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The Doors’ last charting single, ‘The Mosquito,’ as marketed by Presbyterians on Christian radio
06.15.2017
09:54 am
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The Doors’ last charting single, ‘The Mosquito,’ as marketed by Presbyterians on Christian radio


 
One hears a lot of contrary opinions, spending year after year in the orbit of musicians, record collectors, and resentful nerds. That the Beatles “sucked” before they started dropping acid; that the Sex Pistols weren’t a “real” punk band; that Robert Plant or Jimmy Page (!) or John Bonham was the “weak link” in Led Zeppelin; that Henry Rollins ruined Black Flag; that Bill Ward did not play the drums well in Black Sabbath; that Robert Fripp can’t take a solo; that the Doors would have been great if not for Jim Morrison. It feels so good to hold contrary opinions, and it feels best when they are incorrect! “Fuck you, the truth, my will is very big!”

Anyone who’s worked in a record store for even a few weeks should have a ready answer to the complaint about the Doors. “Right this way! I’ve got just the thing for the sophisticated palate of a discerning head such as yourself. Sir or madam, you are going to love these albums the Doors made after Jim took his terminal bath, Other Voices and Full Circle. Really paved the way for Robby and John’s later work in the Butts Band! Now let me show you our $100 wall copy of the Velvet Underground’s Squeeze...”

Robby Krieger is a supremely gifted guitarist and songwriter. He wrote “Wishful Sinful,” one of the Doors’ loveliest songs, all by himself. So I imagine it was kind of disappointing when, the Lizard King having abdicated his fleshly throne, it was Krieger’s turn to sing, and out came such sub-Jimmy Buffett entertainments as “Variety Is the Spice of Life” and “I’m Horny, I’m Stoned.” Then again, there was probably plenty of disappointment to go around in 1972.
 

 
“The Mosquito” was a worthy sequel to those efforts. Krieger’s Latin-inflected update of “Wake Up Little Susie” made it to #85 on the Billboard Hot 100 with lyrics that flatly contradicted “Break on Through”:

No me moleste mosquito
No me moleste mosquito
No me moleste mosquito

Why don’t you go home?

No me moleste mosquito
Let me eat my burrito
No me moleste mosquito
Why don’t you go home?

(They also contradict a significant line in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. Jim wants all of “us” to go out and “get some tacos”; Robby wants to be left alone with “his” burrito. Why are you trying to close the stable doors of perception when the horse of subjectivity has already bolted, dude???)

Incredibly, just three years after Miami and a single year after Jim’s death from la bebida and la droga, the “You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!” band was endorsed by the Presbyterians. Ray Manzarek gave an interview to TRAV, the Television, Radio and Audio-Visual Committee of the U.S. Presbyterian Church, which produced “What’s It All About?”, a series of “religious public service programming” promo records profiling musicians. (Can’t wait to hear the one they made with DEVO.) In ‘72, TRAV issued discs promoting the Doors’ pretty “Ships with Sails,” from Other Voices, and Full Circle‘s “The Mosquito.”

I’ve only heard the episode of “What’s It All About?” embedded below, and it’s weird. As Manzarek is describing the feeling the Doors generate in concert, host Bill Huie cuts in to keep things orthodox, offering questionable glosses on Ray’s expressions of cosmic consciousness:

Manzarek: It’s a feeling of communal oneness. It’s a feeling that we’re all brothers, and we are all indeed spirit in the flesh.

Huie: Spirit and flesh. The two terms seem to contradict each other. Spirit seems so far removed from the flesh that feels the joy and pain of daily life, the flesh that signifies all the limitations we face as mortal beings.

Manzarek: To me, it’s that all existence is beautiful. All people are beautiful. If you have flesh, you’re beautiful. Specifically, what the Doors are up to will just be further explorations and examinations of the human condition.

Huie: God and the human condition. Even to die the death of frail flesh—but then with the spirit to overcome death. And that’s what it’s all about!

Below, explore the theological niceties of “The Mosquito” with Ray Manzarek and Bill Huie:

And here’s audio of the Doors playing “Good Rockin’” and “The Mosquito” on The Dick Cavett Show in the summer of 1972:

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.15.2017
09:54 am
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