Jim Morrison always seemed the accidental prophet to me.
He lit the fuse not so much to fuel a movement as to discover whether his hair would catch on fire. He was a disciple of Huxley because it jibed with his bohemian lifestyle. He gesticulated on stage not because he believed himself to be Jesus, but because he didn’t. He wasn’t so much interested in being complex as he was in actualizing the thoughts in his head.
He was different because it was the time.
If I took anything from his songs and his unique way of delivering them it was the inherent value in being different. Not the made up kind of ‘different’ that is so prevalent in today’s art, but a rage against coloring inside the lines . . . that kind of different. His was a belief that nothing kills the soul harder than the homogeneous effects of sameness.
Everything is composed now, triangulated and measured. Everything’s orchestrated . . . even the stuff that’s supposed to be off the cuff and raw. By the time an original idea happens, it’s been flushed clean with everything short of rabies shots.
Believing music, today’s stuff . . . it’s an impossibly difficult endeavor. Which is why I remain stuck in a time when musicians came out of junk clubs and stayed true to the music that gained them a big fat spotlight. Once upon a time, singers told tales and rock and roll bands provoked questions about the established ways. Music united the faithful, it divided the generations, it challenged. Now we have the Disney in Vegas effect where everything is brightly polished and convenient to our moods and political beliefs. Even the controversial shit is being rapped to by soccer moms.
I know we have the underground remedy. I’ve been camping out there since Kurt Cobain decided to leave Courtney a musical career by riding shotgun. But even the underground is way too antiseptic a place anymore. To be considered a counter movement, your tunes probably shouldn’t be plugging SUV’s and life insurance. I know it’s really stupid money we’re talking, but Ray Lamongtane is supposed to be tortured.
The genius of Morrison is that he left us wanting more. And I’m not so sure we have an answer to his kind coming any time soon.