Rewind: Mike Thorne on “Strange Days”

Posted: August 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

In discussion with Mike Thorne on “Strange Days” by The Doors (1967).

Were you a Doors fan since their debut album, or was “Strange Days” the album that got you into their music?

I heard their first album shortly after release in 1967 and thought it astonishing. There was a presence and directness to the songs and the playing that was so fresh and new. Also, the sound and production were exceptional – everything still sounds so clear and present.

What drew you to them in the first place, especially compared to other rock groups of that era? What made them special? Was it Jim Morrison, the musicians, or their peculiar moody and dark approach to rock?

The band were clearly a distinctive group of talented people, interacting very constructively, and delivered the noise and force that’s always been attractive. They were one clear pole. In the days when music mattered, you were either a Beatles or a Stones person, with Pink Floyd or Soft Machine. There’s a parallel contrast between the Jefferson Airplane and the Doors. Even though I liked much of their output, the Airplane could be ‘nice’ in the unthinking hippy way in times when we were all feeling our way. Much of their output didn’t have anything like the power of Somebody To Love or White Rabbit, and could be downright sappy. The Doors always played rough and direct. More recent public polarities include the Blur/Oasis media circus, but that wasn’t so much about stylistic contrast. Read the rest of this entry »

Rewind: Todd Burns on “Celebration Of The Lizard”

Posted: January 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

In discussion with Todd Burns on “Celebration Of The Lizard” by The Doors (1968).

This song has quite a special status in the Doors back catalogue, could you elaborate on why you choose this over other of their songs?

“Celebration Of The Lizard” does have a special status in the Doors back catalogue, largely because it was never released. The group ended their first two albums with very long, epic songs—“The End” and “When The Music’s Over”—and, as I understand it, this was supposed to be the song that concluded their third full-length. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the group couldn’t get a take that they were happy with and had to substitute a few other tunes instead to fill out the record. As someone who is rather fascinated by the history of music, I’ve always been fascinated by failures and coulda-beens. “Death Of A Ladies Man” is my favorite Cohen album, I collected bootlegs of The Beach Boys’ “Smile” sessions but never listened to the one that Brian Wilson eventually released a few years ago. This song from The Doors is in that same vein.

There is plenty to choose from as far as rock history’s classic groups are concerned. What makes The Doors appealing to you?

I have a dark poetic past. And Jim Morrison’s poetry always appealed to a teenager that was prone to such flights of fancy. People often laugh at Morrison’s writing today, but I’d argue that he’s a much more interesting figure than what we have nowadays in popular rock music. Then again, I have my doubts that a group like The Doors would be on a label much bigger than something like Sub Pop in 2009. Also appealing to me was the music. It’s hard to overstate how strange and wonderful some of The Doors music sounded when placed alongside their contemporaries. Organ player, flamenco guitarist and jazz drummer and American Poet over top of all of it? And they even wrote some pop songs along the way? Yes, please. Read the rest of this entry »