The album that changed my life:
With Jim Morrison as the great door opener
Magne Furuholmen is currently touring the country to promote his solo debut “Past Perfect Future Tense”, and he is also exhibiting at the Galleri Ismene in Trondheim with his new artworks (called “Payne’s Grey”). These were actually two topics we didn’t discuss [when we met] at the Hotell Viking in Trondheim. No, we were talking about The Doors and in particular the album “Waiting For The Sun” from the summer of 1968.
Magne Furuholmen went through the same adolescence procedure as most of us do.
In early youth it’s all about not sticking out from the rest of your schoolmates.
That’s why I listened to Deep Purple, Nazareth and those bands that were big in the early 70s. But it so happened that Paul (Waaktaar-Savoy) had an older sister who was a lot hipper and cooler than us, and thanks to her we were introduced to 60s rock.
Even though we were in the mid-70s by then, we started listening to the great heroes from the 60s. I remember well that we listened to Janis Joplin a lot, and the summer when we were 13-14 years old we got a big kick on Hendrix.
I remember that I bought a Hendrix album that was purple, and wasn’t there a V-guitar on the cover, I wonder? That led myself and Paul into having a “buying the most Hendrix albums”-competition that summer. I remember Paul going on interrail and coming back with 18 Hendrix albums, while I had been even more hard-working and had bought 23 albums.
Shortly after that, I bought the Doors album that would become so important for me and my interest in music.
Me and Paul were already playing together at that time, I played guitar and Paul played the drums. But during that Hendrix-period, Paul also started to play guitar, so we were suddenly two guitarists. But when I heard The Doors and especially Ray Manzarek on keyboards, that made me change to keyboards instead.
But I bought the album “Waiting For The Sun” in 1975/76, and this was several years after it had been released. The big single hit from that album was “Hello I Love You”, and that may have been the first song I liked, but by then the single had disappeared from record stores a long time ago. It was about the album as a whole, and we only bought albums, not singles. In hindsight, this is not the best among the Doors albums, but for me it was like a hydrogen bomb went off in my head when I first heard the music.
One reason why I bought the album was that I still had a major interest in the 60s bands, but the main factor was simply the cover. I thought the cover looked really cool, with the band standing on top of a grass-covered hill with the sunrise or sunset in the background, and I got tempted to try my luck.
It took a bit longer to convince Paul. He didn`t like The Doors to begin with, but after being exposed to some massive listening terror from me, he also become obsessed eventually.
The songs from the album that eventually took over as my favourites were probably “Yes, The River Knows” and “The Unknown Soldier”. In Bridges, we then entered a Doors inspired period where I learnt the technique of playing bass melodies with my left hand, and at the same time playing accompaniments or riffs with my right hand, heavily inspired by Manzarek. Paul played guitar, and after a while the studies of Jim Morrison’s lyrics shifted more into focus. We gradually bought all the other Doors albums, and even though the two previous records “The Doors” and “Strange Days” now appear as better albums, you never forget the first one you heard - and fell for.
It also became important to uniform yourself according to your taste in music. We had Doors T-shirts and buttons and felt like we became part of a family around the worshipping of The Doors. No matter if you were at home or abroad, you immediately felt a special connection to others who also wore similar merchandise. It was a social signal, saying that ‘you and me belong together because of something that the rest of the world doesn’t have‘. You could easily get an opening line to a conversation, thereby breaking the ice, or you could just get a nod of approval after looking at your T-shirt, knowing that we both had something in common.
Many years later I met Ray Manzarek in Los Angeles and found him to be a very strange guy, with constant hopes to resurrect his career. He clearly wanted to collaborate with us in a-ha, but nothing more came out of it other than the fact that I realised that this is a guy who is willing to do whatever it takes to experience success again.
He has now started a project called “The Doors of the 21st Century” together with Ian Astbury and Robby Krieger, which is some seriously terrible stuff.
I have listened to it, and I almost feel sorry for the man who is so desperately trying to breath life into something that was dead and buried ages ago.
The magic of The Doors was solely dependent on Jim Morrison, and the idea of re-creating a band without him is destined to fail.
A few years after we had discovered The Doors, me and Paul went on interrail together, and when we were in Paris it felt natural to visit the grave of Jim Morrison at Pére Lachaise. That was a strange sight, seeing all these old hippies sitting there playing guitar and singing old Doors songs. I don`t know what it did to me, but it was still kind of important to have been there. But to sit down and play songs was not what I wanted to do, that wasn`t what mattered.
The Doors movie was also a disappointment. Oliver Stone`s image of Jim Morrison is very different from mine. He was portrayed as a rowdy drunkard, and the musical and lyrical aspect was overlooked in the movie. Because it was the magic of the music and the way that the lyrics always lure you around the next corner that was the good thing about Jim Morrison and The Doors.
It is apparent to me when I look at my new album, “Past Perfect Future Tense”, that I have had Jim Morrison as an inspiration in the way I write lyrics. It isn`t that obvious to every listener, but for me who know the processes of writing lyrics, I can definitely see the inspiration and the way he wrote in my own works.
The Doors made music that I still listen to, even though I spend much time listening to a lot of the new music that`s made these days.
I think I must have bought the collection of Doors albums several times, and of course also on CD over time, so The Doors has a special place in me that will be there forever.
From the music newspaper Backstage (issue 6, 2004).
Magne Furuholmen interviewed by Hugo Eriksen. (Translation by Jakob)