Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Friedrich Nietzsche killed Jim Morrison

The history of rock music is an amazing tale of legends, guitar gods; their conquest of culture, undermining political authority and giving the proverbial finger to the forces of conformity. Their excesses made them a living critique of the times they lived in.
While most canadians cooked turkeys this thanksgiving, I read Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend. I have not read any other account of Jim Morrison, I havent even seen the 1991 movie by Oliver Stone on the band, so I cant say what this book contributes that the other works left out. But even then, it's a great read. Most of the facts regarding his childhood are sealed by the family, and his life is so short that a complete biography isnt even possible. Most of his poems have never been published and some are only part of private collections. (There is a book out called The Lost Diaries of Jim Morrison, hopefully I get my hands on it soon)
But I found out a lotta facts that people might already know. The title of the post is quoted from another member of the band. The name 'The Doors' stems from the writings of (surprise, surprise!) Aldous Huxley's The doors of perception, who writes
'If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite'.
His father was an Admiral in the Navy when Jim was singing 'The Unknown Soldier', a tragic depiction of the vietnam war. His authoritarian ways might have had something to do with his son's rebellious nature, but the family won't talk about his childhood. He was a great poet and surprised a few people by reciting whole poems from memory. As a philosopher, he was impressed with Nietzsche and even before he had a band, he said to his friend, 'We gotta get to the fringe, and then we gotta get beyond the fringe'. Rolling stones magazine said something to the effect of 'Rolling stones and Beatles are for blowing your mind away, and The Doors is for those who have already blown their mind away', a pun on his annoying, bizzare and oft outrageous stage antics. He would fall to the floor in the middle of the concert as if he was having a seizure, and wake up screaming minutes afterwards. (Kurt Cobain might have been paying him a tribute when he came to a concert in a wheel chair, only to jump out and start rolling.) Mick Jagger, when he was in the US, met Jim and asked for his help in stage craft. (The doors were one of the first bands to outgrow the club stage, and perform in sport arenas)
His grave is in Paris and is the most visited landmark in the city after the Eiffel Tower. The tombstone reads in greek,
'True to his spirit'.