Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:09:52 GMT
In his 1967 Elecktra Records publicity bio, Jim Morrison wrote, "I've always been attracted to ideas that were about revolt against authority. I like ideas about the breaking away or over- throwing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos- especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom..."
In the same bio, Morrison said that his favorite color was turquoise, that what he looked for in a girl were "hair, eyes, voice, walk" and that all his family members were dead. But, they really weren't. Morrison was creating his own myth.
It was a myth that he perpetuated with his near-mystic, highly sensual stage presence. He once dubbed himself "The King of Orgasmic Rock," with some justification. He was both pretty and handsome, slim yet charged with strength and energy, and capable of projecting a sense of danger- of the demonic. It was a combination along with his talent for writing poetic lyrics, that seemed to appeal to males and females alike, for all kinds of reasons, tapping a range of fantasies.
Morrison liked to relate how, as a child, he was driving with his parents across the desert when they came upon an overturned truck and some dead Indians in the road. At that point, claimed Morrison, he became possessed by the spirit of one of the Indians. Thus, he often wore a concho belt, along with his leather pants, and let loose with ritualistic-type dance movements on stage.
Of one thing there was no doubt; Morrison was possessed by personal demons. Those demons, and his artistic search, led to his drug use and, finally, to raging alcoholism. As a result of his excesses, Morrison got into brawls, was arrested, showed up late for concerts and passed out on stage in Amsterdam. He also changed physically; less than three years after he'd shot to the top, the hell-child with the lean, brooding good looks was fat and full-bearded.
Those who knew him would later surmise that Morrison the poet was struggling to break free of the mythic rock star figure he'd created.
The son of a Navy rear admiral, Morrison was born James Douglas Morrison on December 8th, 1943, in Melbourne, Florida.
A voracious reader, Morrison, whom many have described as "brilliant" and "a genius," spent two years at a junior college in St. Petersburg, Fla. He then made his way to UCLA, where he studied film, wrote poetry, ingested lots of drugs, and after graduation, took to living on the beach at Venice.
It was there that Morrison bumped into a fellow film school graduate, Ray Manzarek. "I hadn't seen Jim all summer. He'd lost about thirty pounds. I remember thinking how incredibly handsome he looked," recalled Manzarek. But what really startled Manzarek was when Morrison sang for him the lyrics to a song he'd written called "Moonlight Drive."
Manzarek and Morrison formed a group, bringing in guitarist Robby Drieger and drummer John Densmore, both of whom Manzarek had met at a meditation center. Morrison came up with the group's name, which comes from a William Blake passage.
From the beginning, the college-educated Doors stood out as a group of innovation and eerie magnetism with their mix of music, poetry, theatre and daring. The Doors' hits, including "Light My Fire," "People Are Strange," Touch Me" and "Riders On The Storm," remain benchmarks of the era. So does Morrison's behavior.
One night at the Whisky, the entire club, including the go-go girls, came to a shocked stand-still during his improvised rendition of the song "The End." An Oedipal journey, it climaxes with a young man's screaming threat to kill his father and rape his mother. But rape wasn't the word that Morrison used. The Doors were fired from the club that very night after the enraged Whiskey owner screamed at Morrison for being "one foul- mouthed son-of-a-bitch."
It was Morrison's behavior at the now-infamous Miami concert in March 1969, that symbolized his downfall. After taunting the crowd with obscenities, he threatened to expose himself. Morrison, who wasn't wearing underwear, went on to tug at his pants. Days later, in the heat of a conservative political movement sweeping the city, he was arrested on charges including indecent exposure.
Miami marked a turning point for the Doors, internally. It didn't help that Miami had been the first stop on a 21-day tour, and that after Morrison's arrest the other 20 cities cancelled . Though they went on to record additional albums, and enjoy success on the charts, the symbiosis was waning. After recording the group's "L.A.Woman," a burned-out Morrison headed to Paris to concentrate on his poetry.
To hear the three surviving Doors tell it, he would eventually have returned to the fold, especially after the startlingly good reviews for "L.A.Woman."
We'll never know. Morrison was just 27 when he died on July 3, 1971, reportedly of a heart attack, which he suffered in the bathtub.
He's buried in Pere La Chaise Cemetery, along with Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Chopin and other notables.
But Morrison and the Doors live on. Their music has been featured on at least ten movie soundtracks in the past decade. Their songs are also re-recorded by contemporary artists. The Doors' record sales in this country alone today exceed 1 million copies annually. New repackagings are constantly in the works, as are new videos.
Plus Morrison's poetry, first printed in the 1970's, is enjoying new attention. There are even efforts underway, by Morrison associates and devotees, to get his poetry included in college curriculums.
by Pat H. Broeske Los Angeles Times Calendar January 7, 1990
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:10:21 GMT
The Last Days of Jim Morrison
From the book "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend," by Stephen Davis
A rare look into the rock god's journals
The retired Hollywood lawyer who played golf with Max Fink -- the attorney who defended Jim Morrison on the 1969 Miami obscenity and indecent-exposure charges -- said in 2002 that he believed Fink might have received a warning concerning Morrison about a month before Jim left for Paris, which would have been in early February 1971. According to this attorney, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Fink was given a tip by an associate of Mickey Rudin, the prominent Beverly Hills attorney whose clients included Frank Sinatra and who had ties to the Nixon administration. This retired lawyer was given to understand that Fink was quietly told that his famous client would be neutralized in prison -- murdered or incapacitated -- and should get out of the country before his legal appeals were exhausted and his passport confiscated. France, which has no extradition treaty with the United States for so-called sex crimes, was suggested as a logical place for Jim to take refuge. No direct or documentary evidence for this warning exists, only the unverifiable word of a respected former associate of both Rudin and Fink. Whatever the accuracy of this account, within one month Jim Morrison was in Paris, living incognito as a lodger in an apartment house, under the assumed names of James Douglas and/or Douglas James.
Pamela left for Paris first, on February 14th. The next day she checked into the Hotel George V and hooked up with her sometime boyfriend, Count Jean de Breteuil, a playboy and classy dope dealer -- his hashish and opium supposedly came from a Moroccan chauffeur attached to the French consulate in L.A. The de Breteuil family owned all the French-language newspapers in North Africa. When his father had died a few years earlier, Jean inherited his title of Comte de Breteuil, so he was an actual French count whose lineage went back 700 years.
Jim himself left four weeks later. He didn't pack much. He took prints of his two films, Feast of Friends and HWY; as many notebooks as he could find; the typed manuscripts of his unpublished poetry; the two quarter-inch-tape reels of his solo poetry readings; his Super-8 movie camera; a few copies of his poetry books; his personal photo file (including color transparencies of himself, a recent publicity photo of Joan Baez, pictures from the Miami trial and selected Elektra eight-by-ten-inch promotional glossies of himself); and a few precious books and clothes. He left his library and some files in Pamela's apartment and told the Doors' accountant to pay the rent while they were gone.
Pamela was by now a familiar figure in upscale Saint Germain hangouts like Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots and Brasserie Lipp as a companion of Count Jean de Breteuil. Her acquaintances included young models and actors, a few diplomats and cafe habitues such as les minets (gay fashion kids) and les michetons (handsome young men, impeccably dressed and groomed, who hung around le Drugstore and were employed as gigolos by fashionable but lonely women of the quarter). Through de Breteuil, Pamela had become friends with the gamine model and starlet Elizabeth Lariviere, known professionally as Zozo. Zozo lived in a large apartment on the Right Bank, and when Pamela learned Zozo had a job coming up in the south, she arranged for Jim to rent the flat while Zozo was away that spring.
Sometime in the middle of March 1971, Jim moved into the second-largest bedroom of a fourth-floor apartment in a handsome nineteenth-century Beaux Arts building at 17 rue Beautrellis, in the Fourth Arrondissement. The slightly shabby flat was furnished with the typically overstuffed antiques of the bourgeoisie. There were elegant marble fireplaces, parquet floors and plaster reliefs on the walls, and the ceiling of the salon was painted with a blue sky and puffy clouds. The leaky bathroom, smelling of old-fashioned French plumbing, had a bidet, a toilet and a narrow tiled wall tub that was equipped with a hand-held shower. (Zozo had padlocked her bedroom while she was away.) Jim's room faced the morning sun, and he moved a leather-covered writing table to the big window. As the day progressed, he would move the table to the other side of the flat, so he could sit in the sun as it warmed the courtyard in the rear of the building. A concert pianist lived across the courtyard, and the sound of her daily exercises seemed to please Jim. On the apartment's lobby mailbox, he taped a handwritten label for the postman: "James Douglas."
Jim cut down on alcohol when he first arrived in France, but after a month he was back at it, and the heavy, compulsive smoking began to take its toll. When Jim coughed up blood in April, Pamela took him to see a doctor at the American Hospital in Neuilly. A physical exam and a lung X-ray turned up nothing obvious, and Jim was told to get some rest in a warm climate, if possible. He wanted to see Spain and more of Morocco, so he and Pamela left Paris in a rented car on April 10th and headed south into the lush and wet European spring.
Their trip lasted around three weeks. On May 3rd, 1971, Jim and Pamela flew from Marrakesh to Casablanca, and then on to Paris. When they got to their apartment, Zozo and some friends were in temporary residence, so Jim and Pamela checked into l'Hotel, an exclusive small hotel on the rue des Beaux-Arts. L'Hotel was famous for its discretion, and many celebrities felt comfortable there. It was also famous because Oscar Wilde had died in one of its rooms. (His famous last words: "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.")
Pamela had a huge problem now, because Count de Breteuil was in London and she wanted heroin. Jim told a friend of Zozo's that he didn't want Pamela scoring on the street, and anyway, he supposedly said, "Scoring is a man's job." Around that time, a Paris-Match photographer saw a friend sitting with Jim at the Cafe de Flore and said hello. A few minutes later, the friend came over to his table, explained that Jim Morrison wanted some heroin, and did he know where they could find some?
The upscale, junk-using denizens of Paris usually ended up at the Rock and Roll Circus, very late at night. The Circus was a big discotheque on the rue de Seine, modeled on the American electric ballrooms of the Sixties. The walls were decorated with large murals of English rock stars (and Jimi Hendrix) dressed as clowns. It was often packed with le jet set and French movie stars, and the new Chinese heroin ("China White") was sold openly in the club's dark corners. One prominent notebook entry of Jim's was published by his literary executors after his death: "The Chinese junkies will get you in the end."
One evening early in June, Jim and Alain Ronay -- a friend from UCLA who'd arrived in Paris in May -- were standing on the top step of the long staircase leading up to Sacre-Coeur, the great white church at the summit of Montmartre in northern Paris. A band of black African musicians was banging away, and Jim stopped to listen a while. Gazing off to the east, Jim asked Ronay about the large green hill he could see, all the way across the city. Ronay explained that it was Pere-Lachaise, Paris' great cemetery. It dated from Napoleon's time and was where honored citizens like Chopin, Balzac and Edith Piaf were buried. Jim insisted they visit immediately, but their taxi took an hour to fight through heavy traffic, and the gates were shut by the time they arrived.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:12:39 GMT
Jim and Ronay returned to the cemetery a few days later. They walked among the impressive monuments of the great artists and the florid nineteenth-century tombs of the stolid bourgeoisie. When Ronay said he found the place a morbid experience, Jim protested that he liked the cemetery's spooky tranquillity in the midst of the city, and that he definitely wanted to be buried in Pere-Lachaise when he died.
