WEIRDLAND: June 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Jim Morrison's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


"She had orange ribbons in her hair/She was such a trip, she was hardly there/But I loved her just the same/There was rain in our window/The FM set was ragged/But she could talk/We learned to speak/All we did was break and freak it/We had all that lovers ever had/Now her world was bright orange/And the fire glowed..." Orange County (1970) by The Doors

There really are no good biographies on Jim Morrison except Frank Lisciandro's "Friends Gathered Together" or Jim Cherry's "The Doors Examiner," the rest written mostly by 'authors' trying to cash in by using sensationalism as their marketing tool. I just finished reading Patricia Kennealy’s book. Here are a few varied thoughts about her memoir Strange Days: *Kennealy seems utterly obsessed with Pamela Courson. Her name is mentioned (on average) at least every 3 pages. *Patricia Kennealy’s sense of humor is very barely existent... the couple of moments of intended humor (which are buried deeply beneath her self congratulating monologues) fall flat and feel embarrassingly false.

*98% of this book feels like pure bullshit. Jim Morrison was a very heavy drinker, behavior that is known to cause, amongst other things, lethargy and impotency. Yet, according to Kennealy, her and Jim’s sex life (something that she discusses redundantly) was fabulous all the time, and that he never, ever faltered in that department. I could list off countless sources that have remarked on Jim’s alcohol related impotency, namely Pamela herself. *Patricia fails to make Jim seem special or intelligent or wild or extraordinary at all. He becomes a caricature not unlike the one played by Val Kilmer. The Jim Morrison in this book can’t seem to shut up... he jibber jabbers constantly. There is even a scene at one point where Jim weeps uncontrollably over his love for Patricia. Okay.

*Despite her apparent dislike for Pam, PK falters at times with how she apparently feels about her. PK was actually friends with Pam while Pam was alive, but I suppose that was easy enough to discard when Pamela herself died, in favor of cashing in on Jim’s name. There are quite a few moments where PK portrays Pam as having the mindset of a child, and then she’ll turn around and say things like, “She wasn’t that kind of stupid!” She mentions a few times that Pam was very sweet, and that she feels sorry for her, and even prays for her to this day. Also, she cannot seem to let go off how beautiful Pamela really was. Some examples: “Pamela Susan Courson, nine months younger than I, three years younger than Jim, is a staggeringly pretty woman.” “She was charming, extremely pretty...” “Though Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan are pretty enough, next to Jim and Pam they look like dull unattractive urchins with bad hair (wigs, but still).” *Try as she may to discredit Pam’s intellect, she does not dare deny Pamela’s importance to Jim, and even admits the following: “I believe he loved Pamela as well as could love anyone.”

*She also prattles on and on about how she had such lovely auburn hair when she was “with” Jim, but colored photos from that time show that Patricia’s hair color was actually more of an ash brown, without so much as a hint of a red tone. Looks like she’s been dyeing her hair auburn ever since Jim died so that she can claim that his songs praising bright red hair were about her. This is not unlike what Pamela DesBarres, Nico, and Janet Erwin (a groupie) have done in an attempt to look Jim Morrison’s type since Pam and Jim have both passed on. *The book is wholly self serving. I can’t find not one admitted flaw. *Patricia takes as many pot shots as she can at other Doors insiders, as well as the surviving Doors, and Jim/Pam’s families.  Source: pamelacourson.tumblr.com

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The private Jim Morrison was the antithesis of his extroverted stage personality. He spoke slowly and quietly with little emotion, often pausing to reflect or collect his thoughts before continuing. Though he was confident, he was not usually egotistical or pretentious. On the contrary, he often was gentle, sensitive, and considerate of others' feelings. Many who knew Morrison will tell you he was a well-mannered "Southern gentleman," someone you would have no problem taking home to meet your mother. It was only onstage, or after having too much to drink, that his voice became deep and loud, his manner vibrant and gruff, and his actions mindless. Tom Baker was in New York doing a I, A Man at The Factory, when he and Warhol stopped in to see The Doors at The Scene, Baker saw a different Jim Morrison onstage. "His performance was a classic one," Baker wrote, "giving off glimpses of all our beautiful tragic/comic American Heroes... one moment I saw Brando's 'wild one,' the next James Dean's rebel, then Chet Baker, and finally Elvis."

LSD was key in providing Morrison with access to the further regions of reality. With fame came more women. Except for Pamela, the majority of the women he was having affairs or one-night stands with were on the bizarre side. Many were alluring and attractive in their own way, but some were just outright weirdos who drew Morrison because of their strangeness: freaked-out go-go dancers who were into demonism, and disgruntled groupies. Morrison attracted the strange and the bizarre like a magnet and he was often surrounded by mystics, perverts, drunkards, and just plain lunatics. He collected people like stray dogs. While he knew they were sponging off of him, he was too kind to drive them away. Sooner or later they'd disappear. Sometimes he would get drunk and go nuts and that would scare them off, other times they got bored with him. Morrison saw these people as kindred spirits, people out on the edge, and he was fascinated by them.

Themis Fashion Boutique, 947 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles. Pamela Courson traveled to Europe frequently to stock her store. The store was hardly ever open and kept odd hours. Meanwhile, Jim and Pam's clashes continued. Although the boutique kept her busy, it didn't do much for her insecurity, and the effects of his drinking and her drug use were now taking their toll. Mirandi Babitz elaborates: "Pam and I used to do a lot of coke together in the early days, but now she was getting into heroin. She was snorting it. I don't think Jim cared if she did it, but if he found she was getting too fucked up he would probably get upset. I'm sure they were like any addicted couple would behave. Each one blamed everything on the other's problem." Others claim Morrison got very angry with Pam over her use of heroin. A neighbor in Laurel Canyon recalls Pam describing a violent argument over the issue where she locked herself in the closet to get away from Jim's rage. Close friends of Morrison's doubt the validity of this story, however. 


