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The premiere of “Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors,” at Asbury Park Music And Film Festival is now sold out!.

Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors is a concert documentary from a 2016 all-star performance in Los Angeles that John Densmore and Robby Krieger, the two surviving members of The Doors, developed to celebrate what would have been Manzarek’s 70th birthday. As well as the all star concert there’s never before seen footage from The Doors archives and new Interviews from Densmore and Krieger. It’s a one of a kind documentary about a very special person and a legendary rock band.

VIDEO: The Doors at the Asbury Park Convention Hall in New Jersey in ’68. See more footage in the film, “Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors”!

Find out more about the festival here: http://www.apmff.org

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In the late 1960s, the Doors, and particularly their frontman Jim Morrison, were one of the most unpredictable live acts on the planet. You simply didn’t know what they were going to do or how long they were going to do it for. Just two weeks after the Fillmore East opened, Bill Graham booked the Southern California psych rockers to play four sets of music spread across two nights. The final set on the second evening was the one to catch.

Doors Jim Morrison Performing Fillmore East

That night, the Doors played their regular collection of material but apparently enjoyed themselves so much that they came back after most of the crowd had thinned out and played again for nearly an hour. It was an incredible showing, and left a tremendous impression on one audience member in particular: future punk poetess Patti Smith. Her boyfriend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, was working as an usher at the venue and managed to get her a free pass to the show. It was a galvanizing experience, as she explained in her autobiography Just Kids. “I felt, watching Jim Morrison, that I could do that,” Smith wrote.

 

 

 

 

The rock world was still staggering from the back-to-back deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin when they were suddenly and mysteriously joined in pop star heaven by Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors.

Hendrix’s aura has been kept financially floating by virtue of many posthumous live albums and filmed tributes, and Joplin is famed by her biopic, as a result of two recent biographies and a court dispute over the nature of her death. Morrison is barely mentioned but with recent live albums released a plenty and now the newly released London Fog Box Set of the Doors early live set at the infamous tiny venue, The near future, we are told, Jerry Hopkin’s book on Morrison will appear in print .

The Doors peaked early, with one remarkably strong year or so, By the time of his death, Morrison was definitely seemed to be losing interest. Yet for a while he and his group were one of rock’s premier attractions and in many ways, some fortunate and some not, one of the most influential. In early 1967 the word on The Doors came from two sources: Crawdaddy! and Murray the K’s WOR-FM show, where Buffalo Springfield proclaimed The Doors their favorite L.A. band. And The Doors‘ debut album was a singularly special event on a year that was brimming with stellar first efforts (Moby Grape, Country Joe, Buffalo Springfield). There was something foreboding about The Doors, something candlelit about the lyrical imagery and entirely sensual about the instrumental interplay. One is tempted to describe them as, from the very first lines of their very first album (“You know the day destroys the night/Night divides the day”), the original dialectical rock band. Morrison the writer, self-consciously poetic, dealt in contradiction: light/dark, death/life, water/fire, to a greater extent than any other rock lyricist. In that winter, The Doors was an underground experience of mystery and intrigue.

By summer, of course, it was impossible to avoid the song Light My Fire, an ever present invocation that marks its time as precisely as Sgt. Pepper and that became part of the general vocabulary. Around the same time, The Doors began appearing in concert on the east coast.

The initial live Doors shows were hardly satisfactory. Ray Manzarek supplied the bass line on organ, More crucial, however, were Morrison’s shortcomings. He had yet to accommodate his live approach from what he used in clubs to one suited to the concert hall. The sets were short, 30-45 minutes, and consisted of rehashed album material that was neither effectively staged nor good-naturedly spontaneous.

As it happens, they still had some reserve life in them. In March 1968, Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East and on the second weekend, following the Janis Joplin opening night , The Band played one of the most mesmerizing performances you could have hoped to witness. After dismal sets by Ars Nova and Chrome Syrcus, The Doors came out and spellbound an audience with a show of intensive drama and uncommonly well-played music. Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore locked into a wholly cohesive, responsive unit fronted by a man who appeared possessed.

