"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then- whoosh, and I'm gone...and they'll never see anything like it ever again... and they won't be able to forget me- ever."

--Jim Morrison

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soul Kitchen – The Doors Debut Album

Jim and the rest of The Doors signed with Elektra Records in 1966 – shortly after getting canned by Whisky a Go Go.  Rumor has it that their debut album The Doors was recorded in about a week.  All songs were credited to the entire band, despite who actually penned the lyrics.  All was copacetic – despite the regular tripping and almost immediate skyrocketing to fame.  The band’s first single Break on Through wasn’t terribly successful, though – so their label quickly turned the public’s attention to Light My Fire which quickly hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in June of 1967.  TO date, it is still the bands most popular song.

The song that made Jim and The Doors a household name also helped Jim take one of his first steps toward infamy.  The band performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show toward the latter part of 1967, and they were asked to drop the line “girl we couldn’t get much higher” because of its drug connotation – and they agreed.  But when the live show was airing, Jim sang the lyrics as written – thus pissing of Ed and the network folk and getting them banned from future appearances on the then-popular show.

The Ed Sullivan Show debacle was simply the first of many public middle fingers Jim threw out there during the height of his fame.  He was avidly anti-establishment, and as such drew a huge following from the late 1960’s counterculture – and as such alienated a lot of the mainstream.  Including his own family, whom he listed as ‘deceased’ on the packaging of his first album.

Despite the fact that Jim wasn't a big believer in his own immediate family, he found a pseudofamily in the artistic community.  He frequented small, independent theater productions and famously knew Andy Worhol. He was a supporter of the arts, and more importantly of the artistic.  Currently, The Jim Morrison Project  is working to keep Jim's artistic legacy alive by promoting art and artists in Jim's hometown.  Whether you are an artist or supporter of the arts, checking out their website is a great way to get involved and keep Jim's memory alive.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tell All The People - The Jim Morrison Project

Because Jim Morrison was an artist first and a performer second, it is no wonder that Clint Hill has made it his mission to use the power of Jim's legacy to honor, recognize and promote local art and artists in Jim's hometown of Melbourne, Florida.  The Jim Morrison Project is a fledgling organization devoted to both preserving and recognizing Jim's legacy in his hometown as well as giving local artists the opportunity to receive the recognition they crave and deserve. 

One of The Jim Morrison Project's most ambitious goals is to get the artwork of local artists prominently displayed along the Rothdell Trail in the near future.  In addition, The Jim Morrison Project is also collecting money to fund a private Jim Morrison memorial in his home town.

The The Jim Morrison Project is in its infancy, but it is currently in the process of teaming up with interested local artists in an effort to get their art and names out into the community.  The founder of The Project is also in need of donations of cash - to get the Jim memorial built - and space - to display artwork in the local community.  If you are a local business, this is a great way for you to get involved in the Melbourne, Florida Arts community as well as show your love for Jim.  You don't have to be an artist to contribute to this vision, just a lover of art.

Back Door Man - First and Foremost a Poet

While best known as the lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison was (above all) a poet at heart.  His songs were pure poetry, and most people believe that he used his popularity as a musical heartthrob as a way to share his poetry with the world.  While much more famous and revered as a singer, the fact of the matter is that in his own heart he was only a second-rate singer – something that gave him a lot of grief – but he was a first rate poet, perhaps one of the best.

In fact, the name of Jim’s band, The Doors, was actually rooted in a William Blake quote:

“When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.”

It was possibly an attempt to see Blake's promised infinity that initially influenced Jim to begin his much touted relationship with psychedelics.

While Jim began writing poetry from as early as his adolescence (and while the songs he wrote were based on his poetry in many cases) he didn’t publish any poetry until 1969.  During that year, at the height of The Doors’ fame, he published two separate volumes: The Lords/Notes on Vision and The New Creatures.  The two volumes varied widely in content and theme, with The Lords being more descriptions and commentary and The New Creatures being vastly more poetic.   Eventually the books were reprinted as a single edition called The Lords and The New Creatures.  They were the only writing of any kind Jim ever published during his life. 

And while they were far from critically acclaimed at the time, today first editions of either of his poetry collections sell for thousands of dollars - when you can find them.

Despite the fact that his poetry was not well received, Jim spent the last months of his life on hiatus from the Doors, wandering the streets of Paris jotting down lines of poetry – proving to everyone that his first and most enduring love was the love he had for his poetic muse.

--Jim in Paris, 1971

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Moonlight Drive - The Formation of The Doors

It is well known that the most iconic and well-known artistic venture Jim Morrison contributed to was The Doors.  Many people don't realize, though, that the formation of the band and it's subsequent success were truly miraculous given the fact that none of the founding members had much experience with musical instruments, let alone with bands.

