It started in 1987. My brother bought Steve Taylor's album 'I Predict 1990.' He brought it home and played it. I listened. I was only eight years old, but those songs struck a chord deep within me. Especially this song.
My knowledge of Jim Morrison at the time was limited. He died eight years before I was born. The songs I grew up with were 80s era contemporary Christian artists like Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, and Sandi Patty. And if we weren't listening to Christian music, it was The Righteous Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, or Chicago. There's no reason that I should have known about Jim Morrison. I wouldn't start listening to The Doors until I was in junior high, but the eight year old version of me knew who they were. I didn't know much about Jim, but I knew he was a womanizer, an addict, and that he had lots of problems. Knowing that he was a hedonistic man was the limits of my eight year old knowledge.
In the world of black and white, I knew that he was not a good man. The song, Jim Morrison's Grave introduced me to an element of grey that exists in our world.
That's when I began to comprehend that people could be bad, but still be great at the same time. I began to recognize that people could possess incredible talent and influence and still be completely messed up. I got a crash course in the nature of the tortured artist persona.
I also began to question. What if?
What if Jim Morrison hadn't strayed down the path of depression and self destruction. What if someone had given him hope?
Those lyrics clawed at me. They've become a permanent part of my psyche.
I stay driven because there's nowhere to park
I can't shut my eyes, I'm afraid of the dark
I lie awake that stone left me chilled to the bone
Sound the alarm before it's done
Find Jim Morrison
Come away to Paris, let him see another day
Let him fade out slowly, only fools burn away
Let a true love show him what a heart can become
Somebody find Jim Morrison's grave
I get weary Lord, I don't understand
How does a seed gets strangled in the heart of a man
When the music covers like an evening mist
Like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist
I listened to this song over and over and over. I borrowed the album from my brother as often as I could - frequently without asking. I bought it on tape in high school. Then on CD. And again on CD after the first one got stolen.
I can clearly look back and see the seeds of my dream planted back then. I was only eight, but I knew that I was going to work with artists some day. I couldn't escape the question, what if someone had shown a true love to Jim Morrison? What if his life hadn't ended in tragedy?
Those questions became more poignant when I was in junior high; I was in ninth grade when Kurt Cobain ended his life. I began to ask again. What if? What if someone had given Kurt hope? What if he had been able to break the cycle of depression and addiction? The questions returned again a few years later when Bradley Nowell OD'd. And again in 2002 when Layne Staley passed.
My dream was born in 1987. It's time for me to start doing something about that dream. My generation has too many dead heroes.