The Doors - Miami 1969
Please understand I am looking back at the 60s rather than speaking from personal experience, so this is purely my interpretation of it.
In 1969, the Vietnam War raged on, Nixon was taking a stranglehood on the USA, The Doors collectively had made music that was brutal in its message and genius in how it delivered that message. By brutal I don`t mean it was being an ugly message, the message was incredibly positive, providing people took their lead and "Broke on Thru".
For 3 years this group of guys had toured the world delivering collectively this message. The message got ignored as the hype took over. I have always believed JM deliberately, maybe more subconsciously than consciously, tried to turn himself into non-icon with his appearance, to almost wake people up. He said repeatedly the Doors were a collective, and from what I`ve read, had a problem with being perceived as The Doors. This shows more integrity than many artists care to deliver.
Yet despite being the total opposite of the poster boy looks he couldn`t break that media hold. Miami in my opinion was just him finally saying, fuck this shit, if they can`t work it out for themselves, I`m going to tell it as it is. And he did, quite brilliantly.
There is a line in Five To One, "you walk across the floor with a flower in your hand, trying to tell me noone understands, trading your hours for a handful of dimes"...
is there any difference between that and
"YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF FUCKING IDIOTS!", "LETTIN' PEOPLE TELL YOU WHAT YOU'RE GONNA DO! LETTIN' PEOPLE PUSH YOU AROUND! HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT'S GONNA LAST? HOW LONG ARE YOU GONNA LET IT GO ON? HOW LONG ARE YOU GONNA LET 'EM PUSH YOU AROUND? HOW LONG? MAYBE YOU LIKE IT! MAYBE YOU LIKE BEING PUSHED AROUND! MAYBE YOU LOVE IT! MAYBE YOU LOVE GETTING YOUR FACE STUCK IN THE SHIT, COME ON! ".
Maybe I`m wrong, but when I first heard 521 it struck me as a call to action, but people didn`t listen.
All Jim had was his voice, a guitarist can vent his frustration with his guitar etc, he used that voice, that speech in Miami is as profound as MLKs Beyond Vietnam. the rhetoric may have been different, but the message was the same. The authorities knew this, that is why the focused on the penis thing, because to allow people to actually focus on what Jim said was something they couldn`t tolerate. Distraction, its the mother of all propoganda. To prove a point, when you mention Miami to any Doors fan, they straight away come up with the Penis incident, they never say, yes well that was the night The Doors exposed everyone`s hypocrisy.
I don`t think Miami was the low point of the Doors career, far from it, the integrity all the band showed that night is probably the main reason I like them. It was one of the finest moments in rock history.
The Doors shouldn`t have been alienated as a result of this concert, but the alienation that followed just further reinforces Jim`s point. When push came to shove, people didn`t give a flying toss about the music or the message, they wanted puppets to dance to their tunes and respond to their whims. The alienation is further reinforced by the fact Riders, one of the finest pieces of music ever to have come out, only got to number 17.
The Doors were better than that, and Miami was them saying NO. I listened to Robby`s interview on the Doors DVD, and interestingly enough, he said that Oliver Stones portrayal of Miami was about as accurate as it came. It was the way he said it, the pride shone through.
Which is why the Doors are so relevant today. This is why their music is so important. There is a saying, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. For Vietnam replace Iraq, for Nixon replace Bush. We have to draw lines at some point, "they`ve got the guns but we`ve got the numbers".
Its time to Unlock the Doors again