by Mari Farthing
Did you see the news? Jim Morrison was pardoned for his 1969 conviction for indecency in Florida. Hearing about that story brought me right back to my introduction to Jim Morrison.
It didn’t start with the music with me, it started with a book. In the mid-1980s I was a teen living in small-town Wisconsin. We had no Internet, no MP3s, no iTunes; finding interesting music wasn’t as easy back then as it is now. I had a rudimentary knowledge of the Doors and Jim Morrison (classic rock reigned supreme on our radio airwaves), but I didn’t know much beyond the songs that got the airplay.
I got a gig babysitting every Thursday night for a young woman who lived down the block. She would come home late and we would sit and talk for a while. We talked a lot about music, boys and the things we shared in common. We liked a lot of the same music, and when she found out I liked the Doors, she gave me her copy of No One Here Gets Out Alive (by Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman).
Wow. I was even more intrigued after reading this book. Morrison was a teenage dream for me – the ultimate bad boy fixer-upper, a sensitive, misunderstood handsome counter culture hero in skin tight leather pants.
I fell in love with his words; the lyrics, while at times were a bit too dark for me (“Father? Yes, son? I want to kill you.” From The End), most of them really struck a chord with me. It was strange that when I finally did get my Doors music (on cassette & vinyl), it surprised me how different the songs were from what I expected. I had created my own rhythm to the words I read, and it was like reading the words all over again when I listened to the songs.
The book offers a great peek into life on the Sunset Strip in the debaucherous 1960s, and it provides a great peek into a man who has become a mythical creature in the rock world. A bit over the top at times, it’s a great homage to Morrison written by fans of the man and the music.
If you’re a fan of the Doors (or just a fan of poetry), look into the books of poetry by Morrison. The books offer another form of insight into the mind of the self-proclaimed Lizard King; both Wilderness and Lords and New Creatures are good picks that take up real estate on my bookshelf. My personal favorite Morrison-penned poem (from Wilderness):
I am troubled
By your eyes
I am struck
By the feather
Of your soft
The sound of glass
What your eyes fight