A slim revised biography of the Lizard King.
A quarter-century after his first attempt at illuminating his subject (Jim Morrison: Dark Star, 1991), Jones has changed more than his subject has. The author has earned renown in his native Britain and won awards as editor of the British edition of GQ. His career accomplishments make his decision to return to the subject of Jim Morrison (1943-1971) all the more curious. This overwritten, underreported revision, with a new title but much of the same material and flaws as the earlier biography, offers little in the way of fresh insight or revelation. Though he claims to have interviewed “thirty or so people” for this book (most of them presumably for the earlier biography), the only one he singles out for personal contact is magazine editor (and “practicing white witch”) Patricia Kennealy, perhaps the final love of Morrison’s life and the one who might have saved him from the fate of having “died of self-indulgence.” Much of the rest of the book seems taken from the reporting and reviewing of others, except for the gravesite visit that provides the book with its framing and which could have made for an engaging magazine article. When Jones describes a performance in detail, it is generally without date and location, perhaps apocryphal, as if the author is working from other descriptions rather than personal experience. He inflates the significance of his subject, writing that Morrison was “becoming the most adored American entertainer since Elvis” and that the Doors, on their good nights, were “the best band in the world.” (After Morrison’s death, the author dismisses the other musicians in that band as a “bunch of flyweights.”)
Jones has not learned enough since his previous biography to warrant fresh publication with a new title. A definite pass for all but the most obsessed Morrison devotees.