Sunday, November 20, 2011

"The Doors" by Greil Marcus

Reading Greil Marcus is always a pleasure.  And its the reason why I am reading this particular book, because I really don't have a passion for the Doors or their imagery.  But on the other hand they are a band that's important to my personal culture.  Being raised in Los Angeles, I saw the Doors at the Whiskey, opening for Them with Van (the other) Morrison.   It may have been the first show in a club, not sure.  My mind I was around 12, but I think i was actually 14.   Nevertheless I went there with my Dad to see Them, and the Doors was a superb surprise.  I think it may have been before their first album was released, but I remember being really impressed with Jim Morrison's voice. It sooth as well as rocked.  And there was something quite personal in the way they communicated with their audience in the club.  On the other hand, Them was very cold and cool.  Not a bad thing mind you, but totally the opposite of the Doors.

The next I saw the Doors it was at an outside concert - and I thought they were boring.  They didn't have that concentration or the force of their show at the Whiskey.  And at this time it was around the height of "Light My Fire."  But the magic was gone, at least to my young ears at the time.

The other times were non-musical  - but I remember being invited (with my Dad) to the back stage of the first Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young show at the Greek theater, and as we were walking to the entrance of the backstage, Morrison was being escorted out by a security guard.  Then all of sudden Stills shows up and tells the security guard to let Morrison stay.  And that was my memory of the evening!  The next time after that I saw him in Topanga Canyon, drinking beer in a brown bag behind a wheel of a parked Volkswagon bug.  Of course all of above could have just been a dream, but....

But back to the book, Marcus uses the Doors' culture and music as a springboard on his thoughts on 1960's American culture.  its basicially a long riff how culture and band connects and makes commentary on to each other.  Marcus is writing this book as not only a fan (and he's a very critical fan) but also the state of the world via the eyes of Jim Morrison and Co.

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