John Densmore Talks Battles And Possible Reconciliation With Other Doors
Doors drummer John Densmore has just released his second memoir, called The Doors: Unhinged - Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes On Trial. The book details Densmore's successful five-year battle against surviving Doors Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger over their use of the band name for new projects and the Doors' music for a proposed $15 million commercial deal with Cadillac.
Densmore, who's always been the most protective in regards to the band's legacy, explained how the relationship between him and Manzarek and Densmore got so strained, telling Rolling Stone, "They started using the name the Doors. I sent some examples of the ad to the (Jim Morrison) estate and said, 'Hey, your deceased son has been resurrected and has been performing. Apparently I am, too.' I asked Robby to stop and he said he would. But he didn't. . . I was not trying to stop them from playing. They were great. Anyone can play Doors songs, unless it's for an ad for some product. I just wanted them to be clear (that it wasn't the Doors)."
Among the high-profile musicians who have supported Densmore and his efforts over the years are Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, and Randy Newman.
Eddie Vedder, who fronted the Doors during their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, wrote about the book: "Though it's something I don't like to think about, there will come a time when I will be a Dead Rock Star. I can only hope that in my inevitable absence there will be someone with the integrity and principled behavior of Mr. Densmore looking after whatever legacy our group may leave behind."
Despite the bad blood over the years, Densmore says relations between the surviving Doors are softening and still wouldn't rule out performing with Manzarek and Krieger again: "Being in a band is like polygamy, only without the sex. Things happen. But I'd get together for a one-off if there's a good reason -- but it would have to be for charity, not for money."
Densmore told us that although the court battle took a toll on him in many ways, the end result is that the law of the band remains intact: "Contractually, we all own the name together and we all had veto power contractually -- written down! So, lawyers that want to make money say, 'Oh, we can win this,' and then character assassination is the only route. I didn't see that coming. I really got beat up. But fortunately Jim's estate and I persevered, So, the Doors were off their hinges. They're back on. Y'know, it's Jim, Ray, Robby, and John. It's not Robby, Ray, Ian, Fred, and Tom."
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