I find myself more in synch with The Doors these past two weeks. Recently I purchased the Doors tour documentary, Feast of Friends as a Blu-Ray movie option. It is a 40 minute film that centers around The Doors 1968 tour. I watched on my MacBook Pro. I was captivated by the footage of the band members. I especially love “The End” performed live at The Hollywood Bowl.
Funded by the band and directed by Paul Ferrara, one of Morrison’s film-school friends, ‘Feast of Friends’ doesn’t stick to typical rock documentary territory, expanding to focus on interactions with fans, friends and bystanders. The climate of American politics and fashion, circa 1968, is also captured along the way, as ‘Feast of Friends’ veers off the beaten path to tell its story.
December 8, 2013 marks the 70th birthday of the late singer, songwriter and poet, Jim Morrison of The Doors.
I always think of Jim Morrison as poet first, singer second. The posthumous recording An American Prayer evidences Jim’s poetic pentameter in a haunting, personal dimension.
Five years after the group disbanded (1973), Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore reunited for the recording of this album, produced by superimposing the voice of Jim Morrison (mostly taken from a recording of poems recited by the singer in 1970) the music composed for the occasion.
A major fan of Jim Morrison’s poetry is Patti Smith our poetess of punk. Patti Smith wrote a review of An American Prayer in Creem Magazine in 1979, american prayer (scream of the butterfly).
“His fatal flaw was that his most precious skin was the thin membrane that housed the blood of the poet,” she wrote.
“He pledged his allegiance, in the end, to language, to the word. And it did him in…An American Prayer resounds in the silence that surrounds the cocoon of the lord, he is sleeping, hibernating, awaiting the changeling and the elegance of his change.”
I plan to honor Jim Morrison’s birthday by listening to An American Prayer. I played this album often on the air when I was an FM disk jockey in the 70s.
The multi-tiered event “An Evening With the Doors” provided a warm atmosphere for Krieger and Densmore to reflect upon The Doors, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek.
The special surprise was that Robby Krieger and John Densmore performed four Doors songs together, “People Are Strange”, “Love Me Two Times”, “Spanish Caravan,” and “Riders On The Storm” (with a little “Ghost Riders In The Sky”).
Here is a YouTube video of their performance that was leaked onto the Web.
I also refer you to the Rolling Stone Magazine article listed in the Related Articles section below. You will find an interview conducted after the event with Robby Krieger and John Densmore.
The Doors iPad App Version 2.0
Earlier that same day The Doors iPad app was updated to include a new section, “Ray Remembered” which features drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger’s first interview together in more than a decade, held to commemorate keyboardist Ray Manzarek. “Ray Remembered” also includes a new slide show of rare and unseen images and an essay about Ray Manzarek by Adam Holzman, son of Elektra Records’ Jac Holzman, the architect behind The Doors iPad app.
I had reported in October that Gov’t. Mule would host Robby Krieger of The Doors for their annual Halloween concert, Mule-O-Ween.
The event went so well (it was a two night gig, with a 10/31 show in Oakland) that Gov’t. Mule and Robby Krieger are repeating the event for East Coast fans on New Years Eve 12/31 at where else but The Beacon 😉
I was looking on The Record Store Day Website for The List 2013 when I found something much more valuable. John Densmore, drummer for The Doors has written and self-published a new book, The Doors: Unhinged, available on April 17, 2013(CreateSpace and Kindle Direct). There will be a special hardcover edition available exclusively for sale at independent Record Store Day retailers, April 20, 2013. John Densmore is conducting a book tour to be held at various record stores across the United States.
The book was self-published with Amazon’s CreateSpace an on-demand publishing platform. I am vehement about this distribution method of distribution. My plan is to self-publish a book this way in the future.
The premise of John Densmore’s book is the “greed gene”, and how that part of the human psyche propels us toward the accumulation of more and more wealth, even at the expense of our principles and friendships and the well-being of society. In effect no amount of money seems to be enough for even the wealthiest people.
This is an important societal characteristic to check. It’s at the heart of the Occupy movement which denotes the classic struggle between the haves and have-nots.
I recall when John Densmore sued The Doors of the 21st Century. I was upset for the rift amongst The Doors. I had seen Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger twice live as that namesake band. I liked the moniker and how it felt to see them perform with Ian Astbury on vocals and Ty Dennis on drums. I originally sided with Ray and Robbie in the matter. But after closer examination of the issue and the understanding of honoring Jim Morrison’s wishes, I realized friendship and integrity trump greed.
I’ll am eager to read John Densmore’s interpretation of the lawsuit to get a better understanding about his sentiments and belief. The music press served as a “filter” for what transpired and I feel its best to read this from John’s point of view. I am hoping I can meet John Densmore at one of the record store tour events and get a signed copy of the hardcover edition.
The Record Store Day Official List was published on Wednesday March 20. You can find it here.
