What do you think of Doors “tribute bands”?
I’ve spoken out before now against ripoff bands, those musical toxic waste dumps that tart themselves up in beads and bogusness, claiming to be “a tribute to the Doors,” or to Jimi Hendrix, or to Led Zeppelin, or to whomever.
I have no hope whatsoever, of course, of terminating these maggots’ careers (well, not without an Uzi, anyway) or ending their clueless audiences’ mass delusion that such performances are actually something REAL (not without many Uzis). But I can certainly speak out against them, and I guess I just haven’t spoken out strongly enough. Sooooo…
For bands to do cover versions of other artists’ songs is perfectly fine; that’s not what we’re talking about here. Joey Ramone very kindly sent me the album where the Ramones cover “Take It As It Comes,” and I enjoyed their take on it very much indeed. But I enjoyed it because they had brought their own art to the Doors’ art. They were the Ramones doing a Doors song, not the Ramones pretending to be the Doors, with Joey all dressed up like Jim and demanding people actually call him `Jim’ (as many of the Jimpersonators disgustingly do). Or Echo and the Bunnymen, with that neat, quirky version of “People Are Strange”, or indeed any other band who out of their own talent add something new and excellent to someone else’s song–the Doors themselves did it, and brilliantly, with “Who Do You Love” and “Backdoor Man” and “Alabama Song,” among others.
But then the Ramones are artists, just as the Doors are.
Still, this time I’d like to address myself more to the people who are guilty of such offenses, rather than the offense itself, and in pity as much as in anger. (Oh, yeah, right…)
People who get up onstage and pretend to be Jim are for the most part not entirely talentless. It’s just that Jim had WAAAAY more talent than they do, and he’s the one who did all the work, and now they’re stealing his pain and art and effort, using his death to get away with it, and that’s where I get–cross.
If the only way you can get the attention you crave is to pretend you’re Jim Morrison, then you don’t DESERVE any attention. Jim himself didn’t do what he did out of his need for attention, but out of his need for his art: if the Doors had remained a garage band all their life, but still doing only the music they wanted to do, never making it big at all, I think Jim would have been just as happy. He wasn’t in it for fame, and the ripoff bands are ONLY in it for fame, `cause they know they’ll never get it any other way, and they’re just too plain scared to risk it on their own–they prefer to use Jim as a crutch.
But listen up, lads. The more you go on pretending to be someone and something you are not–Jim, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, whoever–the less you are growing and being in yourself, and the more you are proving the sort of person you are at heart. And that person is not a very nice one.
Vermin like these guys are paying Jim and the other Doors (or Zep, or Elvis, or Jimi, or whoever; my loathing for the sin is not limited to Doors ripoffs, though of course it is they who draw my heaviest fire) no “tribute” whatsoever by their spurious posturing and assholic attitudes. And why people who call themselves Doors fans would spend good money (not to mention time and attention) to see some septic burlesquing aper, some meretricious caricaturing whore, some contemptible grubworm who hasn’t got in his whole counterfeiting body one ten-millionth part of the talent that James Douglas Morrison had in his little fingernail, is beyond my comprehension.
It is a sin and a crime, and they will pay. Very dearly.
People who slavishly copy Jim’s voice and phrasing, or Ray’s or Robby’s chops, note for note off the records–however accurate you might be, however perfect your mindless robotic simulation, you’re not doing anything the least bit meaningful or creative or worthwhile. Please! A computer could cut you; and when you get up onstage and pretend you’re Jim, you bring no more art or soul to it than a sound chip would. So stop pretending, okay?
You’re merely showing the world what a soulless graverobbing hack you are, letting everyone see how far you’re willing to rip off a real artist to feed your own pitiful ego. You’re not an artist; you’re a parasite, a thief, a zombie, a vulture, a drone. And you’re not fooling anyone. Not even yourself.
You can’t be Jim Morrison. No way. Nohow. So don’t even bother trying. But you could be a good, maybe even a great, and an utterly unique YOU…if you had the guts. But you don’t. Not one of you.
You are posing and strutting in borrowed plumes, and Jim would be the first one to tell you to knock it off, to encourage you to do something honest, something of your own. He’d be just as angry as I am at the ripoff bands (in fact, he is; believe me, I know); but he’s not here–and if he were, need I even say that NONE of this would be going on?–and so I have to do it for him.
