03 May 2014

THE DOORS/WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE/WEIRD SCENES INSIDE THE GOLD MINE

A couple interesting Doors related items came my way over the last week or two. Been a fan of the The Dorrs before I even knew who they were. It would have been about late 1970 or early 1971 and I used to lie in bed at night with a crappy clock radio with a dimly lit dial that you could only find AM stations on waiting to hear a few songs I really liked before I could fall off asleep. One of those was Riders on the Storm from The Door’s last album LA  Woman. I had no idea who The Doors were or even what FM radio was. But I just remember hearing some crooning voice moaning about a twisted highway killer’s brain “squirming like a toad’s” and I thought to myself, “yea, this is my type of music!” I was maybe 11 years old. Well of course later I learned more abut them and Jim Morrison. I vaguely remember news about Jim Morrison dying, the way I remember The Beatles breaking up. I have since always had all their stuff either on vinyl, CD or, now, on MP3 and am listening to Morrison Hotel now as I type this out. One things that was really cool about The Doors was that they go back to 1965 actually with their wild songs and stage shows that really no one else was doing anything similar to, including bad boys The Rolling Stones.They were doing long 7 and even 10 minute songs before Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Yes made it all common place.  And Jim Morrison was the true tortured, poet rock star who did not really want to be a rock star and who burned out way too early in life. 

Well a lot of that wild energy is captured now in a documentary by writer/director Tom DeCillo (Johnny Suede, Living in Oblivion, Delirious) and narrated by Johnny Depp. In fact I had this film before and it was dubbed in Dutch or something so I deleted it. I read DeCillo had did the original narration but audiences just hated his monotone voice and so later Depp was hired to do the chores and his voice is fitting to tell the tale of the The Doors and their gifted but more than slightly troubled lead singer. Most of the footage here has never been seen before and it was awesome to behold, and in particular the shots with Jim Morrison in his different moods, from playful and comical, to drunk, drugged and burned out, to a little more than crazy and dangerous. Plenty of scenes as well with the three gifted musicians who made up the band as well, John Densmore, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek. The band members give their approval to this documentary, something they did not do with the Oliver Stone biopic The Doors, claiming it made Morrison into an unlikable ass and monster and never showed his kinder and gentle side as well. There is not much one can say other than if you’re a Doors fan you have to see it. It basically follows the band from before the first album and their rise to fame fortune and troubles onto the end where Morrison dies in a bathtub in Paris France. This footage is just fantastic, I assure you. 


The other item is a small note really, but I managed to find a copy of Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, an early greatest hits compilation that is being circulated once again on BT sites. A far as I know this has not been released on CD and the version I have is a vinyl rip but of great quality and sound. I am looking at a vinyl version on Amazon now selling for $299.99. One left in stock! Well, why this album is so special to me is that it was a gift from my late cousin Brent back in San Antonio, who tried to convince me there was more to music than Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I did not really know who The Doors were in the mid-70's and this  album was my introdustion to their music. I did not know they were the guys who did Riders on the Storm and that was it for me! Brent opened me up to a lot of music (sorry, still hate Mott the Hoople though) and sadly he is no longer with us. I had this double LP on vinyl until I left for China in 2004. Lot of hits albums for The Doors but this one is considered one of the rarer and cooler ones and if you know how to do bittorrents you can find it.  Or buy one on amazon for $300. All I can say is this is just great music, still to this day  from a unique American band at a time when the British Invasion was taking off. Dark and deviant but also delicate and innocent at times.



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