The Doors will once again have a Record Store Day Release Exclusive. A special 7″ release in the Warner “Side By Side” series. Side A is The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” and Side B includes X’s cover of the song, produced by Ray Manzarek. This one is on milky clear colored vinyl and limited to 3000 copies,
2102, The Year of The Doors is upon us. The 40th Anniversary of L.A. Woman is being celebrated in high fashion today, January 9th. The World Premiere of the first completely new and unreleased track by The Doors in 40 years, “She Smells So Nice” can be heard on Sound Cloud here.
This unique gem was found by co-producer Bruce Botnick when he was reviewing the L.A. Woman session tapes for the upcoming reissue.
The Doors L.A. Woman 40th Anniversary merchandise will start shipping on or about January 20th, 2012.
There will be a two CD re-issue of the original album, remastered, with an extra disc of bonus material. Disc two has previously unreleased alternate versions of songs featured on the original album along with studio chatter by the band from the recording sessions. Liner notes written by David Fricke, Sr. Editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and original album producer Bruce Botnick.
There will also be a DVD, Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman. Eagle Rock Entertainment has created this documentary detailing how The Doors created their last studio album. Mr Mojo Risin’ goes into detail of how the album came about, its recording and what was happening to the band at the time. The story is told through new interviews with the three surviving Doors: Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore plus contributions from Jac Holzman, founder of their label, Elektra Records, Bill Siddons, their manager, Bruce Botnick, engineer and co-producer of the album and others associated with the Doors at this time. The show includes archive footage of the Doors performing both live and in the studio, classic photographs and new musical demonstrations from the Doors.
I chose the title for this concert reviewbecause Ray Manzarek was having fun telling us that the night before in Massachusetts a young female fan yelled to him, “Are you gonna throw down some Lizard King?” Ray was tickled by the vernacular and interpreted this to mean is the Manzarek-Rogers Band going to play some Doors songs? Trust me the Manzarek-Rogers band did throw down with blues lizard king gusto!
The main purpose of the evening was to introduce the audience to the just released recording, Translucent Blues. 10 of the 13 songs played were from the new album*. I love the feel of this literature music that I call “Poetic Blues”.
Hearing the songs played live by the four person band opened up new interpretations of the poetic lyrics juxtaposed against the blues backdrop. The poetry came across with eloquence, it never sounded forced. Ray Manzarek’s narrative voice is pure beat poetry phrasing. Ray Manzarek’s longtime friendship and collaborations with Micheal McClure provides an additional rounding of the experience. The song “Kick” (Lyrics by Michael McClure) articulates the demon hell of kicking cocaine addiction
“Without McClure’s roar there would have been no Sixties.” — Dennis Hopper
The Manzarek-Rogers band did strong justice to two poems by Jim Carroll (the Basketball Diaries), “Tension” about living in an insane asylum and “Hurricane” which is a rocking blues number with a memorable chorus.
East Coast, got a hurricane
West Coast, got the same
High, high wind and the heavy rain…
(Jim Carroll Music – ASCAP)
Roy Rogers is an interesting, versatile guitarist to witness and study. He plays a double-neck guitar with ease, using a pick on his right hand and a glass slide on his left pinky. His command of the guitar is stellar. I loved his slide guitar playing, it was very rhythmic. His dexterity is second to none.
He guides the band in interesting directions. Roy played a guitar that Ray Manzarek nicknamed a “Derringer” on one of the three songs Roy Rogers wrote for Translucent Blues entitled “Blues in My Shoes”. Roy Rogers also wrote “Those Hits Just Keep On Comin'” and “As You Leave”. Roy Rogers collaborated on several of the other tracks and his production sense is strongly felt throughout the CD.
The Manzarek-Rogers band was tight. I loved how they pushed the beat with dedicated commitment of purpose.
Ray Manzarek took time during the evening to hold an open Q&A. My favorite question was about the infamous Doors concert in New Haven, which took place at the New Haven Arena on December 9, 1967 (The Doors song “Peace Frog” with the famous lyric, “Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven”). Ray shared his recollections about that evening. He explained how Jim Morrison was maced in the face in a dressing room shower by a New Haven cop. How wrong that was and how mistaken the New Haven cop was to do that. It was instrumental to hear Ray’s first hand account of that historic evening and how unjust the New Haven Police were that night.
Ray Manzarek then played “The Crystal Ship” solo for us on his Kurzweil PC 88 keyboard. The song as an instrumental is commanding in its breadth and scope. A beautiful, haunting rendition that really stays with you.
My favorite song of the night was River of Madness, a song based on lyrics that Warren Zevon had entrusted to Ray Manzarek six months before he died. The collaboration team of Stephen Gordon, David Gionfriddo, and Roy Rogers takes Zevon’s River of Madness to a passionate crescendo. Then you are swept away by the flood in LA.
There was a CD signing after the show. This turned out perfect as I collect signed CD covers. It was genuine to meet Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers in person. Here is how they signed my copy of Translucent Blues.
2. Fives & Ones*
3. Game of Skill*
4. Patron Saint of Pain (Written by Donna Johnston)
6. Those Hits Just Keep On Comin’*
7. The Crystal Ship
9. Greenhouse Blues*
10. Blues in My Shoes*
11. New Dodge City Blues*
12. River of Madness*