Who Is Jim Morrison?
James Douglas Morrison went by many names: The Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Risin, the leather-clad demon... but most just know him as Jim.
Jim Morrison was the lead singer of 1960's rock band, The Doors. Born on December 8, 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, not much is known about Morrison's early years. He was the son of a U.S. Naval Officer and eventually became so estranged from his parents that he would later claim that they were dead. He began writing poetry in the sixth grade and filled his notebooks with writings throughout high school; an avid reader, Morrison constantly told friends that he planned to model his life based on the hedonistic French poet Rimbaud.
In the early 1960's Morrison moved to Los Angeles California, where he enrolled himself in the film program at UCLA. He attended Jack Hirschman's class on Antonin Artaud in the Comparative Literature program within the UCLA English Department. Artaud's brand of surrealist theatre had a profound impact on Morrison's dark poetic sensibility of cinematic theatricality. In 1965, after Jim graduated from UCLA, he drifted into the hippie scene at Venice Beach, taking drugs (LSD was his favorite), sleeping under the boardwalk, and writing poems. One day at the beach, Jim ran into Ray Manzarek, a former classmate from UCLA who was a keyboardist in a struggling rock band. When Jim showed Ray some of his poems, he insisted to Jim that they should put together a band for him to sing his poems. Ray and Jim recruited Robbie Krieger as a guitarist and John Densomore as the drummer and began calling themselves the Doors.
A fan of hallucinogenics, an even bigger fan of alcohol (he felt that booze was more American than other intoxicants), a philanderer, an advocate of chaos, a well-read intellect, and a charismatic speaker, Jim Morrison was not only famous, he was infamous. He made history not only with his music and writing, but with his mere existence.
Three reasons to love Jim Morrison
1.) Jim broke boundaries in both music and life!
2.) A poet and philosopher, Jim was an artists who respected the craft.
3.) By the time of his death, at age 27, Jim Morrison had already made an impact on this planet so grandiose that his influence still lives on to this day.
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Let's just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That's all it was: just curiosity."
-- Jim Morrison
Thanks in large part to its meticulous re-creation of the late 1960s and early 1970s rock scene and the uncannily authentic performance by Val Kilmer as legendary Doors front man Jim Morrison, Oliver Stone's hypnotic film biography is standing the test of time. Capturing the carefree mood of the Age of Aquarius, the film charts the meteoric rise of the Doors on the California club circuit (including a memorable scene showing the creation of the hit "Light My Fire"), and chronicles the band's exploits with hallucinogenics and Morrison's battles against charges of public indecency on stage. Kilmer's performance is hauntingly perfect, and performances by Meg Ryan, Kathleen Quinlan, and Kyle MacLachlan are similarly impressive. The movie doesn't fully probe the depths of Morrison's character, but as a portrait of excess it is vividly true to the spirit of the self-destructive poet known to his fans as "The Lizard King." --Jeff Shannon
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