November 2011

Apocalypse Now

With The Doors

If you're like me, you were forced to read “The Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad in high school literature class. If you're really like me, you found it grimly intriguing despite being forced to read it. If you're exactly like me, you went on to watch “Apocalypse Now” a number of years later after shooting a bunch of cans in the back yard of a house outside London with an air pistol while smoking Cuban cigars lit by a souvenir Chairman Mao lighter that played “Star of the Orient” every time you opened it. But if anyone out there is that much like me, that would be even creepier than the story.

“Heart of Darkness” is about an English sailor who goes up-river in Africa to bring back a mad genius named Kurtz, who has turned himself into a jungle warlord complete with an army of devoted natives and a fence of severed heads.

"Hello, I Love You"

Doors Pop Song

The Doors are often most remembered for the songs they should probably be least remembered for, and for the simple reason that those songs are the most accessible. Songs like “Hello, I Love You” and “Light My Fire” are far from being their most interesting work either musically or lyrically. They are basically darker interpretations of the popular genre of empty-headed 60s love songs.

"Soul Kitchen"

Covered By X

X was one of the more well-behaved of the early Los Angeles punk bands. On the documentary “Decline of Western Civilization,” you can even see them talking about how clubs like to book them because they don't cause trouble, unlike the other LA punk bands. They were also a little bit more musically polished, with the ability to produce a scorching guitar solo that most punk bands simply didn't have (or even approve of, for that matter).

People Are Strange

Echo and the Bunnymen

I had no idea the Doors had ever existed until I saw “The Lost Boys” when I was 15 or 16. The soundtrack contains a cover of “People are Strange” as re-interpreted by New Wave band Echo and the Bunnymen. As a strange kid with a taste for the dark aesthetic, I related to both the movie and the song with great intensity. I had always been into whatever old rock albums my folks had around- the Beatles, Buddy Holly, and so forth- but “People Are Strange” spoke to something none of those artists ever did.


When I referred to the song as being by Echo and the Bunnymen, a coworker informed me (with some condescension!) that it was actually by the Doors. I picked up a Doors album at the mall the next chance I got, and they immediately became my favorite band.