I am the Lizard King, I can do anything

Final entry ported over from MySpace! Now I am completely caught up. And all grown up…


I know why I will never be a rock music journalist.

I might never be a rock music journalist because it’s a hard field to get in to. I might never be a rock music journalist because being over the age of thirty is a little old to be carrying that aspiration. I might even never be a rock music journalist because I have no aptitude for that kind of writing. These are all plausible reasons that I will never be a rock music journalist.

In fact, none of them is the reason that I will never be a rock music journalist. My Muse lends me to nothing more wholly and joyfully than music writing, and age and difficulty are no bar to success when your will is aligned with that of your Muse. It’s too bad that these aren’t the reasons that I will never be a rock music journalist, because, while untrue, at least they make sense. The real reason that I will never be a rock music journalist escapes my comprehension.

I will never be a rock music journalist because I like Jim Morrison.

It seems that all successful rock music journalists that I can name have an almost unnatural antipathy to Jim Morrison and the Doors. Jim DeRogatis, who I agree with musically on almost everything, personally authored the chapter skewering the Doors in Kill Your Idols, the volume he edited of a new generation of rock critics reconsidering the classics. Chuck Klosterman, who I frequently disagree with musically but so identify with in his musical and personal preoccupations and how they interweave with each other that I feel like we were twins separated at birth by a freak hospital mishap, rails against Morrison repeatedly in the first 120 pages of Killing Yourself to Live.

Klosterman and DeRogatis are pretty much the extent of my examples at the moment. Two seems like a small survey size to base sweeping general statements on, but I’ve been known to hatch major life theories on no data points at all, so this hardly phases me. Anyway, trust me, there are a lot more examples even if I can’t come up with them right this second. Rock critics hate Jim Morrison. And I just don’t get it.

The usual rap involves something about pretension and bad poetry, but is rock music really a place to get fussy about this? This is the home genre, after all, of the rock opera Tommy, Black Sabbath songs with titles like “War Pigs” and such classic lines as: a-wop-bab-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom. I think Jim actually gets zinged because he seriously presented his work as poetry, and asked that we treat it as such.

Was his writing dark? Yes. Serious? Surely. Weird? Without a doubt. But bad? Show me another writer in rock who can throw out the simple brutal beauty of a line like: The killer awoke before dawn/ He put his boots on. Name someone else who could summon forth the lyrical roll and intellectual displacement of lines like: Soft driven slow and mad like some new language. What writer with a lesser poetical sensibility could even get to that point on “Not To Touch the Earth” when the music suddenly lurches to a halt, stray guitar strings screech in ragged disarray and a voice comes out of the suddenly silent space and makes your hair stand on end as it intones: I am the Lizard King/ I can do anything?

Exploring atavistic irruptions of darkness is not everyone’s cup of tea and is certainly not a musical mood for all seasons. As often as not, I need silly doo-wop songs from the 50s to keep me regular. But on those occasions when I’m in the mood to ride with the Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car/ The engine runs on glue and tar/ C’mon along, we’re not going very far/ To the East to meet the Czar there’s no one I’d rather go with than Mr. Mojo Risin’.

Even if it means that I can never be a rock music journalist.

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