Throughout June 1971, Jim Morrison carried a white plastic shopping bag from the Samaritaine department store with him whenever he went out. There were usually one or two spiral notebooks inside, plus a file of Jim's personal photographs, the quarter-inch-tape reel of his 1970 birthday poetry reading, a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, a Bic lighter, two or three ballpoint pens, a photocopy of an interview with Jean-Luc Godard ("Film and Revolution," by Kent Carroll) that had been published in Evergreen Review and an article about the Doors ("Morrison Hotel Revisited") torn from Jazz and Pop. One of the notebooks was titled "Tape Noon." It was filled with death-haunted poems, prayers, obscenities, a version of his poem "American Night" and phrases about the street riots he saw in Paris. One of the final pages bore a single, seemingly desperate line: "Last words, last words -- out." Jim Morrison obviously sensed that his time was nearing its end.
Early in the month, Jim and Pamela flew to London for a few days. Alain Ronay was already in London and reserved a room for them at the Cadogan Hotel, near Sloane Square. Pamela immediately disappeared for a while, probably to Cheyne Walk in nearby Chelsea, where Jean de Breteuil was living in Keith Richards' riverside mansion, doling out heroin to former pop star Marianne Faithfull, who had abandoned her career (and boyfriend Mick Jagger) for the life of a full-time addict.
Faithfull later wrote in her memoirs, "Jean was a horrible guy, someone who had crawled out from under a stone. I met him at Talitha Getty's house. He was her lover, and somehow I ended up with him. What I liked about him was that he had one yellow eye and one green eye -- and a lot of dope. It was all about drugs and sex. He was very French and very social. He was only with me because I'd been with Mick Jagger. In that froggy way, he was obsessed with all that."
One night in London, as Jim and Ronay were riding down the Kings Road in a black cab, Ronay told Jim that Oscar Wilde had been arrested for the crime of sodomy at the Cadogan Hotel and later had died at l'Hotel in Paris. "You better watch out that you don't follow too closely in his footsteps," Ronay teased. "You might end up like Oscar."
Jim didn't laugh, and turned away as if he'd been hurt. Ronay felt like an idiot.
Back in Paris a few days later, unable to concentrate on his writing, Jim again went to see a doctor at the American Hospital. Jim was now heavier than on his previous visit because he was drinking and eating more than usual. Again, Jim was told to stop smoking and cut down on alcohol, and (according to hospital records) was prescribed an antispasmodic medication to curtail the coughing spells. These pills often left him groggy and unable to write. An entire page of one of Jim's Paris notebooks, which possibly dates from this month, was filled with a tortured, repeated scrawl: "God help me."
One day around June 15th, Jim Morrison went out walking. It was high summer in Paris and everything was green, but there was also a brisk northern chill in the air. He crossed over to the "le Saint-Louis, then made his way to the quai d'Anjou. He stopped at the house marked No. 17 and sat on the parapet overlooking the river, making a note about Charles Baudelaire, who had once lived in a garret at the top of the house. Then Jim crossed to the Left Bank and made his way to the Odeon, where he bought a paper. Nearby was a cheap second-floor recording studio that he'd come across on an earlier walk. He went upstairs and hired the studio for an hour so he could listen to his poetry tape, which he was carrying around with him. The studio engineer played back sections of the tape for Jim, some of them twice. Before he left, Jim said he might want to do some fresh recording, and the owner told Jim he could come back anytime.
Jim walked on to the Cafe de Flore, where he sometimes found Pamela and her friends. He went out to the Flore's terrace and proceeded to order straight-up whiskeys until he had gotten his alcohol fix. Noticing an annoying racket nearby, he focused on two young American street musicians who were working the cafes for spare change. The guitarist wore a buckskin jacket, and the singer wore a cowboy hat. They were murdering Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young songs, one after the other. Jim, pretty drunk, loved them immediately. After they performed "Marrakesh Express" and nobody gave them any money, Jim introduced himself and graciously invited them to have a drink. He told them about the nearby recording studio and asked if they felt like walking over with him and doing a session. The two guys couldn't believe it.
"Wait, man, hold on," one said. "You are shitting us, right? Are you really Jim Morrison?" An hour later, they found themselves in the studio. The fifteen-minute tape has survived.
Jim was running real loose. His American accent sounded very stoned and very Southern. The studio people were unhappy that he was obviously drunk. They ran a businesslike operation that usually recorded jingles and classical musicians and told Jim archly that they were very busy and he could have a half-hour maximum with the two freaks he had brought along. Jim spent the first five minutes amiably cajoling the two guys, trying to get a sound out of them. The guitar player, a droll hippie troubadour, was only semicompetent, and the mind-blown singer ("I'm cutting a track in Paris with Jim Morrison!") was hopeless when they handed him a studio guitar. They couldn't even get in tune.
Jim asked the two hippies what they wanted to do. The guitar player suggested three obscure songs, but Jim had his own plan. He said, "Let's try something. I wrote this one myself" -- and launched into an astounding version of "Orange County Suite," the unfinished, unrealized paean to his old lady that had been rejected from at least two Doors albums.
It was a drunken, and mostly ad-libbed, recording. Yet, listening carefully (to one of the bootleg versions of the tape that have since sold thousands of CDs), one hears the authentic last of Jim Morrison, two weeks before he died, as he roars spontaneous verses and imagery about his hard-hearted woman, his anguish and his obsessions, easily deploying a poetic champion's compositional facility for the natural cadence and spontaneous rhyme: "Well, her father has passed over/And her sister is a star/And her mother's smoking diamonds/And she's sleeping in the car."
Jim gave the two hippies all the money he had on him after he paid for the studio time. The engineer handed him the box of quarter-inch tape. In a shaky scrawl, Jim inked in the name of his ad hoc Left Bank street band: Jomo and the Smoothies.
The last notebook Jim Morrison worked in is now in a private collection in Paris. He had obviously started the spiral-bound steno pad before he left L.A., since the first entry is "Cahuenga Auto 466-3268." The first twenty pages of the notebook are full of stanzas and imagery written in Jim's large-lettered handwriting. There are almost no cross-outs, as if the notebook represented a confident and finished sequence of poems.
Several pages are variants of older poems, such as The Ancient Ones, Winter Photography and The Hitchhiker. Other pages contain only one or two lines, but variations in the writing style indicate they may have been thought over for days. The notebook contains both wonderful new poems and scabrous jottings: JERK-BAIT SCROTUM, INC and Fuck Shit Piss Cunt. A previously unknown poem, Impossible Garden, refers to "a beautiful savage like me" and "the most insane whore in Christendom." A new song lyric, "Now You Are in Danger," seems to sum up Jim's Paris idyll: "Let the piper call the tune/March, April, May, June." The next page contains short lyrics for a blues song: "We're two of a kind/We're two of a kind/You want yours, and I want mine."
Page 17 contains one line: "She'll get over it."
Page 18: "What can I say? What can I do? I thought you found my sexual affection stimulating"
Page 19: "UMHM/Glorious sexual cool/I'm finally dead"
Page 20: "In that year we were blessed/By a great visitation of energy."
This notebook was in Jim's plastic bag, along with two tape boxes, Jim's photo file and some random papers, when Jim ran into Philipe Dalecky, Zozo's boyfriend, in the street. Jim thought he had recorded something interesting in "Orange County Suite" but couldn't listen to the tape reel because he only had a cassette player at home.
Dalecky: "I remember that I was walking along rue de Rivoli when I ran into Jim. We had a drink together in a bar, and he said he needed to make a cassette from a reel-to-reel tape he had in his bag. I said I could help him, and we went over to my place [5 rue Chalgrin] near the place de l'Etoile, about a five-minute walk from the bar. I had a little home studio with a Revox [tape recorder] and a K7 [cassette] deck, so I did the job. We had another drink, then Jim quickly left with the cassette, like he was really excited to listen to it. I went back to the studio and noticed Jim's plastic sack on the floor. I ran to the window, but he was already halfway down the block. I shouted, 'Hey, Jim! You forgot this!' He looked back at me, over his shoulder, and he shouted, 'All right -- keep it -- see you later -- bye!' "
Dalecky put the bag in a drawer. The next day he went to Saint Tropez with Zozo, who had a film job. He never saw Jim Morrison again.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:13:06 GMT
No one still alive can say with complete confidence what took place in the fourth-floor apartment at 17 rue Beautrellis on the morning of July 3rd, 1971. Only two people, Pamela Courson and Jean de Breteuil, were fully party to the tragic death of Jim Morrison, and both died soon after. But it is accurate to say that in the frenzied days immediately following July 3rd, an improvised, risky, remarkably skillful and cynical cover-up, abetted by determinedly lax procedures by the local authorities, enabled an American rock star's sordid and potentially scandalous heroin overdose, with obvious but messy criminal implications and enormous financial consequences, to be officially decreed a common heart attack by the City of Paris.
Pamela Courson told several versions of her story: one to the police, one to Alain Ronay and French filmmaker Agnes Varda, and others to friends in California over the next three years. Jean de Breteuil blurted out his story in Morocco, where he felt safe, three days after the events. Parisian rock critic Herve Muller published findings that indicated Jim had really died in the toilet of the Circus a day or so earlier. Taking all of these sometimes dubious, thinly sourced narratives into account, one can construct a speculative timeline that considers all the variants of the painful, heartbreaking final hours of Jim Morrison's life.
Pamela Courson said they went to the movies. On a bright and warm summer's night, they walked through the village Saint-Paul, past the crumbling old city wall, down the narrow passage Charlemagne and found a cab at the Saint-Paul taxi stand. Pursued was director Raoul Walsh's attempt to inject a film-noir sensibility into the standard Hollywood western format. After the movie, they ate some sweet-and-sour Chinese food at one of the late-night restaurants on the rue Saint-Antoine. Jim washed his food down with several beers. At one o'clock, they called it a night and went back to their flat.
Jim was restless. He was sipping whiskey out of the bottle, possibly in pain from his various injuries and ailments. He sat at his desk with an open notepad but couldn't focus. Pamela was cutting lines of heroin on a mirror with a credit card. They both began snorting the drug, using rolled-up money. Jim started threading Super-8 films of their travels into the projector. Pamela said they sang together as they watched their dark, jerky, out-of-focus movies of Spain, Morocco and Corsica on the wall. Jim (according to Pamela in all her narratives) played old Doors records -- even "The End" -- far into the night. Between reels, they broke for lines of the strong Chinese junk.
If the neighbors can be believed, early that morning Jim Morrison became very upset. Raging, he opened the apartment's door and went into the hall before someone dragged him back in and slammed the door. A year later, the woman who lived directly upstairs told Dalecky and Zozo that on the night their friend had died, she had been awakened by a disturbance. She had opened her door with the chain on and had looked out to see "Monsieur Douglas" -- naked and screaming on the staircase.
According to Pamela, Jim started coughing again and had trouble clearing his throat. Pamela eventually told Jim they should go to bed. It was three o'clock on Saturday morning.
Jim asked Pamela for another line, or two, before bed. It was her stuff, bought from de Breteuil, and at home she was the one who doled it out (although she also maintained that Jim had his own stash as well). Jim was still awake when Pamela nodded off in a heroin stupor.
She woke up with a start, maybe an hour later. Jim, lying next to her, was gurgling horribly. It sounded like he was drowning in his own mucus. But she had heard this before and tried to wake him up. She couldn't rouse him. She slapped his face. Nothing. She hit him hard, again and again, until he began to come to.
