Useless Lizard King offers new insights into MorrisonThe Essential Jim Morrison
Written by Jerry Hopkins.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 272 pp., $19.
By John Jacobs
et another book about Jim Morrison. This one's by Jerry Hopkins, who also co-authored "No One Here Gets Out Alive." Why was he not satisfied with one book about Jim Morrison? Maybe for the same reason he wasn't satisfied with one book about Elvis. Maybe money. Jim Morrison -- what's left to say about the guy? MTV comedian Dennis Leary's joke should have been the final word: "Jim Morrison -- I'm drunk, I'm nobody. I'm drunk, I'm famous. I'm drunk, I'm dead."
Have you noticed that Jim Morrison's biographies are starting to read like philosophy books? The simple question is "Why were the Doors so popular?" No One Here Asked For All This Pedantry. The final product of hocus-pocus philosophizing is "The Lizard King: The Essential Jim Morrison." The book contains many stories about Jim and the kind of person he was. The stories are interesting (if they are true) and will make you glad that you did not know him personally. All that's really left of Jim that hasn't been interpreted and re-interpreted into inaccuracy are the Morrison interviews. (And when you read the book, you will discover that even those have been edited.) The book contains seven of the most interesting. It also professes to put to rest, in light of "new information," the controversy surrounding his death.
Morrison sung in a band that redefined rock'n'roll. His pseudo-intellectual theories on chaos and the beauty of evil are the fuel for some kind of media and marketing scam. "He consciously created his own myth," the book says, "then lived to regret it." Who can't do that? Especially the way Jim did it. This book made me want to grab Jerry Hopkins by his shirt collar and beat some sense into him.
The book is worth reading insofar as you will realize that even authors can make money the old-fashioned way: dishonestly. If you really want to read this book, please, take my copy. It's taking up space in my room. But let's not reward these biographers with money. Jim is dead, the music is great. The end, the end.