After the Hollywood Bowl, The Doors went on the road playing Houston on July thirteenth, 1968. Pam, feeling ignored while Jim was on the road, had a fling with actor John Phillip Law of Barbarella fame. She made sure Morrison heard about it and they had many a long-distance argument over it. Her idea was to force him to come home and finally he did the next best thing. Mirandi Babitz remembers: "He finally said she better get her ass out to New York where he was. She drove to the airport, parked the car in the regular parking lot, and took a flight to New York. She came back two weeks later and the police had towed it and discovered the kilo of marijuana she'd left in the trunk. They busted her, but Diane Gardiner [The Doors' publicist] had someone get her out on a first defense. I don't know how... a kilo was a lot in those days, but I think they realized she wasn't selling, she was just spaced out."


Even though he was pleased with many of the new songs, Morrison drank heavily during the recording sessions of LA Woman. As usual, this put additional pressure on everyone involved. Pam came to a few of the sessions, but her presence did little to change things. One time, however, she got hold of Jim's bottle and drank it to keep him from it. Bruce Botnick describes what happened next: "So here were the two of them, completely out of their minds and crying. He started shaking her violently. I think he was putting me on. She was crying out of control, telling him he shouldn't drink any more and that's why she drank it. And I'm cleaning up, and I said, 'Hey, man, it's pretty late.' He looked up, stopped shaking her, said, 'Yeah, right,' and hugged her, and they walked out arm in arm. I felt he had done all that for effect. I'd seen him do that sort of thing before, because he'd always give you a funny look afterward, to see your reaction."

The appeal of cinema lies in the fear of death — While The Lords contains many interesting insights on vision in general and cinematography in particular, it is The New Creatures that really shows Morrison's more poetic side. Dedicated "To Pamela Susan," the work resounds with imaginative verse centering mostly on sexual conflict and is interwoven with images of pain and death. Some of the poems began as ideas for songs while others took the themes of songs and explored them in a new direction. Though the meanings are usually obscure and shadowy, the language and depth of thought is often fascinating. The Lords appease us with images. They give us books, concerts, galleries, shows. Especially the cinemas. Through art they confuse us and blind us to our enslavement. Art adorns our prison walls, keeps us silent and diverted and indifferent. Morrison had originally thought of the "Lords" as the people who control society, but later the concept evolved into something else: "Now to me, the 'Lords' mean something entirely different. It's like the opposite. Somehow the Lords are a romantic race of people who have found a way to control their environment and their own lives. They're somehow different from other people." —"Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison" (ekindle, 2014) by James Riordan

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Scars of Sweet Paradise: Joplin, Morrison

“She looked so sad in sleep/Like a friendly hand/just out of reach/A candle stranded on a beach/While the sun sinks low/an H-bomb in reverse.” —The American Night (1971) by Jim Morrison

What doesn’t seem in dispute is that Janis Joplin went to bed once with Jim Morrison of The Doors. Linda Bacon, one of the many Austin refugees who lived in the Bay Area, recalls that The Doors were in town and invited Janis out to dinner. Jim Morrison arrived with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson, in tow, while Janis showed up with Sam Andrew (guitarist of Big Brother & the Holding Company), Dave Richards—the band’s roadie—and Linda. Both Andrew and Richards had designs on Jim's girlfriend Pamela. Everybody knew Janis had designs on Morrison. Both read Nietzsche, Ferlinggetti, McClure, and Corso, and if Janis wasn't the expert on Plutarch, Baudelaire, and Norman O. Brown that Jim was, she could readily discuss Gurdjieff, Wilfred Owen and F. Scott Fitzgerald. After dinner they all moved on to Janis’s Lyon Street apartment, where Linda claims “Janis and Jim sort of dragged each other into the bedroom. Morrison’s girlfriend left in tears, with Sam in hot pursuit.” It wasn’t a good match, though, and on a subsequent occasion, Janis knocked Morrison over the head with a Southern Comfort bottle after they had gotten into an argument in which he had grabbed her by her hair. “She hated Jim Morrison,” says a West Coast booking agent. “We could have all made so much money had she allowed a Doors/Joplin package to go on. But she refused. He didn’t like her that much, either. They were two of a kind and they hated what they saw in each other.” Morrison begged Paul Rothschild to give him Janis' phone number. “I had to say, ‘Jim, Janis doesn’t think it would be a good idea for you two to get together again.’ He was crushed,” Rothschild said. Sometime after Janis's night with Morrison, she told her friend Henry Carr, "Morrison was okay in bed, but when we got up the next morning, he asked for a shot of sloe gin."

According to Danny Fields: "They both frequented Barney’s Beanery, and I’m sure they’d see each other there often.  Before Janis died, they had both made some amends for which Jim was grateful." In 1970 Jim and Janis got together at his request shortly before he left for Paris. Calling her his old drinking buddy, he said he wanted to make amends, and they had a warm visit. Morrison was trying to control his alcoholism, drinking only white wine. Janis, too, was under the illusion that switching from hard liquor to some other drink would help. Morrison was genuinely grateful for having made amends with Joplin. When they said good-bye that day, Morrison told her that rock 'n' roll was now a part of his past. —"Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin" (2000) by Alice Echols

Let me state this accurately: Jim Morrison was a fantastic human being and an incredible creative artist, but not for the reasons Ray Manzarek said. Jim's myth and legend do not need the manipulation of Ray or Danny Sugerman. Jim left us with poems and songs and films that establish him as one of the 20th century's most creative inhabitants. Ray should have stopped trying to make Jim the bad boy of rock, the embodiment of Dionysus, and a petulant child. Jim's poems will endure long after anyone can remember Ray's stories. I did the interviews with Jim’s close friends that are gathered in my book, “Friends Gathered Together” because of the Stone movie which was supposed to be about Jim, but contained not a shred of truth about any Jim Morrison I ever knew. No wonder because Stone followed Danny Sugerman's book, which is so badly distorted that a close friend of Jim’s cried after reading only 20 pages and threw the damn book away. Although the film was made with all the technical skill that Hollywood is famous for, it was an endless series of lies, not only about Jim but also about the times. He paints Pamela Courson in a less than stellar light, even though Jim and Pam were indeed soulmates; neither could ever be with anyone else. Pamela Courson has been as enigmatic a figure in Doors history as Jim, and nearly all of the friends in the book say the same thing about her: she was often aloof, cold, possessive of Jim, and unfriendly toward The Doors' inner circle.