An awful scene ensued. Rousing himself, in obvious pain, Jim staggered to the bathroom. Someone -- Pamela couldn't remember who -- turned on the water in the tub, and Jim lowered himself in. Pamela went back to bed and passed out again. She awoke, in a cold sweat, to terrible retching sounds. Jim, still in the bath, was now vomiting up chunks of pineapple and vivid clots of blood. Pamela rushed into the kitchen, fetched an orange Le Creuset saucepan and ran back into the bathroom. Jim vomited some more into the saucepan. When the nausea passed, she flushed the stuff down the toilet. She later said she thought she had to empty and wash out the saucepan three times. She said that Jim told her he felt better and to go back to sleep. Sometime around five o'clock, as the sky was turning light, Pamela, overcome with heroin and fatigue, fell back into bed. As she was drifting off, she thought she heard Jim calling out to her, "Pamela -- are you there?"
Perhaps an hour later, Pamela woke up again. Jim hadn't come back to bed. Morning light filtered through the louvers covering the windows. She got up and went to the bathroom. The door was locked from the inside. She shouted at Jim, rattled the heavy door, but there was no response.
At 6:30, Pamela called Jean de Breteuil, who was in bed with Marianne Faithfull. Faithfull was stoned on Tuinals but remembered when the call came in.
"I got to go, baby," de Breteuil said. "That was Pamela Morrison."
That woke Faithfull up. "Jean, listen to me. I've got to meet Jim Morrison."
"Not possible, baby. Not cool right now, OK? Je t'explique later. I'm right back."
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:13:30 GMT
He was at the flat within half an hour. Pamela, dressed in her white silk djellaba, was out of her mind and incoherent. The count calmed her down, gently broke a glass pane in the bathroom door, turned the lock and let himself in.
They found Jim Morrison, dead, still in the bathtub. Blood was still drying under his nose and mouth, as if he had violently hemorrhaged. There were two large and lividly purple bruises on his chest. The bath water was dark pink, as if Jim bled out until his heart stopped. Pamela later said that he looked relaxed for the first time in months, his head turned slightly to his left, a small smile on his lips. "He had such a serene expression," Pamela said. "If it hadn't been for all that blood . . ."
Pamela started slapping Jim, talking to him, freaking out. Then she got halfway into the tub with Jim before the count pulled her away and dragged her out of the bathroom. With cool calculation, amid terror and considerable anguish, de Breteuil told Pamela that he was leaving town. (The Paris police had already opened a dossier on his drug-dealing activities.) He and Faithfull would leave for Morocco that night. De Breteuil told Pamela that if she could get to Morocco, where his family had great influence, he would be able to protect her if any legal questions arose. Jim had no track marks on his body. Autopsies were performed in France on suspicion of murder only. De Breteuil told Pamela that police would soon be in the house and to flush any drugs she had. She could tell the medical examiner that Jim had heart disease. Pamela asked de Breteuil what to do next.
"Call your other friends," the count said. "Get them to help you. I will see you again before I leave. I'm sorry, darling. I love you. Goodbye."
De Breteuil left 17 rue Beautrellis around 7:30 on Saturday morning. Pamela padded back into the bathroom to talk things over with Jim Morrison, who had died, miserably and alone, about ninety minutes earlier at the age of twenty-seven.
At an all-night disco called La Bulle, on the rue de la Montaigne-Sainte-Genevieve, there was a weird announcement made over the sound system that morning by the American DJ Cameron Watson. Sometime around eight o'clock, after a word with a couple of dope dealers who had stopped by his booth, and with only a handful of customers left in the club, Watson stopped the music and said, "Jim Morrison died this morning." Then he repeated the news in French.
He was, mysteriously, the first person to announce Jim Morrison's death.
Agnes Varda's phone rang at about 7:30 on Saturday morning. Alain Ronay awoke and answered it. It was Pamela Courson, speaking very softly. Ronay told her to speak up and then heard the fear in her voice. "Jim is unconscious, Alain. . . . He's bleeding. . . . Can you call an ambulance for me? . . . You know I can't speak French. . . . Oh, please hurry. . . . I think he may be dying." Pamela couldn't say anything else because she was sobbing. She hung up.
Ronay dressed and crossed Varda's courtyard to wake her. She immediately called the Paris fire department's emergency line. The rescue squad was the best chance anyone in a medical crisis in Paris had of staying alive. She ordered Ronay to write down Jim's address for her and told him to bring his American passport, because he would need it when the police arrived.
Varda drove them in her old VW Beetle. Ronay was almost pissing himself in fear. Weaving through traffic, Varda finally got them to rue Beautrellis at about 9:30. Fire trucks, an ambulance and a small crowd held back by a police officer were in front of No. 17. When they got upstairs, Pamela was in the apartment's foyer, still dressed in her wet djellaba, surrounded by firemen.
"My Jim is dead, Alain," she said. Then: "I want to be alone now. Please -- leave me alone."
Ronay was stunned. He glanced over at Jim's empty boots in the hallway, one in front of the other, as if he'd just stepped out of them.
When the fire-rescue squad had arrived a few minutes earlier, they had lifted Jim out of the bath and laid him out on the floor. They tried cardiac massage briefly, but the body was already cold. They carried Jim to his bedroom and placed him on the bed. Pamela covered Jim with a blanket.
Varda asked the fire chief if he was sure Jim was dead. With tender courtesy, the chief replied that the resident had been dead for at least an hour before they had arrived. Varda went into the bedroom to be with Pamela. A police inspector arrived and began to grill Ronay. "How did you know Mr. Douglas Morrison?" After establishing that Ronay was an American citizen, he asked about Jim's age, nationality and occupation. What about the girlfriend? Did they use drugs? He turned and asked the paramedics to write a full statement. Ronay then told him, "My friend's name was Douglas Morrison. Douglas James Morrison. An American. He was a poet. He was an alcoholic, but, no, he didn't use drugs."
The inspector was skeptical. Looking around the flat, he remarked that poets don't usually live in such bourgeois surroundings. "If he was really a poet, as you say, how could he afford some place like this?" Ronay replied that Mr. Morrison lived on a private income, then pleaded that he was traumatized and couldn't answer questions. The inspector backed off a bit and said that if the medical examiner's report was satisfactory, the police would certify a death certificate and a burial permit. Otherwise, there would be an inquiry. Then he left.
Pamela assured Ronay that all the dope had been flushed. She went into the bedroom, carrying a pile of papers and copies of his poetry collection An American Prayer, and locked them in Jim's desk. When Varda left that afternoon, Pamela started to burn papers in the fireplace. Anything with Jim's name on it went up in smoke. She also burned some of her own letters, a journal and files relating to Jim's various arrests in Los Angeles. Ronay said he thought the cops would smell the fire, on what was turning out to be the hottest day of the summer, and ask questions. Pamela didn't care. Some of her letters, she explained, were like diary entries about Jim and drugs. She then produced an application for a marriage license from Denver in 1967. She asked, "Will they accept this? Do they know English?" Ronay assured her that it wouldn't work.
Next, Pamela broke into Zozo's padlocked bedroom with the fireplace hatchet and emerged wearing a full-length mink coat. "It's mine now," she told Ronay. "I'm taking it with me. She'll never give me back all the money we paid her in advance." Ronay said later that he convinced Pamela that she was in enough trouble already, and she hung the fur coat back in the closet.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:13:59 GMT
The doorbell rang. It was the doctor, a short, stocky, middle-aged man carrying a black bag. "Where's the corpse?" he asked. Ronay pointed to the bedroom. Following legal procedure, the doctor demanded that Ronay accompany him to lay out the body. Ronay begged off because he didn't want to see Jim. But then Pamela appeared, apparently in a trance. Speaking in an artificial voice, she took the doctor's arm. "This is my very beautiful man, sir," she said as she took him into the bedroom.
The exam was completed in less than five minutes. The doctor came out and asked Ronay to translate Pamela's answers to his questions. He asked Jim's age, and was shocked when he was told twenty-seven. "I was going to write fifty-seven," the doctor told Ronay. He asked if Jim ever used drugs and was told no, never. Ronay tried to tell him about the coughing spasms, but the doctor waved him off. "All right. I understand," he said. He filled out a form and handed it to Ronay with an envelope. "Take this to the civil registry of the Fourth Arrondissement," he said, "and show it to the clerk. They will give you the death certificate." Then he offered his condolences to Pamela and left abruptly. It was now around noon. Ronay said that they went out for something to eat.
Then they went to get the death certificate. The office was closed, so they went back later. The lone woman on duty on a sleepy Saturday afternoon scanned the papers and told them that their request for a death certificate due to natural causes would be denied. She made a phone call and handed the receiver to Ronay. The prefect of police angrily told Ronay to get back to No. 17 within ten minutes.
The police arrived half an hour later. They found Pamela sitting demurely in the bedroom, next to Jim's body. She was holding hands with Jim, talking to him quietly. The inspector, Captain Berry, was brisk and unsympathetic. Jim had been cleaned up, with no traces of blood or any needle marks. The police quickly inspected the apartment and found nothing. The fresh ashes in the fire grate went unnoticed. But Captain Berry was bothered by the scene. He obviously smelled something very wrong, and twenty years later he told an interviewer that he thought Mr. Morrison had overdosed on drugs. He arranged for the senior medical examiner to arrive later to look at the corpse. Finally he told Pamela that if the new doctor found nothing amiss, they would receive the death certificate and burial permit.
Dr. Max Vassille arrived around six o'clock, carrying a black leather bag. Jim had been dead for twelve hours now. Vassille was an older gentleman, relaxed, and he smiled at them. He walked briskly into Jim's room and walked out again within a minute. He had a quick look at the bathtub. In the dining room he told Pamela and Ronay that he thought it strange that so young a man, who seemed to be in good condition, should just die in the bathtub like that. Ronay told Vassille about the heavy drinking and the violent coughing spells he had witnessed.
Vassille stood up. He told them that if their statements were accurate, and could not be immediately proved otherwise, he was inclined to say that Mr. Douglas Morrison had died of a heart attack caused by blood clots in the cardiac artery. He was now going to the Arsenal station to file his report. He advised them to rest for an hour -- "You both look very tense" -- and then join him at the station. After he left, and it looked for the first time that day that they might be in the clear with the authorities, Pamela fell apart and began to cry. Then, when her tears were dry, she had a tantrum. "Valium!" she screamed at Ronay. "I want Valium. Give some to me now." Ronay said he'd flushed his pills down the toilet. Pamela started crashing around the apartment until she found a few that she had stashed herself.
After she calmed down, Pamela said she wanted Jim cremated and his ashes scattered someplace he liked. Ronay said cremation was very rare in France and that an autopsy was always required first. Ronay told Pamela about Pere-Lachaise and suggested they try to bury Jim there, near Chopin, Sarah Bernhardt, Moliere or Debussy. This seemed reasonable to her. Pamela began going through the pockets of Jim's clothes, collecting about $200 in francs in a glass jar.
Captain Berry received them coolly at the Arsenal station. At 7:30 he handed them the death certificate (backdated to 2:30 that afternoon) and the burial permit.
"What about the body?" Ronay asked.
"Leave him where he is for now," Berry said and picked up the phone.
The doorbell rang at eight o'clock, only a few moments after Pamela Courson and Alain Ronay returned to the flat where Jim Morrison lay dead. Ronay was making tea, so Pamela answered the door. After a commotion, she shouted to Ronay, asking if he had ordered some ice cream. When he went to investigate, he found a small mortician in a dark suit, carrying a plastic bag and twenty-five pounds of dry ice. The police inspector had sent him. Shown into Jim's room, he wrapped the corpse in the bag with the ice. On the way out, he gave his card to Ronay and told him he would visit regularly until the funeral. "Believe me," he said, "I'll do my best. But this heat is against us."
