power, the graying of the hippies into coupon clipping yuppies turning their backs on the ideals of the movement.  And what he saw saddened him: vapid lemmings racing to sea in order to ‘be like everyone else.’ "I can kind of envision one person with a lot of tapes and electronics set up, singing or speaking while using machines,” Morrison eerily hypothesized in 1969, prognosticating a future filled with Pro-Tools and Auto-Tune.

Ron Alan: "Jim Morrison treated girls fine. He didn’t mistreat them. He was very sweet and fun. One night he came up to my house and sat down at the bar and a girl came right up and talked to him and she wasn’t a good looking girl. But he was so nice to her. And girls would ask silly questions, half the time he just would sit patiently, like, 'Get your thoughts together and then talk to me.' He’d joke around, but never mean in a way that would turn these girls off." Morrison took his public image tongue-in cheek, keeping it for show and comparing it to that of a villian in a Western movie. The Miami Herald coverage was a good example of the media exploiting and manipulating Morrison. In retrospect, what was at stake was freedom of speech and expression, accuracy of press coverage, Morrison’s right to a fair trial, and issues concerning authenticity, perception, and representation. –"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro