Slopping around in the primordial soup of rock and roll identity looking for another big theme week to do in April it occurs to me that there is only one song on all of SteveForTheDeaf so far by Jim Morrison, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore. THAT CANNOT BE RIGHT. The Doors were a gateway band for me the same way Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Queen were. They bridged the void between my parents and I like Meatloaf, The Who and The Rolling Stones. They’re right up there with my big metal loves too. Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden. I was discovering their discographies at the same time I was discovering People Are Strange, Morrison Hotel and The Soft Parade. Not to mention, Waiting For The Sun. Waiting For The Sun is a bit of a one.
I think it’s true for many an ageing rock and roller that they had a Doors phase. Many a youngster too if the kids who work where I work are to be taken as a sample batch (insert withering pun here). Where was I young un? Oh yes. Waiting For The Sun. After a Compilation. Greatest Hits with the lizard king pose on the front, the first Doors album I owned was Waiting For The Sun. I chose it carefully and for a very important reason. There was a pretty girl behind the counter in the record shop.
She looked like the coolest girl in town. It’s fair to say I was out specifically to buy a Doors album anyway, but seeing her there with her cool mates every time I went in and having a pang of worry that the indie and metal I was buying would not be deemed cool enough when I got to the counter was a real thing. Many a WordPresser has written of this phenomenon. The tales of record store crushes and judgement by purchase are all over pop culture memoirs. So I will scamper past this detail except to say. When you’re holding a copy of Waiting For The Sun on vinyl in your hand it is not entirely apparent from the outside of the sleeve that the song Waiting For The Sun is not on the album. Unless that is, you do the absolute minimum amount of research and turn it over in your hand to look at the tracklisting on the back.
Now, to be honest. When people were browsing in record shops flipping the vinyl or CD over and looking at the back cover, reading the titles of the songs on the record is usually the thing they are primarily there to do. “Oh it’s got that one on it, I like that one” is the response expected from the industry. “These titles sound really cool, I must have this record” is the second most desired response. At no point should any one manhandle a record for over ten minutes with a clear 11 track playlist written in the middle of the albums sleeve in a decipherable font and use it as an excuse to try and time approaching the counter at the right moment to be served by a girl who looks like a young Catherine Zeta-Jones in corduroy dungarees and thick black glasses.
See the risk is, you could get to the counter and try to talk up your ‘cool’ and make a mistake. If she says something like. “So, you settled on this big red one then” don’t respond with “Yeah looks pretty good. I really like the title track” just for her to say “Waiting For The Sun?” and you to double down. If she smirks and takes your money that might not be something you remember over 30 years later. If she makes a reference like “Five to One is my favourite on this album. I think you’ll like that one too” don’t get all cocky thinking this is flirting. Certainly don’t pretend you know it. Take your stupid record and go on home little man. You’re out of your depth.
Other albums not to feature their title track and designed specifically to mess with thirsty young men in front of the cool girl in the record store with the brunette bunches and the black nail polish are Def Leppard’s On Through The Night, Judas Priest’s Sin After Sin, Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue, AC/DC’s High Voltage, Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy, Tom Waits’ Franks Wild Years and Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack to name just a handful. Guided by Voices, Belle and Sebastian and Ride are buggers for it. So you know. Rock bands aren’t your friends. They’re out to trick you. Then they go drink cans of coke by the town clock with the cool girl from the record shop while you sit and read the back cover of the album you just bought at the bus station and realise what you have done. Just try not to let it bug you later in life. That’s all I’m saying.
“No one here gets out alive” indeed.
The song itself. A brutish swaggering cock walk of a number. All bass fuzz and proto metal thudding. Drunken and belligerent the Lizard King is on his way to becoming a heavy dinosaur as he booms his bloomin’ brilliant blooze. She was right. I liked this one best.