Bárujárn, Reykjavík, 2009
In the calm before the strum, I had struck up a conversation with a local musician. I had seen her perform a lively set in this same building in 2006. She was curious about me: Why was I there? What were my interests in music? Why Flippism? We had a nice talk. She asked if I had done any recording. I mentioned that I had released a 45 in mid-seventies.
"What was it like?"
"It was horrible!"
"No, I mean what kind of music was it? Did it sound like any other group?"
"Well, I guess some people thought it sounded like the Doors..."
PBS ran a new documentary about that band last night. It was pretty good in capturing the smoky, greasy hedonism of that era- lots of vintage clips, mixed in with some modern re-enactments. It didn't glorify the band and it certainly showed the bad side of Jim Morrison, especially when he had been drinking. But the music itself remains as it was: neither rock nor jazz, not really blues either, sounding almost like a carnival or burlesque theater at times. The band as a whole was certainly greater than the sum of its parts. And Jim was beautiful and sexy and dark- he was the antithesis of the pop singers of the day. I never bought any Doors records, I didn't need to- their music was everywhere, I knew most of the songs by heart. That record which I had made in 1976 may have been an unconscious emulation of the Doors, although my dark days had been several years earlier- at just about the same time that Jim was on his downward spiral: