There’s a couple of things about this article. The first is that I was already going to point a finger at musician Steve Taylor for invoking the imagery of Jim Morrison to make a name for himself with a song titled “Jim Morrison‘s Grave.” But on reading his biography and reading a little bit about him it turns out it’s kind of an interesting story. The second thing is that Taylor’s song “Jim Morrison’s Grave” is from Taylor’s 1997 album “I Predict 1990.” I never heard of this song before, so forgive me if I’m just so unhip.
There’s one more thing I should let you know: Steve Taylor is a Christian rocker. I have to admit that “Christian rock” isn’t my thing, as there’s the inference that rock ‘n’ roll is ‘the devil’s music.’ But after listening to the song, well, rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll. Then there’s Taylor’s track record; he’s challenged hypocritical Christian attitudes and philosophies. One example is the song “I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good” which challenged the idea that you could be pro-life and support the blowing up of clinics where abortions are performed, entailing the killing of doctors or their staff. The song got Taylor’s album pulled from the shelves of Christian record stores. Another song of Taylor’s, “We Don’t Need No Colour Code”, was critical of Bob Jones’ Universities policy on interracial dating. Taylor’s music also got him MTV airplay and a song featured on the “Pump Up the Volume” soundtrack (a very underrated movie that you should see if you have the chance). Taylor has also been a filmmaker and a playwright.
Taylor has some unusual influences in John Davidson, Tony Orlando, Florence Henderson (!), and now wait for it, The Clash! That last influence is evident in the performance of “Jim Morrison’s Grave”, as the presentation is very punk-rock. The lyrics use some of Morrison’s imagery of lizards and snakes. In the reading of the lyrics Taylor questions fans’ reasons for going to Jim Morrison’s grave, and Morrison’s philosophy, and the Christian ending. Here are the lyrics:
Am I a pilgrim?
Or another souvenir hound?
In the city of lights I set my sights
On a king’s domain
It was a manhole
Dug over at the edge of town
And a spray can scrawl
On a cemetery wall
Says “You’d better behave”
Jim Morrison’s Grave
It’s getting cold here
And there ain’t a lizard in sight
Did the end begin
When you shed your skin
In the home of the brave?
Somebody shake him
From the land of larger than life
Where the remnant warn
Of a legend born
In a dead man’s cave
Jim Morrison’s Grave
I stay driven ’cause there’s nowhere to park
I can’t shut my eyes, I’m afraid of the Dark
I lie awake
That stone left me chilled to the bone
Sound the alarm before it’s done
Find Jim Morrision
Come away to Paris
Let him see another day
Let him fade out slowly
Only fools burn away
Let a true love show him what a heart can become
Somebody find Jim Morrison
Find Jim Morrison’s Grave
I get weary, Lord I don’t understand
How a seed get strangled in the heart of a man
While the music covers like an evening mist
Like a watch still ticking on a dead man’s wrist
What do you think of Taylor’s take on Jim Morrison and fans?
Steve Taylor has a new album out called “Goliath,” and he’s started a Kickstarter campaign to finance a tour but there is a video on the Kickstarter site Taylor made for his campaign in which he has to go to the DMV (Department of Music Veterans) to renew his license since he hasn’t released an album in twenty years. Taylor also has a Facebook page, and if you’re interested you can read his bio on Wikipedia.
Originally published December 16, 2014.