ROCK IS NOT DEAD

February 13, 2012 – 4:37 am

We’re celebrating The Doors 40th at BigO. As long as there are fans, there will be sharing.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

  

THE DOORS
The Rock Is Dead Sessions [no label, 2CD, Artwork by Sgt Weatherman]

Sessions at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, Feb 25, 1969. Ex- SBD stereo. This is possibly a copy of Bruce Botnick’s tape. It is a 2nd gen. chrome cassette.

“OK, finally got this up for everyone…

“Took a while because I have several ‘master’ versions. Version ‘1′ comes from a tape copy from Sandy Gibson who produced The Doors radio show in the late ’80s. Presumably from the band who were involved.

“Source ‘2′, which is not included here is a known 2nd gen. from Greg Shaw.

“It runs exactly the same as version one, but the sound was not as good, at least to my ears… so I left it out of this torrent.

“Source ‘3′ comes from another private source direct from a Bruce Botnick cassette. Also 2nd gen., Source ‘3′ is the best sounding and comes from a direct source on metal tape BUT, it’s the chopped up 37 min version… at least worthy for the long passages and the upgraded sound on ‘Whiskey, Mystics and Men’. Enjoy… more to follow! PEACE!” - Maggie7

Maggie7 shared her copy of this Doors session in March 2007. For the longest time, since the early ’80s, a 21-minute edited version with Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor tagged at the end has circulated. That version, presumably mixed by Doors’ producer Paul Rothchild, was finally released in 1997 on The Doors Box Set.

It wasn’t until 1994 that the full sessions for Feb 25 surfaced on European bootlegs like Missing Links, Missing Tapes and Mystic Man. Possibly judged to be too raw, management opted for Rothchild’s edit which captured the essence of the sessions, Jim’s rant at the co-option of rock as art into rock as commerce. Rothchild’s inclusion of the Adagio gave the proceedings an eerie, solemn tone.

The following is one of many accounts of the session on Feb 25, 1969.

An excerpt taken from Stephen Davis’s book on Jim Morrison, p.312-313:

On Tuesday, February 25, 1969, the Doors were recording at Sunset Sound. Jim laid down two stentorian versions of “When I Was Back in Seminary School,” his scary southern gospel radio riff, plus a blues titled “Build Me a Woman” - also known as “The Devil Is a Woman,” lifted from Robert Johnson’s “Me And The Devil.” A new bootleg record of the unreleased Robert Johnson recordings had just appeared, and Jim immediately reworked “Love in Vain,” which the Rolling Stones would soon appropriate. He also cut a sing-song fragment called “Whiskey, Mystics, and Men,” with accompaniment by the band.

That evening the Doors and their entourage went out to supper together at a local Mexican joint, the Blue Boar, where they stuffed themselves in a private dining room and drank beer and tequila for a couple of hours. Well lubed, they returned to the studio, and started jamming. Jim sang Elvis’s “Love Me Tender” and, as the band played free form R&B, started improvising about the death of rock and roll. He kept repeating “Rock is dead,” and “Listen, listen, I don’t wanna hear no more talk about revolution,” as if trying to damn the rock movement as something that was definitely over. “I’m not talking about no revolution,” Jim sang. “I’m not talking about no demonstration. I’m talking about… the death of rock and roll… The death of rock, is the death of me… And rock is dead… We’re dead! All right! Yeah… Rock is dead!”

This was then interspersed with a memory riff. The singer was now a child, overhearing his mother complain about him to his father. “Mama didn’t like the way I did my thing. Papa says, ‘You gotta hit him, baby.’ …And I’m feeling real bad, real bad, real bad.”

The “Rock Is Dead” jam - 45 minutes of primal bar-band R&B - was Jim Morrison’s disgusted, explicit farewell to the rock movement that had launched him into immortality. It summed up the depressive, changing climate of the youth movement of 1969, when the Haight-Asbury had become a slum of panhandlers, burnouts and runaways. Led Zeppelin was hammering its way to the top. Ken Kesey had denounced LSD. The Nixon presidency escalated the war in Vietnam and started persecuting its critics.

The Doors had lost the avant-garde, and were now hated by the same writers who had fawned on them the year before. Jim Morrison’s original audience - college students and bohemians who responded to the long silences and mannered gestures of rock theater - had been replaced by dopey high school kids, pressed together like goats, giggling at “The End” and cat-calling to Jim, “Hey, you wanna fuck me?” It was all too much. For Jim, rock was truly dead.

Jim later explained: “We needed another song for this album. We were wrecking our brains trying to think - what song? We started throwing up these old songs in the studio. Blues trips. Rock classics. Finally we just started playing, and went through the whole history of rock music - blues, rock and roll, Latin jazz, surf music, the whole thing. I called it ‘Rock Is Dead.’ I doubt if anyone will ever hear it.”

Listen to it now.
- The Little Chicken

A huge thanks to Maggie7 for sharing her tapes and to Sgt Weatherman for the beautiful artwork.

