Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Doors


Today's Friday Flashback (late again) is brought to you by a crush of all shapes and sizes: Orange Crush, The Colorado Crush, Crush from Gladiators, and crushed heels. But most of all, today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by the crush of my adolescence, Jim Morrison. (Even back then I was into hot dead people).

The Doors have an extremely short but successful story. The band's creation began in 1965 when the band's singer Jim Morrison studied film at UCLA with keyboardist Ray Manzarek. Morrison was a poet and had several songs written. He sang the tune Moonlight Drive to Manzarek and Manzarek said, "That's some groovy stuff man. That would be far out if we were a band" (Okay so he didn't say that exactly, but I'm sure that "groovy" and "man" and "far out" were used at least once. I'm also convinced that marijuana was involved but that's beside the point.)

With a vocalist/songwriter and a keyboard player, the band was only half-baked. They needed some guitars and some drums. Coincidentally, Ray had a couple of buddies in his Yoga class who did just that. Manzarek invited Robby Krieger to play guitar and John Densmore to play drums. The band would never have a bass player. Manzarek would play the bass line with his left hand on a keyboard bass (an innovative technique that other bands would follow. Like the Dandy Warhols for example).

The Doors title for the band came from a book called The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. The book was written while Huxley was taking mescaline and read by Morrison while Jim was experiencing other mind altering drugs.

The Doors of Perception is "considered to be one of the most profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs and what they teach about how the mind works." The Doors of Perception concept originally came from a different author, William Blake, who wrote:

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

The Doors were known mostly for the poetically cryptic lyrics of Morrison and their drug-induced, outlandish stage performances. Morrison was known for his tight leather pants, seductive eyes and sultry lips (my inner 16-year-old is speaking again).

In 5 short years, The Doors were able to record and release 7 of the best albums of all time. They are: The Doors (January 1967), Strange Days (September 1967), Waiting For The Sun (July 1968), The Soft Parade (July 1969), Morrison Hotel (July 1970), Absolutely Live (July 1970), and L.A. Woman (April 1971).

Tragically, the success of The Doors ended in Paris on July 3, 1971 when Jim Morrison was found dead in his bathtub. No autopsy was performed but there are many legends. One of which is a heroin overdose from an injection by then girlfriend Pamela Courson. The coroner who pronounced Morrison dead found no needle marks on him. Morrison's reason for death was also theorized a heart attack brought on by drinking and a hot bath.

So don't drink in the tub or do heroin. K?

Morrison was buried in Paris next to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Light My Fire - The Crystal Ship - The End - Waiting For The Sun - L.A. Woman - Hello, I Love You - Unknown Soldier - Riders On The Storm - Love Her Madly - Roadhouse Blues and don't forget that foreshadowing tune When The Music's Over


Lisa said...

Love Love The Doors. In High School (Jr. High??) my goal was to perfect my drawing of their logo. I think I might still have it on a binder somewhere (silly memory) and my friend's grandma had several of their CD's we could listen to all day. Gotta Love those "altered state" bands . . . was there any other type at that time?

Nigel said...

Did you know they released three new albums shortly after J.M.'s death? I think they're long out of print, on account of no one bought them. I hear they're not bad. Morrison gets all the credit for being the poet and lyricist, but the other band members contributed all the music and a lot of the lyrics. They figured they could carry on without him.

Speaking of carrying on, the band toured for a while as "Doors of the 21st Century"with Ian Astbury of The Cult as lead singer. Then there was a legal squabble over the name Doors. Now they are "Riders On The Storm" with Brett Scallions from Fuel singing. So, they still hire cocky guys in leather pants to make the girls giggle.

Nigel said...

I forgot to say something. Like you said, they wrote, recorded, and released seven albums in five years and toured constantly. On top of that, they did it "impaired". Wow! Nowadays, we're lucky to get a new record every 2-3 years from a band. Is it any wonder Morrison, hendrix, and Joplin crashed and burned so quickly?

rabidrunner said...

Lisa dude, I have a t-shirt with that doors logo. I should hook you up.

Nigel! You are a good one to have around (we'd all be left in the dark without you). You have inspired me to start this week's flashback. (I'll give you three guesses as to who it will be and the first do not count.)

So I youtubed the doors and Ian Astbury. And isn't it funny that youtubed is a verb, but even funnier is that hunk of man Ian as an old fart. My memory had served me better. Same with Ray and the others. They're just old and well dressed now (with expensive shoes, GQ haircuts and jeans without holes in them).

You can see an example here.

Which brings me to yet another point. I doubt that the greatness of the doors would exist if J.M. hadn't passed. He would just burn out and get old like all of the rest. The doors were about mystery and what better way to add mystery than to die in yer prime.

rabidrunner said...

Just tubed the Brett Scallion scene and well that's wrong. Just plain wrong.

rabidrunner said...

And Ian Astbury is roughly the same age as I, so I'm an old fart too.

Nigel said...

I'm gonna guess Joplin or Hendrix (?)

Did you ever see the concert special (I think it was on VH1 Storytellers) where the Doors played a show and did it with a variety of guest singers. It was about 10 years ago, and I think Astbury got the job from this show. Anyway, every singer with leather pants, sunglasses, and a growl sang a couple songs. It was Astbury, the singer from Creed, the guy from Stone Temple Pilots, and the singer from Jane's addiction, among others. It was seriously almost better than the real Doors.

Nigel said...

I had a flash of recollection today. There's another record done during Morrison's lifetime, "American Prayer", it was spoken word poetry and Doors music. The poetry's pretty gritty stuff, so I wouldn't recommend your readers rush out and buy it, especially if they're nice Mormon girls.