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January 19, 2012 1:11 AM   Subscribe

"The '70s, man. Martin Luther King Jr. is dead. Malcolm X is dead. The Kennedys are dead. Kids at Kent State are getting capped. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix have both gone haint. Nixon's in the Oval Office, and the Manson murders stain the Hills. Morrison and Dennis Wilson once picked up Charles Manson on Sunset and dropped him off at producer Terry 'Turn Turn Turn' Melcher's house on Cielo Drive. A few years later, Manson's acolytes would murder Sharon Tate and four others at that house, including celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, who styled Morrison's original king-of-the-jungle coif." -- LA Weekly's Jeff Weiss presents an exhaustive account of The Door's album L.A. Woman, which is now 40 years old
posted by bardic (84 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 

The Doors are one of those bands that made great music, but I could never understand why people had any interest in Morrison's lyrics - they were just pretentious twaddle.

Jeff Weiss appears to be a fan, though. Is there more pretentious twaddle than this paragraph? "Jazz is Beat, but blues is blood. Blues is bruised. Blues is booze. Blues is the boomerang. Blues isn't the hangover; it's the hanging."
posted by Pericles at 2:02 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I could never understand why people had any interest in Morrison's lyrics - they were just pretentious twaddle.

Really? I always found his lyrics to be simple. Trippy, floaty, weird, open, vague—but simple. It worked because Morrison's voice was most of those things as well; there was a congruency. It's too minimal to be pretentious.

♪♫ Riders on the stoorm ♪♫ . . . doo—doo do doOo . . . ♪♫ Riders on the stoorm ♪♫ . . . doo—do doo do doo do doOoo . . .

The Doors reliably have me chillaxing with a whistful smile, and the vibe is totally centered around Morrison. I wouldn't have it any other way.
posted by troll at 2:40 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I could never understand why people had any interest in Morrison's lyrics - they were just pretentious twaddle.

"Well, your fingers weave quick minarets
Speak in secret alphabets
I light another cigarette
Learn to forget, learn to forget "

Subjective ultimately for sure, but personally I love those words
posted by Hickeystudio at 2:55 AM on January 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


tl;dr: my favorite band sucks
posted by telstar at 3:05 AM on January 19, 2012


I don't think that was really an exhaustive analysis. For example, it missed the fact that Mr. Mojo Risin' is an anagram of Jim Morrison.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:32 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blues is the boomerang

Words to live by.
posted by iotic at 4:14 AM on January 19, 2012


"Rhino Records has decreed 2012 "The Year of the Doors," with a two-disc 40th-anniversary reissue...it marks exactly 41 years since the band finished their masterpiece. Fuzzy math, apparently, matters little to a failing industry..."

Fuzzy math or mescaline trip math?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:43 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, I threw the blues away from me,
But they got caught in a tree...
posted by stinkycheese at 4:53 AM on January 19, 2012


"They are the greatest eighth-grade band of all time"

That sounds about right. In 8th grade the Doors seemed bigger than life. They were cool and mysterious, and Morrison's lyrics appeared to be deep and important. As I got older I realized how silly many of those lyrics really were. But I can thank the Doors for getting to me to pay more attention to lyrics and Morrison for sparking my interest in poetry and literature they weren't teaching us in school. Then as I got even older I realized that I didn't really care how goofy those lyrics were - the words fit the music perfectly. And that music is fucking awesome. Along with Bruce McCulloch, I'm a Doors Fan.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:14 AM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Is it just me, or does the guitar always sound SLIGHTLY out of tune on Doors records?
posted by thelonius at 5:14 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just did a Doors tribute show about a month ago. All of the band had a great time picking apart the sophomoric lyrics ("Ride the snake!" became our rally cry) but there was no way I'd turn down getting paid to dig into all those keyboard parts (and I have two Nords I swear were designed just for that job). The house was packed if that's any barometer of their enduring popularity.
posted by sourwookie at 5:27 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this. Not much of a fan here (unlike Kate Bush and Joy Division, Doors fandom didn't survive my teens) but this is their best album by a country mile and, I was horrified to discover, not on our music server.

twoleftfeet: I don't think that was really an exhaustive analysis. For example, it missed the fact that Mr. Mojo Risin' is an anagram of Jim Morrison.

The article includes an appended track listing (not very clearly linked) which mentions this factoid, although it had me wondering if Jim's middle name wasn't George.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:28 AM on January 19, 2012


Is it just me, or does the guitar always sound SLIGHTLY out of tune on Doors records?