Ronay told him that Pamela wanted to sleep next to the body. The mortician looked pained and said that he strongly advised against it. Ronay left also to get some badly needed rest.
Pamela seemed better when Ronay returned late the next morning. The iceman had already been and gone. Pamela was exhausted but told Ronay that having Jim in the house made her feel secure. She said that if she could do it, they would live like this forever.
The iceman came again, late in the day. He repacked Jim and explained to Ronay that, with the continuing heat wave Paris was enduring, the current situation would become impossible to sustain by Tuesday.
On Monday, after a second night spent lying next to her decomposing boyfriend, Pamela consented to a burial as soon as possible. Ronay walked across the river and found the house of Bigot, the undertaker, in the shadows of the twin spires of Notre Dame Cathedral, where an old monastic cloister had once stood. Mr. Guirard, the director, explained that everyone wanted to rest in Pere-Lachaise, and there were very few spaces left. Ronay pleaded that Douglas Morrison had been a famous young American writer. Guirard brightened. "A writer? I know a space -- in Division Eighty-nine, very close to another famous writer: Mr. Oscar Wilde."
Ronay was shocked. "No, I beg you, not next to Oscar Wilde! Please -- can you find another space?" A small double plot was found, near a memorial to victims of Nazi oppression in Paris, in a less desirable location on the other side of the hill. The funeral was arranged for Wednesday morning, July 7th. On Monday afternoon, the undertakers came to the flat, dressed Jim in a too-large dark suit and stuffed him into a too-small wood-veneer coffin, the cheapest one Bigot offered. Pamela gathered all the pictures of herself that she had and placed them in the coffin. The coffin was then sealed tightly with screws to retard further decay in the hot, dark apartment.
Pamela later said she had never seen Jim in a suit before. She said she thought he looked kind of cute.
From the book "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend," by Stephen Davis.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:14:35 GMT
He was the Lizard King, and he could do anything. Well, except live past the age of 27. But other than that, sky's the limit! Besides, that whole "death" thing is pretty questionable.
James Douglas Morrison was born in 1943 to a Navy admiral, of all people, and he grew up as an army brat, moving around from base to base and rarely forming lasting friendships. His father was a strict disciplinarian, which just goes to show that strict discipline is a pretty useless parenting technique.
As a child, Morrison's family had a jarring experience when they drove past a truck accident in the desert which had killed several Indians, who lay dying along the side of the highway. In Morrison's own words:
"Me and my mother and father, and a grandmother and a grandfather, were driving through the desert, at dawn, and a truck load of Indian workers had either hit another car, or just — I don't know what happened — but there were Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death. So the car pulls up and stops. That was the first time I tasted fear. I musta' been about four — like a child is like a flower, his head is floating in the breeze, man. The reaction I get now thinking about it, looking back — is that the souls of the ghosts of those dead Indians... maybe one or two of 'em... were just running around freaking out, and just leaped into my soul. And they're still in there."
Certainly, the incident left lasting scars on the young Lizard King's psyche; he would return to the incident again and again in his writing, most famously in the Doors song "Peace Frog":
Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind.
By the time Morrison was a teenager, he was showing signs of Lizard Kingliness. In high school (one of his classmates was Mama Cass), he read Friedrich Nietzsche, William Blake and Jean-Paul Sartre, terrorized his teachers and fellow students, and discovered the joys of alcohol.
After a brief stint at a Florida college, Morrison trekked to UCLA in 1964, where he studied filmmaking with such prestigious classmates as Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Among the lesser cinematographic lights in attendance was a young hippie named Ray Manzarek, whose chief claim to fame as a director came from convincing his Swedish girlfriend to pose nude in one of his student films.
But then, neither Manzarek nor Morrison were destined to be known as filmmakers. The two met on a beach one day, where Morrison was scrawling an ode to a fabulous babe in a bikini, under the title, "Hello, I Love You." Manzarek, a keyboardist, thought the poem was catchy, and a collaboration was born. After some false starts, they recruited drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger, and took the name "The Doors," after Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception."
Morrison's preferred method of opening the "doors of perception" was chemical, including mainly alcohol and LSD, although he indulged in a smorgasbord of anything he could get his hands on — and this being Southern California in the 1960s, that was rather a lot.
The Doors got off to a slow start, partly due to the fact that Morrison couldn't "sing" per se, in the sense of carrying a tune. With a lot of practice, he soared to the level of... adequate. But then the technical singing performance wasn't the reason for the band's success. Morrison brought two major qualities to enhance the unquestionably excellent musical abilities of his bandmates: Charisma and dark poetry.
Morrison met his soul mate during this period, Pamela Courson, who would give new meaning to the word "long-suffering." The two embarked on a cyclical but long-lasting romance, with elements of codependency, verbal abuse, heavy drug use and rampant philandering.
While performing at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, an L.A. dive famous as a first stop for future superstars, the band worked out the kinks and discovered Morrison's powerful stage persona. A student of psychology, Morrison was fascinated by crowd dynamics and enjoyed working masses of people into frenzies. Morrison was also a student of obscenity; the Whiskey's management threw the band out on a regular basis for his profanity-laced ad libs, finally firing the band for a particularly florid performance of "The End" in which Morrison chanted "fuck the mother kill the father" for several minutes.
In 1967, the Doors were signed with Elektra Records and released their first single, "Break on Through." Written by Morrison, the song was a smash hit, drawing critical raves as well as fan adulation. Their second hit, "Light My Fire," written by Krieger, was an even bigger hit later in the year, and their first album went gold. The Doors had arrived.
Success didn't agree with Morrison, or rather it agreed with him a little too much. Drunk with power and drunk on whiskey, Morrison began experimenting more aggressively with manipulating crowds, while his personal life wheeled out of control. His estranged family only discovered his new fame from the media; they attended a Doors concert at which Morrison gave a particularly enthusiastic performance of the "fuck the mother kill the father" vignette, and that was pretty much it for the family (until after his death, when they overcame their distaste sufficiently to cash in on the royalties).
This was also a time of epic binges, and Morrison decorated the nation from coast to coast in the colors of his vomit and piss. He reportedly had a date with Janis Joplin which left the latter in tears. As the band worked on its second album, Morrison's lyrics took a turn toward the militant, with "Five to One" and "The Unknown Soldier." In concerts and offstage, Morrison became increasingly antagonistic toward authority figures, and in New Haven, CT, he suffered his first in a series of arrests for "public indecency" in concert.
Morrison's drinking increased along with the band's success, and Doors concerts were often marred by his drunken incoherence and the damage alcohol was doing to his singing voice. At the same time, however, the Doors successfully began undertaking more ambitious musical projects, such as "The Celebration of the Lizard," a half-hour fusion of music, drama and poetry that left crowds stunned into utter silence by its conclusion.
When reasonably sober, Morrison also became more adept at manipulating crowds; it was not unusual for a Doors concert to end in a near-riot or an over-the-top orgy. Concert hall floors were routinely littered with discarded clothes at the end of a concert, which in turn brought the band under increasing scrutiny by promoters and local authorities.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:14:57 GMT
Jim Morrison 2
On a hot night in Miami, in an overbooked concert hall, Morrison's various demons converged to create a spectacle that would haunt the remainder of the Lizard King's days. Drunker than ever, which was saying a lot, Morrison goaded the crowd throughout the concert, at one point directly confronting them with their own adulation for him — You're all a bunch of fuckin' idiots. Letting people tell you what you're gonna do. Let people push you around. (...) Maybe you love it. Maybe you like being pushed around. Maybe you love getting your face stuck in the shit..." After a long chant of "what are you gonna do about it," Morrison followed up by (allegedly) simulating fellatio on bandmate Robbie Krieger, and (allegedly) exposing himself to the crowd.
The band left for its next concert date the following morning without a second thought. The usual Morrison antics, perhaps jacked up a notch or two, but then that was what the people were paying to see. Except that the story didn't end there. A story in the Miami Herald about the concert fanned public outrage with what may or may not have been an exaggeration of the obscenity of Morrison's performance (the facts of what happened are still hotly debated, even today).
Three days after the concert, the city of Miami filed an arrest warrant for Morrison, charging him with public indecency, profanity and drunkenness. The complaint was filed by an office worker for the state attorney general who happened to be at the concert. Despite the fact that this sort of controversy had been Morrison's bread and butter for three years, the media coverage was brutal and the band took big hits, both in morale and the pocketbook. Major venues either refused to book The Doors or required 5-figure "obscenity deposits," which the band would forfeit in the unlikely (hah!) event that Morrison did anything risque.
Jim's response to all this pressure was... you guess it! More drinking! More drugs! Whoo-hoo! Bring it on! He also whiled away the time hanging out with a New York City witch named Patricia Kennealy, whom he married in a pagan ceremony that year in which the happy couple drank each other's blood in a magical ceremony. The wedded bliss came to an end a couple weeks later, and Morrison urged the now-pregnant Kennealy to have an abortion, before riding off into the sunset to reunite with Pamela Courson.
With a jury composed entirely of people over 40 and a stridently unfriendly judge, Morrison's two-month trial in 1970 was a fiasco which ended in conviction. Morrison filed an appeal as the band finished production on its final album, the critically acclaimed "L.A. Woman."
As "L.A. Woman" burned up the charts, Morrison and Pamela Courson decided it was time for a break. According to various accounts, Courson was worried about Morrison's drinking and Morrison was worried about Courson's heroin use. For one or both of these reasons, as well as the mounting toll stardom was taking on Morrison's never-stellar sanity, the two decided to take a break with an extended stay in Paris in 1971, where Jim would focus on his poetry and forget about rock-n-roll for a while.
After a life spent before the spotlights, the final act of Jim Morrison's life is shrouded in shadows. There is no clear and undisputed account of what transpired in Paris; Morrison infrequently checked in with his bandmates, and when he did, he seemed upbeat and excited about new ideas for their music.
When the music's over, turn out the lights.
Morrison was found dead in his bathtub on July 3, 1971. The only person to see his "dead body" was Pamela Courson. She called some kind of doctor, who signed a death certificate illegibly and was never heard from again. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack. The funeral was a closed-coffin affair. No one but Courson (who committed suicide a few years later) and the never- identified doctor ever saw the body. The coffin, whether empty or full, was buried in Paris.
Obviously, these are the sort of circumstances which can lead people to reckless and irresponsible speculation. So let's get right to that.
There are as many rumors about Morrison's death as there are burnt-out hippies wandering the earth. The most widely accepted of these states that Morrison's death came after a heroin overdose. The problem with this theory is that Jim, while a fan of virtually every drug ever discovered, had a pathological hatred for heroin and frequently battled with Courson over her use of the drug. One variation on this theory states that Courson gave him some heroin to snort and told him it was cocaine.
Other theories have Morrison OD'ing on any number of other substances, including cocaine and alcohol, or choking on his own vomit after too much of the same. Further out on the fringe, some claim Morrison was assassinated by the Central Intelligence Agency for being a subversive influence, which seems like a bit of stretch.
The best theory about Morrison's death is, of course, that it never happened. Months before the Paris trip, Morrison had talked to friends at some length about his intention to fake his own death, leave his stardom behind and travel to Africa to live among whatever primitive peoples he imagined he could find there. He told people that he would send a message under the pseudonym, Mr. Mojo Risin', an anagram for "Jim Morrison" featured musically in "L.A. Woman."
Given the unusual circumstances of his death and the dearth of witnesses, the rumor that Morrison lives on has persisted. The surviving Doors occasionally take a shot at capitalizing on the idea by expounding their thoughts, but no one has reported receiving a telegram from Mr. Mojo Risin'. At least, not yet. On the other hand, even if Morrison didn't die in 1971, he would be 60 today. Given his insane habits, it seems quite likely that the Grim Reaper would have caught up with him by now, either through misadventure, overdose or simply bad living.
