Posts Tagged ‘The Doors’

robby krieger set the night on fire

Fifty years after Jim Morrison’s mysterious death in Paris, enough books on the Doors have been published to fill several shelves at your local bookstore. John Densmore and the late Ray Manzarek wrote their memoirs, numerous biographies are on the market, and a few months ago, a coffee-table volume of Morrison’s lyrics, poetry, and musings arrived. The one band member who’s resisted relaying his version of events is guitarist Robby Krieger, but that silence ends with the publication of “Set the Night on Fire: Living, Dying and Playing Guitar With the Doors”, co-written with Jeff Alulis. The book hits shelves on October 12th. 

In the memoir, Krieger unearths his memories on the rise of the band, Morrison’s notorious arrest for public exposure in Miami, the recording of the band’s albums — including the final, “L.A. Woman”  Morrison’s death, and how the surviving band members coped. Krieger addresses various myths and legends, including the band’s controversial appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 17th, 1967. At the time, way before MTV and YouTube, Sullivan’s weekly variety show was a major outlet for pop acts looking to reach as many people as possible. But was it the calamitous appearance that legend (and Doors movies) have had it? Read on for an exclusive excerpt from Krieger’s book.

The Ed Sullivan Show was an American institution — a signpost for entertainers that read, “You Have Arrived.” Or at least that’s what it was when Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones made their first appearances. By 1967, Ed seemed corny and out of touch. It was a show your parents watched. But it was still an institution, and still a signpost we wanted to pass.

On the outside, we played it cool, but in the privacy of our dressing room we were giddy. We were in New York City, in the CBS studios, on Broadway, about to be transmitted into millions of living rooms. We had done TV before, but only local channels. This was our first national broadcast. For some reason, I channeled all my pent-up excitement into entertaining my bandmates with my impression of Curly from the Three Stooges. I dropped to the floor and did that thing where Curly makes whooping noises and “runs” in a circle on his side. That’s when Ed Sullivan happened to walk through our dressing room door.

We had done a rehearsal earlier; Ed was stopping by to wish us luck before going on the air. Ed caught the Doors in a rare moment when our guard was down and we were all laughing. Seeing our lighter side inspired him to tell us how good we looked when we smiled, and that we should wear those same big smiles when we went live.

”Live” was what made our Sullivan appearance stand out. Most of our previous TV performances had been lip-synched, which was lame, but it was just how music shows were done back then. And all of them had been recorded ahead of time, which came in handy when Jim didn’t show up to a taping of a short-lived show called Malibu Uhosted by Ricky Nelson. Ray, John, and I were sitting on Leo Carrillo State Beach, surrounded by actors and crew members staring at us and checking their watches. A fire truck had been brought in as a backdrop and all our instruments were set up on it, but we had no lead singer. Being on TV was a big deal for us back. We couldn’t believe Jim had stood us up. After a while we faced the reality that Jim wasn’t coming, so we played “Light My Fire” while my brother Ronny faced away from the camera and did his best impersonation of Jim Morrison’s back. The next day the crew tracked down Jim and filmed him singing while wearing Ronny’s shirt. The whole incident seems more absurd every time I think about it. Can you imagine Mick Jagger not showing up for a TV taping and the Stones filming Keith Richards’s brother from behind instead?

We had also done Dick Clark’s American Bandstandwhich, like Sullivanwas struggling to stay hip as the Summer of Love changed the cultural landscape. Dick greeted us in our dressing room before the taping, and he was friendly and welcoming. But he swore like a sailor. He wasn’t angry or bitter; it was his awkward attempt to seem cool. Being on Bandstand was, overall, a surprisingly forgettable experience. But I’ll always cherish the memory of hearing Dick Clark repeatedly say “fuck.”