If you clean your eight-track once and a while that usually clears up.
posted by three blind mice at 5:50 AM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is there more pretentious twaddle than this paragraph?

Yeah, this paragraph:

It's microscopic Americana: hellhound blues, liberated jazz, Hank Williams and the big beat, Ol' Blue Eyes, Bo Diddley. It's a lawless AM radio station manned by a schizo, spinning dive-bar bands for people more damaged than he is — broadcasting live from La Cienega.
posted by marxchivist at 5:53 AM on January 19, 2012


I always thought An American Prayer deserved a little more love.
posted by timsteil at 5:58 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


8th grade was the peak of my Doors fandom as well. But I can't really get past Morrison's ludicrous self-importance & the lameness of his lyrics anymore. I almost wish I wasn't a native English speaker so I could enjoy the music, which I still love (Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore were one of the most expressive, theatrical and minimalist ensembles in rock - much better use of dynamics, for instance, than most of their contemporaries) in blissful ignorance of the lyrics' pseudo-profundity, much as I enjoy any number of musics in other languages whose lyrics turn out to be pedestrian upon translation.

Jimmy Fallon's recent channelling of Morrison (the Reading Rainbow mashup) wouldn't have had the comic impact it did without the innate silliness of the original lyrics.

At a cousin's wedding in Sonoma County back in the early 90's, I chatted with an LA music biz veteran who'd witnessed Jim & Pamela's self-indulgent and utterly inconsiderate behaviour, as one of their neighbours back then. Much eyerolling… It was a nice counterweight to Oliver Stone's fawning, Morrison-Koolaid-drinking biopic which had come out earlier that year.
posted by Philofacts at 6:15 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


they were just pretentious twaddle.

As poetry, Morrison's songs are absurdly pretentious twaddle; as pop songs, they're great. Problem is/was that too many people, Jimbo included, want(ed) the words to be deeply meaningful instead of just surrendering to the texture of the sounds. Goo goo ga joob.

Best sentence from the linked story: "In one scene, Meg Ryan throws a turkey at Kilmer and screams, 'Jim Morrison, you ruined Thanksgiving again.'"
posted by octobersurprise at 6:17 AM on January 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


My Doors knowledge is marginal at best (I've always liked them but never gotten into them, man. I really need to find Bruce McCulloch's record store so he can show me the way) but I liked the article's descriptions of Los Angeles in the 70's. Living there in the 90's and early 2000s I would still catch occasional glimpses of the 70's, nestled in between the sad, crumbling 1950s L.A. and the endless 1980's stripmalls.
posted by usonian at 6:19 AM on January 19, 2012


The west coast needed a little darkness to counterbalance the love ins and the Doors were happy to oblige.
posted by Sailormom at 6:20 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you enjoyed this cogent and intelligent analysis of Doors and their relation to other music of the time, then you'll probably love my favorite documentary about life in America in the 1960s and 1970s. It's called "Forrest Gump."
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 AM on January 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Is there more pretentious twaddle than this paragraph?

So, you hate the subject of the article, and the article itself: duly noted. Thanks for letting us know!
posted by hermitosis at 7:10 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know, every so often I still get the urge to toss out an impassioned "I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for WASTING the dawn!!!"

It still never fails to not get a response.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:12 AM on January 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Jim Morrison got me into Anais Nin and Rimbaud - so many literary references in all those songs. And that's much more than any other rock star has done for me.

Yes, it was 8th grade for me too but it still lingers and I resent the "king of the jungle coif". It's "young lion", dummy.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


the monk..bought...lunch.
Haha, he bought a little, yes he did, woo!
posted by Challahtronix at 8:09 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


For sure, L.A. Woman was more gritty and raw than any of their other albums. I actually blame Ray for how cheesy a lot of their songs sounded, with his honky-tonk pianos and circus organs.
posted by Clustercuss at 8:12 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Doors' legacy is still hotly debated four decades after Morrison's demise

I thought that the take on the Doors' legacy was pretty much settled? A few good moments, one or two great ones (The End), a lot of self-indulgent twiddling, all ultimately pretty much inconsequential?

And I remember the 70s, and I could go for a very long time without reading another fawning profile about young men who think they're Rimbaud, written by journalists who think that knowing about Rimbaud authorizes them to make sonorous pronouncements about Culture and The Times.
posted by jokeefe at 8:13 AM on January 19, 2012


Is there more pretentious twaddle than this paragraph?

