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June 13, 2003 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-13

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Relighting The Fire

A new configuration of the Doors, including
original Jewish member Robby Krieger, comes
together to play the group's classic hits live.

MARTIN NATCHEZ
Special to the Jewish News

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he idea for the creation of
"The Doors 21st Century
Tour" was simple: Take the
music out of the bottle,
add a fresh new voice, and turn the
legendary "Light My Fire" rock
group's past into the future.
Initially, the plan was set in motion
by the favorable response to a 2001
episode of VH1's Storytellers, featuring
the reunion of surviving original
members, keyboardist Ray Manzarek;
guitarist Robby Krieger, who is Jewish;
and drummer John Densmore, along
with guest lead singers from contem-
porary rock bands who had idolized
deceased frontman Jim Morrison.
With the feel satisfactorily resem-
bling the real deal, Manzarek and
Krieger entertained thoughts of a
more permanent bonding that would
reactivate the Doors in the new mil-
lennium.
Then, Densmore brought suit
against his fellow bandmates, opting
not to perform and citing an ironclad
agreement that they could not per-
form as the Doors without him.
A second lawsuit would follow, this
time for $1 million, brought by
Stewart Copeland, formerly the drum-
mer of the Police, who charged that
his agreement to replace Densmore
was abruptly terminated. (It was ami-
cably settled last week.)
And, in April, Jim Morrison's elderly
parents began legal action_ against
Manzarek and Krieger, claiming the-
two musicians could not use the
Doors' original logo — nor infringe
on their son's memory.
"It's just kind of crazy," a bewildered
Krieger says about the internal family
feud. "We just wish John would just
come play with us and there would be
no problem. But he's decided that he
doesn't want to play, and for some rea-
son, doesn't want us to, either.
'And [Morrison's] estate has just
jumped on the bandwagon. They're
probably hoping they can make some
money off the deal. I never thought
this would happen, but it's the age of
the lawsuit."

Despite the legal storming, Krieger
remains laidback and uplifted.
After decades of living in the shad-
ows of the Doors' cult and producing
several solo albums that have ranged
from reggae to jazz, the 57-year-old
musician and avid golfer feels the time
is right for the music of the Doors to
be performed live, even minus
Morrison, whose spot has been filled
by Ian Astbury of the Cult.
"Ian is great, and while he doesn't
try to copy Jim word for word, at cer-
tain points in every song, he does hit a
scream or a note that Jim did hit, and
it brings you right back," notes
Krieger.
The new .Doors configuration is
scheduled to perform in concert at
DTE Energy Music Theatre Friday,
June 20. Rounding out the stage line-
up is bass player Angelo Barbera and
drummer Ty Dennis — both sideman
from the guitarist's own Robby Krieger
Band.
Densmore's decision to stay on the
sideline and contend the revamped act
should call itself "the Windows" or
"the Hinges," with his blessings, begs
the question, "Who can claim to be
the Doors?"
Yes, the charisma may have been
Morrison's, the arrangements
Manzarek's and the tempo timed by
Densmore, but when it came to writ-
ing the songs, Krieger was the musical
mastermind behind the 1993 Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted
group's classic hits "Love Me Two
and "Love Her
Times," "Touch
Madly."
Add to those credits his drafting of
"Light My Fire," which spent three
weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100
chart in 1967.
The following year, Jose Feliciano
completely rearranged the song into a
middle-of-the-road, Top-3 smash.
Krieger candidly says Feliciano's ver-
sion took him by surprise.
"At first, I hated it," he recalls. "It
was so different, and he did do some
great guitar stuff in there. But, to me,
it was such a sanitized version. The
more I heard it [though], the more I
began to like it, and I really started lik-
ing Jose. He was really quite a talent.

me

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