Light My Fire - My Life With The Doors

Light My Fire is also a book by Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek. The book is Manzarek's autobiogrpahy, but it focuses most centrally on his life with The Doors. It tells the story of how Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek got to know each other in college, how The Doors were formed, where the name came from (Alduous Huxley, anyone?), and much more. Some of the more interesting bits describe the early struggles of the band, trying to get gigs and keep them. At one point they were fired because Jim Morrison started singing a little ditty about Oedipus that went something along the lines of "Father I want to kill you/mother I want to fuck you." Their difficulties breaking into the Southern California nightclub scene are certainly worth reading about. My personal favorite section is the description of when The Doors opened for Simon & Garfunkel and were absolutely despised.

It seems clear from reading this book that one of Manzarek's goals was to clear up some inaccuracies in the public perception of the history of the band. Jim Morrison's arrest in Miami for indecent exposure is the best example (he didn't actually expose his penis). Manzarek also details the facts (as he knows them) surrounding the death of Jim Morrison, which still doesn't reveal all that much about what actually happened. Manzarek also takes issue with Oliver Stone's portrayal of the band in his movie, The Doors. He takes every opportunity to clear up the discrepancies between that movie and reality.

The book is a good read, especially for a fan of The Doors. Plus, the song "Light My Fire" is a damn good tune.

Some excerpts:

In the Oliver Stone movie The Doors, Oliver tried to re-create Jim's film based on what I told him and what I'm now telling you. Of course, he went completely over the top. A grotesque exaggeration. And how he turned Jim into a disciple of Adolf Hitler, well...perhaps someone ought to look into Mr. Stone's psyche; into what I perceive to be his latent anti-Semitism, and not-so-latent fascist tendencies. I like to think that little student movie is as revealing of Oliver's real problems as anything he's ever done. It's all there in capsule form. A wonderful reduction of psychotic leanings. (55-56)

Robby and John said, 'Yeah!' and we slapped our hands together in a group high five. The Doors' communal mind had gone conspiratorial. We were going to flip the bird at the Establishment. On national television! (251)

CST Approved

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