I nominate this one:

Years before the Beatles barnstormed India, Manzarek met Densmore and Krieger in Transcendental Meditation classes taught by the maharishi. They bonded over jazz, blues, Beat lit and all things Eastern — ahead of the curve and 5,000 years behind.
posted by jokeefe at 8:15 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think my favorite thing about LA Woman is how wasted Morrison sounds on every song. Just chugging whiskey and roaring into a mic. If I didn't hate hangovers and was able to soothe them with some hair of the dog without crippling nausea, I'd sound like that all the time, too.

Also, if I didn't have to work and stuff.
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why the Doors get singled out for self-indulgent twiddling when bands like the Grateful Dead exist. At least the Doors could write a single.

That said, I really never need to hear another self-aggrandizing interview with a surviving Doors member. Ray Manzarek is pretty much a walking-talking hippie boomer stereotype.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:17 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things I hope to never hear again:
* Stairway to Heaven
* Hotel California
* Dream On
* Anything at all by the Doors

I'm not sure why the Doors get singled out for self-indulgent twiddling when bands like the Grateful Dead exist.

The Grateful Dead combine blues, bluegrass, country, and jazz in fascinating ways. They are self-indulgent twiddling the way Coltrane is a self-indulgent twiddler.

At least the Doors could write a single.
So can Justin Bieber and Britney. Does that make them legendary musicians?
posted by coolguymichael at 8:22 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Manzarek worked as a producer for X, however, which goes against the hippie stereotype.
posted by raysmj at 8:25 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Grateful Dead combine blues, bluegrass, country, and jazz in fascinating ways. They are self-indulgent twiddling the way Coltrane is a self-indulgent twiddler.

Wow. Coltrane? Really? I am pretty much certain that is the craziest thing I'm going to read today, and it's not even 8:30
posted by Hoopo at 8:26 AM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Remember when Krieger and Manzarek formed "The Doors 21st Century", with Stewart Copeland on drums, and the guy from The Cult on vocals, and then everyone sued everyone else? Crazy stuff.
posted by thelonius at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Briber and Britney do not write singles, they merely 'sing' ones that were written for them. As for the Doors? Overrated, not bad per se, but waaay overrated.
posted by jonmc at 8:43 AM on January 19, 2012


I am pretty much certain that is the craziest thing I'm going to read today

I think he means to say that Coltrane isn't a self-indulgent twiddler, but that means that the Dead aren't either and that is crazyness. (Actually, I can imagine a ripely old-aged Morrison being a lot like Jerry in his latter days, a portly old man with long gray locks crooning "Hello, I love you" for the umpty-umpth time.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:45 AM on January 19, 2012


From the article:

The Doors snatched the crown from Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and Love.

What a scene that must have been, really.
posted by kgasmart at 8:46 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Doors are like chicken pox, if you don't get them as a kid they turn dangerous.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


> The west coast needed a little darkness to counterbalance the love ins

> I didn't really care how goofy those lyrics were - the words fit the music perfectly.

> At least the Doors could write a single.

The Doors' appeal in a nutshell. What a relief the darkness was, pretentious twaddle and all, after all those--it seamed like decades--of peace, love, and tie-dye on the cover of Time. It was a relief in the same way Tim Burton's Batman character was a relief after Adam West. And when Morrison and co. needed a radio hit they were quite capable of writing tight, punchy lyrics that scanned. People are strange, When you're a stranger. In your eye, Conor Oberst.

Also, no drum solos.
posted by jfuller at 9:03 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Faces come out of the rain.
posted by yoga at 9:07 AM on January 19, 2012


I actually quite like the instrumentation of the doors although apparently everyone is kind of down on John Densmore's drumming.
posted by josher71 at 9:14 AM on January 19, 2012


I grew up listening to The Doors. My Dad saw them at The Whiskey in '67 before he was shipped off to Vietnam. So by the time I was 6 I knew that Jim Morrison was the singer of The Doors and he died because he took a lot of drugs.

I turned my first boyfriend (who is still a dear friend) onto The Doors Freshman year. We saw the 21st Century Doors (as I like to call them) several years back, and got to see Robby play with a tribute band called Wild Child last summer at The Whiskey.