The film presented an image of this era (the mid to late 1960’s) that was gloomy and drug infested; while the truth (at least from my perspective) was that the era was very much alive with hope for a better future. It was an exciting and vibrant time that pulsed to the beat of great music, that grew an intelligent, confident and active opposition to the war-machine in Washington, and birthed a genuine search for spiritual awakening. All this while the arts were experiencing a renascence-like renewal. Are the remaining Doors afraid of the truth about Jim Morrison? Afraid the fans will see Jim as the central creative force in the band, as the intellect and soul of the group? Why don’t they want the world to see Jim Morrison as a complete human being? They met a genius on their way to maturity and they've had trouble trying to justify their behavior during and since that genius walked out of their lives. Almost all the people I meet have already figured out that Jim Morrison was an extraordinary individual, and not the asshole that Hopkins/Sugerman/Stone would have us believe. Source: www.crystal-ship.com

The Door's manager, Bill Siddons, claimed that Jim and Pam had taken a marriage license to Paris. Pamela Courson and Jim Morrison had previously obtained marriage licenses in Colorado in 1967 and in Los Angeles in 1968, but never legalized it. This sourced info was taken off Jim Morrison's Wikipedia page by User:CorbieVreccan as were other credible lovers of Morrison like Enid Graddis or Peggy Green while they greatly expanded on Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's claims which are highly contested. The page should be neutral. Jim Morrison - Personal Life (Wikipedia): "Jim Morrison's relationship with Pamela Courson, his longtime girlfriend, was reflective of his dual personality. Their romance was a tumultuous blend of tenderness and uncontrolled passion right from the beginning and this fire-and-ice quality lasted right to the end." —Source: "Break on through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison" (1991) by James Riordan


Discussion about Patricia Kennealy section: Patricia Kennealy added the last name Morrison to hers many years after Morrison's death. Kennealy never brought the proof she claims to have as far as Jim Morrison's letters. She never identified the "ordained minister" or "witnesses" she claims attended the wedding ceremony. Kennealy's claims about her alleged relationship with Morrison have been publicly disputed by former colleagues, friends of Jim Morrison and Pamela Susan Courson-Morrison and members of the surviving Doors—without Kennealy taking any meaningful action, legal or otherwise. Much in the same way that no matter how many eyewitnesses have publicly gone on record to clarify what actually happened the night Jim Morrison died, Wikipedia is bound to stick with the "official" cause of death. Is Wikipedia not bound to verify statements from people regarding claims of "marriage" and other serious issues? Based on the fact that all encyclopedic information must be verified, references to Kennealy's claims should not be included at all.

Another relationship that was wiped out from his Wikipedia is Janet Erwin. Although she was probably "another notch in Morrison's bedpost" this is the last documented affair Jim Morrison had in February 1971 in Los Angeles, California before his death in Paris, France on July 3, 1971. Erwin dispels Patricia Kennealy's claims and unveils her as an imposter. Her copyrighted story starts, "This piece was originally written as an expose of Patricia Kennealy and what those of us who were there and know what really happened regard as a series self-serving lies about what was in fact a very brief romantic relationship with the late Jim Morrison." Andy Morrison told the press that he had met with Kennealy and that a handwriting expert found that she was trying to publish letters and poems that were determined to have been forged by Kennealy. Also, Kennealy's "marriage document" was completely handwritten by Kennealy herself. In "An Open Letter to Jim's Fans": Kennealy just confirms that her real obsession is with Pamela Courson, not with Morrison, and the fact that Morrison had the audacity to choose Pamela over her. You know what they say, "Jealousy is a snake bite that takes 70 years to kill you." How Patricia Kennealy managed to fool Oliver Stone's is a mystery. Source: en.wikipedia.org

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Nico 1998", Idyll with Jim Morrison

Nico 1988 sticks close to the scattered psychodrama of Nico’s last two years but takes a casual and even jaunty attitude toward its heroine’s proudly functional middle-aged depravity. Nico was born Christa Päffgen, and in the film just about everyone calls her Christa, making you realize that Nico is a character she’s still playing but no longer believes in. Christa shoots heroin into her bruised ankle as if she were having a snack. She gives interviews in which she repeats how bored she is of being asked about her days as the chanteuse of the Velvet Underground—a legitimate gripe, perhaps, except that she seems cut off from any awareness that if she hadn’t been a member of the Velvet Underground, she’d have no legend to fall from. “Nico, 1988” is too thinly focused to be a major underground-music-star drama, but its Italian writer-director, Susanna Nicchiarelli, knows just what she’s doing. There’s a refreshing lack of judgment and she takes us close to Nico’s tattered charisma, and to the haphazard rituals of her life, all to figure out what made her tick. Christa is running from her myth, yet she polishes it every time she drops a pensée like “I’ve been at the top, I’ve been at the bottom: Both places are empty.”

