The first time I ever heard a cryptic organ pound the first parts to “Light my Fire”, I was hooked. Only nine years old, I danced in the hallway outside my brother’s room like a fool; whoever this was I was already in love with them. Jim Morrison was captivating from day one. His face stared back at mine from the poster hung on my brothers closet door, and I wondered exactly who this curly-haired “crazy” was who my brother taught me to love.
Time spent alone with John (the brother) was like its own little educational hour in itself. I was consistently taught on movies, and most importantly music. Who was who (besides the actual Who) different sounds, era’s, and how to recognize them. We of course spent plenty of time in his Vista Cruiser, driving up to the local CD spot, and adding onto his CD collection. Then, he invested in the starting pieces in my collection. My first rock CD’s were The Who, Ted Nugent, Heart, and of course, The Doors. I was probably the only kid walking around in middle school, day dreaming of what my time would’ve been like with Jim Morrison while other kids were listening to…God I don’t even know what was popular in that time. Moving on, of course my brother quickly schemed over in explaining the Lucky 27’s. Since then, I never really forgot it, but there have been a few people we have added to it.
What in the hell am I talking about? If you’ve never heard of the lucky 27 club, it’s all these musicians that just happened to die at, well, twenty-seven. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Kobain, and Amy Winehouse among others. While they were still here, and even after they left, The 27 Club have been paralyzing to the mind. We can’t help but stare; at the clothing? Sure. At the outrageous lifestyle? Sure. But the words, the music, and the thoughts they left behind? We cant help but be mesmerized.
A lot of people love to sum up these people’s lives as drug infused all night insanity poetry sessions. Those people have no depth I can tell you that right now. We need to be willing to push past “summing” people up, and exterior stereotypes. I can’t deny that these people didn’t have probably a steady stream of some sort of high-powered drug running through their veins, but lets look deeper than the usage into why the usage.
From my many years of studying Jim Morrison, anyone you talked to has always said that he was just a lot to “handle.” He was so smart, so progressive, and so ahead that he was almost unobtainable. At a young age he had possessed such an older view on things rather than how he had been raised to think. He was ahead of a time period where The Beach Boys, short hair, and Suzy Q dresses were the only thing acceptable. Jim Morrison refused to be “acceptable”, and lived sometimes a very lonely life doing so. Janis Joplin was much the same; she saw what was around her and refused to settle into it. She couldn’t help but act as her true self wanted to, and was laughed out of the state of Texas for just that. To watch interviews with both her and Jim are captivating. The wisdom that they spill only in their early 20’s, the point of views they bring to the table are mind-blowing. “They were just on drugs” doesn’t cut it anymore. Drugs tire out eventually, but the truth doesn’t. Why are we still spinning their records? Wearing T-shirts with their faces? Buying books on their life, or poetry they wrote?
To me, every person has a spark. You have to have a certain kind of spark to stay alive in this world, one that other people recognize. Sometimes your spark fuels you through college, and lands you an awesome job. Sometimes your spark helps you connect with other people. Sometimes people dull their spark to settle for more attainable lives, which is what a lot of people are doing these days. People like Jim, Janis, Jimi, Amy, and others…even people like Michael Jackson…I don’t think were born with a spark. They were born with a bonfire inside of their soul. They were so big, and felt so much that they had to do. It’s like everyone see’s life normally, and these people see life through a panoramic view. They are bigger than themselves, they are legends, and because of that it’s almost destructive. Everyone worshiped them, wanted to be them, and they wanted to escape themselves. They saw, and felt so much that they relayed it through songs, music notes, poetry, sex, and they wanted an escape from feeling so much so often. Maybe drugs helped numb the overall feeling of too much feeling to begin with. Maybe drugs helped close some doors of perception, and pain; Pain that they experienced much too young, pain that caused scaring, and an unknown pain that helped fuel this so-called bonfire.
We have to understand that there was really nothing they kept to themselves. They put their entire lives in the open for people to see, mainly because they had no choice. Those who saw this raging fire, and new movement took to them like moths to a flame. Others sat and ridiculed them wanting to burn them alive. They were beyond themselves now; they were iconic, legends, and life artists.
Everyone will look to drugs as these people’s main killer. Personally, the world killed them, and their bonfire that they were born with burned them from the inside. They did everything they could to share these flames of amazement with everyone, and we were captivated, but eventually their soul gave out. Janis Joplin died because she was alone. She couldn’t stand to be alone because despite her beautiful laugh she hated herself. So, she injected super strength heroine that knocked her to the ground in seconds. Jim Morrison decided after a sleepless night to take a bath, maybe to relieve his mind that was constantly raging where his lifeless body was found later.
I truly believed they not only killed themselves, but the world helped. We hated them, smothered them, banned them, made them idols while they attempted to remain true to themselves. Watching Janis Joplin answer questions, she tells not one lie. She’s authentic, and full of love. Listening to her sing, I hear nothing but pain. Reading Jim’s poetry is breath-taking. I may not understand all of it because I will never see, or understand things as he did. I don’t think there is exactly a big mystery about the Lucky 27 club. They themselves were a super strength drug that the world, and not even themselves could handle. They burnt up from the inside out, and life was merely too small for their spirits.
Song of the Week is Curses Invocations by Jim Morrison.