And that’s fine, that’s what I’m here for; because not only am I Jim’s wife but I know a little bit about how it feels to have your own creation and reality stolen out from under you. [Some self-described Keltiad fans were pillaging my creation recently for roleplaying games, and ONE OF THEM WAS EVEN CALLING HERSELF `PATRICIA KENNEALY MORRISON’ ONLINE–out of sheer admiration, she claimed; but did she ever think people might believe she really WAS me (some did), or that, because of her, the stupid little twit, I NOW CAN’T USE MY OWN NAME as a screen name should I ever want to sign on to AOL? I can’t use my own characters’ names, NAMES I INVENTED, as screen names either, because other people have already stolen those names–some way of showing your admiration! Not to mention the hundreds, literally, of deranged crackpots who claim online that they’re Jim Morrison (oh yeah, right, Jim would be such a Webhead!). See The Karma of Obsession in Words&Music for more on this theme…]
The idea of talentless cowards using Jim as a shortcut means to money and attention infuriates me beyond belief, whether it’s hack writers who couldn’t string together three pure creative sentences to save their lives so they’ll just cobble up yet another arboricidal logorrheic mendacious waste of paper about a man they hate and fear and envy and don’t understand in the slightest, because they know they can wring some surefire blood-money out of it, or whether it’s hack musicians deciding it’s easier and safer to plunder the dead rather than to risk their own tiny tender egos and be rejected.
And while I think of it, Jimitators, DON’T bother sending me any more tapes of yourselves as Jim, okay?, trying to convince us both you’re doing something real, something that might impress me. You’re not, and it won’t, and I’ll only have to kill you… But then you could discuss it with Jim himself! Boy, I bet you can’t wait for that!!! Well, I can’t wait to see it!!!!
But while I fondly contemplate that delicious impending astral moment, that Dies Irae when Santiago de Los Angeles, St. James of La Cienega in all his mighty wrath, shall righteously kick the living karmic crap out of verily everyone who hath sinned so grievously against him, from the imbecile Jimographers right on down to the crassest Jimpersonators (and doing my own poor best to kick butt for him by proxy in the meantime), here is something for all you ripoff bands to ponder, at your hopefully very considerable leisure:
When you are onstage pretending you’re the Doors and people are applauding, you are not the ones who are being applauded. That applause doesn’t belong to you; you’re just bogarting it. It really belongs to the Doors. (And yes, I fault the no-brain get-a-life too-stupid-to-live audiences who applaud you every bit as much as I fault you; and why some of the surviving REAL Doors have actually demeaned themselves by playing with ripoff bands from time to time, I cannot fathom…guys! What are you thinking???)
As for you faux-Jims strutting around with your copycat leather (or more probably vinyl) pants and vacuous red-haired girlfriends (unbelievable! Though it hasn’t escaped my notice that none of you has ever taken unto yourself a strong, independent, intelligent, creative, red-haired wife–Pam-clones, sure; but Patricia-clones, ooooh, that’s too scary! Too REAL–and WAAAAY beyond your adolescent capabilities, just as it’s beyond the capabilities of the biohacks): Rub a lamp, little boys! Go back to your jobs at the supermarket or United Parcels–honorable employments all. You’re not brave enough or strong enough or good enough for art.
I remind you pathetic wankers that you are not the one being admired and thrilled to and fantasized about. That admiration and adoration does not belong to you. It belongs to Jim. And however perfect a Jim imitation you may manage to work up, it’s still JUST AN IMITATION. It’s not your talent and creativity the audiences are acknowledging, it’s not your courage, not your art–for you prove by your thieving that you possess none of these things. It is not your beauty or your passion or your sexuality–don’t even get me STARTED on THAT. And it is not your heart–for you prove by your vampirism that you have none of that either. All those things belong to Jim, and you guys are nothing but muggers.
Hey! Pod people! Over here! I KNEW Jim Morrison. And you, sirs, are NO Jim Morrison.
Oh, I also have a newsflash for you fawning “fans” of these dementoid parasites: JIM IS DEAD. THE DOORS ARE NO MORE. YOU CAN’T SEE THEM. YOU MISSED THEM. GET OVER IT. YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM. SO FOR GOD’S SAKE (AND JIM’S), STOP PRETENDING YOU CAN AND GET A FUCKING LIFE!!!
Jim would be the first person to tell these ghouls to cut it out; and oh, WHY is it that these trolls who pretend to be Jim Morrison always pretend to be the loutish, boorish, drunk, obnoxious Jim Morrison, never the brilliant, blazing, powerful, sensual, passionate, courteous, charming, compelling Jim Morrison?
Well, because they CAN’T be that man, of course; they never could be, not with a whole-body transplant, not in their wettest dreams. (Oh yeah, it’s partly about that too, of course: these guys, from the wannabe Jimitators right through to the fevered Morrisonographers, on some level ALL want to go to bed with Jim, and pretending they ARE Jim, or KNEW Jim, is as close as they’re ever going to get–or would have gotten. And that’s why they’re so hatefully envious and spiteful and jealous of someone like, oh, well, you know, ME, f’rinstance–who actually did…)
They can’t measure up (in ANY way) to Jim, so they try to cut him down to their own weenie little dimensions–or the dimensions of their own little weenies. Some of these sickies have begun to think they’re Jim offstage as well as on, with predictable consequences. And they have the balls (well, they don’t, that’s part of their problem, but you know what I mean) to say I’M delusional??? Can we sing a chorus or two of “If you only had a brain”???!!!