Since Clark and Sullivan were the old guard, we were more excited about appearing on The Jonathan Winters Show. Jonathan hadn’t built up a legacy like Sullivan or Bandstand, but we loved his frantic, unpredictable comedic style. Which is maybe why our frantic, unpredictable lead singer launched himself into a piece of scenery and tangled himself in a bunch of rubber webbing at the end of “Light My Fire.” But Jim was out-crazied that night by our host. At the end of the show, Jonathan came out and improvised a monologue for the studio audience. Among other things, he took out a folding carpenter’s ruler and bent it into different shapes like it was a balloon animal, pretending it was a puppy dog or a machine gun. It was cool to see him do some unpolished comedy, but he went on and on, and soon the crowd started to thin out. For over an hour he never let up, even though people kept leaving. We hung out and watched him out of morbid curiosity to see how long he could go. Eventually, the entire audience had disappeared. The cameras were off. He was making jokes to literally no one. I don’t even remember him stopping. As far as I know, he stayed there talking until the next week’s taping.

Our episode of Jonathan Winters aired later that month when we had a gig at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco. Back then, of course, there was no way to record a show and watch it later. So in the middle of our set, Bill Siddons brought a TV onstage. We stopped playing, put a microphone up to the TV speaker, and sat down to watch ourselves. We thought it would be a treat for the audience, but the screen was only about 19 inches wide. I doubt anyone past the first few rows could see or hear anything, so we just awkwardly watched the show and then awkwardly resumed our set. This was only a couple of weeks after our New Haven show when our fans had learned to expect the unexpected from the Doors. I don’t think any of them expected that!

When we played “Light My Fire” on Sullivan, we didn’t trash the set and we didn’t swear and we didn’t use my brother as a stand-in for Jim, and yet it was the most controversial TV appearance of all. The narrative, according to the supposedly canonical Doors biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, is that a producer told us not to sing the word “higher,” and we all conspired to contravene the order after the producer left the room. According to Oliver Stone’s movie The Doors, Jim mugged for the camera and over-enunciated the word “higher” on-air to protest the attempted censorship. According to Ray’s autobiography, the producer shouted at us after the show and told us we’d never play Sullivan again, and Jim coolly replied, “Hey, man. So what? We just did the Ed Sullivan Show.

But in the dressing room, we weren’t offended by the suggestion to change our lyrics: we thought they were joking. “Light My Fire” had been number one for weeks, playing on every major radio station around the country. We had performed it on half a dozen other TV shows. No one cared about the word “higher.” They couldn’t possibly be serious. As for Jim’s delivery, the original footage is out there and you can see for yourself how he hardly moved for most of the song. Jim never moved on TV the way he did at our concerts. The bright lights and the cameras and the artificial atmosphere of a TV studio always made him feel self-conscious. We never conspired about not changing the lyric ahead of time, and we never talked about why he didn’t change it afterward, but my guess is he was just nervous. It was SullivanIt was national. It was live. He went into autopilot and sang “Light My Fire” the same way he had a million times before. He may not have even been listening when they suggested the change, but if he did do it on purpose, it was probably because he didn’t think it would be a big deal. [Doors Manager] Bill Siddons might’ve gotten scolded by the show’s staff when we weren’t around, but I don’t remember anyone yelling at us or telling us we’d never play Sullivan again, and I definitely don’t remember Jim’s perfectly scripted badass response to the frazzled, square producer. The way Ray told stories, I’m surprised his version didn’t end with us strutting in slow motion down Broadway while the CBS studios exploded in the background.

The other thing the retelling of the Sullivan Legend always gets wrong is my smirk. After Jim sang “higher,” the camera cut to a shot of me and Ray, and people have since interpreted the look on my face as a sly grin in reaction to Jim’s act of defiance. In truth, I was just the only member of the band who took Ed’s preshow advice to smile. It wasn’t until long after the show aired that I was finally able to see a clip of our performance. Ray, John, and Jim all looked so cool, playing on that historic stage with their serious, stoic faces. And there I was . . . smiling like an idiot.

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Dick Clark sure knew how to get his audience to dress up. This clip from American Bandstand’s heyday shows America’s oldest teenager sitting among the polite crowd, in their party dresses and jackets and ties, before introducing The Doors.

