July 3rd is the 40th anniversary of the death of Jim Morrison and commemorations of the day will be held worldwide. David Shiang, an American academic lecturer and Doors fan will be hosting a webinar on July 3rd titled The Celebration of the Lizard Online Festival. I recently had the opportunity to speak with David and learn more about him and the webinar.
DE: How did you become a Doors fan?
DS: Like others in their teens during the late sixties, I heard Light My Fire on the radio when it first came out. It wasn’t until 1970 that I started listening to the group seriously. I gradually became convinced that Morrison was not just some rock and roll poet but an artist with an important message to convey. He was not just a seeker, he was a finder. And what he found has profound implications for all of us. The combination of his vision and the music of the group is something uniquely important in the realm of music, not just rock.
DE: How did you hit upon the idea of lecturing about The Doors?
DS: I didn’t follow press coverage of The Doors too much when Morrison was still alive. Back then, there was no Internet, and magazines like Rolling Stone were in their infancy. The mainstream press barely took rock seriously and often sent jazz reporters to cover rock. As far as The Doors, I didn’t really know anything about New Haven and Miami until after Morrison was dead. In late 1971, I started reading all the Doors reviews I could get my hands on from Rolling Stone, Creem, Life, The New York Times, etc. It was very clear that as a whole the press had completely misunderstood Morrison and the group. I knew then that I wanted to write something about the group. Giving lectures is one way to get my message out.
DE: What about The Doors do you think most critics miss?
DS: Not be sound immodest, but many of the big guns such as Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs miss almost everything of importance about The Doors. And then we’ve got film and cultural critics like Stephen Holden and George Will who haven’t the slightest clue. In his song The End, Morrison said the snake was seven miles long. Morrison’s meaning is about seven miles deep. Critics like and Dave Marsh, Nick Tosches, Caryn James, and Stephen Holden haven’t gotten beyond six inches. They’re often focused on the bulge beneath his pants. Tosches called Morrison a “pompous fool,” but this absolutely ridiculous assessment is how many critics see him. This year, a film critic from the UK named Alex von Tunzelmann said the following about the Oliver Stone film: “It’s a bloated, pompous, unbalanced film, which looks great but has nothing going on beneath the surface. This is the biopic Jim Morrison deserved.” After 40+ years, the reading public deserves much better than this.
DE: How do you think The Doors can lead fans to self-enlightenment?
DS: The Doors wanted to open the doors in your mind. From the standpoint of ambition, their goal was to awaken their audience, not entertain them with meaningless and trite music. That’s’ one reason the music has lasted so long. Morrison had achieved big answers – he used the phrase “the only solution” for a reason. The combination of his words and Doors music are trying to get the listener to break through to higher consciousness. “Dance on fire as it intends.”
DE: What do you have planned for your July 3rd webinar the Celebration of the Lizard Online Festival?
DS: Besides hearing new interviews with people who knew Jim Morrison, here are some of the topics that I plan to cover. The audience will have an opportunity to suggest others.
· What do Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Doors have in common, and what’s the one major difference?
· What are Jim Morrison’s Top 10 Commandments for helping people achieve self-knowledge?
· Why has the music of The Doors lasted so long, contrary to the predictions of so many critics?
· Are The Doors the ultimate self-help music?
· What did Morrison mean when he called The Doors “erotic politicians”?
· Why did Time Magazine write in 2007: “Even on a gray day in Paris last week, there was one place you could find a crowd of tourists from places as varied as Rome, Siberia and Orlando, Fla. – Jim Morrison’s grave in Père-Lachaise cemetery”?
· What are the Top 10 pickup lines of The Doors? How did Morrison life and art relate to mythology and the Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell talked about?
· What was the role of shamanism and ritual in Doors concerts?
The Celebration of the Lizard Online Festival will be held on July 3rd at two convenient times 8 AM Eastern (U.S.)/2 PM Paris time or 4 PM Eastern/10 PM Paris time. The webinar is $10 for the 90 minute presentation. In an exclusive offer David is extending a 10% discount for Doors Examiner readers for the webinar, as well as some exclusive offers to win items like a mint condition Light My Fire Gold Record Plaque, or a free 90 minute teleseminar on The Doors. David will answer your questions on Morrison’s hidden meanings, love life, favorite quotes, whatever you want! To register today for The Celebration of the Lizard Online Festival and your chance to qualify for the exclusive offers for Doors Examiner readers go to his website Doors Goldmine/Examiner.
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