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Arts & Culture

The Doors' Guitarist Robby Krieger Looks Back at Strange Days in New Book

The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger
Little, Brown Publishing
Robby Krieger grew up influenced by jazz and R&B and would co-found one of the most successful rock bands of the 1960s, The Doors. He worked on his new book off-and-on over the past two decades but says the coronavirus pandemic gave him a chance to focus on the finishing the book, as well as recording two new CDs.

One of the earliest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is out with a new book, one he hopes will set the record straight about one of the most successful bands of the 1960s.

Guitarist Robby Krieger is one of two surviving members of The Doors, and his new book takes its name from a lyric in their first hit: “Set the Night On Fire: Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar with the Doors."

The guitarist sheds new light on the band’s controversial appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the various Doors reunions after Jim Morrison’s death, and even what it was like to play the Cleveland Musicarnival at the beginning of their career.

Jane Scott 1967.jpg
Legendary Cleveland Plain Dealer music reporter Jane Scott filed several stories on The Doors leading up to their first show in the Midwest in Cleveland. She also filed this review after the Sept. 14, 1967, concert, which Krieger discusses in his book.

“It was one of the weirdest shows," Krieger said. "The people, they didn’t clap hardly. And then we finished the show. We go backstage. We hear this stomping, and they destroyed every chair in that building.”

On Monday night, Krieger will participate in an online book chat through the Hudson Library, moderated by Rock Hall Archivist Andy Leach.

Dueling visions
Krieger wrote the book over the past two decades, putting it aside at one point after his bandmates John Densmore and the late Ray Manzarek had a falling out over their respective books about life in The Doors.

“I started this book about 25 years ago, but I never got around to to getting it done," Krieger said. "And finally, when the pandemic hit, that seemed like the perfect time. I had a lot of time on my hands so I got this a great guy to help me, Jeff Alulis, [and] he's an amazing researcher and writer. He really pushed me to get it finished.”

When Krieger was asked whether it bothered him when the book "No One Here Gets Out Alive" and then Oliver Stone's "The Doors" movie came out, and if the book and movie spurred him to want to set things straight, he said:

“I won't say it bothered me that much, but it was just kind of annoying to see other people putting their spin on our lives," he said. "Danny Sugarman: he's the world's biggest Doors fan, but when he wrote that book he pretended like his voice was Jim's voice. And that's what Jim would have been thinking. And, you know, it just wasn't, even though it was exciting. And probably that was the biggest reason that Oliver Stone made the movie. But like you say, I want people to know what really happened and just try to try to clear up some of those myths.”

The Doors - Light My Fire (subtitulado)

Live From New York
In the book, without giving too much away, Krieger provides a lot of new background about the appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," (above video) when the network asked the bank to change the words to "Light My Fire."

“It was just funny to me that Jim didn't even think about changing the words. We really thought the guy [from CBS television] was kidding. I mean, it was so stupid, you know," Krieger said. "But the year before, they made the [Rolling] Stones change their song to 'Let's Spend Some Time Together' instead of 'Let's Spend the Night Together.' And so, I think we were cooler on that one. Cooler than the Stones.”

The Doors' 1967 debut album was reissued this year in its rare mono mix:

Doors MONO 1967 debut VINYL ME PLEASE