In this black-and-white Classic Video originally broadcast on July 22nd, 1967, The Doors kick things off with “The Crystal Ship.” Clark then interviews the various band members.

Clark: “Ray (Manzarek), let me start with you. How do you characterize your music? Does it have a name?” Manzarek: “Well it’s impossible, really, to put a label on it because of where we are in the music, being on the inside. You’re only of the music and all categories have to come from the outside. So someone else is going to have to say what our music is rather than us because we are our music.”

Clark to Jim Morrison: “Why is so much happening in San Francisco? You figured it out yet?” Lizard king: “Uh, the West is the best.” Clark’s reaction is priceless.

“We’ll do the thing that’s set the whole music business on fire. Ladies and gentlemen… again, the Doors!”

They finish up with “Light My Fire” which was the Number#1 single in the U.S. that week. Though both songs are performed to track, Morrison, Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore are pretty convincing. Says Clark: “That has got to be the biggest, most fantastically successful group of the coming year.”

Dick Clark was born on November 30th, 1929. He died on April 18th, 2012, at 82 Years of age.

The Doors returned to their roots and were reborn a rock and roll band on “Morrison Hotel”, the group’s fifth studio album. 1970 was more than the dawn of a new decade. It was also the end of an era.

The year began with the breakup of the Beatles, wrapped up with the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and was also hallmarked by any number of other musical convolutions. The Rolling Stones did not release a new studio LP, The Who were still struggling to follow up “Tommy,” and rock ’n’ roll itself was on such shaky ground that, when the critics looked around and tried to prophesy what the “Next Big Thing” was going to be, most of them settled upon the crop of singer-songwriters who — let’s be honest here — would barely have gotten a look in a year or two before. And then The Doors released “Morrison Hotel,” and, for 40 marvelous minutes or so, it was worth waking up in the morning again.

For this new collection, the original album has been expanded with more than an hour of unreleased recordings taken from the sessions for Morrison Hotel. These 19 outtakes transport listeners into the studio with Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek for an unprecedented perspective on the making of the album. Botnick says: There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band who were in the studio and producer Paul Rothchild  who was in the control room. It’s like being a fly on the wall.

Several of these unheard recordings spotlight how Queen Of The Highway and Roadhouse Blues evolved across multiple sessions. It’s especially interesting to hear how the band played with different bass players on Roadhouse Blues. Early versions include Harvey Brooks, who played on the band’s previous album, “The Soft Parade”. Later takes feature guitar legend Lonnie Mack on bass along with The Lovin Spoonful’s John Sebastian on harmonica who, due to contractual restrictions at the time, had to be credited as G. Puglese.

Among the treasure trove of unreleased outtakes are also rough versions of Morrison Hotel tracks Peace Frog and Blue Sunday, as well as The Doors rarity I Will Never Be Untrue. The collection also captures some incredible session outtakes of the band jamming on cover versions of the Motown classic Money (That’s What I Want) and B.B. King’s Rock Me.

Completed in only a few weeks and released in February 1970, the hard-charging album took its name from the skid row hotel in downtown Los Angeles that’s featured in the iconic cover photo taken by Henry Diltz. Morrison Hotel: 50th Anniversary Deluxe edition includes the original album newly remastered by the Doors’ longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick, plus a bonus disc of unreleased studio outtakes, and the original album on 180-gram virgin vinyl. the music will also be available from digital and streaming services the same day. for this new collection, the original album has been expanded with more than an hour of unreleased recordings taken from the sessions for Morrison Hotel. “There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band – who were in the studio.

“Morrison Hotel” is not the sole glimpse into this new-found funkiness around these days. Earlier this year, a staggering six CDs of live material culled from The Doors’ four-show residency at the Felt Forum in New York provided us with the most complete examination yet of The Doors as a working band. The shows catch The Doors firing on every cylinder, a blazing rock ’n’ roll band at the height of its creative and improvisational powers.