In her late 40s, Christa seems to revel in her ravaged looks, which comes off as a feminist statement. She won’t be defined as a mask of beauty—she loves food and drugs too much. Dyrholm’s performance is a powerhouse of authenticity. Her moroseness is mesmerizing, but she also gives Nico a tense intelligence, and her singing is uncanny. She gets the way that Nico would stretch out notes with robotic flatness only to humanize them with a flicker of her German accent. Her lugubrious chant-singing was drained of emotion, except for the moments when it was saturated with it. The movie ends with the trip that she and son Ari made to Ibiza in July 1988. She seems healthy and happy, but as the end title informs us, on that trip she crashed her bike and died of a cerebral hemorrhage. It’s a sad ending indeed, since “Nico, 1998” more or less convinces you that Christa Päffgen, despite the legend she created, had at that point rejected the decadence and was closer to life than death. Source: variety.com

In May 1966, Jim Morrison had seen the Velvet Underground at their first California show at the Trip in Los Angeles. Jim Morrison and The VU's singer Nico began a passionate affair around the summer of 1967. The Doors were riding high, selling more records per week than The Velvet Underground would manage in their entire career. Danny Fields thought Nico and Jim Morrison ‘would make a cute couple.’ Eye magazine took Fields's suggestion for setting up a photoshoot with Nico and Morrison for a series on beautiful couples, but Morrison refused to do it, wary of his volatile girlfriend Pamela. Lou Reed had composed for Nico her trademark songs and allegedly wrote Berlin as a sort of farewell letter. Nico had described Lou as 'soft and lovely, not aggressive at all.' Jim Morrison seemed to have become her obsession, though. Morrison was 'affectionate to my looks and my mind... and the best sex inside me ever,' Nico confessed. Ray Manzarek saw the statuesque Nico as "the Valkyrian angel of death who would push Jim Morrison's buttons." Manzarek was witness to their erotic escapades at The Factory: "The pills and booze were melting together in his brain, obliterating his will to power and replacing it with a will to pleasure." Lou Reed had liked Jim Morrison enough to note, in an interview with Jim Martin for Open City magazine #78: "he's going through all this whole number for the kids, with very nice, religious rock & roll," but Morrison's affair with Nico had seemingly left Reed sour.  

The scene was a crowded locker room at California State University at Long Beach, 1967. Jim had just been told that he was to go on stage in a few minutes and that Nico, the Warhol superstar, in a predatory mood, had just flown in from New York to confront his long-standing girlfriend, Pamela. Jim became visibly edgy at the news. As part of her offensive, Nico had dyed her trademark blonde hair a flaming red to match Pam's. Nico and Morrison's idyll lasted a few weeks and suddenly it was over. Not when Jim or Nico decided, but when Pam decided to put an end. Once Pam had found out Jim was with Nico, she began dating Jean de Breteuil — who apparently had access to high-quality heroin which Pam also began to use. She knew what Jim’s reaction would be when he found out and began thinking about it, in those frozen hours he was always most terrified of right before dawn, during the coldest, darkest moments of the night-day. 

At first, Jim pretended not to care. Then early one morning, while Nico was still passed out, Jim got in his car and drove back to L.A. and Pamela – as he always did eventually, as he always would. Not even leaving a note behind. Morrison told his former UCLA colleague Dennis C. Jakob that Nico wasn't really his type and he had found her pretentious. In 1969 Jim Morrison had grown to hate his self-conscious image – it was only studied perversity, after all. ‘The Jim Morrison thing started out as an act, but so many people believed it, that he became that,’ opined Danny Fields: ‘They returned to him what they saw, and he started acting out their fantasy. It was all a pose, and he became his own invention. He had a kind of dangerous sexuality that women went berserk over – and he used that to cover himself up.’ But Morrison knew he was only a puppet of the crowd; the audiences weren’t interested in his literary allegories, they wanted him to make a spectacle of himself. Nico just once offered an example of the peyote visions she endured with Jim Morrison: "The light of the dawn was a very deep green and I believed I was upside down and the sky was the desert which had become a garden and then the ocean. I do not swim and I was frightened when it was water and more resolved when it was land. I felt embraced by the sky-garden." —"Nico: Life and Lies of an Icon" (2017) by Richard Witts

Lester Bangs acknowledged The Doors' significance, but never without criticizing their flaws. His writings on Jim Morrison give some great insight into the praise the Doors receive, and probably explain the Kurt Cobain cult as well. Bangs found something worth admiring in the way Morrison was willing to turn away from commercial success and how he would take the serious issues of his generation and turn it all into a joke. Bangs wrote: "You can deny it all you want, but almost none of the groups that have been offered to the public in the past few years begin to compare with the best from the Sixties. And this is not just Sixties nostalgia--it's a simple matter of listening to them side by side and noting the relative lack of passion, expansiveness, and commitment in even the best of today's groups... today's bands are so eager to get bought up and groomed and sold it often seems as if they barely stand for anything... I always kind of wanted all Morrison's songs could have had the understated power of 'People Are Strange' and it was only after being disappointed that I could learn to take the true poetry and terror whenever it could be found and develop an ever increasing appreciation for the most of the rest of Morrison's work. 

I never took Morrison seriously as the Lizard King, but I'm as much a Doors fan today as I was in 1967. One thing that can never be denied is that at his best (as well as perhaps his worst at any rate) Morrison had style, and he was at his best as a poet of dread, desire, and psychic dislocation. He was also at his best as a bozo clown. So it's no wonder our responses remain a little confused about him." Lester Bangs' longtime musical hero was Lou Reed, though. He was not a great fan of David Bowie, whom Bangs saw as overrated, "a vampire, pure Lugosi, lurking behind a wide-eyed Reed in a Quaalude haze" and even accused Bowie of ripping off some of Reed's guitar riffs.  –"Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" (2013) by Lester Bangs

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Romantic Bonds & Separate Worlds: Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, Gene Vincent

The biological mechanisms underlying long-term partner bonds — The evolutionarily neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is associated with the formation of partner bonds in some species via interactions with brain dopamine reward systems. Intranasal OXT treatment made subjects perceive their female partner’s face as more attractive compared with unfamiliar women but had no effect on the attractiveness of other familiar women. This enhanced positive partner bias was paralleled by an increased response to partner stimuli compared with unfamiliar women in brain reward regions including the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. OXT even augmented the neural response to the partner compared with a familiar woman, indicating that this finding is partner-bond specific rather than due to familiarity. Taken together, our results suggest that OXT could contribute to romantic bonds in men by enhancing their partner’s attractiveness and reward value compared with other women. For men in a relationship, increased endogenous OXT signaling in the brain following experience of proximity, social support, intimate contact, or sex with their romantic partner might make these behaviors even more rewarding via an engagement of related neurocircuitry. In this way, a feed-forward loop would be initialized, resulting in a progressive increase in desire for the partner, similar to a drug addict’s increased craving for drug consumption. Facial attractiveness is known to elicit striatal activation, and this notion suggests the intriguing possibility that OXT may serve as a potential treatment for love-related withdrawal syndromes, including lovesickness and pathological grief from loss of a loved one. Source: www.pnas.org

