If you know even one song from the iconic Vietnam War era band, you’ll recall the playful, dreamy and often jazzy organ melodies emanating from the speakers that helped distinguish The Doors from other bands of the time and establish them as one of the most influential rock bands in history. That sound was produced by founding member of the band Ray Manzarek who continued to write and perform long after the band lost its lead singer, Jim Morrison, to a drug overdose. Between the two of them, there was enough creativity and chaos to inspire millions of other musicians around the world and helped to define a genre outside of the typical rock and roll sound.
When Morrison died in 1971, The Doors continued to play with Manzarek on vocals until 1973 when they disbanded. A year later, Ray went on to start a long and successful solo career and eventually re-united with guitarist Robby Krieger for a reignition of The Doors under the moniker Manzarek-Krieger until a few months ago when Manzarek developed cancer in his bile ducts and passed on May 20th, 2013 at 3pm. A statement from his bandmate, Krieger, held passionate and loving memories:
I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
The reactionary church hasn’t done quite worse than protest a funeral, but that doesn’t mean there is any level of decency in it, even if the funeral is for a guitarist from a metal band known for its shock value satanism. Slayer, whose band logo is a version of the satanic pentagram with swords and skulls, has always made it a point to incite a reaction from religions and soccer moms, so it’s no wonder that the death of Jeff Hanneman would be heralded as a victory for fundamentalists Christians such as those found at the Westboro Baptist Church.
On Thursday last week, they tweeted:
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSays) May 17, 2013
While Slayer’s religious beliefs may differ vastly from the WBC, they share the same political belief in the freedom of speech. Unfortunately, the WBC is know to take it a step further by bringing their free speech to inappropriate gatherings. The sad, but humorous part about the whole thing? Unbeknownst to the WBC, and if Jeff Hanneman embraced the candid and satirical nature of the punk philosophy that fueled the music he played, would probably laugh and welcome the protest.
Last year, SNL had the displeasure of announcing the departure of two of the members of The Lonely Island trio, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, who were a major hit of the show for the past seven years. Over the next year, we’ll also be seeing four more departures from the show which will effectively mark the end of an era for Saturday Night Live comedy fans when cast members Bill hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Seth Meyers say goodbye to their tenure.
What’s the future hold for these guys? Seth Meyers has just signed on to be the new host of Late Night on NBC while current host Jimmy Fallon moves to The Tonight Show, and the other three all have movie roles in the works. Hader’s most recent upcoming film will be The To Do List alongside Andy Samberg, Fred Amrisen has two upcoming films The Smurfs 2 and Relanxious alongside Sudeikis who also has Tumbledown and We’re The Millers coming out this year.
When I read that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine were creating a music academy at USC, I immediately thought about how drastically different it would be in comparison to traditional music schools. Of course, Dre’s school is going to be geared towards the music business (or “innovation in business” as they put it), but it will also have an arts program, and the first thing that comes to mind is “hip hop is not going to die anytime soon.” But music is not all that will be taught there.
According to the announcement in the LATimes,
Instruction will involve engineering, computer science, fine arts, graphic design, business and leadership training.
and as Dean of Fine Arts at USC Erica Muhl said in an interview,
“Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity.”
While the NYTimes hopes the school will produce the next Steve Jobs, the question right now remains who will be one of the lucky 25 who manage to get in to the school on its first opening, and what should we really expect of them? Pop music has been forever cursed with echoes of regurgitated, and sometimes even stolen art, and while the donation is a beautiful contribution to the world of music education, it also carries a certain standard that could possibly alter the course of the students’ professional careers, and not necessarily in a good way. After all, half the donation is coming from a man who got that money from gloating on his records about selling drugs, treating women poorly, employing prostitutes, and killing people with guns, and while rapper Eminem said in the past that what is said on a record is much different than what is usually said in real life, that doesn’t necessarily mean that none of what has been said on a Dre record is true.
It’s also possible that this move by Dr. Dre could help to shift the discourse on rap records from violence and drugs to a more peaceful and educational movement, something we’ve recently seen from Snoop Lion (the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg), which is undoubtedly a natural progression in both the arts and in life. Violence, after all, has the power to ultimately hinder record and concert sales, especially if the listeners are in jail.