Our house was always freezing in the summer. I preferred the heat—still do—but we always cranked the AC when it was warmer than 80 degrees. All day I’d be in the sun, while my nights were spent with the cold air and cool music whooshing around me as I wrote thousands of words and dreamt about living the glamorous and dramatic life of an artist.
I always had a soundtrack during those long summer nights while writing until the sun was almost ready to come up. The blues. Janis. Jimi. The Doors. I craved emotion and desire and genius.
The Doors have been with me since I was a little kid, but in my teenage decade I really delved deeply into their mysterious lyrics and seductive melodies. Strange Days (read my blog about it here) was my favorite because of the (mostly imagined) heartache I associated with it. Jim’s voice was everything; his lyrics were second.
He was a total freak. He could sound like he was fucking, getting fucked, taking a knife to the stomach, committing horrifying acts of violence, and dying all in the same song. His sense of theatricality was unmatched, in part because of his background in film. Nobody looked or behaved or sang like he did. And what other rock star was writing poetry like that? I bought The Lords and the New Creatures when I was a senior in high school. I had only known his music until then, and though the lyrics were weird and esoteric and fascinating listening to them did not quite compare with reading his poetry. As with a lot of art, I didn’t always understand it but I knew it was great because it made me feel something, it made me want more.
Everything is vague and dizzy. The skin swells and
there is no more distinction between parts of the
body. An encroaching sound of threatening,
mocking, monotonous voices. This is fear and
attraction of being swallowed.
I guess I was kind of a snob because when my friend and I went to see Oliver Stone’s Doors movie a few months before we graduated I figured I’d have to explain a lot of things to her. She didn’t grow up listening to them like I did, and I don’t think she was particularly interested in older music in general. I remember that one of her boyfriends bought her Gerardo’s album for Valentine’s Day that year, if that tells you anything about her taste in music. And I’m pretty sure I judged her for only having the movie soundtrack instead of actual Doors albums. But seriously…“Rico Suave”? She was begging to be judged.
How great would it be if everyone appreciated great music? What would the world be like if we all grew up hearing a variety of artists from generations not our own? Everybody should own all of The Doors’ studio albums, and at least a few of their live albums and bootlegs.
What would Jim be doing today? A 72-year-old Jim Morrison living in a world where it takes a team of 15 or more to write a vacuous song that will be Pro Tooled and Autotuned and “performed” by an “artist” fully devoid of any personality and originality? Where reality stars are treated like royalty and can even run for president? Where books are in the clouds instead of on paper? He’d be 1970s Brian Wilson crazy. He’d be a Howard Hughes recluse. He’d be worshiped by hipsters like Allen Ginsberg. And he’d be writing and drinking and observing the world as he always had, with wisdom and insanity and passion.