WEIRDLAND: Malick's Song to Song, Paean to Classic Rockers

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Malick's Song to Song, Paean to Classic Rockers

Terrence Malick’s paean to indie rock: Beyond the rock‘n’roll window dressing, Song to Song turns out to be just another minor variation on Malick’s favorite theme—the power of love and spirituality to transcend the life-poisoning curses of ambition and greed. Malick fans will surely go into Song to Song longing to see him channel the almost religious quality of those live music performances. He soundtracks his obligatory shots of nature’s majesty with gorgeous songs that run the gamut from classical to classic rock. Malick’s great obsession is earthly transcendence. He frames Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as sages. In their own, sui generis ways, Patti Smith and Iggy Pop were both hungry, young strivers once. At the same time, he implies that Faye and BV can only lead fulfilling lives once they shift their focus from their careers to each other. What if making music—or any kind of art—can be both an act of love and act of ambition? Source:

On July 5, 1968, Mick Jagger flew into LAX with his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and Jimmy Miller, the Stones’ producer. Mick showed up at the Doors’ office, and asked where Jim Morrison was. January Jansen picked up the ringing pay phone near Room 32 of the Alta Cienega Motel across the street. Jim was lying on the bed, looking at the TV with the sound off. Jansen: “The office called. They were in a panic. ‘Jagger’s here! He’s coming across the street!’ I said, ‘Jim, uh, Mick Jagger’s across the street. He’s coming over.’ Jim said, ‘That’s all right.’ “There was a knock on the door, very faint. Jim nodded and I opened the door. Jagger said, ‘Hullo, I’m Mick.’ If Jagger, who lived in an elegant house in London’s Chester Square, showed any qualms about Jim’s frugal motel digs, he hid it well. Jagger probably looked around and thought: ‘what’s with this poverty hole?’ The two rock stars had never met before. Jagger had been famous three years longer. Jim stood up and shook Mick’s hand, then retired to the bed, resting for the evening’s Hollywood Bowl show. Mick asked Jim if he meditated before a show. Jim looked at Mick as if he were insane. “Meditate? No, man. (sarcastically) We leave that up to John and Robby.”

–I knew Lou Reed in the 1980's and early 1990's. He was a straight up no-nonsense person by then. His word was solid and he was easy going. As an recording artist Reed was second to none, he had a complete vision of the end results and knew how construct songs and run sessions in a genius way. Lou disliked Mick Jagger; he once told me, "Street Fighting Man, what a joke, that little twerp's no street fighter." He liked Keith Richards, though. He also would say Sgt. Pepper and The Beatles were "bad Broadway" and not rock 'n' roll... I know how caustic he was about Jim Morrison's death in Melody Maker, 1975. Reed's humor was quite cynical but he was a straight up person who was rarely aloof to crew; he was patient and generous. His favorite singer was Dion and enjoyed and listened to many of the covers other bands recorded of his tunes. Source:

Tony Funches (The Interview, 2005): Jim Morrison was a helluva nice guy! He was a student of Voltaire. Much of that Sex God image was contrived by some marketing idiot and Jim went along because they babbled that it was good for the band and record sales. He was just a regular guy trying to be a decent person and suffering from his own genius at what the world and government would become. All that has happened since he left us and he saw it all coming. He was NOT pleased to have that vision. He was like Ray Milland in the film “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes” in that sense: The inexorable march of fascism, the long range futility of Flower Power, the graying of the hippies into coupon clipping yuppies turning their backs on the ideals of the movement.  And what he saw saddened him: vapid lemmings racing to sea in order to ‘be like everyone else.’ "I can kind of envision one person with a lot of tapes and electronics set up, singing or speaking while using machines,” Morrison eerily hypothesized in 1969, prognosticating a future filled with Pro-Tools and Auto-Tune.

Ron Alan: "Jim Morrison treated girls fine. He didn’t mistreat them. He was very sweet and fun. One night he came up to my house and sat down at the bar and a girl came right up and talked to him and she wasn’t a good looking girl. But he was so nice to her. And girls would ask silly questions, half the time he just would sit patiently, like, 'Get your thoughts together and then talk to me.' He’d joke around, but never mean in a way that would turn these girls off." Morrison took his public image tongue-in cheek, keeping it for show and comparing it to that of a villian in a Western movie. The Miami Herald coverage was a good example of the media exploiting and manipulating Morrison. In retrospect, what was at stake was freedom of speech and expression, accuracy of press coverage, Morrison’s right to a fair trial, and issues concerning authenticity, perception, and representation. –"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro

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