For someone who had such a complex inner life as Jim Morrison, for someone who liked to escape his reality and who by nature had trouble connecting with people, finding Pamela Courson made him feel a lot less alone. Pamela was difficult too, with an alleged duality of sweet girl/sullen junkie. With Pamela, Morrison had rhapsodised, "it was the first time he ever really made love." With Pamela, it wasn't really just about sex. A true love story, Pamela always gave Jim a lot of attention and admiration, and he showed a great deal of kindness and loving behavior toward her. Both could be very jealous of each other's dalliances, though. But Pamela never had motives to be jealous of Ginny Ganalh, the Doors Office's secretary from 1968-1969. Once, Morrison phoned her: “Ginny, when I die and when you die, and when we’re up there sitting on clouds, we’ll be playing lutes together?” Ginny had a very low opinion of Patricia Kennealy (Pam's rival): "She does claim they were married in this witches ceremony. When I read her story, I didn’t know how she could live with herself. I thought she was just so shameless, she just tried so desperately to manipulate herself into Jim's life. Patricia worked as an editor at Jazz & Pop magazine. One of her reviews of Jim was scathing. That’s why Jim took up with her. And then he’d completely push her buttons. So funny!"

Ginny was attracted to Morrison but they only had a friendly professional relationship: "Morrison was so relaxed. I just was really impressed with his gentleness and his lack of pretense. After Miami, he kind of got this mock horror in his voice: “Ginny, you know I would never do anything like that.” He explained to me that his job as the entertainer was to hold up a mirror to his audience. And he kind of chuckled and said, “Man, that was one ugly audience.” I said to Eve Babitz I never saw Jim in the role of the pursuer, except with Pam. Every other time I saw him meeting a chick, it was always the woman coming on so strong to him. Jim was many different people. None of them were phony. Jerry Hopkins never understood him, never got it. Morrison had a way of bringing out the best in people." –"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro

Pamela wasn't surprised that Jim invited her to a vintage bookstore. It was odd, but when he took her to the Bargain Book Shop on 9th street, she'd been expecting it. "I found something." Suddenly, Jim appeared in front of her, a copy of "On The Genealogy of Morality" clutched in his hands. "This was the only one they had, but it's actually one of my favorites." She smiled, and reached into her pocket for loose change. "I'll pay for it," said Jim. "Huh?" she asked. "Why?" "Think of it as a welcome present." He smiled. "Okay." Pam shrugged, too flustered and bewildered to argue. Then they went to an abandoned factory. The building itself didn't seem too remarkable. It was rundown, and looked empty. But for some reason, Pam believed Jim when he said it was a place worth seeing. He hadn't taken her inside the old factory itself, but to the roof overlooking the docks by the Potomac River. The wind was refreshing against her skin, which was warm from the blush that had spread to her cheeks in Jim's presence. She felt really alive, not simply existing. And the thrill of being up on the roof of the abandoned building was breathtaking. "This seems like the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts," Pam thought out loud. "That's why I like to come here," said Jim. "It's kind of like being in your own separate world." Pam nodded. She used to go up on roofs all the time in New York, but the stars were actually visible here. It was amazing. She'd never seen anything quite like the clear night sky, untainted by bright lights and tall monstrous buildings. "It's incredible." She smiled. She turned to face Jim, and found that he was already looking at her. "Hey," he said, taking her by surprise. "What would you do if I jumped?" "Off the roof?" Pam asked. "Yeah." Jim grinned. She laughed. "I'd think you were crazy, but I guess I'd jump too." Source: www.wattpad.com

Iggy Pop (One of the wildest Jim Morrison's heirs) has been with his partner Nina Alu for 10 years, they got married in 2008 and they are happy, he says. Previously, he had married Wendy Weissberg in 1968, and Suchi Asano (1984-1999). Trollin', a song from The Stooges album 'The Weirdness' (2007) is, as he puts it, about picking up a girl, based loosely on their meeting. So we are talking of the romantic side of Iggy? He nods. Who would have thought it? "We're lucky enough to have maybe twice as much sex than is good for us but not so much that it's silly," he says. In an interview with Rob Tannenbaum for Blender magazine (September 2003), when asked about the "extent of his gay experiences", Iggy replied, "I'm to the left of tolerant, but I've never had a gay experience. Two or three times, excited gay friends wanted to try, generally when I was passed out or distracted. And then I'd wake up and go, 'Hey! Bruce! Cut it out!' And that would be the end of that." Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

As the poet E. E. Cummings wrote, “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.” Rock fans, more than anyone, seem to value underground music to be respected. Today that way of thinking doesn't help Rock be culturally relevant. The issue is that "Rock" as we define it, is no longer the driving force of culture that it used to be. It's not cool anymore or even feasible to be an outsider. Rock always thrived on individuality. Instead, Rap and EDM are more tribal. Popular music took a very drastic turn for the worse after the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed. The effects started being felt big time in 1998. The easement by the FCC has allowed the creation of radio monopolies. This is what has returned us back to pre-FM Radio days. Rock didn't stand a chance from that point on. Much easier to market and control pop and rap than rock. Rock bands/artists are much more a risky investment. There's still some quality rock music being made (electric rock guitar will never die off entirely) but unlike from the 50's-90's you have to actively search for it - you're not going to hear it otherwise. Source: forums.stevehoffman.tv


