This time around The Doors are a huge hit with the press waiting for them standing three deep around the tiny stage. Jim gives outrageous performances and dazzles the crowds who amass from underground talk of the first two appearances. The Doors are now big news on both coasts in just six months of touring.
THE DOORS OPEN WIDE
by Richard Goldstein 1967
"We are from the West. The world
suggest should be of a new Wild West. A sensuous, evil world. Strange
haunting....the path of the sun, you know."
That's what Jim Morrison, vocalist and writer-in-residence of The Doors, has to say about his music and his hometown. As part of the new wave in Los Angeles rock, he should know where things are at. Since a pop generation happens every two years or sooner, The Doors have the proximity to revere their elders, and the distance to be original.
Their initial album, on Elektra, is a cogent, tense, and powerful excursion. I suggest you buy it, slip it on your phonograph, and travel on the vehicle of your choice. The Doors are slickly, smoothly, dissonant. With the schism between folk and rock long since healed, they can leap from pop to poetry without violating some mysterious sense of form. But this freedom to stretch and shatter boundaries make pretension as much a part of the new scene as mediocrity was the scourge of the old. It takes a special kind of genius to bridge gaps in form. Their music works because it's blues roots are always visible. The Doors are never far from the musical humus of America- rural, gut simplicity.
The most important work on this album is an extended pop song called "The End." When Dylan broke the three-minute mold with "Like A Rolling Stone," pop composers realized that the form-follows-function dictum which has always guided folk-rock applies to time as well. A song should take as long as it takes.
"The End" is eleven and one-half minutes of solid song. It's hints of sitar and tabla and it's faint aroma of raga counterpoint are balanced by a sturdy blues foundation. Anyone who disputes the concept of rock literature had better listen long and hard to this song. This is Joycean pop, with a steam-of-consciousness lyric in which images are strung together by association. "The End" builds to a realization of mood rather than a sequence of events. It is also the fist pop song in my memory to deal directly with the Oedipus complex. "The End" begins with visions of collapsing peace and harmony, and ends with violent death.
The entire song revolves around a theme of travel, but this journey is both physical and spiritual. It leads to the brass-tacks fantasy of incest and patricide.Morrison provides us with a series of womblike halls and doors and a reference to Greek tragedy in the ancient gallery of masks. And he juxtaposes thisroot fantasy with a bluesy refrain which begins: "Come on baby, take a chance with us" and ends with the proposition: "Meet me in the back of the blue bus."
There is, of course, a danger in so academic an interpretation of a song like "The End." It's whole value is it's freedom to imply. Morrison's delivery (during the murder fantasy, it approaches gospel wailing) tells us to absorb first, and search later.
The Doors are a major event for Los Angeles. Their emergence indicates that the city of Formica fantasy is building a music without neon, that glows anyway.
Review: "First New York opening in a while. The Doors - Fresh from Los Angeles with an underground album of the hour - return. This time, they are worshipped, envied, bandied about like the Real Thing. The word is out or 'in' - 'The Doors will floor you'. So not all the pretty people in New York were present at opening night, but enough to keep a few publicity agencies busy. The four musicians mounted their instruments. The organist lit a stick of incense. Vocalist and writer Jim Morrison closed his eyes to all that Arnel elegance, and the Doors opened up. Morrison twitched and pouted and a cluster of girls gathered to watch every nuance in his lips. Humiliating your audience is an old game in rock 'n' roll, but Morrison pitches spastic love with an insolence you can't ignore. His material - almost all original - is literate, concise, and terrifying. The Doors have the habit of improvising, so a song about being strange which I heard for the first time at Ondine may be a completely different composition by now. Whatever the words, you will discern a deep streak of violent - sometimes Oedipal - sexuality. And since sex is what hard rock is all about, the Doors are a stunning success. You should brave all the go-go gymnastics, bring a select circle of friends for buffer, and make it up to Ondine to find out what the literature of pop is all about. The Doors are mean; and their skin is green." (Richard Goldstein, "Pop Eye," Village Voice, Mar. 25, 1967)