If you're a fan haven't heard the Backstage and Dangerous CD's, I highly recommend them.
posted by luckynerd at 9:18 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Actually, I can imagine a ripely old-aged Morrison being a lot like Jerry in his latter days, a portly old man with long gray locks crooning "Hello, I love you" for the umpty-umpth time.)
So long everybody, I'm going off to other timelines in search of the Vegas-era Fat Jim.
posted by whuppy at 9:25 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually blame Ray for how cheesy a lot of their songs sounded, with his honky-tonk pianos and circus organs.
I never understood why they didnt just hire a bass player.

It was a relief in the same way Tim Burton's Batman character was a relief after Adam West.
Ok...leave Adam West the frack alone. Adam West rules! The only Bat-actor that comes close to Adam West is Christian Bale.
posted by Billiken at 9:29 AM on January 19, 2012


Things I hope to never hear again:
* Hotel California


Sure, the original version is ass, but the Gipsy Kings really know how to right a wrong.
posted by COBRA! at 9:32 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had a bit of a Doors revelation recently. I went through a period of loving them and then a period of hating them. More recently I just didn't really think about them. But then someone sent me a mix tape CD download which included "Spanish Caravan" and I liked it. I ended up listening to some Doors stuff again and, while they are never going to be a favorite band again, some of the stuff was quite enjoyable. Other stuff ... not so much.
posted by maurice at 9:33 AM on January 19, 2012


My personal feeling is that, while there is certainly space in the world for dark, raunchy, keyboard-driven grind-rock laden with guttural, growling vocals and animalistic sexuality, the Doors don't really need to exist to fill that space. They were eclipsed mightily and stunningly in that line by the Stranglers just a few years later, who successfully out-Doors-ed the Doors to such an extent that I don't see why anybody feels the need to listen to Morrisson's ramblings any more when stuff like this and this and this is out there. And the Doors were never capable of ethereally beautiful (though still dark) pop songs like this and this or transformative covers like this.
posted by koeselitz at 9:43 AM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


God, I'm tempted just to put a bunch of Doors songs on my fourth grader's iPod and let her get it over with now, so she'll be on to something else before she's old enough to have the embarrassing dead-guy-crush that so many of my friends and I had in, yes, the eighth grade. It was brief but intense and by the next year we were all like "let us never speak of this again" but it is still a rite of passage I'd rather my daughters be able to avoid.
posted by padraigin at 10:07 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always felt The Doors fell short of attaining the greatness thrust upon them simply because of too much muso noodling on many of their songs. As the old joke goes, Light My Fire had an organ solo longer than the Vietnam War.
posted by panboi at 10:29 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


My personal feeling is that, while there is certainly space in the world for dark, raunchy, keyboard-driven grind-rock laden with guttural, growling vocals and animalistic sexuality, the Doors don't really need to exist to fill that space. They were eclipsed mightily and stunningly in that line by the Stranglers just a few years later, who successfully out-Doors-ed the Doors to such an extent that I don't see why anybody feels the need to listen to Morrisson's ramblings any more

That's interesting, but I think the Stranglers are pretty distinct from the Doors, mostly in the vocal area - your note of "guttural" being the key difference for me. Stranglers vocals are much less croony and feel on average more aggressive musically, more over the mix than in it, and as a result I never get the same fix from one band as I do the other. The drumming and guitar playing are separate as well, the Doors being more delicate in that regard. I mean, "Peaches", which you linked, sounds like proto-Fall rather than anything you'd ever hear on a Doors album. If we're talking animalistic sexuality (and I agree with you there), the Doors are a panther and the Stranglers are a lion (if that makes any sense at all). YMMV.

Of course, it depends too on which Doors you're listening to: the god-awful singles band that churned out stuff like Touch Me or Love Me Two Times that you hear on Good Time Oldies all the time, or the actually good band that made (to me) really captivating songs like Waiting For The Sun or You're Lost Little Girl.
posted by Palindromedary at 10:29 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, a lot Doors hate here.

You can't argue with greatness. People hate them, people love them, but everyone knows who they are and everyone has an opinion and they were dead before most of you were born.

Only a handful of artists can claim this.

Well done Doors.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 10:35 AM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


The scene in Oliver Stone's movie where The Doors played Ed Sullivan may be my favorite scene in any Oliver Stone movie.

