Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Jim Morrison/The Doors fan on the planet. It’s nothing personal. There is no great motivation behind not having a particularly strong opinion about their music. I don’t hate them. I’ve just never managed to find a connection to their iconic body of rock and roll work.
With all this in mind, I’m a strange candidate to read and make sense of Gerry Kirstein’s Some Are Born to Endless Night. However, one of the things I’ve learned about myself is how I get into bands or artists. There are times when people can be so profoundly obnoxious, and misguided in their fervor, that I unfairly associate those personality traits with the band or artist in question, and I avoid the music like the plague. Other times, the right perspective and tone can grab my attention, and bring me to at least a greater understanding. This understanding extends to not only the artist or band in question, but towards the growing, ever-evolving idea that music is an endless universe of possibility. Thankfully, Some Are Born to Endless Night is in the second category.
I’m willing to bet you know of The Doors. At the very least, I’m willing to imagine you know some of their songs. Their music has combined with Morrison’s antics and philosophy to create something that is hard to examine as simply music. It’s part of the cultural breathing pattern, and that’s not just something that holds true with the baby boomers who were actually alive to see Morrison on television or in concert. Morrison’s band and his message endure with each generation.
Gerry Kirstein has most definitely been a fan for a very long time. Lengthy portions of his book are devoted to his journey as an appreciative listener of The Doors’ music and of Morrison’s lyrics. This is one of the ways in which the book stands to appeal to those who are either indifferent about The Doors, or perhaps even those who dislike The Doors. Kirstein makes an impassioned case, without actually making you feel as though the music is being shoved down your throat. It’s impossible to get through this book without wanting to listen to a couple of Doors albums.
In fact, the word “journey” is important in Some Are Born to Endless Night. While Kirstein draws from other music and personal experiences, in order to create what fans will certainly call a definitive look at the societal and philosophical impact of Morrison and company, the book endeavors to take the music beyond the critical eye. Without question, The Doors played a significant role in Kirstein’s life, and it is a fascinating life that is described throughout the book. In relating his theories about the music and lyrics to so much of his own life on such a profoundly personal life, Kirstein creates his singular, powerful review of The Doors and of Jim Morrison.
It is still essential to understand that if you absolutely hate this band, you’re going to struggle to care about everything Kirstein commits to this book. I would strongly suggest sticking with it. I did, and I’m glad I did. Some Are Born to Endless Night details a fascinating spiritual journey. It also moves across the bizarre world of The Doors lyrics in a way that will make you grateful that people can reach into their musical education like this, and create something that anyone can relate to.
Some Are Born to Endless Night goes down several paths, in order to create the one. Each of those paths are fascinating unto themselves. Taken as a whole, Gerry Kirstein proves that music is a fluid concept that does not necessarily live and die in its actual time.