Unless the occasional talk about exhuming the Lizard King's body from its Paris resting place ever comes to fruition, we may never know if and when Jim Morrison broke on through to the other side. But if Janis Joplin is on another crying jag in Rock-N-Roll Heaven, well, that ought to be a good indicator.
from rotten dot com library 2003
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:15:43 GMT
Jim Morrison: Fateful Prediction
"One night in London, as Jim [Morrison] and Ronay [Alain Ronay, a friend from UCLA] were riding down the Kings Road in a black cab, Ronay told Jim that Oscar Wilde had been arrested for the crime of sodomy at the Cadogan Hotel [where Morrison and his girlfriend were staying] and later had died at l'Hotel in Paris [where the couple had recently stayed]. 'You better watch out that you don't follow too closely in his footsteps,' Ronay teased. 'You might end up like Oscar'...
"Jim's contribution to music is that Jim was real. Jim was real on stage. Jim was real when he wrote his songs. Jim was real when he sang his songs in the studio. He was not a performer. He was not an entertainer. He was not a showman. He was a shaman. He was possessed. The guy was possessed by a vision, by a madness, by a rage to live, by an all-consuming fire to make art.
Jim was Dionysus personified. The man onstage was an absolute genius, a human theatricon; from one performance to the next, you never knew what he was going to be. Sometimes a devil, sometimes a saint. Sometimes and angel, sometimes a demon from Hell.
I've never seen a performer like Jim- it was as if it wasn't Jim performing, but a shaman. Traditionally, the shaman was a man of the tribe who would go on a voyage in his mind, who would let his astral body project out into space and, in a sense, heal the tribe and find things that were needed for the safety of the tribe, for the continuance of the species. So, in a modern sense, Jim was exactly the same thing.
Jim was always very aware of the fact that each moment was precious, a jewel, a drop in time, and it's all we had. We walked out of a concert feeling absolutely in touch with the universe, and that, if any, was the message of Jim Morrison: "Get in touch with yourself. When you do that, you'll be in touch with God, you become gods...". Jim's message was that every man is a god- all you have to do is realize it."
"My personal belief is that Jim Morrison was a god. To some of you, that may sound extravagant; to others, at least eccentric. Of course, Morrison insisted we were all gods and our destiny was of our own making.
Jim's only motivation was to break through it all. He'd read about others who had, and he believed it was possible. And he wanted to take us with him. "We will be inside the gates by evening", he sang. The first few magical years of the Doors' life were little more than Jim and his band taking their audiences on abbreviated visits to another place- a territory that transcended good and evil; a sensuous, dramatic musical landscape. Of course, the ultimate breakthrough to the other side is death.
You can straddle the fence between life and death, between "here" and "there", for only so long. Jim did it, frantically waving his arm for us to join him. Sadly, he seemed to need us more than we needed him. We surely were not ready for where he wanted to take us. We wanted to watch him and we wanted to follow, but we did not. We couldn't. And Jim couldn't stop. So he went on alone, without us.
Jim didn't want help. He only wanted to help. I do not believe Jim Morrison was ever on the "death trip" so many writers claimed he was on. I believe Jim's trip was about life. Not temporary life, but eternal bliss. If he had to kill himself to get there, or even to get a mite closer to his destination, that was all right. If there was any sadness at the end of Jim's life, it was the grief of instinctive, mortal clinging. But as a lord, as a visionary, he knew better.
It does not matter how Jim died. Nor does it particularly matter that he left us so young. It is only important that Jim Morrison lived, and lived with the purpose birth proposed: to discover yourself and your own potential. He did that. Jim's short life speaks well. There will never be another one like him."
Danny Sugerman 1980
"I like any reaction I can get with my music. Just anything to get people to think. I mean if you can get a whole room full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think, you're doing something."
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 22, 2004 21:37:04 GMT
Jim Morrison: Film Student
(It is ironic that Jim Morrison, UCLA film school's most famous alumnus, never made a film--or not at least in the conventional Hollywood sense. During his short life, Morrison made an experimental film--HwY--and completed a documentary on the Doors, Feast of Friends, with two friends, Paul Ferrara and Frank Lisciandro. During his second year at UCLA, in 1965, Jim took a film production course with Terry McCartney-Filgate, a Canadian documentary film maker who was a visiting teacher. Here, in an exclusive interview with American Legends, McCartney-Filgate, who now lives in Toronto, remembers Jim Morrison.)
AL: What was UCLA film school like back in the early 1960s?
MF: It was a very exciting place. The head of the school was Colin Young who later founded the National Film School in Britain. He used to collect all sorts of odd people. Anyone who interested him could get in the program. In my class, I had a former policeman, an Arab, an Israeli....
AL: And two guys named Ray Manzarek and James Morrison.
Yes. Actually, Colin gave me all the tough students. Since I was an outsider, not a regular faculty member, I got all the difficult characters. Morrison was assigned to my class because he got into some trouble. He threatened to beat somebody up, I think.
AL: Did you ever see that dark side of Jim Morrison?
I remember once I was at his apartment off campus. He was sort of a rich kid, by UCLA standards. His dad was an Admiral. He had some money. Anyway, Jim was shooting a scene there for his student film. I had agreed to play a small role, running a projector. I noticed that Jim had made a dart board on his wall of Playboy centerfolds. I remember thinking: Jim is not very fond of women. When I told him this, he just laughed. He was not very communicative. He was a loner.
AL: What was Jim's student film like?
It was a montage--a film that didn't have a story but that was made up of different images. I remember one scene, Jim's girlfriend danced on a television set wearing a garter belt. While she was dancing, a news clip came on showing a Buddhist monk burning himself. Jim could not have known that. It was, for a film maker, sheer good luck. Actually, Jim's film was not the most shocking--another student shot in the city crematory. But nihilism was sort of popular then and student film makers tend to be imitative. I presume Morrison had seen Triumph of the Will.
AL: Ray Manzarek was also one of your students.
Ray was sort of a student guru. He would offer other students advice. He was very organized. Jim had talent, but Ray had organized film talent. Jim was undisciplined. He never completed his student film. He refused to double-splice it. This was the '60s. It was too much trouble. I gave him an incomplete.
AL: What adjectives would you use to describe Jim Morrison?
He was a narcissist. The way he would stand around, crinkle his neck, and lean back. He already had this self-image....
AL: Did Jim show any interest in singing then?
Actually, Ray Manzarek had a group called Rick and the Ravens, I believe. One night I heard them at a student hangout in Santa Monica. Jim Morrison sang, but back then he was not very good. Nobody thought he would go anywhere.
AL: Did Oliver Stone contact you for his movie, The Doors?
I didn't know about the movie until it was released. I felt there was no point in seeing it. I knew Jim Morrison and formed my own impression of his personality.
AL: What became of the student who filmed in the city crematory?
I don't know. He's probably retired and running a motel somewhere in the Midwest....
Nancy Seamen's comments on Jim
"YOU ALSO SAW JIM MORRISON PUKE ALL OVER YOUR GIRLFRIEND KAY POORBOY BACK BY THE RESTROOMS IN THE WHISKY?
That was towards the end of Morrison’s life. He was bearded, bloated, and drunk on his ass almost all the time. It just didn’t matter to us anymore that he was rich and famous. To us, he was a holy terror. If he was around, there was going to be trouble. He was no fun at all; just real negative about everything, real pissed at the world, one of those kinds of people. We all know one, and we just can’t stand to be around them. It’s depressing. I think John Mayall was playing that night. I was in the restroom when I heard a ruckus in the hallway outside. When I stepped out, Morrison and Kay were screaming and cursing at each other. From what I could tell, he had grabbed her, and tiny little Kay was having a hissy fit fighting him off, kicking him and punching him in the stomach. He lost it, literally puked all over her face and shoulders and down the front of her blouse. She was screaming at Morrison calling him a “drunken old has been”. Morrison called her a “filthy fucking bitch”. Security arrived shortly after I did and that was the end of the confrontation.
Later on, when the lights came on at closing time, Morrison was leaning over the banister up in the balcony screaming obscenities about God and “his fucking son”. He was scaring the tourists to death. They didn’t know who he was evidently or didn’t care, and they were filing out of there with an urgency of a danger present, scared something was going to blow at any second. We were all a little scared. What was he going to do now? Our group left and went out in back to the parking lot. We hung around for a while to decide on what we were going to do since the club had closed. We were piling into Mayall’s mustang when we noticed someone moaning in the shadows. It was a cross between somebody sobbing, moaning, and singing all at the same time, very weird. It was soon clear to us that it was Morrison. I really felt sorry for him then. He was pitiful. I suggested we take him with us but little Kay was remorseless. She had just been puked on! We left him standing there. That was the last time I ever saw him alive. That image of him in the parking lot is really painful for me to visualize today.
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE DOORS MOVIE BY OLIVER STONE? DO YOU FEEL THAT IT WAS MISLEADING?
I couldn’t wait to see “The Doors” movie when it came out. I wanted to see how these incidents were played out on the screen, as I thought that night was a major event in Morrison’s life and in ours. Nada. Nothing. Not a thing about it in the movie at all. There wasn’t a word of truth in that film. It was all phony baloney, just somebody’s interpretation of what might have happened. It [was as] though one of those weekend valley kids wrote it, the ones with their wires crossed.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION MOST PEOPLE HAVE OF JIM MORRISON?
He was very sweet, very quiet and bashful. We had many awkward silences between us. Either he had nothing to say, didn’t feel like talking, or didn’t know what to say. I remember often feeling uncomfortable with him. I’m verbal and outgoing. He wasn’t. I would say something I thought was really clever or cute, and there would be no response. He was very quiet and subdued. He was so beautiful, you just wanted to sit and stare at him. Most people are only familiar with his stage and drinking performances. The real Morrison was buried deep below that exterior. "
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 27, 2004 14:32:36 GMT
THE LEGACY OF JIM MORRISON & THE DOORS
Nearly twenty-five years ago, in the middle of a season in which rock & roll was seeking to define itself as the binding force of a new youth community, the Doors became the house band for an American apocalypse that wasn't even yet upon us. Indeed, the Los Angeles- based quartet's stunning and rousing debut LP, "The Doors" flew in the face of rock's emerging positivist ethos and in effect helped form the basis for a schism that still persists in popular music. While groups like The Beatles or the many bands emerging from the Bay Area were earnestly touting a fusion of music, drugs and idealism that they hoped would reform and redeem a troubled age, the Doors had fashioned an album that looked at prospects of hedonism and violence, of revolt and chaos, and embraced those prospects unflinchingly.
Clearly, the Doors, and in particular the group's thin, darkly handsome lead singer, Jim Morrison, understood a truth about their age that many other pop artists did not: namely, that these were dangerous times, and dangerous not only because youth culture was under fire for breaking away from established conventions and aspirations. On some level, Morrison realized that the danger was also internal- that the "love generation" was hardly without its own dark impulses. In fact, Morrison seemed to understand that any generation so intent on giving itself permission to go as far as it could was also giving itself a license for destruction, and he seemed to gain both delight and affirmation from that understanding.
Consequently, in those moments in the Doors' experimental, Oedipal miniopera "The End", when Morrison sang about wanting to kill his father and fuck his mother, he managed to take a somewhat silly notion of outrage and make it sound convincing, even somehow justified.
