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Morrison Zeppelin et al

I read all the time. I mean ALL the time. I take a book when I drive in case I get stuck in traffic.

This is all good, except sometimes I want to read and not think. I want the literary equivalent of eating potato chips in front of the TV.

For this, I choose to read about rock stars. Mostly dead ones, since live ones aren’t nearly as interesting. I don’t even have to like the music being dissected, as long as the person who made it was a dissolute, drug infested, drunken sex fiend. A sociopath with lots of money is always worth a few hours reading about.

So I was at the library yesterday and actually got 2 books. One on Led Zeppelin and one on Jim Morrison. Jimbo is endless fascinating of course, mostly because there are pockets of really stoned people out there who still consider him a “poet”. I do think the Doors made some great music, but nearly all of it was written by guitarist Robby Krieger and driven by organist Ray Manzarek. Morrison served mostly as an appetizer for young girls, with his low slung leather pants and brooding movie star looks. The problems started when Morrison started taking himself way too  seriously. He was treated like a “poet” because he called himself one…..which was the same reason the Who’s “Tommy” was treated as an “opera”. And Morrison was drunk 23 hours a day, which is part of the poet handbook.

I’m in no mood to argue the artistic merits of “Moonlight Drive”. Personally I think Krieger was a better lyricist, but Robby looked silly in leather pants and had really bad hair. What makes great reading is how much of an asshole Morrison was. He treated everybody like shit. He was physically abusive to women. He dissed his family. He secretly married one girl while living with another. He took every opportunity to crap on everyone else’s plate. And he was able to drive a spike through Oliver Stone’s head….’cause Ollie made one of the most over-the-top and pretentious rock movies ever about him. Which is really saying something. Val Kilmer played Morrison. It’s not a comedy. At least it’s not supposed to be. But I hadn’t laughed so hard since “Caddyshack”. Kilmer spends 2 hours with his eyes half closed and threatening to fall over. Nailed Morrison perfectly.

Hopeless drunks are a pain to be around, and never seem quite as funny in person. This is why the surviving members of the Doors have spent the last 40 years sticking to the old “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” adage. Well, there’s the royalty checks too. Morrison may not have been the artistic driving force of the band, but he sure as shit became the reason the boys all subsequently became obscenely wealthy.

Morrison died in the bathtub too. At least that’s the story everyone is sticking to. A bit to close to Elvis dying on the ‘loo for me. But it sounds better than saying Morrison’s liver just exploded. He was 27 when he died, and looked like Keith Richards after a really bad night. Never has a rock star aged so much in so short a period of time.

I was trying to figure out when it is that all teens go through their Doors phase…..when my wife saw the book I was reading and said…”my boyfriend got me the Door’s Greatest Hits on cassette when I was 15″. That answered my question.

Morrison is buried in Paris. Some cemetery that used to be famous for planted poets. It’s infamous now for the Morrison groupies who come to shoot-up and drink and boink each other and draw all over his grave while reciting Kreiger’s lyrics thinking they’re spouting Morrison’s “poetry”, all working towards turning a place of supposed rest into backstage at the Whiskey a Go Go circa 1967.

But still. It’s fun to read about. And I haven’t even gotten to the Zeppelin book yet. I’d rather listen to Morrison’s drunken ramblings than be subjected to Page and Plant’s pillaging of old blues riffs. These two ought to be in jail for making millions off the backs of Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon. But they sure knew how to have a good time with broads. Plus as an added bonus when they got really bored they dabbled in the occult.  So at least I’ve got something else to look forward to when thinking is too hard.

In a bit…

–tf

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