Friday, February 10, 2006

The Last Stage; Excerpt

Category: Issue 2

Is Everybody In?
I am dead. Not the corporeal type of death, chalk outline around the body, or face down floating in a swimming pool, but more a living dead type trying to regain what has been lost, where everything is a faded, pale facsimile of my life. I went into the room that was my “study” and put on a Doors CD. I sat at my desk, it was an old theatrical make-up table with a gilded mirror surrounded by those bulbous old fashioned lights that pushed light into every crevice and nook, no where to hide. The mirror was cleaned up and glimmered a bit, a relic of an age gone by, a salvage from my past. This was my writing desk. I had the idea I could look into myself to find the questions of my life. And I hoped the answers lay within the formulation of those questions. Every night I sit in this room. A shrine to my “career” surrounded by the paraphernalia, photographs, newspaper reviews, scrapbooks, and mementos of a time gone by. More salvage.

I lit a candle, and a voice from the CD player said, “ladies and gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California, The Doors!” I closed my eyes and I could see the audience cheering, all the colorful clothes and the faces looking up at me. It seemed like if I could concentrate hard enough and remember all the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings, I’d find myself on that stage again. I opened my eyes to the usual disappointment, I was still in the here and now. I watched the candle flicker and dance casting shadows against the wall, hoping it would set the mood. I cleared my mind and let the music transport me back, opening the flood of memories. It was a ceremony I’ve been practicing, a little ritual to help induce self-hypnosis. I looked at myself in the mirror. I always thought I looked like Jim Morrison. Friends, even strangers had mentioned the resemblance.
Morrison, was the charismatic and controversial lead singer of The Doors, the 60’s rock group that had such hits as Light My Fire, Touch Me, and Riders On The Storm, but was also known for Morrison’s on stage histrionics’ and his counterculture rebellion against authority. When the rock star had rocketed to fame, I had only been in my early teens, and hadn’t really paid that much attention to Morrison, or his music. But I took the compliments to heart. It had boosted my ego to think I looked like someone famous and that’s how my life took its form. I tried to look deeper into the mirror, but all I could see was my craggy face being torn by the toll of time that Morrison never had to endure like Dorian Gray without the luxury of a portrait. All the rock stars themselves were getting old. Mick Jagger looks like a freeze-dried version of his younger self. Dylan, a jowly legend. But I wasn’t a rock star maybe a simulacrum of one, a modern Prometheus, ever changing, facile. I’d had a taste of what being a rock star was like. Probably a shadow of what it was really like, but I’d been closer than most. I saw the top of the mountain through the mists, I had felt fame as it brushed past me. Performing had been the best high I’d ever experienced. Better than any drug I’ve ever tried. I’d had a taste of what most people can only fantasize of, only dream of, and will never experience, nor can they imagine what it feels like even as they sing along, play air guitar, or beat out a rhythm.

I looked at the blank page staring up at me from the desk. I’ve been trying to write my autobiography on and off for years since the break up of my Doors cover band The Unknown Soldiers. The band had been my idea I was the lead singer. I’d gone through a lot of things with the band most people wouldn’t understand. As the lead singer, I was the focal point of the band. I’d experienced a lot of things even they couldn’t understand, but they had never understood me, or what I was trying to do anyway.
I liked playing Morrison it made me feel powerful. Getting a reaction from the audience, being able to move them to ecstasy, despair, or joy. I imagined it to be something of how Morrison had felt. People had given me things, presents, trinkets, beads like Morrison’s, poems that they thought I’d be interested in, woman gave themselves to me because of it. I later realized they were only trying to get close to me, so they could touch something of Morrison, a ghost of someone not even myself. It had also gotten me to Los Angeles and my chance at fame.

I’d always wanted to be a rock star, and why not? Everybody wants to be a rock star! Even movie stars want to be rock stars! You become something more, something special. And it isn’t that hard, right? Alice Cooper admitted to writing songs drunk. Morrison himself used to blow off gigs and sound checks if he had found something more interesting to do. As far as careers go it’s easy, sleep all day, have women throw themselves at you, while you drink and do drugs without any negative repercussions. You only have to put in a minimal effort for a big return. After all, it’s called playing, right?

And why not The Doors? A band that had both mainstream success and a cult following since its inception. Rock and Roll is a lifestyle, high volume, dress, attitude, rebellion against authority. Unless you are a rock star you can’t maintain that lifestyle for long. No one embodied and embraced that better than Jim Morrison.

Writing under the influence of Rock & Roll! http://www.jymsbooks.com

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Old Comments

  • I had the good luck to interview Jim a few months ago (interview: http://www.99burning.com/ep4/wh.php) and he was gracious enough to send me a copy of The Last Stage. (Thanks again!) I just wanted to let you folks know that it is a terrific book, and very well written. If you haven’t been prompted to buy it by the exerpt, I’d add my recommendation that you do as well. Very enjoyable. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/01  at  05:44 PM
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