Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Myth of the Gifted Hippie

Exactly three weeks before I was born, Jim Morrison and The Doors released their debut album. Sadly, it took me fifteen years to catch up. But catch up I did, for as soon as my boyhood pal Scott Bargoil put on Morrison Hotel and told me to shut up and listen, I have been a willing disciple of this most mystifying combo from Venice Beach. Blame their frontman. With the looks of Adonis and the soul of a poet, James Douglas Morrison was Greek God reborn. But instead of hurling thunderbolts from on high, Jim could be found warbling over one syncopated dirge to another, twisting in leather pants and a narcotic frenzy as his earthbound bandmates pounded out the soundtrack from some psychedlic carnival camped out on the edge of the desert.

Charisma aside, Jim's love of language and penchant for self-mythification held me wrapt long after the stilted music died. I still remember being allowed to visit a base PX while still in boot camp. Forgoing all thoughts of smokes and beef jerky, I bought a paperback copy of Danny Sugarman's definitive Doors biography and savored every salacious syllable. When I purchased my very first CD player, I tried my best to melt my brand new copy of 'Alive, She Cried'. To this day, when given the task of testing microphones before a live remote, I instinctively recite the preamble to Texas Radio and the Big Beat. I'm telling you, my allegiance to The Lizard King knows no bounds. Which is why the new details surrounding Morrison's death don't bother me one peyote. See, I never believed that old yarn about Jim passing peacefully in the tub. Such a placid demise ran counter-current to the way he lived his life. Reckless, delusional, self-destructive: these are not the qualities I try to instill in my offspring. But they're the exact traits I look for in a Sixties shaman and no sordid tale of bathroom overdose can spoil the legacy of this deeply troubled yet richly gifted court jester.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put on Peace Frog and crawl in the tub...

1 comment:

Rosenblum said...

Jeez Stewart\
You are SO young!