The record I picked up this week is called “The Last Screams of the Butterfly” and is a live album by The Doors. I chose this album because I’m a huge Doors fan and would consider Jim Morrison one of my personal idols (although I hope to live a little longer than he did considering he is part of the 27 club). I also chose this album because it is a live album. I personally think that live music is much better than studio music especially when it comes to bands that could jam out like the doors. Finally, I chose this album because it was from concerts that were close to the end of Jim Morrison’s life. It wasn’t uncommon for Jim to break out into free verse poetry during his songs but this became especially common closer to the end of his life and I was hoping that there would be an element of this on the album.
Before I go into the record and my opinion of it some basic background on the doors. The doors consisted of Jim Morrison on vocals, Ray Manzarek on Keyboard, John Densmore as drummer, and Robby Krieger on Guitar. The band was created in San Francisco in 1965 and they played together until Jim’s death from an apparent heroin overdose in 1971. The band was known for their poetic lyrics, unpredictable onstage behavior, charisma, and psychedelic use. The Doors fascinate me and there are so many little pieces of information that I find interesting, but I’ll only share a few real quick. First, when the band started Jim Morrison was terrified of the crowd. He used to perform whole concerts with his back facing the crowd because he was too scared to look at them. As the Doors continued to have concerts he slowly got over this fear, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice that his eyes are closed a lot when he sings, (allowing for him to still not see the crowd.) He would also drink excessively or take drugs before he performed to help him get over this fear. Another interesting fact is that Robby Krieger didn’t use guitar picks. He allowed his fingernails to grow long and used them instead. This allowed him to play in his unique “picking” style. Something else interesting about the doors was that as a bonding experience, the band all took peyote in a desert together. Peyote is an intensive psychedelic drug that results in a trip that can last several days. Finally, the band gets there name from Aldous Huxley’s (another known psychedelic drug user) “The Doors of Perception”.
The album itself is awesome. It contains two records both filled to the brim with awesome doors songs. While some of the songs are on both records, (for example Roadhouse Blues, and ship of fools) each time they are on there it is a different live performances so its not like the same exact song is there twice. The introduction on side A is awesome because it has a recording from someone introducing the Doors at a music festival. You can hear the excitement in the crowd as the Doors take the stage along with chants of “Jim”. It also has a lot of my favorite doors songs on it. I do wish that there were more less known songs on it. The albums contain a lot of the doors hits, but only a few of their less known songs. But overall I’m very pleased with the album. I’ll give a few songs that I think are especially good. I will include videos to the songs but since it is impossible to find videos of these specific live versions of these songs, the videos will be of the studio versions of the songs. I really suggest that if you enjoy these songs you should search out this album and here them in their live awesomeness.
This album contains one of my favorite Doors songs, Roadhouse Blues, twice. This song truly is awesome and has a very upbeat and fast tempo. I always imagine flying down the road in my car full of my friends, smoking a cigarette, feeling the wind from the window on my head and just grooving to the music while i am “keeping my eyes on the road, Hand up on the wheel”. While the lyrics are not especially poetic, poetic lyrics wouldn’t fit this song. This song shows Jim’s energy and kick-ass mentality and attitude to a T. My favorite part is during the repetition of the lyrics “I woke up this morning and I grabbed myself a beer”. First the lyrics make me think of a true rock and roll style of life and of waking up the morning after a party and chugging down a beer because its a weekend and that means that party doesn’t stop. Please listen to this song.
Another song on the record is the end. The end is arguably the most psychedelic song made by the doors. this 18 minute version does not disappoint. The sound of the guitar lightly playing with the unique plucking sound along with the slow introduction of the tambourine is incredible. This song takes you on a mental journey and I often associate it with that sense of peace and amazement that the Doors must have received during their trip on peyote in the desert. The song goes from a place of such peace to the place of such anger and energy in which Jim described his lyrics as “coming from the mind of a psychopathic killer”. The song then gradually returns to the beginning peace. It truly is a peace of incredible art.
Honestly all the songs on this album are worth listening to and I would suggest if you like the two songs above that you continue to listen to more Doors, they are a band that are truly worth the time.