Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Doors

Last night was "Doors night" at our house. First we watched Oliver Stone's film, The Doors. Then we watched it again with Stone's commentary. After 4-1/2 hours of watching the band, I was surprised my wife was willing to go for the ultimate -- listening to all six of the Doors' studio albums back to back.

The movie should have been called Jim Morrison instead of The Doors. Clearly Stone was focused on Morrison, and the rest of the band doesn't get enough coverage to be worthy of mention. Most notably, there is no clue as to how Morrison and Ray Manzarek found and recruited Robby Krieger and John Densmore -- they are just suddenly rehearsing together. And for a movie supposedly about the Doors, it spends too much time on Morrison's poetry and too little on the music. One thing I love about the Doors, something crucial to their unique sound, is the interplay between Manzarek's organ and Krieger's guitar.

Maybe I missed it, but I was surprised that "Peace Frog" wasn't used in the movie. That song includes lyrics about the film's opening scene, where a young Morrison (played by Stone's son) sees the aftermath of a highway accident involving a truckload of Indians. It also takes a jab at New Haven, site of another incident in the movie.

Stone actually does pretty good commentaries for his movies, not the rambling, butt-kissing fluff one hears on a lot of commentary tracks. One quibble: Stone is a little foggy about the band's last two albums, Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman. It seemed to me that he combined them in his head. Most obviously he said "Roadhouse Blues" was on their last album, but it led off Morrison Hotel. Up to that point, his recollection of the band's discography was pretty accurate.

Of course, I had a refresher course last night, listening to some records I haven't heard in many years. I was a Doors fan in high school (mid-late 1980s). More accurately, I was a 1960s fan in high school. I still have a huge collection of music from 1966-1970, most of it on vinyl. My wife is impressed with my knowledge of the Doors and other music from that era, but I don't know if she really understands how into music I was at the time. My teenage years were spent in my bedroom with the door closed, the turntable spinning record after record for hours on end. That's where all my extra money went -- to buy more records. Some people look at my 800 vinyl LPs and say I wasted my money, but hey, at least I wasn't buying booze or drugs.

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