Rock theatre was what it was on that practically virginal Fillmore stage, and there had been nothing quite like it before in those days before showman like Alice, David and Iggy. Lit by a single spot and accompanied by a subtle light show, Morrison dove head on into When the Music’s Over , plunging into a two-hour set that included the full-length version of Celebration of the Lizard, a bizarre mixture of erotic rock and neo-beat poetics. What was remarkable was the absolute control that Morrison held over his material and over the audience. Over the previous summer a mess of marvelous rock was played in New York City by The Who, The Yardbirds, The Dead and many more groups who obviously surpassed The Doors in terms of rock kinetics and energy, but this was different. That was brilliant rock for dancing, shouting and destroying; this was Performance

At that concert, The Doors screened a short film cued to promote their newest single, The Unknown Soldier. It was a crude work, influenced, I know now, by Godard and Bunuel, and filled with Morrison-as-martyr iconography, simulated vomiting and political montage. And yet it worked. Morrison the U.C.L.A. film student knew how to use Morrison the performer in an effective manner and, as should be evident from his interviews and his book of poetry, he was both highly intuitive and intellectually curious about the theories and possibilities of cinema. It would have been no surprise had he became a competent, if heavy-handed, filmmaker. “The Unknown Soldier” brought the crowd to its feet and for an encore The Doors did a new, extended The End.

Jim Morrison and The Doors were, at that moment, superstars. It was a very short moment. The follow-up single to “Soldier” was Hello, I Love You, and the third album, Waiting for the Sun, was a little uninspired. “Celebration of the Lizard” was printed on the inside of the uni-pack, but a mere four minutes of it was on the record . In black and white, moreover, it seemed silly, an unstructured tour-de-forceby a mediocre poet.

There were some memorable television appearances on Ed Sullivan and Jonathan Winters (on which Morrison tore apart some scenery) and on a PBS special devoted to them that had Richard Goldstein and Al Aronowitz debating their worth as well as the premiere of ‘The Soft Parade’, an epic work with all of the pretense and none of the style of their earlier attempts at this form .

The Morrison legacy is one remarkable album that fuses for all time his concern with blues and theatre (Willie Dixon and Brecht/Weill) and a dynamic on-stage persona that he could not sustain. He is also the ancestor of all those rockers, with theatrical pretensions that revolve around death, mysticism and evil sexuality.

The Doors are to release a new album, London Fog 1966, which will consist of recently discovered live recordings, the earliest known to exist.

Available From Rhino/Bright Midnight Archives on December 9th, they will be released in a Collector’s Edition Boxed Set on CD And Vinyl along with 8 x 10 prints of unseen photos and replica memorabilia.

The music was recorded during the Doors tenure as the house band at the London Fog, a Sunset Strip dive bar located close to Whisky a Go Go. The seven song set has been remastered by Doors engineer Bruce Botnick.

The set includes covers of standards like Muddy Waters’ “Rock Me” and “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man”. The set also includes performances of “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Big Joe Williams), “Don’t Fight It” (Wilson Pickett) and “Lucille” (Little Richard) alongside two originals: “Strange Days” and “You Make Me Real”, which wasn’t officially released on a studio album until Morrison Hotel in 1970.

The Doors band in 1968

Many of the countless Doors live albums are far from essential, but this one feels genuinely important. The recently discovered 1966 audience recording from a gig at the London Fog in Los Angeles, captures the band in their lesser-known embryonic period. Their sound is already in place and Jim Morrison is on the verge of becoming the Lizard King, using the near-empty Sunset Strip venue to develop the necessary stagecraft to get his mojo rising. The various covers range from smouldering, sensual blues (BB King’s Rock Me) to raw, roughhouse rockers (Big Joe Williams’ Baby Please Don’t Go). The two originals – a tightly wound, thrillingly focused You Make Me Real and a particularly ominous, spooked and spooky Strange Days – may be respectively two and four years away from their studio versions, but already sound eerily fully formed. Throughout, disinterested audience chatter and the chink of glasses belies the fact that within months, the London Fog’s unknown house band would be among the hottest groups in the world.