Plus, says Manzarek, New York was the Doors’ favourite place to play. “The New York audience was always interesting. London was great, and Los Angeles was good. But New York was the best, and you can feel that in the live show.”

“Morrison Hotel” was still several weeks away from release at the time of the Felt Forum shows, but much of the album was already firmly nestled in the live set, including the song that remains the new record’s definitive track, the opening “Roadhouse Blues. “What a signature lick. That’s all you have to hear, and you know what that song’s meant to be. And that great last stanza by Morrison… ‘I got up this morning and got myself a beer.’ Is that rock ’n’ roll or what?”

On that evidence alone, Manzarek says, “‘Morrison Hotel’ was definitely back to roots, back to basics. Great songs. In fact, the only thing it lacked was, as we called them, an epic. There was no song over five minutes. We didn’t have a ‘Light My Fire,’ ‘When The Music’s Over’ or ‘The End.’ But so what?”.

“Indian Summer” was an outtake that dated back to “the very first day of recording for the first album. We found it in our bin of stuff. There was us, our producer Paul Rothchild and our engineer Bruce Botnik, and we wanted a simple little song so we could get the sound down. So we did ‘Indian Summer’ and then went into ‘Moonlight Mile.’

Revamped and with much of it rerecorded, “Indian Summer” emerged as one of the most unexpected treats on the new album. But pressed to name his favourite, Manzarek has little hesitation in pointing to another song whose genesis dated back a few years, “Waiting For The Sun.”

The song was originally intended as the title track to The Doors’ third album, back in 1968. “We loved the title so much that we called the album ‘Waiting For The Sun,’ the artwork was done, but the song wasn’t ready. It hadn’t come out of the oven yet. Never mind, nobody will know there’s the song called ‘Waiting For The Sun’ as well. So when it did finally come out on ‘Morrison Hotel,’ people went — wait a sec! But I’m glad we waited, because it came out a stunning piece of music.”

So is the rest of the set, an album that drives from the opening punch of “Roadhouse Blues” to the closing grind of “Maggie M’Gill,” and, in between times, launches such future Doors favourites as “The Spy,” “Ship Of Fools” and “Land Ho!”.

Dave Marsh at Creem called The Doors’ fifth album “the most horrifying rock and roll I have ever heard,” and that was a compliment. “When they’re good, they’re simply unbeatable.” It was the best record he’d heard all year. Rock Magazine and Circus unanimously agreed that it was The Doors’ best record yet, and while it was maybe a little early to be making such pronouncements (‘Morrison Hotel’ was released in February 1970), Circus described it as “one of the best albums

The Doors went back to basics when they checked into Morrison Hotel for their 1970 studio album. The band’s fifth LP, it’s now being reissued by Rhino on October 9th as a 2-CD/1-LP 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. This release follows the label’s similar reissues for The Doors’ first four albums including The Soft Parade which expanded their sound to include orchestration. Morrison Hotel got them back to blues-rock in striking fashion.

The box set features original engineer Bruce Botnick’s remastered version of the 1970 album produced by Paul Rothschild on both CD and vinyl. While Morrison Hotel didn’t yield any major chart hits – “You Make Me Real” b/w “Roadhouse Blues” only made it to No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 – it’s since been recognized as a powerful full-length album statement. Henry Diltz’s cover photography has since become one of rock’s most familiar images. The LP made it to No. 4 on the albums chart, and became the band’s highest-charting album in the United Kingdom with its No. 12 berth.

The new box set expands the original album with a second disc of 19 outtakes – totalling more than one hour’s worth of session material. Botnick states in the press release, “There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band – who were in the studio – and producer Paul Rothchild – who was in the control room. It’s like being a fly on the wall.”