"Bring It On Home To Me" (1971) by Gene Vincent: "I know I laughed when you left/But now I know I only hurt myself/Baby, Bring your sweet loving/Bring it home to me/If you should ever, change your mind, about leavin' me behind/I'll give you jewelry and money too/That ain't all, all I do for you/You know I'll always be your slave/'til I'm buried, buried in my grave/Bring it on home to me." Interview with Gene Vincent by Mick Farren for International Times (March, 1971): "We all used to sit around, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, and we’d talk about things. If one of us had a hit, we’d say: 'That’s fabulous. It’s a damn good song.' We never considered ourselves stars. But now, the people that I meet are so damn big headed… it’s not music anymore, it’s business. But I’ve met Jim Morrison of the Doors, a fantastic person. Really a nice guy, and he takes me back to the people I knew in the old days. I’m always pushing to get something better. And that’s the same with Jim." Gene Vincent used to hang out at the Shamrock den on Santa Monica Boulevard, where Jim Morrison encountered him, and they became drinking buddies. Morrison idolised Vincent and partially modelled his stage persona on him, from his leather suits to his posture of clinging to the mike stand. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

'If Only I' by Jim Morrison, Rock's Revisionism

"If only I could feel, The sound of the sparrows & feel child hood pulling me back again, If only I could feel me pulling back again & feel embraced by reality again I would die, gladly die." —If Only I poem by Jim Morrison (1967)

The more "beloved" and "respected" figures in rock music have a nice, revisionist-style in the re-telling of their life story. Keith Moon terrorized, controlled, psychologically abused and stalked his wife, and his only child was terrified of him. There are many stories of him abusing people outside of his family as well. But that get's "glossed over", and Moon is remembered as an adorable and "funny" drummer! Read excerpts from Mike Nesmith's Infinite Tuesday autobiography. The "smart" Monkee? The great visionary? The respected businessman? Nothing more than an arrogant idiot, a nitwit who got very lucky. And from what I can gather little Davy Jones made Jim Morrison look like a prince. Oh, those adorable Monkees...

The problem with Jim Morrison was that he was thrown under the bus in the worst possible way by his own camp. Little Danny Sugerman went to work for Ray Manzarek. Manzarek oversaw and contributed to Sugerman's "No One Here Gets Out Alive" project, which made for salacious reading but set the Jim Morrison scumbag image in stone. If you trash Jim Morrison, a deafening silence is the only response. Could Jim Morrison be a scumbag? Sure. But let's put every single rock figure from the 1960s on the witness stand and let's see how well they come across. David Bowie liked young flesh, as young as 13, and he was one the biggest sell-outs in rock, magically became no longer bisexual at the height of the AIDS crisis. A lot of them have sins in multitudes that far exceed Morrison's. All of them could be scumbags. I'm partial to Lou Reed, because though a well-known prick, he was hugely talented. How could I have left out Prick Jagger, sorry, Mick Jagger? Does Axl Rose still enjoy covering songs written by Charles Manson?

By all accounts Jim Morrison could also be a very sweet, loving, generous guy too. Despite Stephen Davis' malicious speculation, Morrison was the definition of an oversexed hetero male. Also, a sensitive, deeply unhappy, lonely, individual who obviously suffered from clinical depression and possible identity disorder, dealing with a broken heart after Mary Werbelow left him. Robby Krieger summed it up saying "Jim was an unhappy and troubled soul." There is the Asshole/'mystical shaman' image that Jim Morrison always gets painted with. Mostly by the late Ray Manzarek who pressured constantly Morrison to stay in the band. What would Syd Barrett's fate have been if Roger Waters said, "This is guy is nuts! I'm gonna make him the centerpiece of the band! Think of the publicity!", instead of realizing there was a serious problem going on and then opting to cut ties with him, for Barrett's own good and for his own well-being?

Most of The Doors' fans are not aware that after the third album Jim Morrison was pretty much ready to walk away and that he had to be dragged in to record "The Soft Parade". I would love to have been a fly on the wall to see the sheer amount of badgering it took to get Morrison back into the studio. Oh, and don't think that Jim Morrison's status as a sex symbol, even though the poor kid has been dead for almost 50 years, and the fact that women still drool over pictures of him doesn't play into the way he is perceived. A certain amount of male jealousy and resentment is at work here too. At one point, a sorrowful Jim Morrison told Ray Manzarek, "I think I'm having a nervous breakdown." Manzarek asked him to "give it six more months". It was as if Morrison was looking for Manzarek's permission to leave the group. I wish Morrison had followed his instincts and left when he felt it was the right time to leave. —by RiderOntheStorm1969

Jim Morrison's girlfriend and "life partner" Pamela Courson, who famously described Jim as a poet who “shouldn’t be wasting his time in a rock’n’roll band,” had gone to Paris to scout out places where she and Jim might live. One month later Morrison left Los Angeles on March 10, 1971. Poem found in Jim & Pam's apartment the night that Jim died: "I have a vision of America 28,000 feet and going fast/I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness/Leave the informed sense in our wake/You'll be Christ on this package tour/ Money beats soul/Last words, last words, out" -- Jim Morrison, Paris, 1971 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Too High Price: Jim Morrison, Edie Sedgwick

“Against the exceptional individual are the great numbers of men, trained in a vice that ensnares them.” —Jim Morrison

It was with slight curiosity that I received from Jim Morrison's own hand a film magazine edited in New York by Jonas Mekas which contained an article: Notes on the Auteur Theory. I read every line of it and handed it back to him with a great deal of amusement. “Listen, Jimbo, what Andrew Sarris doesn't understand is that he's not the only one who watched films on television between 1950 and 1959. I saw them, too, in that period when I was in Pasadena, California. And I have a very different reaction to them.” “A lot of those directors had been short changed by Establishment Film Critics,” said Jim. But what I'm getting at is that Sarris didn't write about these obscure directors back in the early Fifties because he didn't have a theory for them. It's the French that provided him with one called the auteur theory. And when he got it, he very conveniently discarded what didn't fit it. Once he thought that Odd Man Out (1947) was the greatest film ever made. Then he dumped on it because the French didn't like it. “Odd Man Out actually is one of the greatest pictures ever made,” Morrison asserted. “But what's this theory all about, Jimbo?” I ticked it off on my fingers, “the myth of individualism. At bottom, all this French stuff is actually Cartesianism, formal non-contradictory logic.”
 