The formation of the band dates back to a chance meeting between Jim and eventual Door's percussionist Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach in California in the summer of 1965.  During this history-making encounter, a shy, hesitant Jim sang a few of the songs (including the iconic Moonlight Drive) he had written to the dumbfounded Manzarek, whose response was one of total awe and disbelief.  It is widely reported that after hearing Jim sing, Ray exclaimed that Jim's songs were some of the best he'd ever heard - quickly followed by "We've got to get a band together."

Not long after this history-making exchange, the two teamed up with a couple of  Ray's good friends.  They were (as you already know) John Desmore - a drummer -  and Robby Krieger -budding guitarist.  The rest, as they say, was history.

The band spent it's early life playing at a variety of hotspots on the Sunset Strip and soon became the house band for London Fog and ultimately the famous Whisky a Go Go.  It was during this period of time (that spanned from '66 to '67) that The Doors build their early, famed musical line-up.  And it was while playing their Whiskey gig that they were heard by the president of Elektra Records and offered the deal that would make them world-famous.

Jim and the rest of The Doors got their start during a time when music was considered one of the purest art forms, and it united tens of thousands of young people together in a culture all their own.  The mid-late 1960's were America's artistic renaissance, and The Doors are still considered by many one of the era's most loved revered artists.  Fortunately, Jim's legacy can still go on today.  The Jim Morrison Project is an organization based in Jim's hometown of Melbourne that is striving to help aspiring and up-and-coming artists in the local community get the recognition they deserve while also promoting tourism in the area.

The Jim Morrison Project was founded by Clint Hill, a local whose ultimate goal and vision is to utilize Jim's extensive fan base to create a much more visible art community in Melbourne while also recognizing and remembering all of Jim's contributions to the art community and the world.

There are many ways that you can contribute to the success of The Jim Morrison Project, whether you are an artist or an art lover.  They are currently looking for artists to contribute to local murals, as well as artists in virtually any other medium to contribute their talents in the spirit of Jim to the project.  They are also always looking for local business donations of cash (to pay for a planned, private Jim Morrison memorial) or space to display the artwork of budding local artists.

If you are interested in contributing, you can check out TheJimMorrisonProject.com for some basic information - the site is under construction right now, and will be fully functional and launched on December 8, 2012 - Jim's 69th birthday.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Changeling - Jim's Childhood and Early Life

This blog is dedicated to the memory of one of the most loved and misunderstood icons in the history of modern music, Jim Morrison.  Jim was the eccentric and genius lead singer of The Doors.  It is my mission to ensure that Jim is remembered as not only as the musician he publically portrayed himself as but also as the poet he truly was.

Perhaps the single most memorable and iconic figures in American music history, Jim Morrison is nothing less than a legend.  He was one of those artists that people either loved or hated – but his following was ultimately massive and devoted, probably because he had the soul of a poet, and his musical career was more of a means to an end than a true representation of his inner self.  His fame and following gave him a platform to share his artistry with the world, to share the poetry that flowed seemingly without end from his subconscious and to bask in the adoration of millions of fans.  The latter was something he had to work to acquire a taste for, however, as he began his musical career a shy youth battling stage fright so extreme that he couldn’t even face the audience during his performances.

Jim was born on December 8, 1943 in Melbourne Florida to George and Clara Morrison.  He was ultimately the oldest of three children.  Most historians believe that the shaping of his psyche into that of the musician-poet so many of us remembers began early in his childhood when he witnessed the injuries and deaths of a Native American family in a car accident at the tender age of four.  He referenced the incident in multiple songs, poems and interviews throughout the course of his career.

Jim was a Changeling from early on in his life.  He spent most of his childhood traveling extensively and moving from place to place thanks to his father’s naval career, but his personality was as different from the staid and disciplined Admiral Morrison as humanly possible.  According to many accounts he was incredibly intelligent but often got into trouble in school for because of his personality.  He attended many different schools over the course of his childhood, primarily in California, but he ultimately graduated from George Washington High School in Virginia.

Jim’s higher education began at St. Petersburg Jr. College in Florida, but continued on to FSU where he was introduced to the world of film making.  While attending FSU, however, he faced some legal trouble and was arrested.  In 1964 he made the moved back to California – where he had spent a good portion of his childhood – and enrolled in UCLA film school, from where he ultimately graduated.  It was during his tenure at UCLA that he met Ray Manzarek with who would become a founding member of Jim’s most successful project, The Doors.

Ultimately, Jim’s childhood was fraught with angst – as are most of our childhoods – but his old soul and poetic form of extreme intelligence used that angst as a stepping stone toward producing some of the most memorable lyrics that the world has ever known.