RARA-AVIS: Could the real Men in Black stand up?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 14 Sep 2003

>We lost two great ones with both Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon. My
>favorite hard-boiled/noirish lyrics are from The Door "Riders on the
>Storm" :
> There's a killer on the road.
> His brain is squirming like a toad.
>Great imagery there!

I dunno, it seems sort of adolescent, over-blown pretentiousness to me, like much of his so-called "poetry." Jim Morrison was a poseur, who was lucky enough to die before he embarrassed himself any further.

Zevon and Cash were the real deal, grown-ups who didn't have to resort to drunkenly waving their weenies around to show how "cool" or rebellious they were. They all went through their tailspins, but Zevon and Cash persevered, and came out stronger. It's hard to imagine Morrison ever pulling out of his dive -- he actually believed his own press too much.

But then, I've always thought the Doors were over-rated. To me, "The End," which a lot of fans proclaim their masterpiece, was sort of hammy and obvious, whereas some of Zevon and Cash's more simply-stated, almost dead-pan lyrics were downright chilling.

As in much of hard-boiled, it isn't just what's said, but how it's said.

Shooting a man just to watch him die and Jeannie and her father riding off into the night trumps cocktail-weenie 14-minute versions of "I am the Lizard King, I can do anything" any day.

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