Doesn’t it twinge to claim undeserved bows, to accept applause that you haven’t earned, that isn’t meant for you, to steal the credit from someone who did more in a few short years under crucifying circumstances than you will ever do if you live to be a hundred? Doesn’t that sting even the tiniest little bit, to know that the only way you’ll ever get any attention is to steal from a dead king, to pillage a titan’s tomb?
I think it must; and I hope the knowledge of your own guilt and evil and envy burns like fire and stabs like a coat of thumbtacks, I hope it corrodes your knotted shrinking entrails like battery acid and turns your marrow to freezing shards of glass, I’d like to peel back your corneas like the skin on grapes if that’s the only way the scales will fall from your eyes, I want to crack your ribs open and rip out your beating larcenous hearts and flip your lungs over your shoulders like–
[Whoa! Blackmantle grabbed the wheel there–okay, Patricia back now…]
Or has your sick covetousness already corrupted you so completely that you don’t care that your actions not only cheat the public but hurt a fellow artist and the people who truly love and admire him? Are you creative bodysnatchers so far gone over to the Dark Side that your little racket con game doesn’t bother you? Is ego really more important to you than self-esteem and honor?
Well, here’s my gauntlet right across your chops: all of you out there who claim to be loyal Doors fans, what do you think would please Jim best? That you support cheesy little ripoff scam acts like these, unbalanced loons who feed off Jim like vultures, or that you go out and listen to the real, the incomparable, the forever brilliant and veridical thing–the true historical Doors, the records and the videos and the CDs? Which do you think Jim would rather have you do?
I challenge you all to put it on the line for the Doors you claim to love and admire. Don’t patronize clubs where the ripoff hyenas play, don’t read the self-important fanzines that give them a free forum, don’t fuel their squalid obscene fraudulence by going to see them and contributing to their psychopathic trip.
BECAUSE EVERY DOLLAR YOU GIVE THEM, EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR ATTENTION, EVERY SCRAP OF YOUR ADMIRATION AND APPLAUSE, IS DRENCHED IN JIM MORRISON’S BLOOD.
He had to create and suffer and finally DIE so that these jackals could make their cannibal living, could strip his bones and rape his art and pillage his soul.
Jim paid with his life for their ego trips. Just you think about THAT for a while, next time you’re tempted to go to see one of these abominations. Oh, and be sure you enjoy the show, now…
Puh-LEEEZ!!! If you’re not the gullible idiots these acts all hope and pray and think you are (oh yes, they’re insulting you too, you know; it’s NOT “tribute”, not for one fucking nanosecond, and don’t you ever let me catch you thinking it is!), you will have no trouble whatsoever in deciding who has right on their side here. (That would be me, in case you’re still confused…)
Without blockhead audiences giving them the attention they can’t get any other way, the ripoff bands will crawl back under the rocks whence they came. That’s what Jim would like to see, that’s how you can show your REAL respect for the Doors. And if you don’t, or won’t, then you don’t deserve Jim in the first place, and there’s a special circle of hell reserved for you. Consider the gauntlet flung…and I am more than willing to back up the challenge.
But there is, of course, only one end: Jim’s victory, and mine with him, and it goes like this…
Five years, ten years from now, when the Jimpersonators have visibly become the pathetic joke they already are–when the hair extensions fall out, when the leather pants fall apart, when cheap pretense and tacky mimicry can no longer cover up the utter lack of talent and courage and soul–when they are all back doing the honest jobs they seem to think they are too good for, when the hatred and ill will have destroyed their originators with karmic rebound, when the lie-disseminating fanzines and the delusional Jimographers have all vanished away unlamented back into the nonentity they so richly deserve, two things will be true then as they are true now: I will still be here, still writing my books, still loving my husband; and Jim will still be covered with glory.
He to whom ego was the last and least consideration in the pursuit of art, that loving gallant soul who never sold out for one instant, who never compromised his talent, his vision, his heart or his soul, who wrote striving poetry and imperishable music, who proposed to his only wedded wife under a flowering tree in springtime–HE will live forever. That is the best justice and the sweetest revenge of all.
Living jackals have always fed off dead lions. Jim Morrison was not only a lion king but blazingly unique. And the jackals who copy him are not unique, and they do not blaze, and they are not kings or lions either. They are just jackals. And they are not true. And they are already dead: because they have never, ever, even been alive.