WEIRDLAND: 46th Anniversary of Jim Morrison's death

Thursday, June 29, 2017

46th Anniversary of Jim Morrison's death

To Oliver Stone, discovering The Doors as a grunt in Vietnam, the music is secondary to Jim Morrison as a figure of liberation and his Dionysian stature is increased by his decline into a life of waste and excess. He serves exactly the kind of purpose that Elvis did for the blue-collar youth born before World War II. Like most Stone heroes, Morrison is forced to choose between his parents’ world and the world of his obsession; he appears to make this choice early, when he views the Indian car wreck in the desert and his mother tells him it is all a dream. Later, Morrison will have another Stone choice presented to him, between his pure-in-spirit blonde muse, Pam, and the dark-haired devil woman, Patricia. The Doors, like many of Stone’s films, can be read as a horror picture as Jim Morrison becomes possessed by Patricia, the reincarnation of Martine Beswick’s Queen of Evil, and by the Warhol Factory crowd, who are referred to as “vampires.” Pam’s own drug use is shown as a way of getting back at Jim (being administered to her by another man to incite Jim's jealousy). When Morrison chooses Pam, he dies in Paris after excising his demons. —"Oliver Stone's Essential Movies" (2002) by Michael Carlson

Mario Maglieri, who presided over a rock ’n’ roll mini-empire on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood at the Whisky a Go Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill, where he nurtured generations of musicians with encouragement, food and tough love, died on May 4, 2017 in Los Angeles. The Whisky was opened in 1964 by a former policeman named Elmer Valentine, who soon asked Mr. Maglieri, a friend from Chicago, to help run the club. It became a critical part of the Los Angeles rock scene. For a time, the Doors were the house band. Mr. Maglieri understood that some needed a free meal at the nearby Rainbow Bar and others a kind word. He told The Los Angeles Times in 1993 that he had warned Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors, and Joplin to straighten out, without success. Jim Morrison, Mr. Maglieri said, “was a good boy” who “would look at me all goofed up. The reprimanding I gave him didn’t do any good. Too bad he’s not alive. I’d give him a spanking.” Source: www.nytimes.com


BEFORE THE END: SEARCHING FOR JIM MORRISON documentary hopes to debunk the myths surrounding the late Doors frontman and portray him in a more realistic and down-to-earth light. An independent full-length documentary film, Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison will finally reveal the real James Douglas Morrison. FEATURING: Jim Morrison [archival footage], Andy Morrison, Jac Holzman, Jeff Morehouse, Ralph Turner, Bryan Gates, Philip O'Leno, Rosanna Norton, Gayle Enochs, Salli Stevenson, Anne Moore, Judy Huddleston, Ellen Sander, Mirandi Babitz, Candy Evans, and more. The Finns also conducted off-the-record interviews with Jim's sister, Anne Morrison-Chewning; early girlfriends Tandy Martin and Mary Werbelow; and friend Alain Ronay, who visited the singer in Paris shortly before his untimely passing at age 27. Directed by Jeff Finn. Co-produced by Jeff & Jess Finn/Z-Machine Source: q957.com

I believe Jim was descending deep into depression and alcoholic schizophrenia. Frustrated by their mediocrity, Jim “Lizard-less” Morrison distanced himself from his fans. In his last interview before he left for Paris, Jim told a reporter, “One morning, I woke up and was surrounded by all of these spirits.” Pamela Courson was so very close to Jim from the beginning because of her love for his poetry. She urged him to write and told him he was a real poet before anyone else did. In return for her love and nurture, Morrison let her deep inside of his heart. He needed this kind of love badly. Jim Morrison was pure wolf. He hung with his own. That is to say, he hung alone. Jim Morrison was a lone wolf for sure, but he also hung out with coyotes like Babe Hill. Being pure wolf that he was, he needed a she-wolf to stay with for life, Pamela Susan Courson. Jim Morrison would have rather swilled down Drano than send a message asking for help from his parents, not even sister, Anne, whom he dearly loved, or brother Andy. Jim was too proud and too stubborn. So, shortly before Jim died, Pamela called the Morrison’s home at two o’clock a.m., loaded on downers. 

