April 18, 2013

From the Editor: The Doors, the Buick, and the book

Drummer John Densmore comes to Maine to promote his book, 'The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes on Trial'.

By ROD HARMON Deputy Managing Editor

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

The Doors (John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek) in the late ’60s.

Courtesy photos

click image to enlarge

The limited edition Doors single for Record Store Day.

Additional Photos Below

Now, I'm not gonna go on tour with them with some "Jimitator." (Laughs) but, well, maybe for some Live Aid benefit or something, maybe a one-off, altruistic endeavor with some wonderful singer, that's fine.

So you're not disavowing performing with them again.

I'm actually throwing out the idea, if it was not a tour for big bucks.

And would you call yourself The Doors if you did it?

It would probably be, uh I don't, know, Eddie Vedder with The Doors, or Bono with The Doors. I don't know, Rod, I'm fishing here.

I interviewed Ray in 2003 when they were first taking what they were calling "The Doors of the 21st Century" out on tour. I would like to read you a few of his comments from that interview, if I may.

Oh, wow.

I asked him for his response to the lawsuit filed by you and Jim's estate. He said, "It's another typical American frivolous lawsuit. It's a nuisance suit that has to be addressed, but it's just a nuisance suit someone's got an ax to grind and wants to make sure people know his name and that he's an important drummer."

(Laughs). Oh, dear. And you want my response to that?!

Yes, and he also said you told him that you would have joined the tour if they got David Bowie to sing lead.

Oh, but Jim's hair wasn't red! (Laughs.) I've said for years that no one can fill Jim's leather pants well, through trials and tribulation, through appeals and even trying to go to the Supreme Court, Jim's estate and I have prevailed. And I'm pleased. And that's the answer to that. And I don't wanna -- it's a statement he made when we initially began this trouble, and it obviously riled him up. And I'm trying to calm things down.

Is it finally settled now? Have all the appeals been exhausted?

Oh, sure. Oh, yeah, yeah.

So have you talked to them since?

We've emailed for my own feelings, I needed to have available this story, and now I feel a cloud lifting having my story available.

Do you collaborate on things like the "Perception" box set (released in 2006) or the 40th anniversary reissue of "L.A. Woman"?

Oh, yeah.

Do you participate in that as a group, or separately?

Well, due to technology, certainly, we don't have to have meetings, we can email. All of those projects are primarily headed up by Bruce Botnick, our longtime engineer who recorded everything originally So he sends us stuff, and we go to his house.

In your earlier book, "Riders on the Storm" (1991), you wrote in depth about your relationship with Jim -- about how you admired him and loved him like a brother, but you were also at times afraid of him, of his "Mr. Hyde" persona. Did that come out just when he was drinking, or was it more unpredictable?

Oh, primarily when he was drinking, yeah. And back then, we didn't know he had a disease called alcoholism. Y'know, people ask, "If Jim were alive today, would he be clean and sober?" And I've always said, "No. He was a kamikaze drunk." But y'know, I'm changing my mind now maybe he could have -- I don't know. Monday-morning quarterbacking is easy.

What is one of your fondest memories of Jim?

Wow. Um maybe when -- this was a guy who never sang before us, and he was so nervous in the first few club gigs, he wouldn't face the audience. He wanted to look at us, because that made him feel secure. I would say that when we were the house band at the Whiskey, and he got the courage to turn around and look at the people he was singing to. It was really sweet and empowering.

What do you hope people take away from reading "The Doors Unhinged?"

Even in hard economic times, if you hang onto integrity, in the long run, you'll feel better about yourself and the world. Not that it will necessarily financially pay off, but -- what did Tom Waits say? "You change your lyrics to a jingle, you just sold your audience." But I want to say that new bands who are trying to pay the rent, I get that, that they might need to do that

Lewis Hyde, who has this book called "The Gift," says there's a gift to every artistic endeavor, even if you pay through an opera ticket or a concert ticket. But if you turn the whole art into a commodity, then that gift between the artist and the listener is gone. And you don't want to do that.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or:


Twitter: RHarmonPPH

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


More PPH Blogs

Get the GO RSS!