At the start of modern feminism, 1968 or ’69, Morrison may have read Germaine Greer’s or Kate Millet’s books. “You gotta understand,” he said, “the women around here seem cheerleaders and the men voyeurs.” “Venice West?” I asked. “No. I mean the West in general. What we got in California is the remains of a frontier experience.” Jim continued: “In America, women like to preen, like in the film Duel In The Sun. Consequently the Jennifer Jones character is a kind of exhibitionist. Men, on the other hand, recede into the darkness. The relationship between the sexes in this Golden State is that of a peep show. Think about it. It’s the beginning of a Matriarchy.” Jim grew silent and moody again. At that point he wanted to find his Ariadne. 

“Phosphenes!” said Jim in wonder. “Miniaturize a cathode ray camera into the 'magical spectacles' of Tales of Hoffman and with the simple expedient of inserting fiber optic wires into the man's brain these phosphenes could illuminate the three dimensional coordinates of objects and energies in the so-called 'real' world.” Jim then added: “Ever read Lewis Thomas? There's a book called The Lives Of A Cell; it says, in effect, that we live by light; snatching electrons at the precise moment of excitation by the attraction/repulsion of solar photons, snatching off the energy released at each leap and storing it up like a living battery. Quite a job to sustain this work for, say, a couple of billion years without being prone to chaotic drift and randomness. He claims it is nearly a mathematical impossibility. They say God is dead, so how did this happen?” I was silent at this barrage of facts. His face was deep in thought. “Do you know when education ended in this Country? Some say it was in 1912. That's when the American Educational Association formally renounced the teaching of the Classics as the mainspring in Secondary Schools. I guess John Dewey took over. And then behaviorism. John Watson, the first behaviorist, went into Advertising,” Jim explained, nodding in the direction of the Film School beyond Westwood Village. “Somebody said, 'This isn't a film school, it’s a division of neuropsychiatric.' Trouble with that place is nobody was crazy enough. You go through a realm of despondency, darkness and madness, and it builds to an unendurable climax.” “Most of people gets bought and paid-for in the end,” I finally admitted. “Think so?,” countered Jim after a while: “If that is true, my price is way too high.” —"Summer with Morrison: The Early Life and Times of James Douglas Morrison, A Memoir" (2011) by Dennis C. Jakob

Danny Fields had connections to Andy Warhol’s crowd (Edie Sedgwick crashed with him for a while), which helped him get into the back room of the Max’s Kansas City. Fields brought Jim Morrison there, in 1968, an occasion that did not go well. Sedgwick intuited that Warhol’s gayness was incidental. More fundamental was Warhol’s frustrated narcissism, in a permanent state of unfulfilled desire. Warhol invited Jim Morrison a few times to the Factory, but Morrison was not too interested in joining his insane coterie. Warhol looked at Edie Sedgwick and saw Marilyn Monroe. The physical resemblance between Marilyn and Edie was striking, can’t-miss: the eyes that went wide, wider, widest; the smiles that gushed; the skin that glowed palely, pearly. Marilyn and Edie shared, too, an ability to elicit a response from practically anything with a Y chromosome. Marilyn, in words of Pauline Kael “turned on even homosexual men.” Danny Fields, a close friend of Edie’s, testifies, “Being gay was never an impediment to being in love with Edie Sedgwick. She made everybody feel hairy-chested. It was clear that she was the female and you were the male.”

“Edie was incredible on camera—just the way she moved. The great stars are the ones who are doing something you can watch every second, even if it’s just a movement inside their eye.” Andy was a cold man, a man whose fondest dream was automaton-dom (“I’d like to be a machine, wouldn’t you?”), yet, you can hear how infatuated he was, how far gone. The deadpan mask had slipped, exposing the human face—warm, eager, heartbreakingly boyish—underneath. Andy loved to watch, and he loved watching Edie best of all. You can feel the pleasure he takes in her most casual gestures and expressions. He adored her.

In Beauty #2 his inquisition is an attempt to strip her bare emotionally, get inside her, penetrate her secret, private place. In other words, it’s a violation, but it’s also an attempt at intimacy, and thus an expression of love. Just as her submission to the violation is an expression of her return of that love. Edie's romance hit its peak during a madcap trip to Paris in April of ‘65. She  lost faith in what she and Andy were doing (“These movies are making a complete fool out of me!”) and she’d had her head turned by another guy, Bob Dylan. Andy was actually heartbroken. He was the odd man out in a love triangle, a bad situation for a normal person, hell for one so terrified of feeling. It’s unclear if Edie and Dylan’s relationship developed into a romance. Allegedly, Edie Sedgwick and Jim Morrison shared hugs and kisses at the Castle in July 1967. Edie would end where she began: Santa Barbara, California. On November 16, 1971, Edie Sedgwick overdosed on barbiturates, same as Marilyn Monroe. Source: www.vanityfair.com

Thursday, June 14, 2018

LSD Doses, Jim, Pam, and The Abyss

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and ecstasy ingredient MDMA have been shown to stimulate the growth of new branches and connections between brain cells which could help address conditions like depression and addiction. Researchers in California have demonstrated a single dose of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) increases the number of branch-like dendrites sprouting from nerve cells. These dendrites end at synapses where their electrical impulses are passed on to other nerve cells and underpin all brain activity. But they can atrophy and draw back in people with mental health conditions. “One of the hallmarks of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex – a key brain region that regulates emotion, mood, and anxiety – those neurites tend to shrivel up,” says Dr David Olson, who lead the research team. The research, published in the journal Cell Reports today, looked at drugs in several classes including tryptamines, DMT and magic mushrooms; amphetamines, including MDMA; and ergolines, like LSD. Source: www.independent.co.uk