Now, a generation later- at a time when, at home, anti-drug and anti- obscenity sentiment has reached a fever pitch and when, abroad, the Doors' music is once again among the favored choices of young Americans fighting in a war- Jim Morrison seems more heroic to many pop fans then ever before. A film like Oliver Stone's "The Doors" can even make it seem that the band, in a dark way, has won its argument with cultural history. But back in the late 1960s, it seemed rather different. To many observers, it appeared that the group had pretty much shot its vision on it's first album. By the Doors' second LP, "Strange Days", the music had lost much of its edginess- the sense of rapacity, of persistent momentum, that had made the previous album seem so undeniable- and in contrast to the atmosphere of aggression and dread that Morrison's earlier lyrics had made palpable, the new songs tended too often to melodrama (Strange Days), or to flat-out pretension (Horse Latitudes). It was as if a musical vision that only a few months earlier had seemed shockingly original and urgent had turned merely morbid, even parodic.
In addition, Morrison himself was already deeply immersed in the pattern of drug and alcohol abuse and public misbehavior that would eventually prove so ruinous to him, his band, his friends and his family. Some of this behavior, of course, was simply expected of the new breed of rock hero: In the context of the late 1960s and it's generational schisms, pop stars often made a point of flaunting their drug use or of flouting mainstream or authoritarian morality. Sometimes this impudence was merely showy or naive, though on certain other occasions- such as the December 1967 incident in which Morrison was arrested after publicly castigating police officers for their backstage brutality at a new Haven concert- these gestures of defiance helped embolden the rock audience's emerging political sensibility. More often than not Morrison's unruliness wasn't so much a display of counter-cultural bravado as it was a sign of the singer's own raging hubris and out-of-control dissipation.
In other words, something far darker than artistic or political ambition fueled Jim Morrison's appetite for disruption, and in March 1969, at an infamous concert in Miami, this sad truth came across with disastrous results. The Doors had been scheduled to perform at 10:00 p.m. but had been delayed for nearly an hour due to a dispute with the show's promoters. By the time the group arrived onstage, Morrison was already inebriated, and he continued to hold up the performance while he solicited the audience for more to drink. A quarter-hour later, after the music had started, Morrison halted songs midway and wandered about the stage, berating the audience to commit revolution and to love him. At one point, he pulled on the front of his weather-worn leather pants and threatened to produce his penis for the crowd's perusal. Oddly enough, though more than twenty years have passed, and more than 10,000 people, including band members and police officers onstage, witnessed Morrison's performance, it has never been clearly determined whether Morrison actually succeeded in exposing himself that night. Finally, toward the end of the show, Morrison hounded audience members into swarming onstage with him, and the concert ended in an easy version of the chaos that the singer had long professed to aspire to.
At the time, the event seemed more embarrassing than outrageous, but within days the Miami Herald and some politically minded city and legal officials had inflated the pitiable debacle into a serious affront to Miami and the nation's moral welfare; in addition, Morrison himself was sized up as the foul embodiment of youth's supreme indecency. The Doors nationwide concert schedule ground to an immediate halt, and in effect the band's touring days were finished. Interestingly, amid all the hoopla that would follow- the public debate, the shameful trial for obscenity- almost nobody saw Morrison's gesture for what it truly was: the act of a man who had lost faith in his art and his relation to the world around him. On that fateful evening in Miami, Jim Morrison no longer knew what his audience wanted from him, or what he wanted from himself for that matter, and so he offered his most obvious totem of love and pride, as if it were the true source of his worth. The Doors lead singer, who only two years before had been one of rock's smartest, scariest and sexiest heroes, was now a heart-rending alcoholic and clownish jerk. He needed help; he did not merit cheap veneration, and he certainly did not deserve the horrid, moralistic brand of jail-house punishment that the state of Florida hoped to impose on him.
Of course, Morrison never received, or at least never accepted the help that might have saved him. By 1970 the Doors were a show- business enterprise with contracts and debts, and these obligations had been severely deepened by Morrison's Miami antics. As a result, the band would produce five albums over the next two years, including two of the group's most satisfying studio efforts, "Morrison Hotel" and "L.A. Woman", surprisingly authoritative, blues-steeped works that showed Morrison settling into a new, lusty and dark-humored vocal style and lyrical sensibility. But if Morrison had finally grown comfortable with the idea of rock & roll for it's own sake, he also realized that he no longer had much of consequence to say in that medium.
In March 1971, Morrison took a leave of absence from the Doors, and with his common-law wife, Pamela Courson, moved to Paris, ostensibly to distance himself from the physical and spiritual rigors of rock & roll and to regenerate his vocation as a modern poet. Perhaps in time he might have come to a compassionate understanding of what he and his generation had experienced in the last few years, as the idealism of the 1960s had finally given way to a deflating sense of fear and futility. Certainly there were glimmers in Morrison's last few interviews that he had begun to acquire some valuable insight about the reasons for and sources of his, and his culture's, bouts of excess. As it turned out, Morrison simply continued to drink in a desolating way, and according to some witnesses, he sometimes lapsed into depression over his inability to reinvoke his poetic muse, taking instead to writing suicide notes.
Finally, at five in the morning on July 4th, 1971, Pamela Courson found Morrison slumped in the bathtub of their Paris flat, a sweet, still grin on his face. At first, Courson thought he was playing a game with her. On this dark morning, though, Morrison was playing no game. His skin was cold to his wife's touch. Jim Morrison had died of heart failure at the age of twenty-seven, smiling into the face of a slow- coming abyss that, long before, he had decided was the most beautiful and comforting certainty of his life.
by Mikal Gilmore 1991
Rolling Stone Magazine
April 4, 1991
Post by hippieflowergirl67 on Dec 28, 2004 5:31:40 GMT
The Doors are the best band that ever happened in music history!
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 28, 2004 16:24:18 GMT
Best Goddamn L.A. King: Jim Morrison
by Richard Meltzer
Can’t say I agree with Lester Bangs’ quaint notion that there ain’t NO SALVATION without rock and uh roll, and I’d bet my boots Jim Morrison didn’t either, but for whatever the bloody hell it might be worth, I would hafto insist on Jimbo — hands fucking down — as the goddamn King of Rock and Roll.
Hey — I couldn’t really tell you whether rock-roll has ever needed anything as ridiculous as a king, or if kings themselves especially need rock and roll, or if monarchy metaphors (of whatever flavor or stripe) have more than the dumbest, most gratuitous application to things rock, but if there ever was an approximate or actual king of the whole damn silly thing — its high-water mark in flesh — it was, really really folks!, none other ’n Jim.
It wurn’t Elvis, for inst. In ’56 Elvis saved my life, or at least my 11-year-old ass — and the collective asses of MANY — but listen, kids, Jim’s was a wilder, krazier, and quantitatively BIGGER leap beyond the state o’ things muse-ical ’tween January and July of ’67, say — when rock as a whole was at pretty much ITS high-water point — than Elvis’ had been re: the cultural tide pool of Perry Como, Julius LaRosa, “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”<br>
What, uh — you weren’t born yet? Think maybe I’m shittin’ ya? Overreaching? Well I was there, OK? Actually I was in New York ... but let me see if I can show & tell you where I get this bullshit from.
When the Doors’ first album came out, I was writing for the first of the rock mags — first serious one, let’s say — Crawdaddy. This was back when there were no more than 11 or 12 decent bands in the world, so when the alb floated in on a cloud of major hype, it was like Oboy, maybe now we got us a 12th or 13th. On first listen we were not impressed. It seemed kinda pretentious, eh?, and a tad too forcibly arch, ’specially the “killer awoke before dawn” hoohah in “The End,” but when we got invited to their opening night at this plush clip joint called Ondine, up under the 59th Street Bridge, we figured fuggit — what’s to lose? Wasn’t much in the way of “live rock” in New York in those days; we were way behind L.A. and S.F. Oh, we had Murray the K. package shows and Long Island bars w/ a gaggle of bar bands, but in Manhattan proper there were probably 30 times as many jazz clubs as rock clubs.
So me and three colleagues from Crawdad subwayed up there and bingo — we were blown the fuck away. Material that on record had seemed wooden and stage-set now had the existential oompah of a scream. Simulations of arch played out in real time as truly and compellingly arch. What transpired on stage had this aura of DELIRIOUS BOMBAST the likes of which I hadn’t witnessed in even wrestling or monster pics (it certainly had no precursor in rock, which today people imagine as the fount of all bombast). It was as madly bracing as a cocktail of vodka and, I dunno, napalm.
It would be some weeks before Jim got his first leathers — he wore jeans and a striped surfer shirt — but his flirtation with the slithery dark trappings of what, danger?, menace? was already in high gear. Leaping straight in the air, he banged his head HARD on the sloped ceiling — definitely not choreographed — collapsing in a very impressive heap.
When the first set was done (there would be four that night, and every night, basically, for the next couple months — bar band servitude at its finest), we looked at each other and muttered: “Is this the greatest thing ever, or is this the greatest thing ever?” We fumbled for reference points — ’twas the Dawn of Rock Crit, see, and we were all still hopelessly verbal — and wondered aloud where the fuck and what the fuck whatever-this-was — i.e., who/what Jim was — had “come out of.” The Stones? Nope. The blues? He did “Back Door Man,” sure, but no way. Brecht-Weill ... ditto. The Fugs? Ha ha — in a funny way, close — but again, no.
Even the fact, subsequently “revealed,” that the guy had read (absorbed) (et for breakfast) his share of Artaud — closer still — would have EXPLAINED very little. Sitting in this stupid upscale club (to which I would return to sit or stand 30-40 times) (it was also the dawn of rock-crit freeload), it felt as if he’d come out of nowhere, or out of primal Freudian ooze or, I dunno — ’cause I still don’t know.
The prime PHENOMENON, tho, the glaring brazen sense-accessible MEAT of the act, was beyond debate, beyond interpretation — beyond irony, f’r chrissakes. What we had here, diggit, was a froth-bubble cauldron of libidinal whoopee — The Sexual — the whole fucking fuckthing in extremis — what rock-roll had always been supposedly, and archetypally, “about”— raised to a flash point, a thunder point, of got to! got to! gimme! gimme!: hell sex and heaven sex ... passion sex and teen sex and infantile playpen sex ... romantic sex and filth sex ... grope sex and come sex, pain sex and plain sex ... night sex and midafternoon sex ... dry-land sex and marine sex ... bedroom sex and gutter sex and mud-water swamp sex ... totally insane sex and wholesome fun-fun-fun sex ... acid sex and gin sex and sterno sex and puke sex ... garter belt and gam sex and farting belching piss-down-your-leg sex ... sex to die for and sex that equals death ... sex magical and tragical and ultra-mundane ... sex with lepers, sex with gods ... infinite sex and nothing sex ... sex before time ticked and after the end of the world. Believe it ...
It was all from a thoroughly male p.o.v. (natch) — kings are of course MEN — but there was nothing premeditatedly daunting about it, or even un-premed, nothing exclusive or exclusionary, a flaunting of what the king might have that we-all did not. (This wurn’t no Mick Jagger bulltickey.) If anything, it was generously, bountifully inclusionary and empowering: the musical evocation of the audience’s OWN dick ... of EVERYDICK, as it were. Empowering, yes! — just as later on punk would be empowering.
If you’re reading this and thinking, well, dicks don’t need additional encouragement — they do to dance, y’know. And ’fore you judge such-all as smacking, prima facie, of The Arrogance of Penis, please bear in mind that this here, at its socially un-redeeming wurst — ’scuse me — worst, was a benign penile arrogance, one that Jim had already limit-lined and tempered with HUMILITY (“The snake was pale gold & shrunken”— an impotence line, people!) and JOCULARITY (“Love Me Two Times,” anyone?). Hey — there ain’t ever been a FUNNIER bozo in rock-roll than (that’s correct) Jim ... verrry funny guy!!
