Jim Morrison... what happened, man?
I have been a Doors fan all my life. I had every cassette,
and read Sugarman's delightfully sensation book 'No one here gets out alive'
before I had a driver's license. I had forgotten about the band, for the most
part, over the years. Unlike the Dead, their music didn't grow on me with time.
Then, last month, I picked up drummer John Densmore's book 'Riders on the
Storm'. It was a decent read, and solidified what most of us think about
regarding singer Jim Morrison: great and talented singer, also a colossal
asshole of a human being.
Whatever. His fate wasn't to be a great human being. His fate was to be a great rock star... and that he was. Like many asshole rock stars after him (think Axl Rose, for example), he was meant for brighter lights and darker times. So, my question is this. What the hell happened to him? Densmore's book implies alcohol got to him. Probably, but he was just a kid. 27, man! I haven't read keyboardist Manzareck's book, because he has always seemed like an opportunistic douche bag to me. Still does.
So, Jim went from being this beatific arty film student doing blues numbers with some friends in the valley. This is that Jim…
Ok, it is 1967 here. That makes Jim about 23. He even looks like a film student. Jesus, man, have a sammich. He is a child. It appears a very, very stoned child... but a child nonetheless. Something happens to Jim very quickly. In the course of just writing and researching this post, I made a profound observation. What happened to Jim happened to America. What happened to Jim can be perfectly explained by Hunter Thompson's passage from 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas':
Yeah, Thompson nailed it... and Jim lived it. The difference in the picture above and below is
approximately 2 years.
Above is Jim at 25. 25? what the hell, man?
Wanna see Jim 2 years after that?
It is no surprise there is no photo of Jim 2 years after this. Jim was dead within a year of this photo (him bring dragged into trial in Miami in 1970). Dude was aging faster than Jerry Garcia. Garcia died at 53… and looked to be in his 70’s. Looking at that photo, one could say "you can see the light is gone from Jim's eyes. He is a dead man walking!" While that is true, it is also disingenuous. This photo is Jim getting dragged into court in Miami over allegedly showing his dick to the crowd. If he is found guilty, it is pretty much the end of the Doors at the very least. Spoiler alert, he was found guilty. So... he bolted the country. Why not?
Where is Jim Morrison four years after that cherubic photo above? To absolutely no one’s surprise – dead! The band is broken up and he has moved to Paris for some inexplicable reason. The 60's did that to Morrison, they did it to America, and they most certainly did the same damage to Thompson. Here is the telling piece of the whole story. They say a picture tells a thousand words. So, dig this. What has happened to this poor guy? He looks like a 55 year old miner. This is Jim approx 1970... just three years from that album shot and two years after that candid airplane shot at the top.
How could this be the same guy from the top? In two years that happened? Man,
apparently being an incredibly sexy, talented, and charismatic rock star is
just terrible for you. If that is what happened to Jim, what happened to
America in this time? In short, the same damn thing. You know how
they talk about how presidents age super hard in the White House? Man,
that is nothing compared to being Jim Morrison for a living. No wonder
dude is dead. He looks
10, 20, 30 years older in this photo, and I
bet he felt it, too..