"You will never play Sullivan again!"
posted by bukvich at 10:41 AM on January 19, 2012


I think Morrison's lyrics get the attention they do because of how he delivered them. Say what you will, but that's a larger-than-life, balls-out rock star wild man right there. He delivered his lyrics with confidence and an intensity that, if you don't pay attention or think about the words too hard, would almost convince you he's saying something deep or important. And maybe he's not, but it's hardly fair to hold Morrison to a standard we don't hold other rock stars to. Pretentious rock star wankery doesn't begin and end with Jim Morrison. Robert Plant should probably get taken to task for this a lot more too.
posted by Hoopo at 10:49 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Iggy Pop was greatly inspired by seeing The Doors perform. There's a reason not to hate them.

Apart from the fact that they were rather good. "Break On Through" totally rocks, among others. Never understood the hate (although yeah, he was clearly sexist and pretentious as hell)
posted by iotic at 10:52 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are, in general, just so incredibly bitchy about their likes and dislikes in pop music. Maybe because of lingering adolescent peer-identity totemism? I dunno. It's just one of those things I've decided I have to accept.

I remember almost getting in a fistfight, in 6th grade, because I said that George Harrison was a better lead guitar player than Ace Frehley. That was good training for INTERNET.
posted by thelonius at 10:57 AM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The best thing about the Doors is the undead? faked death? idek? Jim Morrison cameo in the uncut version of The Stand.

ok and apocalypse now obvsly.
posted by elizardbits at 10:58 AM on January 19, 2012


because I said that George Harrison was a better lead guitar player than Ace Frehley

You're about to get in a fistfight now!
posted by josher71 at 11:13 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


At some point in their lives, everyone is required to hate everything that came from their parents' generation. Some don't grow out of it.

The Doors have a couple of good songs, a lot of so-so ones, and nothing that makes me reach for the dial when it comes on. That makes them better than most.
posted by rocket88 at 11:20 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but that sax solo on the out choirs of Touch Me...definitely in my top 1/3s of a song list.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2012


They are self-indulgent twiddling the way Coltrane is a self-indulgent twiddler.


Thank God you're not my son, because disowning your children really takes a psychological toll on the entire family.
posted by gcbv at 12:10 PM on January 19, 2012


I feel like the Doors have been a coming-of-age band for many, not so through their embracing of the Morrison image but in their inevitable rejection of it. As Gen-Y I was first exposed to the Doors through classic rock radio, where their forced gravitas and organ sound stood out among all the pentatonic Cancon solos. Jim was dynamic and although I didn't understand them I took it for granted that his lyrics meant something, unlike a Bryan Adams whose lyrics, equally unscrutinized, I assumed meant nothing. I bought the t-shirt and the CDs and listened to them on the bus.

Rejecting the Doors came on like a Joseph Campbell "atonement with the father", when at some point post-high school I realized I would never have the constitution or the patience for that kind of ceaseless partying, and it became apparent that it would be a prudent idea not to go around alienating everyone -- and that the poets who Jim patterned himself after were probably shy people sneaking brandy from discretely-concealed flasks, not quaffing a two-six in floodlight silhouette and letting the overrun splash all over their faces. It was time to put away childish things, and the Doors with their focusless desert shamanism were childish unambiguously. This realization felt more liberating than discovering them in the first place ever did. It was time to enter "society" and you had to be this tall to ride, etc.

Nowadays I feel I'm incident on a third stage, where I've chilled out enough to realize that they're a band with mundane strengths and weaknesses and there but for the grace of god some decent tunes, which one can cover at their own peril knowing that everyone in the audience except the "hipsters" (can of worms) will at least tap a foot along. But also that Nick Cave is much better at doing the same kind of thing.

(Also, only just now in watching that video did I learn that the first line of LA Woman actually isn't "It's been about an hour since an hour ago". Was my favourite zen JM nugget just a mondegreen all along?!!)
posted by metaman livingblog at 12:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Two words: Ian Curtis. Actually, three words: Ian Curtis and bathub.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:30 PM on January 19, 2012


What a relief the darkness was, pretentious twaddle and all, after all those--it seamed like decades--of peace, love, and tie-dye on the cover of Time.

do you really think the major psychedelic groups of the 60s weren't dark at times? - especially the dead, who could be aggressively weird and dark in their live shows, even as late as 1989

cryptical envelopment, with it's constant repeating of the phrase "you know he had to die", isn't exactly sunshine pop - "feedback" and the original mix of "what's become of the baby" were sheer atonal freakouts with nothing in them that could be called noodling

---

I never understood why they didnt just hire a bass player.

they often did in the studio - carol kaye claims to have played on "light my fire" - and larry knetchel played on "soul kitchen" and several other tunes
posted by pyramid termite at 1:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


another point - jim morrison had his flaws, certainly - but the doors did two albums without him after he died and they weren't anywhere as good
posted by pyramid termite at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2012


I found this quote to be pretty accurate:

And while a thousand bands have artfully ripped off Pavement, everyone looks absurd imitating the Doors. They are the rock equivalent of "Don't try this at home."
posted by chaff at 2:32 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


> do you really think the major psychedelic groups of the 60s weren't dark at times?

