No One Here Gets Out Alive ( Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman)

jim-morrison-no-one-here-gets-546237The Doors? If you were lucky enough to be at one of their concerts you wouldn’t know if you had been there five minutes or five days. Jim Morrison? Perhaps the most interesting drunk of the twentieth century. Saying that Morrison died of a heart attack is like saying the Captain of the Titanic had damp socks. He wanted to be remembered as a revolutionary poet who kept sticking it to The Man. And so he has. This predictably became a best-seller in 1980 and really blew life into the myths about Jim and his band. Hopkins & Sugerman were eager to make as much cash as they could off Jim’s old corpse but this is still a fun read.

To say that many of his fanboys (even the old ones in nursing homes) are morons, that get grandiose and delusional about him, is an understatement. However I still find that The Doors music stands the test of time and Morrison was a talented and interesting guy. This book, while good, could have been a lot better. The authors, one of whom knew Morrison personally, interviewed multiple people that were close to him and The Doors, yet its hard to get a true feel for what sort of person Morrison was underneath the front that he put up. Maybe this can’t fully be blamed on the authors because I believe Morrison put up a wall/image at a very young age and rarely if ever ventured on the other side of it.

One thing I liked about Morrison is he seemed to have more of an interest in literature and poetry than music, and his long term aspirations were in that direction. I also find these authors habit of quoting/enacting conversations greatly annoying. I realize they interviewed people that were involved, but how sure can we be of the accuracy of word for word quotations of dialogue exchanged ten to thirty years before this book was published? Each chapter is told as if around a campfire, recounting not only the most sordid details but also the atmosphere, the personalities present, the emotions and the dangers and the triumphs that followed Morrison and the Doors on their meteoric rise into the rock pantheon.

The epic drinking is here, as are the hordes of women and Morrison’s notorious court cases. But so too is his little-seen humanity, his insecurity at being famous, his desire to be taken seriously as a poet, his aspirations to be more than just a car wreck spectacle for the public’s enjoyment. This is a far more classy affair than the multitudes of “unauthorized” music bios that have followed since. It reads not as a requiem, but rather a celebration of Morrison’s bad boy behaviour with all the right-on excuses about pain and demons. Terrific pictures accompany the text, showing Morrison’s physical as well as psychological spiral. This is one of those books to weep over if you ever find out that your grandmother sold it in an old box, in a yard sale. Without asking your permission first. For seventy five cents. Ah, memories.

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Comments

  1. Great review, I’ll definitely have to check this book out! Morrison was an interesting figure indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much!

    Like

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