Penny Courson: “Corky and I went up to LA, and there was this restaurant called the Matador that Jim had arranged for dinner, and the captain at the restaurant was like, ‘How are you, Mr Morrison!’ Then after the dinner, the four of us went to see 2001, A Space Odyssey.” Jim and Pam would also come over to the Coursons’ for dinner. “Beautiful, Jim’s manners were just phenomenal”, Penny (Pam's mom) says. “He would take whatever food was being passed around, and he would serve her first,  then put some on his plate. I was very impressed.” Pamela Courson was also impressed about Jim's transformation in the summer of 1971: “I woke up one morning and saw this handsome man by the pool, talking to two young American girls. I fell instantly in love with him. Then I realized it was Jim. I hadn't recognized him. He had got up early and shaved his beard, and he was so lean from losing so much weight, he seemed a new man. It was so nice to fall in love again with the man I was already in love with.” —"Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison" (2010) by Patricia Butler

“Acid can cause long-lasting or even permanent changes in a user’s psychology, and personality. Jim Morrison was one of the people that took a lot of doses. He would take four or five hits at a time. He indeed changed.” Back in New York for more shows in July 1967, Jim Morrison, the self-anointed prophet of the Summer Of Love and LSD-induced Rock, began an impossible affair with his psychic and spiritual opposite – Nico, Teutonic blonde ice-queen and co-vocalist of New York’s most celebrated yet least famous band, The Velvet Underground. According to Rock orthodoxy, The Velvet Underground and in particular Lou Reed (previous lover of Nico) seemed to despise everything The Doors stood for. When just four years later Lou Reed heard of Morrison’s death, he sneered (maybe not joking): “He died in a bathtub? How fabulous…” —Classic Rock Magazine #132 (July 2009)

On the the orbit of Jim Morrison's camp, what worthy angle is really left, at least book wise? I can think of about three: 1. Robby Krieger autobio on the saga. He doesnt have an axe to grind like John Densmore or Manzarek's psychobabble. He's the most neutral of all three Doors. 2. Babe Hill's take. Post '68, Jim more and more distanced himself day to day from The doors, yet, got much closer to Babe. His book could fill in some holes. 3. Mary Werbelow. Absolutely no one knew Jim closer from '62-'66 than Mary. It would probably be the most important book written on Jim if she decided to really go deep with it. One could argue, much of his dark side came from their break up. Interestingly enough, they were in communication even post '68. Her interview about 10 years ago may have been one of the most important sources. Pamela Courson: she has always been a mysterious figure. Central to the Morrison myth but very little real biographical information on her. I'm sure Pam had many adventures that we will probably never hear about. Pam was LA's Edie Sedgwick in some sense. She was in Mick Jagger's lap at the Hollywood Bowl show. Her friends all talk about how crazy and unpredictable she was. Jim was very chivalrous with her. In down times those demons of what was lost with Mary seemed to be a hard ghost to shake and this possibly points to why his relationship with Pam was so stormy. Even some of the peripheral characters could give some great insights into the inner workings of the group, but probably not enough for a full book unless the stories were gathered into one volume, like in Frank Lisciandro's Friends Gathered Together book. People like Lynn Krieger, who dated Morrison before she married Robby. She must have a few good Morrison stories. I'd like to read a bio on Jim done by someone who rejects all the previous forms and templates for The Doors coverage. NOHGOA (with help from an uncredited Ray Manzarek) is not good, it set up the image of Morrison as a madman (which was further "explored" in the movie). Then we have Densmore's whining about Morrison (which he conveniently revises in Unhinged), and Patricia Kennealy's farcical book (blech), and then Stephen Davis thinking if Jim was bisexual? Come on. —Kelvin Kloud from The Doors Forum

A Cosmic Mating: As his cue came up, Jim Morrison caught her eye. Pamela raised her sight from her Vanilla Coke, sipping it intertmitently. As Jim walked off the stage at the end of the set, she was waiting for him with a beer at the club stairs. "I think I love you," Morrison said. She asked "what happened here?" touching the side of his face where he still had some cuts from the debacle of the biker bar. "Critics," he joked: "What's your name?" "Pam," she replied. She was aching for a way out and shared with Jim a baggie of mushrooms. They woke up the next morning feeling raw and vulnerable. "Do you think I like being promiscuous? I love you!" Pam blurted out. Jim knew she meant it and realized she wasn't interested in looking back to her Orange County adventures. Jim caressed her hair with his trembling hands while she laid enthralled with closed eyes. Pamela laughed, amused at Jim's declaration 'I'll give you a fancy place, silk clothes and diamonds!' and kissed his half-open mouth. Jim knew he had found his cosmic mate, and didn't want to lose her. 'You are not my groupie,' said Jim in a sudden serious tone, 'you are my girl. I'd lose myself completely in your mouth, baby, your mouth is so pure.' Her body shook up at hearing all his poetic words. Her fingers, so softly tactile, explored his body, making his brain explode with an unknown, inviolable pleasure. He kissed her possesively. She tasted like Vanilla Coke and candy. 'I wanted to hold you in my arms since you laid your eyes on me at the London Fog,' she confessed, transfixed at the memory. 'Some idiots told me you were a floozy... I didn't believe them, they could never see through you,' he gently revealed. She sighed: 'Did you ask for my dating historial, Jim?' He tilted his head galllantly: 'I didn't ask anyone, you know how those guys are, braggarts or losers... you are an angel, you smell like Paradise and your eyes are lavender flowers.' She smiled, submerged in a new placidity, marveled at his poetic declamations. Her eyes were glazing over and he made love to her like an eternal promise. Her frantic strawberry tongue provoked his flowing of sweat, thick drops burning her hair and dampening her petal-rose breasts. Jim became Pamela's protector, drowning in a sea of interminable desire. As all the true love stories, Jim Morrison's unique relationship with Pam Courson was utterly misunderstood. Some insiders thought Morrison was lost, at the mercy of the mentally depressed Pam, but they were dead wrong. Jim chose Love and married Pam. Jim Morrison said that Love was the answer. —Jim, Pam and The Abyss by Sue Angeles Source: www.wattpad.com