Doors Week: The Best Purchase

Morrison Hotel Album Cover
This is the album that was in contention. It’s still a personal favorite.

After last night’s musings on the first Doors album that ever I bought (which incidentally is now in Hawk’s possession), I’m going to relate a quick story about the best Doors purchase ever I made.

See, Mike and I bonded initially over a very simple question about shared Doors fandom, and the sharing of No One Here Gets Out Alive, the de rigueur autobiography for any Morrison initiate. The one that, in retrospect, is the most historically inaccurate.

Like Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, it’s chock full of myth-making, the type that young fans subscribe to in the effort to understand the enigma of young, famous death. But when you’re a kid and you’re looking for idols, it’s a fun one to read.

The truth of that biography is as muddled and inaccurate as Stone’s movie as well (he cribbed a great deal of it, unattributed, from that book and instead claimed only that Densmore’s autobiography Riders on the Storm was the source, but there are substantial pieces of The Myth that are not in Densmore’s book), but that’s not the story I tell today.

No, today, in honor of the fact that I’m hanging out with Hawk as I write this, I’m writing about one of the funnier moments in our friendship.

During high school, at some point in Sophomore year I think*, Phantasmagoria (an old record store I’ve mentioned before that according to the Web is now home to the Montgomery County Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, a seemingly long-winded way to say, “douche chill”) had gotten a copy of Morrison Hotel, one of the six best full–length studio albums that the Doors ever released.

*I am pretty convinced it was early Sophomore year, in the fall, and it was either mostly cloudy or partly sunny; Mike thinks that’s accurate after I asked him if that’s what he remembers.

Being in high school and being competitive, the race was on to see which of us could get to Phantasmagoria first to win what The Kurgan might call…The Prize.

I remember racing out of school and virtually busting a lung to get there first. I was nervous energy and hopeful. Remember kids, this is in the days when getting an album was an accomplishment. There was no file sharing and no instant burning to CD. You either owned the album or waited the long time for the person to set aside time to listen to it and dub it from a synchronous tape deck.

In short, owning the album was everything.

And I got there, and it was there, and I bought it. As I walked out, as if scripted from a movie, Mike was across the street and I held the album aloft to say to him, Behold I have Won!

In retrospect, I was an ass, because Mike had his heart set on it and here I was, supposedly his best friend, dashing to the store to beat him to the purchase. I’m not even sure I was motivated so much by the music as I was by the chance at victory. I’d like to think that over time, I learned not to be so hung up on winning and losing and materialism.

However, in true BFF fashion, we sat down and ate at Roy Roger’s afterward and shared notes about the album.

But for that day and for that glorious moment, Morrison Hotel was mine all mine and I enjoyed the Hell out of it. It’s chock full of wonderful tracks and was the moment where the band very obviously finally found its real niche of Blues sound. LA Woman was very much the natural next step, and you can hear it start to be born in Morrison Hotel.

But every time I put it on and hear the first strains of Roadhouse Blues and I think of a nice day so long ago when I got the prize first.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s story…when I take Oliver Stone to task for his film. Someone finally has to do it, and the hammer must finally fall.

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