On Sunday, the 40th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, two of his surviving bandmates — Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger — visited the singer’s grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, where they lit candles and posed for pictures.
Drummer John Densmore, out of synch with his fellow ex-Doors, as usual, wasn’t attending: “I don’t even know the date (of Morrison’s death),” he said. “I prefer to celebrate Dec. 8, his birthday.”
Nostalgia for Morrison and his dark brew of psychedelic rock and collegiate poetry never abated, really, with the 1960s band’s commercial machine cranking out repackaged music and merchandise at a pace surpassed only by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Manzarek and Krieger have other musical affiliations, but by and large their careers have been spent chasing the ghost of the Morrison-fronted Doors.
2011 also marks the 40th anniversary of the Doors’ last studio recording with Morrison, “L.A. Woman.” Rhino and the Doors several months ago released a vinyl version of its most celebrated song, “Riders on the Storm” (for Record Store Day), but the motherlode comes this fall.
A 40th anniversary edition of “L.A. Woman” sprawls across two discs, one with a remastered version of the original album and the other with alternate versions of its songs and some studio chatter. The liner notes come from Rolling Stone archive guru David Fricke and the album’s producer, Bruce Botnick. A separate vinyl release contains the disc 2 material.
The big bang for the Doors-obsessed comes in the 40th anniversary app (for various computer platforms), billed as “a redefining of the album reissue using today’s most current technology.” This appears to be the definitive study of the Doors in their final days.
Editorial topics include:
- Setting the Scene: Los Angeles in 1971.
- The “cast of characters” involved in the creation of the album.
- A multimedia re-creation of the “in the studio with the band” experience.
- The recording sessions/technical background/the creative process.
- Geo-mapping of the landmarks/places mentioned in accompanying essays, which are written by Fricke, Botnick, Holly George-Warren, Michael Ventura, Barney Hoskyns and Kristan McKenna.
- Audio and/or video interviews with the surviving Doors plus Botnick, Jac Holzman, Bill Siddons, Marc Benno, and Jerry Scheff.
The 40th anni promotion also sees the release of “Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman” on DVD.
No specific release dates or presale information was released by the Doors’ management. The four-CD box set will be sold exclusively by the Doors’ web site, apparently.
CD background: The surviving Doors remixed “L.A. Woman” a decade ago, but those tracks weren’t included on on single CD release until 2007 (part of another 40th anniversary celebration, for the band itself). The last mega-Doors release was the six-CD, six-DVD box set “Perception,” unleashed in 2006 and again in 2008.
More immediately, there’s the covers project “All Wood and Doors,” from folk veteran James Lee Stanley, who created “Wood and Stones” (with John Batdorf) in 2005. Doors drummer Densmore was a fan of that album of acoustic Rolling Stones covers, and told Stanley he’d be happy to play on a similar project with Doors material.
Stanley, given to two-man band projects, teams up this time with Cliff Eberhardt. Also playing on the album are Doors guitarist Krieger, Peter Tork, Timothy B. Schmit, Paul Barrere and Batdorf.
Krieger and Densmore recorded separately, no surprise because they’ve long been at odds over the Doors’ name and recordings. Keyboardist Manzarek, usually eager to get in on any Doors-related project, is MIA on this guitar-driven project.
“All Wood and Doors” is set for release on June 12 via Stanley’s own Beachwood Records.
The dozen Doors cover songs are “Break on Through,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Take It As It Comes,” “Strange Days,” “Light My Fire,” “Touch Me,” “Crystal Ship,” “Soul Kitchen,” “People Are Strange,” “Moonlight Drive,” “Riders on the Storm” and (short and sweet) “The End.”
The Doors shop
(Get high on Amazon’s supply)