Disc Two kicks off with three sessions for “Queen of the Highway” and continues with another three for “Roadhouse Blues,” arguably the album’s most beloved track. The latter song evolved with different bass players including Soft Parade veteran Harvey Brooks and Lonnie Mack. The pseudonymous John Sebastian (appearing as “G. Puglese”) appeared on the final take with Mack on bass. The disc concludes with the “Peace Frog”/”Blue Sunday” session. Along the way, the set presents the previously released outtake “I Will Never Be Untrue” (indicated here as in an unissued version or mix) and outtake jams on Barrett Strong’s Motown classic “Money (That’s What I Want)” and B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.”

David Fricke has penned the liner notes which place the album in the context of its creation, when legal troubles plagued Jim Morrison and threatened to curtail the band’s activity. The Morrison Hotel: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is due from Rhino on October 9th. You’ll find pre-order links and the track listing below!

The Doors, Morrison Hotel: Deluxe Edition (Elektra/Rhino, 2020) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)

CD 1: The Original Album (Elektra EKS-75007, 1970)

Side One: Hard Rock Cafe

“Roadhouse Blues”
“Waiting For The Sun”
“You Make Me Real”
“Peace Frog”
“Blue Sunday”
“Ship Of Fools”
Side Two: Morrison Hotel

“Land Ho!”
“The Spy”
“Queen Of The Highway”
“Indian Summer”
“Maggie M’Gill”
CD 2: Mysterious Union

Black Dressed In Leather (“Queen Of The Highway” Sessions)

First Session (11/15/68)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 1, She Was A Princess) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Various Takes) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 44, He Was A Monster) *
Second Session (1/16/69)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 12, No One Could Save Her) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 14, Save The Blind Tiger) *
Third Session (Date Unknown)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 1, American Boy – American Girl) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Takes 5, 6 & 9, Dancing Through The Midnight Whirlpool) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 14, Start It All Over) *
“I Will Never Be Untrue” *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take Unknown) *
Money Beats Soul (“Roadhouse Blues” Sessions)

First Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Take 14, Keep Your Eyes On The Road) *
“Money (That’s What I Want)” *
“Rock Me Baby” *
Second Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 6 & 7, Your Hands Upon The Wheel) *
“Roadhouse Blues” (Take 8, We’re Goin’ To The Roadhouse) *
Third Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 1 & 2, We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time) *
“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 5, 6 & 14, Let It Roll Baby Roll) *
Dawn’s Highway (Peace Frog/Blue Sunday Session)

“Peace Frog/Blue Sunday” (Take 4) *
“Peace Frog” (Take 12) *
LP Track Listing

Side One: Hard Rock Cafe

“Roadhouse Blues”
“Waiting For The Sun”
“You Make Me Real”
“Peace Frog”
“Blue Sunday”
“Ship Of Fools”
Side Two: Morrison Hotel

“Land Ho!”
“The Spy”
“Queen Of The Highway”
“Indian Summer”
“Maggie M’Gill”
(*) previously unreleased

Laurel Canyon is a neighbourhood in Los Angeles, but for a lot of music fans it’s a time and place, and a shorthand for a mystical folk-rock sound that included Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, the Eagles and many more. This two-part docu-series, made by Alison Ellwood (who also directed The Go-Go’s), gives an overview of the scene, the sound and the people who made the music. “Through a wealth of rare and newly unearthed footage and audio recordings, the series features an intimate portrait of the artists who created a musical revolution that changed popular culture. Uniquely immersive and experiential, this event takes us back in time to a place where a rustic canyon in the heart of Los Angeles became a musical petri dish.”

Pulling back the curtain on a mythical world and provide an up-close look at the lives of the musicians who inhabited it.

On 5th July 1968, The Doors celebrated their own independent streak with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl which, like most things they did, has since passed into rock lore (and not just because Mick Jagger was in the crowd).

