Nov 18

Jim Morrison’s still lighting fires after all these years

51035SWwRmL._SL500_AA300_ I was heartened to read that Governor Charlie Crist of Florida is pursuing a posthumous pardon  for two criminal convictions handed down to the legendary Jim Morrison of the Doors after some questionable stage behavior at a 1969 Miami concert. (Jim Morrison Is Candidate for Pardon in ’69 Arrest)

Having researched the court ruling, Crist says, “The more that I've read about the case and the more I get briefed on it, the more convinced I am that maybe an injustice has been done here.” How about that? We still have one politician who can read and who actually wants to do the right thing.

Naturally, though, right-wing, god-fearing conservatives, vehemently disagree with Crist. And the resulting debate has sparked a mini Florida firestorm that would no doubt amuse the man who sang, 'Light My Fire.'

Claude Kirk, Florida's governor at the time Morrison was convicted on misdemeanor charges of profanity and indecent exposure, was annoyed to be asked by the Times reporter about Governor Crist's efforts on Morrison's behalf. “There's a lot more important things to think about than that,” he sniffed. Well, yes, but if Richard M. Nixon can receive a full pardon for ordering and then covering up the Watergate break-in, why can't Jimbo catch a break?

Adding insult to injury, Florida's state attorney of Miami-Dade County, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, huffed: “It's not worth the time.” Nice. I'll bet Morrison wouldn't love her madly or two times, for that matter.

I see the Morrison conflagration as yet another example of our country's acute polarization. Bible-thumping Tea Party types view Morrison (and his liberal, left-leaning successors) as the epitome of evil. The latter, meanwhile, would like to right a past wrong and allow Morrison's name (if not his spirit) to rest in peace.

If former New York governor George Pataki could pardon Lenny Bruce and former Enron chairman Ken Lay's conviction can be annulled, why can't Florida do right by Morrison? As Jim sang, people are strange (and are becoming even stranger every day).

Although my vote doesn't count, here's hoping Crist can 'break on through' and get Morrison's minor offenses expunged after all these years. It would certainly give new meaning to one of my favorite Doors' songs: 'The End.'

Jan 28

Captain Jack’s too frail to get you by tonight

I like to think my music tastes run to the eclectic. I love listening to Thelonious Monk as much as to T.Old
Rex. And, Liszt is just as cool as, say, Lionel Hampton. But, there’s nothing like working out to classic rock. I like those pulsating sounds as I’m pumping or pedaling away.

So, with my iPod still nursing its post Mt. Kilimanjaro wounds, I tuned in my favorite rock station this morning and stepped onto the elliptical trainer. What immediately stuck me, though, wasn’t the same old, recycled songs but, rather, the dramatically different radio commercials.

I’d grown accustomed to hearing banal spots for drag racing, blue collar beer guzzlers hitting on hot babes and the latest, greatest winter sporting gear sales. So, imagine my surprise when I heard one spot after another for cancer, heart disease and other afflictions associated with aging boomers. The effect was striking to say the least.

So, I began thinking what a smart image move it might be for aging rockers to update their classic songs, and make them, shall we say, more age appropriate?

Here are some suggestions:

Van Halen’s no longer screaming ‘Dance the night away’ anymore. Now, they’re unplugged and suggesting, instead, to ‘Sleep the day away.’

Bruce’s ‘Born to run’ has many possibilities and could be altered to ‘Born to limp’, ‘Born with the runs,’ or ‘Born to run (to the bathroom several times a night)’

The Stone’s signature song could be updated to: ‘(I can’t get no) erection’

Neil Young’s ’24’ becomes ’64,’ and it’s most poignant line changed to ‘…64 and there’s not much more.’

Jim Morrison’s long gone, but I’d like to think a simple update to his classic Door’s ditty would resonate with aching Boomer fans: So, with just a little editing, we now have ‘C’mon baby, light my fireplace.’

And poor, bald and battered Peter Frampton would now lament, ‘I hope you don’t feel like I do.’

Last, but not least, let’s not forget The Who, who could really hit home with, ‘Talking ’bout what’s left of my ggggggeneration.’

The opportunities are endless. If classic rock radio audiences are willing to listen to commercials from the likes of Mount Sinai Medical Center, Montefiore’s Heart Clinic and the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, why not bring the message full circle with updated tunes that tell it like it really is?