On the morning of July 7, 1971, Jim Morrison was buried in the 6th Division, 2nd Row, Grave No. 5 at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. None of his family members were present. There was a small, inconspicuous funeral procession with just a few people attending (Pamela Courson, Bill Siddons, Agnes Varda, Alain Ronay, and Robin Wertle). There was no clergy. Some flowers were thrown and that was the end. Lasting only a few minutes, James Douglas Morrison’s interment was hardly a memorial service. Père Lachaise Cemetery, located on Boulevard de Ultramontane, was established by Napoleon in 1804. The cemetery is also known as, “The Poets’ Corner”, due to the luminaries who are interned there. Jim Morrison  is surrounded by the likes of Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Simone Signore, Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau, Isadora Duncan, Frédéric Chopin, Georges Bizet, Sarah Bernhardt, Honoré de Balzac. —"I remember Jim Morrison" (2009) by Alan R. Graham

The press reported that Jim Morrison had died in his Paris apartment in the early hours of the morning of July 3, 1971, from a heart-attack suffered while taking a bath. Jim Morrison, the voice of anti-authority, was dead. Had he crumbled under the pressure of stardom? Had he decided on that ultimate intellectual experiment to determine the truth about the enduring nature of fame? "I contend an abiding sense of irony over all I do," Morrison had revealed. The stress of the Miami trials, even the possibility of a prison sentence, could have triggered an ulcer. On the morning of his death, did he take a line or two of cocaine which, because of his poor health and a haemorrhaging stomach ulcer, caused his body to go into shock? Professor Austin Gresham used the term ‘catecholamine release’. If a person lives a life of physical neglect, as Jim Morrison most certainly did, the catecholamines will be useless and without prompt medical assistance the individual will die. In the days preceding Jim’s death, he had complained of difficulty in breathing. It is very likely that he was suffering from anaemia, the condition where there is a lack of red blood cells in the bloodstream and occurs where there has been loss of blood or an inadequate intake of iron from poor diet. Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract such as a duodenal or gastric ulcer, if allowed to bleed over a long period of time, will lead to anaemia. According to John Densmore’s book, when Bill Siddons arrived at the apartment he opened a carved wooden box which he found on a coffee table and discovered it contained heroin. He came to the conclusion that Jim must have taken some of this heroin, believing it to have been cocaine, and overdosed as a result. In which case Pam would have been riddled with guilt because Jim had found her stash and snorted it under the assumption that it was cocaine  In many ways, her subsequent life as a grieving widow is the greatest proof we have that Jim is actually dead. —"The End: The Death of Jim Morrison" (2012) by Bob Seymore

"The Doors: The Singles" Collection of 20 singles and their corresponding B-sides will be released on August 25, 2017.

Val Kilmer is a great actor, but beyond the recreated Doors concert sequences, which I found fantastic, he seemed to have largely posed and preened his way through the epic drunken deluge and, in the process, he made Jim come off as a pouting full-blown narcissist prone to childish tantrums and self-pity, like the Jackson Pollock of Rock. Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison, in a sense, is a response to Stone's film. The Doors was a multi-million dollar Hollywood biopic shot forth with vast amounts of artistic license. But of course, even documentaries aren't exempt from a director's subjective slant. When I met with Alain Ronay, whom Stone had hired as a consultant for his Doors film, he told me he read the script, marched up to Stone, and asked him why he wasn't telling the truth about Jim. According to Ronay, Stone smiled and said, "Because the truth doesn't sell." Like Stone's biopic, When You Are Strange (2009) has served as an inspiration for my forthcoming independent documentary, an indirect response to what I consider the incessant mythologizing of Jim Morrison via mainstream Hollywood branding. Stone's film was endorsed by John Densmore, Robby Krieger, etc. and When You Are Strange was co-produced by The Doors manager, Jeff Jampol. 

I was surprised to conclude that director Tom DiCillo pulled something of an Oliver Stone. DiCillo simply couldn't resist fanning the dramatic flames of La La Land legend by way of the regurgitation of age-old, overblown The Doors/Morrison factoids. By offering a few glimpses of Jim Morrison's stealth sense of humor, DiCillo distinguishes his documentary from standard-issue Morrison-as-madman fare. DiCillo's probes at Morrison's funny bone still are not enough to help heal the singer's long-held wish to be appreciated as a complete human being, as opposed to a terminally-loaded, sullen, rock god/spectacle/invalid cliché. I found it interesting to fathom the foggy notion of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground [The Doors' East Coast counterpart] having Depp function as narrator of a V.U. documentary. It would never happen. Depp comes off as hippy-dippy, and that trait doesn't jibe with Reed's or Morrison's ultraviolet brilliance. When You're Strange doesn't offer any substantial insight into who he really was. 

Subtlety, in the form of fine-detail gray-scale shading, is in order if we are to absorb Jimbo's would-be Blakean palace-of-wisdom excess and fully empathize with his wounded core. When You're Strange briefly broaches the reality of its title: feeling like a stranger, or an outcast. It's been noted elsewhere that Jim Morrison knew that pain, which hit at a young age, so it begs the question: why didn't DiCillo wade further into that particular mire, in order to extract the actual motivations that drove a volatile 27-year-old man to raging alcoholism, unadulterated rebellion, and early burnout, all in a pre-rehab world? It's convenient to now view Jim Morrison merely as a popular icon/cultural oddity and forget that, in the end, the psychic pain that came with feeling like an outsider was what ultimately secured his psychedelic place in the rock pantheon. —Jeff Finn (2016)

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