Today is an interesting choice for me, as it is a band and album that I like, but do not love… I know… I know… mouths have dropped open. But this is about honesty and spontaneity and opening up a musical dialogue… So, as Joan Rivers famously says… Can we talk?
The Doors are still an enigma to me. Yesterdays Rock n’ Roll tour of LA put a lot of things in perspective, at least in terms of geography and lifestyle, but I am still figuring this band out and how they fit into my musical listening repertoire.
I was a pretty clean-cut kid… thus any music born out of drugs or psychedelia did not make it onto my turntable. The Dead? Please, that was for stoners… Frank Zappa and the Mothers? Off the wall and strange and music I just did not get. The Doors… Nope.
Needless to say that as I got older my tastes exploded… the world of Rock opened up to me like a Georgia O’Keeffe painting… I am a man 15-20 years behind the times… at least. My opinions on so many things have changed, and they are all, seemingly, in the opposite directions of the way most people seem to move… I have gone from conservative to more liberal (at least domestically)… I have always been open-minded in that regard, I guess it’s the artist in me… Come on out even more artist… come on.
As we drove around LA yesterday I wondered what it would be like to be consumed by sex, drugs and Rock n’ Roll. To live in a hotel room, with obviously few belongings… to have your needs be simple and primal, yet powerful… to wake up with nothing to do but play music, make music and make love… Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished… Ah, once again, if I knew then…
The other thing that struck me was the sense of a Rock n’ Roll community… bands hanging out with each other, jamming together and truly supporting one another. Yes, there was a seedy side to the Sunset Strip, but there was also a camaraderie and deep, enduring friendships… artists helping artists.
I know, it is sacrilege for me to say, but The Doors are not in my favorites list… Don’t get me wrong, I dig the music now more than I ever did. I understand it far better now than I ever did, or could have then… but it is still a bit foreign to me. I wish I could put my finger on it… but I can’t… it is just one of those gut check things. When they come on the radio I listen and enjoy… “Roadhouse Blues” is one of my favorite songs and one I love to play harmonica with. But… there is just something that I cannot completely connect with… The Dead became one of my favorite bands, right around the time I hit 18 or 19… but The Doors… they just were never a full on part of my world.
With that said… on this one, the stranger songs are the ones I like the best. WTF is wrong with me? “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” and “The End” are the standouts for me on this album… Yes, clearly Jim had some issues he needed to work out…
The band started playing the London Fog (long gone… but we saw where it was yesterday) and then moved to the famous Whisky a Go Go. Jac Holzman and producer Paul A. Rothchild (Janis Joplin’s Pearl, discussed yesterday) saw them there and signed them. The club fired the band “after a profanity-filled performance of “The End”.
Jim died in Paris on July 3, 1971… Yes, he was 27… and although the band would hang on for two more years, that was the end… Standing outside of his room at the Alta Cienega Motel (1005 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 – (310) 652-5797) put things in perspective for me… and as I listen the songs become more and more alive. While they may not make my Dessert Island list, I do appreciate the music.