Yes, certainly they were. Zappa was releasing stuff before anyone ever heard of the Doors, just to mention a personal fave among the usual suspects. But you had to seek that kind of thing out, it wasn't thrown in your face unavoidably. What was thrown in your face unavoidably was the Monkees, the Lovin' Spoonful, etc. etc. The Doors kicked their way into top 40 and cat-dragged bad attitude there along with them.
posted by jfuller at 3:38 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


re: "carol kaye claims"

Probably true in this case, since she pretty much owned LA studio bass for rock sessions, at that time. I think she's on records like Love's "Forever Changes", too, as well as the Beach Boys and pretty much everyone from that LA scene. (Kaye has made some very dubious claims that she tracked bass on a lot of Motown stuff that James Jamerson is usually credited for, for anyone who doesn't get the weight on "claims").

Also: Harvey Brooks tracked bass on The Soft Parade, on 3 or 4 songs. I do not know if they ever toured with a bass player.
posted by thelonius at 6:24 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could never understand why people had any interest in Morrison's lyrics

It's pretty obvious that you've never been lost in a Roman wilderness of pain.
posted by svenx at 6:34 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


People are, in general, just so incredibly bitchy about their likes and dislikes in pop music. Maybe because of lingering adolescent peer-identity totemism?

There's that, but I think there's also the fact that a song totally envelops you when it's on, and if you don't like it but can't turn it off or down for some reason, especially in an enclosed space like a car, it's intrusive and mood-altering and you can't really ignore it. All you can do is wait it out. Plug your ears, maybe, but that's considered far more rude than closing your eyes or looking away. And maybe sound has a special capacity to annoy. Is there a visual equivalent to fingernails on a chalkboard, or even to an annoying voice? Maybe strobe lights, but how often is anybody unwillingly subjected to those?
posted by Adventurer at 6:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it sucks that Jim Morrison got to be more famous than his labelmate Arthur Lee (not that this is all America's fault, given that Arthur pretty much refused to tour outside Sunset Boulevard), but I like almost all of their radio-friendly unit shifters. I also like "You're Lost Little Girl" and "Take It As It Comes" and silly but still atmospheric pop tunes like "Love Me Two Times." And then there's this fine piece of work:

I fear that he’s been
maim’d beyond all
recognition

He hears them come &
murmur over his corpse.

Street Pizza.

I found this in my friend's book of Jim Morrison poetry and read it out loud. He didn't understand why I thought it was funny. That is my "I am cooler and more tasteful than a big Doors fan" story. Thank you for your time.
posted by Adventurer at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2012


What a relief the darkness was, pretentious twaddle and all, after all those--it seamed like decades--of peace, love, and tie-dye on the cover of Time.

Wasn't that the Rolling Stones' job?
posted by jokeefe at 7:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I think of "pretension" I definitely think of Jim Morrison, but he's not even in the same galaxy as Robert Plant & co. Also, Mick Jagger was hardly a humble, down-to-earth dude.

That said, musically they did some interesting things. No big guitar solos in an era that was pretty much defined by them, using a keyboard as the primary sonic tool, and a drummer who actually knew his shit when it came to non-traditional rock rhythms from jazz and samba.

Given my druthers and a time machine, they'd be the second band I'd love to see live (Jim Hendrix Experience would have to come first).
posted by bardic at 8:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think we've reached the point where hating the Doors is actually more pretentious than liking them. I mean, they were a solid rock band who penned a number of classic tunes; hating them would be sorta like hating Creedence. Trashing the Doors because you don't like Jim's personna is to take Jim way too seriously.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, Moonlight Drive? Awesome fucking song.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


LEGS FURIOUSLY PUMPING
posted by stinkycheese at 12:08 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seem to me like too many people on this thread just not old enough to appreciate good music.
posted by Myeral at 7:07 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No big guitar solos in an era that was pretty much defined by them, using a keyboard as the primary sonic tool, and a drummer who actually knew his shit when it came to non-traditional rock rhythms from jazz and samba.