CAUTION: There is some swearing, please do not download if you are sensitive to strong language.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1: Version 1 (TT: 66:11m)
Track 101. Roadhouse Blues vocal vamp fragment (644k)
Track 102. Seminary School (playback over bit of track) (1.0MB)
Track 103. Talk (378k)
Track 104. Seminary School/Whisky Mystics… (full take) (4.1MB)
Track 105. Whisky Mystics… cont. (2.5MB)

Rock Is Dead (pt. 1)
Track 106. Love Me Tender (3.3MB)
Track 107. “Gonna save the whole world” (17.5MB)
Track 108. Woman Is A Devil/Rock and Roll is Dead (10.2MB)
Track 109. “No impablimations… let’s roll!…” (4.6MB)

Rock Is Dead (pt. 2)
Track 110. Boogie All Night Long/rap (7.2MB)
Track 111. Rock and Roll Woman (9.1MB)
Track 112. Queen of the Magazines (6.2MB)
Track 113. “Madison” (fragment)/Wipe out (Ventures song) (2.4MB)

Rock Is Dead (pt. 3)
Track 114. Naked Woman (3.4MB)
Track 115. Rock Me (7.5MB)
Track 116. Mystery Train/Train jam (with Jim Morrison on harp)/”Big Black Train” (7.0MB)
Track 117. “A little piece…” (3.6MB)
Track 118. “I could not help myself…” (2.0MB)
Track 119. “Rock and roll is dead” (3.0MB)
Track 120. “It’s over…I feel so sad…” (4.9MB)
Track 121. “The death of rock….” conclusion (Jim on harp) (5.1MB)

Disc 2 Version no. 3 (RK/BB tape Tracks 1-13 - 37:19m)
Tracks 14-18 were extras on the metal cassette.
Track 201. Petition the Lord (tk.1)/talk (1.1MB)
Track 202. Love Me Tender (pt 2 only) (2.3MB)
Track 203. Rock is Dead (edited) (10.2MB)
Track 204. Woman is the Devil (?) bass solo part (3.3MB)
Track 205. “I wanna talk to them peoples…”/”No Revolution… No impablimations… let’s roll!…”/Boogie All Night Long/rap (3.6MB)
Track 206. “I Wanna See Some Dancin’ in the Streets…”/Rock and Roll Woman (10.6MB)
Track 207. Queen of the Magazines/”Madison” (fragment) (6.1MB)
Track 208. Wipe Out (Ventures song, cuts) (1.9MB)
Track 209. Naked Woman (cuts - BUT has more complete part before jam which cuts on other versions)/Rock Me (cuts) (6.9MB)
Track 210. Mystery Train (cuts) (338k)
Track 211. Train jam (with Jim on harp)/”Big Black Train” (cuts) (2.7MB)
Track 212. “A little piece…/Don’t do it…/I could not help myself../Rock and Roll is Dead” (4.9MB)
Track 213. “It’s over… I feel so sad…/we had some good times…/under the ground…/the death of rock…” conclusion (Jim on harp) (5.5MB)

Extras
Track 214. Whiskey, Mystics and Men (with “petition…” intro) (6.0MB)
Track 215. Love me Tender (short) (1.2MB)
Track 216. Woman Is A Devil (6.6MB)
Track 217. Train jam (edit) (2.4MB)
Track 218. Rock is Dead jam (edit) (1.1MB)

This is the best compilation of Doors rarities, the 4CD Doors Boxset. A truncated version of the famous Feb 25, 1969 session was finally released with this box. Buy it here.

Stephen Davis’s book, Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, was published in 2004. Buy it here.

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  1. 10 Responses to “ROCK IS NOT DEAD”

  2. WOW! Lot’s of Doors material being posted. Thanks a bunch!

    By Tom on Feb 13, 2012

  3. Great post! The mysterious “Rock is Dead” sessions are not so much an undiscovered masterpiece, but a rare unvarnished look at the Doors in full improv mode, both musicians and singer feeling good after food and drink, starting off in the blues mode, then playing off each other, going in all directions, following the inebriated muse wherever she takes them.

    Much of Jim’s improved raps here would surface later at Miami, where the full rage of his anger would devastate the audience in probably the most notorious crash-and-burn performance ever given by a major rock band. Yeah, he definitely had “a few things to get off my mind”….

    By lowendbill on Feb 13, 2012

  4. Tho I’m not the biggest fan of drunk Morrison, this is pretty damned irristable. Thanks for posting. And for the rock and roll record, while The Ventures (and every other instrumental band) took a go at Wipeout, it was actually recorded by The Surfaris.

    By ter-jack on Feb 13, 2012

  5. Jim’s facial facade formed the right ritualistical moth rode into town on a greyhound bust of Hallelu.

    By Timmy on Feb 13, 2012

  6. The Doors were the first band that I ever got into (back in 1981 no less). This should be a very interesting listen. I remember reading about these sessions, but never had the chance to hear them. Looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing.

    By MisterManiac on Feb 17, 2012

  7. track 208 sounds a lot more like Pipeline than Wipeout.

    By sluggo on Feb 18, 2012

  8. I only heard about these and really look forward to finally getting to hear it. Thanks

    By Matt on Feb 29, 2012

  9. Mother? Yes son? I want to……..

    wish you Happy Mother’s Day!

    By lowendbill on May 12, 2014

  10. ABC7.com staff

    Updated 3 mins ago

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) —
    A suspected DUI driver was arrested after a car plowed into a group of pedestrians on a sidewalk in West Hollywood late Tuesday night, leaving four of them injured.

    The harrowing collision happened shortly before midnight in front of the Whisky a Go Go, located at the intersection of Sunset and San Vicente boulevards.

    According to witnesses, the four people were standing outside the legendary concert venue on the Sunset Strip when the driver swerved and struck them. The victims, two of whom were hospitalized, each suffered minor injuries, said Lt. Hector Mancinas of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    The identity of the motorist was not immediately released.

    A Lyft sticker was seen in the vehicle’s windshield, which was visibly shattered after the incident.

    By ScarRad on Oct 4, 2018

  11. Hello,
    just to tell you that I got an error message 404 no found when trying to download the files. Many thanks in advance if you can reup them. Congratulations for your blog and many tanks for that you share.
    best regards,
    Robert

    By Robert Droin on Nov 27, 2020

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