From Publishers Weekly
Legendary Doors keyboardist Manzarek cannot seem to figure out whether his close friend and bandmate Jim Morrison's wild antics were the result of a poetic desire to push the envelope as far as the singer could, or if the famous 1960s rebel (who died in Paris at the age of 27) was just a gifted drunk. This ambivalence gives rise to an interesting, open-minded chronicle of one man's (Morrison's) alcoholism and its impact on his loved ones. Manzarek surely loved MorrisonAthey were friends and collaborators before either man had met the other two musicians who would complete the Doors's lineup, drummer John Densmore (whom Manzarek claimed Morrison never liked) and guitarist Robby Krieger, who penned "Light My Fire," "Touch Me" and "Love Me Two Times" with little or no help from famed lyricist Morrison. Manzarek takes every opportunity to philosophize about the ills of capitalist America, and he incessantly, passionately alludes to Greek mythology, Hinduism and Christianity when relating tales of his rock band's rise and fall. It's all love, peace, happiness and Morrison, except for the caustic passages regarding Oliver Stone and his big-budget biopic, The Doors, which Manzarek despises. "Grow up and see it like it really is, you fascist," the keyboardist writes at one point, which makes one wonder why Manzarek, an award-winning filmmaker and graduate of the UCLA film school, didn't make the movie himself. 16 pages of photos, not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Manzarek, musical leader of and keyboard player for the Doors, takes us back to the strange days of 1960s L.A. in a striking personal memoir and ode to Jim Morrison. After singer-lyricist Morrison's untimely demise, the band drifted apart, but its music and Morrison's leering public persona get dredged up periodically by new generations of fans. Manzarek and fellow UCLA film graduate, budding poet, and aspiring lizard king Morrison were the band's nucleus, to which Manzarek added guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, whom Manzarek found in a transcendental meditation group. As the Doors, the four captured the orgiastic mood of the Age of Aquarius, L.A. style, by mixing mystical lyrics and extended musical jamming with the signature sound of Manzarek's carnival-like electric keyboard stylings. They enjoyed a commercial success rooted in the singles charts, which provoked dismissive criticism from the album-oriented rock-critic cognoscenti of the time. Manzarek posits that if Morrison had not fallen in with the wrong crowd (a problem then as now), he would have enjoyed an enduring career either as poet or rocker (like, perhaps, Henry Rollins?). Literate, perceptive, and thoughtful, this is the best book yet about the Doors and their legendary singer, not to mention Manzarek, and may be the best rock bio of the year, on a par with Dave Davies' Kink
last year. Mike Tribby