THE GOOSE THAT LAID GOLDEN EGGS
In the December issue of the British music magazine Classic Rock there is a twenty page spread about The Doors featuring, among other things, an interview conducted with the two surviving members, Robby Krieger and John Densmore. It’s the first time they’ve sat down across from each other in quite a while. Krieger is pretty straightforward throughout the interview while Densmore is, more often than not, very sarcastic towards Robby. The bad feelings of long litigation obviously haven’t been swept out the doors yet. Too bad. The antagonism and their dislike of each other will probably follow Robby and John to their graves.
Ray Manzarek, who died in May 2013, was always Jim Morrison’s eager defender, even until the end. But in those rare moments when he reflected truthfully about the singer, Manzarek admitted that Jim had lost any creative drive as the self inflicted events and disasters began to overwhelm his life. Manzarek nursed the myth of Morrison for decades. Of course, it was his bread and butter. When you’ve got a goose that lays golden eggs, you don’t go out behind the barn, lop its head off and then roast it for dinner. Starting out as a talented creative force in 1965, Morrison evolved into a sexually attractive Adonis in 1967-68 but by 1969 had turned himself into a mumbling, bloated and unpredictable Dionysius whose creativity was washed away in a never ending high tide of alcohol excess. That was a shame too, because once his creativity withered all of his potential promise as a poet became little more than the dregs in the bottom of a bottle. Morrison’s poetry had its moments but most of what he left behind after his early lyrics leaves a lot to be desired. Even the publication of his book of poetry in 1970, compiled from two earlier privately printed volumes, only aroused a meager reaction from Rolling Stone magazine in a review. His book was completely ignored by the literary world. Not a good omen for someone who decided to flee to Paris to shed the rock star image and become a poet. By the time Morrison overdosed on the john in a sleazy Parisian club, and not in his apartment’s bathtub as everyone would like to have you believe, he possessed little more than a shadow of his earlier promise. Overweight and unhealthy from living in the fast lane for far too long, his short sojourn in Paris was the final metamorphic phase in becoming the cadaver that now is the source of an endless circus in Père Lachaise cemetery. Had he lived another 50 years perhaps he would have developed into a poet worthy of serious literary recognition. But his legacy has become a morbid myth and will never be more than that of a talented rock star who along with his fellow bandmates created innovative dark music that was very different and yet at the same time appealed to a wide audience. Unfortunately Morrison never gave himself the chance to fulfill his promise. He will always be 27.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I have been performing in a Doors tribute band for many years now. That is always an interesting experience, if for no other reason than, having grown up with their music, I do enjoy performing it. But both I, as the singer, and the other three exceptionally talented musicians in the band, try to strike a balance in our interpretation of the Doors” music. Our main objective is to re-create not only their music accurately but to bring the atmosphere of their live performances back to life. But we make music, not theater, and theater is what all too many of the other Doors cover bands have to offer, and there are many good bands out there. Theater, sadly, is also what the audiences want to see. Since the original is no longer available, a clone will do., If you want an act, then don’t come to see us. I don’t ape Morrison. I don’t need to stumble around in a pseudo inebriated state with a tight leather pants hard on (as I’ve seen some Morrison interpreters do) to bring him back to life. Hell, I’m not 25 anymore and have no intention of making a fool of myself.
Now, people tell me all the time that I sound like Morrison, which is ridiculous. I don’t, not at all. What I do have down good though is his phrasing and the ability to weave the spirit of his performances into our renditions of the Doors’ music. When I walk out on stage I have to put on a mask, or perhaps better said, a cloak that I am able to wear in the style and the spirit of what his music and talent embodied. For me it is always an intense and interesting experience. And I would hope for the audience too. At the beginning he was a captivating, mesmerizing performer. As their former manager Bill Siddons put it, “For the first few years he was the ringmaster. Then all of a sudden he was fighting for his life.” Sadly after 1969 Jim became the circus. I can’t be the twenty something Adonis that Jim was when he first started performing, I certainly wouldn’t want to be, but when I perform I can try to become what he perhaps might have been had he lived to be my age and was still performing. Someone who can fill a concert venue with creative energy and spirit, That was the Jim I would rather remember and portray. And I would hope that he’d approve of my efforts just a wee bit…
Our next concert is on January 24 2015 at E-Werk in Nierstein, Germany.
I would like to thank Thiemo, Sebastian and Matthias for their great musicianship and friendship over the years. You can experience the band live at the following links:
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