London Fog 1966 track Listing:

“Rock Me”
“Baby, Please Don’t Go”
“You Make Me Real”
“Don’t Fight It”
“I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man”
“Strange Days”
“Lucille”

 

<em>Morrison Hotel</em> (1970)

“Morrison Hotel” (sometimes referred to as Hard Rock Café from the title of the first side of the LP, with the second side titled “Morrison Hotel” is the fifth studio album by the American psychedelic rock band The Doors, recorded from between August 1966 and November 1969 and released by Elektra in February 1970. The group went back to basics and back to their roots. On this album, there is a slight steer towards the  blues sound, which would be fully explored by the band on their next album, “L.A. Woman“.

Between Jim’ Morrison’s, tour-killing obscenity charge (stemming from a Miami concert where he may or may not have exposed himself on stage), declining sales, and the negative reviews given to their previous two albums, many people gave up on The Doors.  but “Morrison Hotel” , with its tougher, back-to-basics sound, reestablished them as America’s greatest rock & roll band. It became a Top 5 album, but it’s only single, “You Make Me Real,” didn’t even make the Top 40. Still, “Roadhouse Blues” (the single’s b-side), “Peace Frog,” and “Waiting For The Sun” have since become some of The Doors’ best-known songs.

The cover photo was taken at the actual Morrison Hotel located at 1246 South Hope Street in Los Angeles. The band asked the owners if they could photograph the hotel and they declined, so the band went inside when nobody was looking and took the photograph anyway.  The desk Clerk wouldn’t let the Doors shoot their cover shot in the Lobby, but when he stepped out for his break photographer Henry Diltz stayed outside the hotel, snapping away while the band rushed inside and gathered behind the hotel’s now famous window. The rear cover features a photograph of the Hard Rock Café on 300 East 5th Street, Los Angeles.  The founders of the later and otherwise unrelated Hard Rock Cafe chain used the name, having seen it on the Doors’ album. The original cafe is no longer open. After they wrapped up their hit-and-run cover shoot, The Doors hit LA’s skid row to grab a drink. They settled in to a dive called the Hard Rock Café, where Diltz took the photo for the album’s back cover. After the album came out, two guys called to ask if they could use the name of the bar for a new restaurant they were opening in London, paving the way for hundreds of restaurants, hotels and casinos. When it was originally released on vinyl, side one of Morrison Hotel was labeled Hard Rock Cafe. Side two was Morrison Hotel.

One of Morrison Hotel’s most revered cuts was actually supposed to be the title track to an earlier album. “The artwork was done, but the song wasn’t ready,” said keyboardist Ray Manzarek. It took a year, but they finally got “Waiting For The Sun” right.

doorsmorrison

You’d think having your hotel on the cover of a seminal rock album would inspire you to fix up the place and raise the rent, but the owners of the Morrison were among LA’s most notorious slum-lords. By the time the hotel was shut down, they’d been convicted on 21 counts of violating fire, safety and health codes, with the city citing vermin infestations, broken heaters, lead poisoning, and raw sewage leaks among the offenses.

Even though no major hit singles were drawn from the album, “Morrison Hotel” re-established the Doors as favorites of the critics, peaking at No. 4 on the US album chart. The album also became the band’s highest charting studio album in the UK,

For the 40th anniversary the album was re-released in completely remixed and remastered form. This practice extended to incorporating vocal and instrumental components which were not part of the original album. According to Ray Manzarek, “There are background vocals by Jim Morrison, piano parts of mine that weren’t used and guitar stingers and solos by Robby Krieger that never made the original recordings that can now be heard for the first time.

morrisonhotellabel

Lonnie Mack, who plays bass on “Roadhouse Blues” was better known as a top-shelf blues guitarist. In fact, Stevie Ray Vaughan said that, as a kid, he practiced guitar to one of Lonnie’s albums so many times his dad destroyed it.
The stripped-back recording sessions toughened up and focused The Doors on stage as well as in the studio. Before it was even released, “Roadhouse Blues” became a fixture in their set lists and many fans still consider it their best live cut.

Powered by the lead single “LIGHT MY FIRE” the Doors debut release in 1967 served as the dark cousin to the summer of pop, the band went on to become one of the most Influential and controversial rock acts ever, also adding to the myth frontman lyricist and iconic Jim Morrison’s strange death in a Paris hotel in 1971 only added to the many myths this band have conceived

The Doors music album