the soft parade

For the last couple of days I have been treadmilling to the music of the Doors. This music along with the music of Bach was enormously influential on me as a young man.

I purchased the Strange Days album strictly on the cover at Kmart.

It was my practice to buy records there. I found the Doors by being strictly attracted to the cover art.

Likewise, Leonard Cohen.

When I look back on it, my exposure to arts as a young man was largely a combination of the serendipity of discovery and the whispering in my ear of my friend Dave Barber, reluctant friend and horrified mentor.

By that I mean, that I chose him as a friend probably recognizing a fellow outsider. He didn’t really want me for a friend. But found that his mother would allow him to go places with me that otherwise he couldn’t go. This was because I was the preacher’s kid.

This is me. Ahem.

In the long run, he has turned into one of those life long friends that have endured through most of the gambit of maturing and changes that is living and life.


Anyway, back to the Doors.

The music influenced me because I took the trouble to learn to play a few Doors songs on the piano. This I did with meager technique but great enthusiasm.

Later after high school (or right at the end of it), this served me more than once as I played with rock and roll bands.

Actually owned a keyboard a lot like this in late 60s.

I am convinced now that the repetition of patterns in music like the Doors is related to the eventual stumbling on to this idea of the late 20th century minimalists.

I see the move away from the esoteric 12 tone dominance in classical music as prefigured in popular music’s preoccupation with rhythm, melody and poetry.

Speaking of poetry, I also think that Jim Morrison’s lyrics were some of the crossover lyrics that are essentially good poetry.

It’s ironic at the age of sixty to be listening to songs like “The Soft Parade” and “When the Music’s Over” and realize that the ideas in them have dogged me my whole life journey through academia and church work.

The song, “The Soft Parade,” always struck me as a sort of dark Zappa portrait of religion in America. It still does.

These words could easily have been written about the little Calvinist town I live in now:

Successful hills are here to stay
Everything must be this way
Gentle streets where people play
Welcome to the Soft Parade

from “The Soft Parade” by the Doors

The soft Tulip parade?

Yesterday these lines kept running through my head:

Cancel my subscription to the resurrection
Send my credentials to the house of detention
I got some friends inside

from “When the music’s over” by the Doors

I have often had that sentiment: “cancel my subscription to the resurrection.” I’m subscribed to the “resurrection” (i.e. the Xtian church) largely due to the  happenstance of being born into a preacher’s family and then utilizing this background to gain an understanding of liturgy.

I often want it “canceled” because of my inability to sanction so much of what passes for Christianity in the modern world (or historically for that matter).

“Send my credentials to the house of detention.” I used to tell people I had sent my degrees back to the colleges that gave them to me, denying them. Instead I simultaneously realized my connection to the underdogs of life (Eugene Debs “While there is a lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”) and my debt to musics not recognized by the music pedagogy of the colleges I attended.

Yadda yadda.


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