Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 137
Sat. June 15, 2013
In 1969, The Doors were under siege. Four months after the band’s infamous Miami show were Jim was accused of exposing himself in all his Lizard King glory, because of the bad press, The Doors couldn’t get a gig. Because of this the band was turmoil. The Doors attempted to record some private rehearsals to try to conjure up the creative spirits of the past. All of this was to get Jim Morrison’s cerebral erections firing on all cylinders because as Jim told Hullabaloo Magazine, Morrison longed to go back to their improvisational past when… “we used to invent things on stage.” Ray agreed, explaining in Jim Riordan’s Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison, “We listened to each other and left a lot of area for improvisation. Within improvisation lies the danger of music and within that danger lies your freedom.”
Like Ray said there’s dangerous freedom within songs of improvisations, I selected “Mental Floss” because it’s the perfect reflection of a song in rough draft form. Recorded during the rehearsals from The Doors 1969 Aquarius Theater shows, you can feel the creative juices flowing within the mind of The poetic shaman: Jim Morrison. In “Mental Floss” Morrison goes through many lyrical transformations my favorite being Jim’s poetic raving and ranting of his war loving Dr. Strangelove like character ranting. You get the sense of Jim’s hilarious improvisations highlights his rarely heard comedic timing that gets lost with his more famous dark classics like “The End.” It may take a few spins for the unseasoned Doors fan to appreciate but once you appreciate the subtle nuisances of Jim Morrison many lyrical personalities, “Mental Floss” becomes, the song where you learned, ‘how I stopped worrying and learned to love The Doors improvisational canvas.’
Far from the best Doors song in their electrically charged poetic song canon but what I love most is that we get a glimpse inside the creative process of The Doors. You can feel Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore trying to find the perfect rhythm in this improvisational indulgence. Ray loved it when Jim would get into his lyrical zone, “It was a shamanic ceremony. The shaman loose and free, improvising wildly and madly and the band following him for all they’re worth. How do you follow him? You enter that state with him. He leads of course, he’s going to go further than anybody, but we follow through the chord changes and the rhythms and the notes we choose to play to accent the shaman’s madness.” Experience Jim Morrison as The Shaman as he tries to find that lyrical presence within the work in progress that is “Mental Floss.” Originally released on The Doors 1987 box set, this may not their best song but “Mental Floss” is the perfect glimpse inside the improvisational journey of the creative fortress that are The Doors.