Speaking of punk, and of dancing dicks, it could be argued, e-z, that without Jim you don’t get Iggy, and without Iggy you don’t get any number of hell-and-gone fuckaloonies. Or going down another line, Ian Curtis, and through him Kurt Cobain. Or Patti Smith, who didn’t even have a dick, and if we’re name-dropping her, gee, might as well talk about pottery, ’scuse-a me, POETRY.
ALL CONSIDERATION of high-booty poetry, of quasi-serious verse per se, wrought by members in good standing of the rock-roll tribe BEGINS WITH (couldn’t ya guess?) JIM. Tho it’s possible he never wrote a single “poem” worth its weight in eel spit, he was (take my wd. on this — no quotes — I’m running outta space) a True Rimbaud ... uhh ... The Real Wm. Blake ... bluh blah ... literal Father of Poetry (Rock Div.).
You won’t take my word? Okay — try THIS on for size:
“When the music is your special friend/ Dance on fire as it intends/ Music is your only friend/ Un ..... til the end,” et cet. Lyric not poesy, but greater (sez me) than all the works of Ginsberg, Coleridge, or Sara Teasdale.
And you won’t find ANYWHERE a hotter, hepper voyeur song (or peeper poem) than “My Eyes Have Seen You.”<br>
But if he hadn’t died — young — we would prob’ly not be sitting here twiddling our merry thumbs, immersed in edifying thoughts upon the grandeur that was Jim. A living J.D. Morrison would’ve recorded manymanyMANY bad albs, albs worse, far worse, than the heinous, horrible Soft Parade (for ex.) ... credential-corroding sonic doodoo ... and we might now think of him, if we thought of him at all, like we think of Joe Cocker, let’s say, or Darryl Strawberry.
Midrange former hot-shit, but no king cigar.
’Cause just as with Lester, an early murphy was a mandatory career move ... no everlasting glory without THAT.
Could be wrong.
LA Weekly OCTOBER 17 - 23, 2003
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 28, 2004 19:52:10 GMT
The doors of darkness
Fans will forever remember Jim, John, Ray and Robby for opening the `dark' doors of Rock and Roll
CONCEIVED BY filmmakers, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison at a 1965 meeting on a beach, The Doors came into being after the latter had recited one of his poems, Moonlight Drive to the former. Acquaintances from the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Film, they decided to collaborate as Manzarek had studied classical music during his childhood.
The line-up was Jim Morrison (born December 8, 1943, Florida) on vocals, Ray Manzarek (born February 12, 1935, Chicago) on the keyboard, Robby Krieger (born January 8, 1946, Los Angeles) on the guitar, and John Densmore (born December 1, 1944, Los Angeles) on drums.
Christened The Doors from an introduction to Aldous Huxley's book - The Doors of Perception by William Blake, it succeeded in creating an avant-garde genre of Rock and Roll, with highly literate lyrics and a melange of musical influences.
Their first engagement, via-a-demo tape, was as a house band at a gig that ended four months later because of a performance, explicitly Oedipal, called The End.
The eponymously titled debut album consisted of hits such as Light my fire, Break on through and The End. It established Jim Morrison's image as the embodiment of dark psychological impulses and an obsession with excess and death. His lyrics read like adolescent posturing - eerie, yet powerful, almost shamanistic invocations that hinted at a familiarity with the dark forces. The two following albums, Strange Days and Waiting for the Sun were huge commercial successes. The appearance of Morrison's mystic alter ego, the Lizard King, was seen in a poem printed inside the record-jacket entitled - The celebration of the Lizard King.
This poem was used as lyrics in their album Absolutely Live. Morrison's fondness for insurrection earned him a place in Rock history as the first rock-star ever to be arrested on stage. The infamous New Haven incident was the first of many. Morrison famously exposed himself on stage, which led to his arrest and conviction for lewd behaviour. The two-month trial earned the band a lot of bad publicity leading the critics to call for a ban on their music.
Court proceedings kept the singer in Miami, busy, for almost a year. Charges were dropped, but public furore, concert promoters' fear of similar incidents and Morrison's own mixed feelings about `celebrityhood' resulted in erratic concert schedules.
The Soft Parade met with mixed reactions from fans. Touch Me - a single from the album was a No.3 hit. From here, Morrison started going on a tangent and began devoting more attention to projects outside the band, such as writing poetry, collaborating on a screen play with poet Michael McClure and directing a film titled A Feast of Friends.
Sex, death, reptiles, charisma and Morrison's sexual-charges gave The Doors an aura of profundity that not only survived but also, has grown after the death of Jim Morrison. Obviously physically and emotionally drained, he moved to Paris where he hoped to write and where he and his wife, Pamela Courson Morrison, could live in seclusion.
He died in 1971, age 27, of heart failure in his bathtub. While no autopsy was ever performed, many suspect drugs were involved in his death. Ironically, the group's best years began in 1980. Nine years after Morrison's death. The Danny Superman-Jerry Hopkins biography (No one here gets out alive) of Morrison, Magazine-cover lines such as, He's Hot, He's Sexy, He's Dead, spurred many admirers and imitators.
Oliver Stone's 1991 film-biography of the group, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison, was a critical and commercial success and increased the bands popularity worldwide. Tribute albums and concerts followed, many of which have featured the surviving band members.
The Morrison cult continues to grow, in 1990 his graffiti-covered headstone was stolen from the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. In 1993, on what would have been his 50th Birthday, hundreds of mourners, many not even born before he died, travelled from around the world to pay tribute. Some still refuse to believe Morrison's dead.
A. GEORGE ANTONY
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Dec 30, 2003
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 28, 2004 19:56:17 GMT
Jim Morrison remembered
The 30th anniversary of Jim Morrison's death will be commemorated with a new documentary on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday July 7th, reports dotmusic. The programme, entitled 'Dark Star' will include new and never previously broadcast interviews with Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger.
There will also be contributions from Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins who co-wrote Morrison's cult biography No One Gets Out Of Here Alive.
Meanwhile, a new live album, Bright Midnight Live In America, was released this week to mark the anniversary. It features 13 Doors classics such as Break On Through, Roadhouse Blues and Light My Fire, all of which were recorded from 1969 to 1970.
The Star On-Line 29-Jun-2001
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 29, 2004 23:54:42 GMT
A college prank earned Jim this mug shot.
Jim Morrison at Florida State
(Most Doors' fans know that Jim Morrison studied film at UCLA where he met a graduate student named Ray Manzarek. But before enrolling at UCLA, Morrison attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. At FSU, in 1962, Jim studied art and psychology and fell in with a bohemian crowd. He also appeared in a student production of Harold Pinter's play, The Dumbwaiter. Here, in an exclusive interview with American Legends, Gerry McClain remembers his fellow FSU student, Jim Morrison.)
AL: How did you meet Jim Morrison?
GM: I was a film student at FSU. At that time, the department consisted of two people: myself and Werner Vagt who ran the operation. There were no formal classes. Werner made short films for the university and some outside clients. He had been a director in Germany. Jim Morrison appeared in a short we did for United Way. As I recall, he walked to a mailbox and mailed a letter.
AL: Was Jim interested in film then?
GM: His whole interest was film. He did some editing work under Werner and would go to the FSU library to read film reviews in back issues of The Village Voice. Jim also made an 8 mm film on campus--guys peeking around bushes, that kind of thing.
AL: What was Jim Morrison like back then?
GM: He hung around with a bohemian crowd: people who liked to wear pants with holes in them. Jim posed as a model for the art department, and they would all sell blood to the Red Cross to get a few bucks. Once, I saw Jim go around the college coffee shop eating scraps off tables. I felt he--and the others--were living an image--the starving young artist.
AL: Was Morrison interested in music?
GM: The only time I heard Jim mention music at FSU was at a party. He said, "I want you to hear this guy. He's really great." Jim put on this record by a singer nobody had ever heard of. It was Bob Dylan.
AL: A recent biography by Patricia Butler suggests that Jim Morrison may have had a gay experience in St. Petersburg before enrolling at FSU.
GM: At FSU, he had a girlfriend, Mary Werbelow. Jim brought her to a party. Some guy was bending over to talk to her and Jim got jealous. He grabbed the guy by the belt and threw him across the room. Jim got very drunk when he drank. I realized drinking made him crazy. Another time, Morrison grabbed the wheel of my car and wanted to drive to Georgia to this carnival where girls danced nude. Jim Morrison wasn't gay.
AL: Did Morrison talk about leaving FSU?
GM: No. One time I hadn't seen him for a couple of days and over semester break I dropped by Werner's office and asked if he'd seen Jim. Werner said: "Morrison's gone. He's going out to California to film school at UCLA."
George Washington High School
James (Jim) Douglas Morrision, ‘60
Born on December 12, 1943 and died on July 3, 1971 at age 27
Jim Morrison, a member of the "Doors", was handsome with a gentle, innocent look. His genuinely shy manner and soft, quiet voice was in direct contrast to the always drunk and/or stoned satyr who sang with such strident urgency, as he appeared onstage. Jim's grade school ambition was to become a writer. His idols were poets and joumalists including Rimbaud, Keats and Jack Kerouac.
As a student Jim excelled in text work and reference work, devouring knowledge in areas of history, science, psychology, english and the arts, but was troublesome in class. He learned to make friends fast and not get too close as his father being an Admiral in the navy and a career man, moved around the country frequently.
Jim went on to get a degree in Cinematography and actually made a movie. The film was greeted by a minority as a masterpiece and by several professors as the worst film they had ever seen. "Wierd" would have been a more appropriate description. Not long after that he bumped into an old class mate, Ray Manzerak, and decided to join Ray's band 'Screamin ' Ray Daniels ' _ and try out some of his Iyrics. After a reshuffle in the band Ray and Jim with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore formed The Doors.
They called themselves The Doors after Aldous Huxley's 'The Doors Of Perception' and worked for six months ending up at the most important rock club in Los Angeles, Wiskey a Go Go. By this time Jim was singing his own heady material and The Doors were fast gaining a loyal core of fans.
One night Electra Record Company's president Jac Holzman, and producer Paul Rothschild, dropped in at the club and signed the band, on the spot, for ten thousand dollars. That summer of 1967 their first album 'The Doors' was released and immediately hailed as a masterpiece. 'Light My Fire' the single off the album was a smash hit. Their next album 'Strange Days ' solidified The Doors ' success. _With two albums in the top ten, headline concerts causing riots and hit singles, Jim achieved his aim of becoming hero and controversial spokesman, blending poetry and insanity.
The Doors became myth makers, the group who sang about sex, doom, the revolution and death, and Jim a performer of enormous capabilities. With his picture on the cover of practically all teen magazines in America, and heralded 'The King of Acid Rock', 'The King of Orgasmic Rock ', 'The Ultimate Barbie Doll ' and 'The Lizard King' Jim was every girl's dream and every boy's self image.
Jim was becoming notorious for his drug taking, taking and fast living and by the time The Doors third album 'Waiting For The Sun' came out, his popularity had begun to wane as his fans watched him become drunker and fatter.
Arrests after The Doors' Miami concert of March 2nd 1969 for "lewd and lascivious behaviour" sparked a nation wide ban on the group, resulting in exclusion from 16 states, and Jim began to rebel against the image he had created, shedding his leathers in fear of another bust. Twelve previous arrests had not left their mark, but this was the first time his arrest had serious repercussions.
