Legends : Jim Morrison
I first heard Mr.Morrison while reading William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence (click here to read it on my blog). It was an online journal dedicated to erstwhile poets turned inspiration for rock musicians. The song I heard then, was People are Strange and its Aldous Huxley like perception of the world really intrigued me. Have been a Doors fan ever since.
Jim Morrison as an individual was quite an unconventional man. Unlike most musicians, the initial part of his life was very disciplined [being born to a Naval admiral] . He was a brilliant student with an IQ of 149, but way cooler with a strong penchant for poetry. Ohh yeah, his favourite singer was Frank Sinatra (beat that)
Early childhood experiences impacted him to a great extent. It was then, that his personality split into what he projected to people and what he, in real life, was. He was amazed by the idea of Death and starkly amused at the way people feared it. The disturbance caused by these emotions was very well masked and by the age of 16, James Douglas Morrison was ready to talk about Fear, Negativity and Death through his verses.
After finishing his undergraduate course in film-making from UCLA, Morrison stepped out of home and began leading a Bohemian lifestyle on Venice Beach. Many say, that the dark perceptions of life advocated by his professors (Jack Hirschman) had made Jimmy a very vulnerable man, the impact of which he could not resist. He began finding solace in all things material. Until he read, Huxley and his Doors of Perceptions (which advocated unlocking of “doors of perceptions” through psychedelic drug abuse) . He became visibly calmer and chose to hallucinate than think about stuff that not many, but him would think about.
He chose to live with Ray Manzarek, who according to Morrison, was the first person to have had ever understood goes on beyond the suave, modern man’s appearance. Their common liking of poetry made them croon and jam together at unearthly hours in ungodly places. Thereafter, the Doors were etched in the realms of history as one of the greatest bands of all time. Music wise and more so, content wise.
What I personally like about Morrison’s life is how well he masked his skewed personality behind his politically correct image. He was virtually in a state of mental imbalance. Yet when he spoke…He spoke sense. Admittance to peer influence in film school, enraged hormones and consequent flings out-of-wedlock, disbelief in love were all a part of the imagery that people saw and appreciated. Cos that was how rock stars were to behave. He, however, was a man with deep insecurity of being left alone, which made him delve into thoughts of death. His vulnerability has been exposed in his songs [LA Woman and Hello I Love You] in the subtlest manner…
I think that is because he could never be understood: Jim Morrison was the sum of parts that were all contradictory. “Without contraries,” William Blake once wrote, “is no progression.”
After numerous flings and about 20 paternal cases pending against him, Morrison breathed his last at a young age of 27 due to “natural causes”. What was ironic though, was that in 1970, right after Jimmi Hendrix and soon Janis Joplin apparently committed suicide, Jim Morrison was heard saying at a house party, “You are speaking to the third one”.
While I was lucky to have watched some footage of Morrison’s concerts, what struck me the most was that during the recording of The End, bang in the middle of the recording, Morrison stopped everybody and shrieked out, “Does anybody know what I am doing?” It really was freaky, since those were the initial times when it became clear to his family,friends and fans that his end maybe just around the corner.
He wanted to be laid beside a poet and his wish was granted when he was buried in the Corner of Poets, in the Paris Pere Lachaise Cemetery, right next to Oscar Wilde, on July 7th,1971.
It was sad, that Morrison had such a love-hate relationship with himself. That of immense love with the people around him while that of bittersweet hatred with his inner self.
I guess that kills us all, one day. Tolerance gets the best of us then.
R.I.P. to the only singer who could embody and dramatize the search for self. That too pretty “naturally”.
“That’s what real love amounts to letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending performing. You get to love your pretence. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act- and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession”
P.S. : My favourite Doors Song would be Strange Days ..Find it here