Mick Wall’s new biography of The Doors “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre” starts with a sensational scene, Jim Morrison’s body being dragged out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus in the early morning hours of July 3, 1971. Wall states that Stephen Davis’s 2005 derivative biography “Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend” is ‘superb’, which sets the sensational tone for the rest of “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre”.
Continual misspellings of names, and errors in fact checking leaves a reader to wonder what other details might not have been scrupulously checked by either author or editor? As you read further into the book you discover that is the case. A couple of quick examples, Wall tells his readers that the album that would come to be known as “Morrison Hotel” had a working title of “Hard Rock Café”, the problem is that The Doors had never heard of the Hard Rock Café until they went out on the “Morrison Hotel” photo shoot with Henry Diltz. Or when talking about the Miami incident, Wall states Lewis Marvin, who brought a lamb and the hat with skull and crossbones on it that Morrison was photographed with, was Jim Morrison’s ’new friend’ when in fact Marvin was an early supporter of the band and The Doors played one of their earliest gigs at Marvin’s house in 1966.
Quick on the heels of this is Wall’s offering of alternate explanations of events, which is fine if you can support your hypothesis with some backing. However, Wall seems to offer alternate explanation from other biographies just for the sake of being different.
A few things Wall does get right, is being aware of and skeptical of Ray Manzarek’s Pollyanna hindsight interpretations of Jim Morrison and The Doors, which he rightly credits with insuring The Doors are still a relevant musical entity almost 50 years after the fact but sometimes stretched credulity. While most of the biography of The Doors does focus on Jim Morrison, “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre” does delve into the post-Morrison Doors especially looking at the Robby Krieger, and John Densmore s The Butts Band. And a look at Oliver Stones’ “The Doors” and Ray Manzarek’s initial involvement with the film.
Where does this leave us? It is better written than Wall’s exemplar “Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend”. I think Mick Wall’s “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre” is kind of like The Doors themselves, excessive in the sensational, but in what it gets right you long for more of.
Mick Wall’s “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre” was released today (October 30) and is available at Amazon UK and Amazon U.S.
One of the sources Wall used for “Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre” was interviewing Ray Manzarek for the BBC program “When Albums Ruled the World”, which is an interesting history of the album you can watch it on Youtube at “When Albums Ruled the World”.
Subscribe to The Doors Examiner and get article’s as they’re published, just click the subscribe button below. Thank you for reading The Doors Examiner!