Their next album 'The Soft Parade'released in the summer of 1969 did not make the impact of the earlier albums and although 'Morrison Hotel' released in early 1970 redeemed them somewhat, the future of The Doors was at best, uncertain.
Jim was not unaware of his own absurdity and the Iyrics of 'Absolutely Live' (1970) belie his disillusionment .... "Dead cat in a top hat, Thinks he's an aristocrat That's crap". With the finish of the bluesy and intermittently successful album 'L.A. Woman', Morrison headed for Paris. He was probably looking for renewed inspiration in the birth place of French symbolist poetry and_surrealism.
So Jim met his partner Pamela in Paris and his restless soul finally found peace when he died in his bath tub on July 3rd, 1971. Speculations as to the cause of his death abound and their are some who even proclaim that he is still alive.
Before he went to France he had recorded a legacy to Doors fans and the world at large with some of his poetry.
In 1978 the remaining Doors' members, Ray Manzerak, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore got together and put his poetry to music for the latest album 'An American Prayer' In it Jim seems to be prophesing his own death and welcoming it, through lines such as:
"Death makes angels of us all & gives us wings
Where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws
No more money, no more fancy dress
This other Kingdom seems by far the best
until its other jaw reveals incest
& loose obedience to a vegetable law
I will not go
Prefer a Feast of Friends
To the Giant Family. "
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Jan 4, 2005 18:29:39 GMT
THE CULT OF THE LIZARD KING
by Delia Morgan
I. The Rock God:
Jim Morrison -- rock star, poet, prophet, electric shaman, and god incarnate. The lead singer of the 1960’s acid rock band known as The Doors, Jim Morrison identified himself very strongly with Dionysos. The Doors were the first group to really do rock concerts as ritual, as a means of taking the audience on a psycho-religious trip. They took their name from Aldous Huxley's quote (here paraphrased) that "When the Doors of perception are cleansed, we will see things as they truly are -- infinite." Morrison described their mission in terms of trying to "Break On Through" to a bigger reality: "There are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between are the Doors."
Morrison, with his "Greek God" beauty, his fiery passion and dark mysterious persona, has been considered a Dionysos incarnate. He certainly tried to bring something like shamanism and Greek drama to rock music and to the stage; he tried to shock people out of their complacency and into a terrifying and liberating ecstasy. Since his death at a young age in 1971, a cult has grown around him; many people, myself included, sense his presence as a guiding force, build altars to him, etc. There was even a "First Church of the Doors" at one time.
Morrison himself was, by all accounts, a man as brilliant as he was daring. At a young age he had read extensively on shamanism and ancient mythology, including James Frazer's "The Golden Bough" (much of which is about Dionysos); he was also quite taken with Friedrich Nietzsche's passionate vision of Dionysos as portrayed in "The Birth of Tragedy." One of the last books he had been reading before his death was Jane Ellen Harrison's voluminous and challenging "Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion" which is also mostly about Dionysos. It seems to me that Morrison let himself be completely possessed by Dionysos, until the man and the god were irrevocably merged; he carried the torch of his mythic Dionysian vision all the way to his death.
Unfortunately, most people never quite 'got' what he was trying to do at the time, which was religion. Rock critics called him pretentious for taking himself so seriously; few of them knew enough about myth and religion to put the pieces together. Ray Manzarek's recent book "Light My Fire" is a personal history of the Doors, and also talks about Morrison as Dionysos.
Here are just a few quotes from Morrison’s songs and poetry where the dark and Dionysian mystic slips through:
"I call upon the dark hidden gods of the blood..."
"Where is the wine we were promised, the new wine...?"
"We could plan a murder, or start a religion..."
"I promised I would drown myself in mystic heated wine..."
"Let us reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages; celebrate symbols from deep elder forests..."
"I am a guide to the labyrinth."
II. Perspectives on the Morrisonian mythos:
Some perceptive authors and music critics at the time caught on to the Dionysian element in Morrison’s philosophy and in his performances; others have come to realize this in retrospect. (Still others never caught on, and can’t understand what all the fuss is about.)
During the late 1960's bands sang of love and peace while acid was passed out. But for The Doors it was different. The nights belonged to Pan and Dionysus, the gods of revelry and rebirth, and the songs invoked their potent passions-- the Oedipal nightmare of "The End," the breathless gallop of "Not to Touch the Earth," the doom of "Hyacinth House," the ecstasy of "Light My Fire," the dark uneasy undertones of "Can't See Your Face in My Mind," and the alluring loss of consciousness in "Crystal Ship." And as with Dionysus, The Doors willingly offered themselves as a sacrifice to be torn apart, to bleed, to die, to be reborn for yet another night in another town.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Jan 4, 2005 18:31:15 GMT
by Danny Sugerman
"Though the favorites of the gods die young, they also live eternally in the company of gods."
Fredrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
An account of initiation into the mysteries of the goddess Isis survives in only one in-person account, an ancient text that translated reads: "I approached the frontier of death, I saw the threshold of Persephone, I journeyed through all the elements and came back, I saw at midnight the sun, sparkling in white light, I came close to the gods of the upper and the netherworld and adored them near at hand. " This all happened at night. With music and dance and performance. The concert as ritual, as initiation. The spell cast. Extraordinary elements were loosed that have resided in the ether for hundreds of thousands of years, dormant within us all, requiring only an awakening.
Of course, psychedelic drugs as well as alcohol could encourage the unfolding of events. A Greek musicologist gives his description of a Bacchic initiation as catharsis: "This is the purpose of Bacchic initiation, that the depressive anxiety of people, produced by their state of life, or some misfortune, be cleared away through melodies and dances of the ritual."
There is a strange tantalizing fascination evoked by fragments of ancient pagan mysteries: the darkness and the light, the agony and the ecstasy, the sacrifice and bliss, the wine and the ear of grain (hallucinogenic fungi). For the ancients it was enough to know there were doors to a secret dimension that might open for those who earnestly sought them. Such hopes and needs have not gone away with time. Jim Morrison knew this. Morrison was the first rock star I know of to speak of the mythic implications and archetypal powers of rock 'n' roll, about the ritualistic properties of the rock concert. For doing so, the press called him a pretentious asshole: "Don't take yourself so seriously, Morrison, it's just rock 'n' roll and you're just a rock singer."
Jim knew they were wrong, but he didn't argue. He also knew when the critics insulted him they demeaned his audience. Jim knew that music is magic, performance is worship, and he knew rhythm can set you free. Jim was too aware of the historical relevance of rhythm and music in ritual for those transforming Doors concerts to have been accidental.
From his favorite philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jim took solace and encouragement in the admonition to "say yes to life." I never believed that Jim was on a death trip as so many have claimed, and to this day still find it difficult to judge the way he chose to live and die. Jim chose intensity over longevity, to be, as Nietzsche said, "one who does not negate," who does not say no, who dares to create himself. Jim also must have been braced to read the following Nietzsche quote: "Saying yes to life even in its strangest and hardest problems; the will to life rejoicing over its own inexhaustibility even in the very sacrifice of its highest types-this is what I call Dionysian, that is what I understood as the bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet. Not in order to get rid of terror and pity, not in order to purge oneself of a dangerous effect by its vehement discharge, but in order to be oneself the eternal joy of becoming, beyond all terror and pity. "
It was Jim's insatiable thirst for life that killed him, not any love of death.
III. Morrison today
Why, among all stars in that infamous rock-n-roll heaven, is Jim Morrison uniquely qualified as an avatar of Dionysos? It's no doubt true that various worthy and charismatic figures in rock-n-roll have gained something of a fanatical cult following. Visions of Elvis, etc. One recent translation of Euripedes' play "The Bacchae" even put Elvis on the cover. But, really, it should have been Jim.
Morrison was, as far as I know of, the first or only rock performer to actually identify with Dionysos, and to express (sometimes subtly) the stated intent of trying to bring back the old pagan religions. He was also the only one to do serious research on the cult of Dionysos, and to attempt to recreate the cathartic experience of Greek tragedy as a ritual on the stage. He forged a connection between shamanism and Dionysiac cult: the shaman, by going on a spirit journey, could heal the tribe; then the rock performer, by making the presence of Dionysos manifest, and by bringing the audience with him, could create a healing breakthrough for both himself and the spectators/participants. He was brilliant, and possibly mad.
He was also the performer who (in my view) best expressed the enigmatic, mysterious qualities of Dionysos himself - the paradoxical juxtaposition of sweetness and violence, ecstasy and agony, deep masculinity and androgynous beauty, orgasmic chaos and graceful precision. Etc., etc.
I have no doubt that the spirit of Dionysos permeated the world of rock music in the 60's, and even somewhat today. But it remains that Jim Morrison alone gave himself to Dionysos, entirely and without reservation, to the very end; and all for the purpose of bringing back Dionysian religion to a world without a clue.
And since his death, he has become a real and guiding presence for many devotees; in other words – a god. Doors fans have built altars and web shrines, conducted rituals in his honor and written poems about their spiritual encounters with Jim. He was certainly a powerful force in my own pagan awakening. This point came home to me, in many ways over the years; I'll relate one.
One evening, I was sitting on the couch reading Jane Ellen Harrison's "Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion," a book which deals extensively with the religion of Dionysos. I was at the section where she describes how the dead hero becomes transformed into a god. I got very excited, and was scribbling notes in the margins, about how I saw this process of heroic deification as applying to Jim Morrison. (Snakes figured largely into this process, as they did in the cult of Dionysos; and Doors fans know all about Jim and "the ancient snake.")
Suddenly, for no reason, I had a strong urge to turn on the television. (I almost never watched it; my roommate did.) When I did so, there was a program about the history of rock music, and they were doing a short segment on Jim Morrison. Then they interviewed the Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, on the subject of Jim's death and/or possible continued existence. Ray said (paraphrased): "Jim isn't here on earth anymore. Dionysos returned to Olympus, and he's sitting up there laughing at us."
This statement, coming right after my reading the same idea in Harrison's book (and my relating it to Morrison), seemed like a remarkable coincidence to me at the time. I'm sure it was Jim who prompted me to turn the TV on at that moment. A few years later, I learned that (according to Jim's girlfriend, Wiccan priestess Patricia Kennealy) that Harrison's book on Greek religion was the very same one that Jim was reading just before he left for Paris, where he died a few months later.
"Calling on the Gods...
Cobra on my left, leopard on my right..."
- Jim Morrison, from the album "The Soft Parade"
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Jan 8, 2005 17:35:35 GMT
I graduated from high school in 1965 and then went to Cal State Long Beach. After Rich started helping with the Doors equipment, he started telling me about them, but I wasn't very interested. I didn't know who the Doors were, 'cause they hadn't had a hit yet. When he offered me a trip to San Francisco, I said 'OK, I'll go.'
We ended up sitting in the audience at this show at the Avalon Ballroom (May 12, 1967), watching this maniac. What I remember is Jim on stage. I wasn't affected one way or the other by meeting him, but when I saw him on stage I was more emotionally gripped and moved and disturbed than I had ever been at any similar type of thing.
I remember thinking, WHAT? What is he saying? What is he doing? I don't get it. And then he said something about 'Awkward instant/And the first animal is jettisoned/Legs furiously pumping/Their stiff green gallop' and I went, 'This guy is completely out of his mind,' But I was moved by it, I could feel it. It was the first time poetry had been a movie to me, the images were so strong that they came to mind in a photo form. I could see the horses jumping off the boat. I could see them drowning.
So what was my first impression of Jim? He scared me to death.
Doors roadie and later manager Bill Siddons