Sounds like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:23 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seem to me like too many people on this thread just not old enough to appreciate good music.

Wouldn't people here who didn't grow up with the Doors be in a better position to appreciate them strictly on musical grounds, without associating them with so much liberating shock value?

What about all those upthread comments about going through a Doors phase as a teenager and then growing out of it?
posted by Adventurer at 11:17 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't speak to the entirety of their existence, but clearly for a long time now, The Doors are viewed as a band playing music plus MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES.

For a lot of people in their (sometimes greatly extended) adolescence, it's the later that shines brightly and then fades as they get older and cease exploring the screams of the butterfly or whatever. They toss the blacklight posters and their copy of Strange Days goes along for the ride.

Now, you can throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were, but those two qualities, much as Ray Manzarek might like to link them, aren't inexorably combined. The band playing music remains to be rediscovered again later, likely on very different terms; L.A. Woman in particular goes down just fine as a whiskey-drinking, enjoying the blues-kind of experience, sans any overt psych tendencies.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:51 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seem to me like too many people on this thread just not old enough to appreciate good music.

I'm always open to recommendations...
posted by metaman livingblog at 5:21 PM on January 20, 2012


Afroblanco: "I mean, they were a solid rock band who penned a number of classic tunes; hating them would be sorta like hating Creedence. Trashing the Doors because you don't like Jim's personna is to take Jim way too seriously."

Seriously? I mean - seriously?

Comparing the freaking Doors to Creedence is like comparing Jack Keruoac to William Faulkner. Creedence was a genuinely brilliant band that produced album after album of stunningly good music; the Doors were an awkward group at cross-purposes with itself that earned its fame because it was fronted by a miscreant. I don't even enjoy the Doors separately; Manzarec did some great work later, but if never hear another one of his noodley keyboard lines it'll be too soon. And you're comparing them to Creedence Clearwater Revival?

The absolute worst thing you can say about Creedence is that the cover of "Cosmo's Factory" is pretty dumb.


Myeral: "Seem to me like too many people on this thread just not old enough to appreciate good music."

See above.
posted by koeselitz at 5:58 PM on January 20, 2012


What was thrown in your face unavoidably was the Monkees, the Lovin' Spoonful, etc. etc.

you say that like it's a bad thing

anyway, before the monkees hit no 1 with "last train to clarksville", "96 tears" was no 1 - and a lot of people thought "last train" was about a nam-bound soldier saying goodbye to his girlfriend

not exactly uplifting stuff there

come to think of it, "i'm not your steppin' stone" is pure snarling garage punk and has been covered as such by some pretty credible bands of the punk era

the thing about 60s music these days is that everyone wants to write their own narrative of it rather than consider it as it was

yeah, the doors were fresh and new and dark - but so were a lot of other people
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Comparing the freaking Doors to Creedence is like comparing Jack Keruoac to William Faulkner.

hmm - a band fronted by a guy from l a who thought he was a shaman poet vs a guy from the east bay who thought he was a southern good ol' boy from the bayou

then we have a literary drunk who was obsessed with his personal life surroundings and experiences vs another literary drunk who was obsessed with his personal life surroundings and experiences - both of whom liked to simulate spontaneous, stream of consciousness writing

interesting
posted by pyramid termite at 6:28 PM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Correction, pyramid termite: one of whom liked to simulate spontaneous, stream of consciousness writing. The other actually just liked to write stream of consciousness and call it good.

*goes to listen to 'Ramble Tamble,' the greatest rock song of 1970, for the billionth time*
posted by koeselitz at 8:19 PM on January 20, 2012


the Doors were an awkward group at cross-purposes with itself that earned its fame because it was fronted by a miscreant.

What an odd assessment of a band that put out 6 studio albums in 3 years, only one of which was a clunker and at least two that were full-on classics.

Anyway, although I never went through a Doors-hating phase, I agree with metaman livingblog's well-written take on Doors fandom upthread : one's opinion of the Doors often has as much to do with their relationship with popular culture as it does to do with the Doors' actual music.

To me, the Doors are such a "staple" band that I couldn't think of hating on them. Solid rock n' roll through and through.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:12 PM on January 21, 2012


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