While parts of it have been released before, this is the first ever vinyl release of the entire show, from intro to, inevitably, The End. Modern technology has found a way to clean up tracks previously considered poorly recorded,

Most of this concert was released back in 1987 but it returns further restored and with a tasty “Hello, I Love You”, the poetry jam “The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)” and a fruity “Spanish Caravan” added. Never mind all that, though, and never mind that the greatest rock singer ever Jim Morrison could be a bit of a pillock, listening to this all I can think is, “Bloody hell, I wish, I’d seen The Doors live in their prime”. And this is them on essential form – more so than on any of the recentish live albums that’ve come out – the nuanced loud-quiet dynamic, the blues-rock grind, the punk attitude crashing into Ray Manzarek’s stoned organ, “When The Music’s Over” and “The End” indulgently long but utterly seductive, all topped with Morrison’s sleaze-bellowed charisma overload.

Even when he’s rambling about pharaohs like a wannabe beatnik, all it does is make me wish there were more bands now on massive doses of psychedelic drugs attempting to push the envelope. Vital stuff. What shows less is that the band took LSD before going onstage: Morrison sounds relatively cheerful, as if he’d had a big bag of barley sugars. If the musicians were all off their trolleys, one can only assume that rehearsals led to impeccable muscle memory. Ray Manzarek recalled they were “locked in”. Drummer John Densmore had even insisted on a planned set list, to be adhered to (again, something usually anathema to The Doors). There is a crisp, tight zip here, not always evident in the group’s cooed-over canon.

This is a very atmospheric album,you feel like you are at the concert,whilst listening to it. Well i do anyway! Jim Morrison’s vocals are on point throughout,from his crooning to his screaming!He performs his poetry pieces with real passion and verve,these pieces also blend in perfectly with all the songs and music. Manzarek,Krieger and Densmore’s musicianship throughout is very good,as you would expect.

During Light My Fire you can hear firecrackers exploding: it sounds, as they say, like you are actually there, among the 18,000-strong congregation. So from the swing of When the Music’s Over and the sleazy lilt of Brecht/Weill’s Alabama Song, this is a band delivering, knowing they’ve arrived, swaggering without slobbering.

Moonlight Drive and Horse Latitudes are allowed to gleam and the night gathers momentum until that mother of all comedowns, The End, puts a wail in the tail. Love or loathe The Doors, this will polish the windows of your perception.

“the soft parade/stripped”.  The LP is comprised of stripped down “Doors Only” versions of five tracks where the horns and strings have been removed.  The set also features three of those stripped-back versions with new guitar parts added by Robby Krieger.  All tracks are making their vinyl debut and were mixed & remastered by The Doors’ longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick.

This numbered, limited edition LP is pressed on 180-gram clear vinyl and is housed in a clear plastic sleeve with a colored insert.  Only 12,000 copies of this release will be pressed worldwide.  the soft parade/stripped will be available at participating independent retailers for Record Store Day, June 20th, 2020.

On February 12th, for one night only, join fellow fans at your local cinema to celebrate the extraordinary legacy of the late Ray Manzarek when “The Doors: Break On Thru – A Celebration of Ray Manzarek” comes to the big screen. This hybrid concert/documentary features a setlist of Doors classics performed by John and Robby alongside a cast of all-star guest musicians including Taylor Hawkins and Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters), Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Exene and John Doe (X), Warren Haynes(Gov’t Mule), Brian Ray (Paul McCartney), Andrew Watt and more. The film also includes rare archival footage of the band, conversations with Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, and esteemed music journalist Ben Fong-Torres, as well as new interviews with John and Robby.

Available for Record Store Day Black Friday, this historic concert is presented for the first time on vinyl, with meticulously restored audio and pressed on 180-gram black vinyl. This 2-LP set contains the entire show, and was mixed from the original multi-track tapes by longtime Doors engineer / mixer / co-producer Bruce Botnick.  This set is a numbered/limited edition release of 11,000 copies worldwide.

The band appeared on stage on August 30, 1970 at 2 a.m. in front of 600,000 people. Jim Morrison’s ongoing obscenity trial was still weighing heavily on the band. Nevertheless, they delivered such staples as “Roadhouse Blues”, “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”, and “Light My Fire”. “Our set was subdued but very intense”, Manzarek later stated. “We played with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form. He sang for all he was worth, but moved nary a muscle. Dionysus had been shackled.”

The Doors Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970