Stephen Davis’s “Jim Morrison- Life, Death, Legend” is a novel chronicling the life of musician Jim Morrison. The book was published in 2004. The book generally moves along by describing the date and location of each of the Doors’ concert dates.
From the introduction Davis writes, “He’s been dead for decades, but he’s still causing trouble.”
Chapter One describes the incident of Jim seeing the Native Americans on the highway bleeding, and how coming from a military family affected him later in life. The book goes on to describe how Jim contemplated suicide but was saved by hearing a Bo Diddley song. The book also delves into Jim’s heavy drinking later in life, and how it isolated him from friends and from the band.
This book is not just about Jim Morrison, however. It describes the details of music that became popular during Morrison’s life, movements, politics, cultural phenomena, and above all else, the other musicians in the Doors (not to mention Pamela Courson).
There are some interesting details in this book that I haven’t read anywhere else. Such as: Frank Zappa, Arthur Lee and Mick Jagger all enjoyed the Doors’ music; the tension between Jim and other members of the band; the relationship between the band and Paul Rothchild; how Jim supposedly preferred anal intercourse; how Jim supposedly wanted to change his name to “James Phoenix”; how Frank Sinatra supposedly thought Jim was ripping off his vocal style; how in one of the last plays Jim saw, a revolutionary was stabbed in a bathtub; how there were rumors that Jim was gay (although he denied them); Jim’s ability to control his audience; how to Max Fink Jim described being sexually abused as a teenager; Morrison’s relationship to Nico; how Jim loved to get on stage and sing with bar bands; how Iggy Pop was influenced by Morrison’s performance; how Strange Days didn’t sell well but later was considered to be a brilliant work of art; how in 1968 Jim tried quitting the Doors, confessing that he thought he was having a nervous breakdown, but no one took him seriously.
The book also describes Jim’s death as an overdose, despite the poet disliking the drug heroin early in life.
The book features various quotes from Morrison and his associates:
“John Densmore developed a persistent skin rash on his legs when he met Jim, an anxiety dermatitis that only went away when Jim died.”
“I keep an enlightened pessimism about things so I don’t get disappointed when things don’t turn out like I wanted.” (Morrison)
“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown- which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.” (Morrison)
“I think there’s a whole region of images and feelings inside us that rarely are given outlet in daily life, and when they do come out, they can take perverse forms. It’s the dark side. The more civilized we get on the surface, the more the other forces make their plea.” (Morrison)