The Doors Distinctive
In TERvIEw By BoB CIAnCI
PHo ToGRAPHy By ERIk kABIk
In the late ’60s, I played drums with a New Jersey garage band called Saturday’s Garbage (yes,
that really was our name). We were enamored with the first Doors album, so much so that we
covered almost every song. Our guitarist was a very good player for his age, but when it came
time to rehearse “Light My Fire,” he could not get a handle on Robby Krieger’s extended solo
with all its offbeat, out-there phrases. At his request, we simply omitted it and went directly to
the organ solo. Problem solved.
But I’m sure our guitar player wasn’t the only one who had difficulty. Krieger—who co-wrote
many Doors hits including “Light My Fire,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Touch Me,” and “Love Her
Madly”— always played with a certain air of distinctness and individuality. His own style was a far
cry from the usual guitar-hero suspects like Clapton, Beck, Hendrix, and Page. Thanks to his parents’ extensive record collection, Krieger grew up being smitten with classical music and flamenco
guitar, as well as blues, jazz, R&B, country, and folk. Like millions of kids in the 1950s, when he
heard Elvis Presley, it was all over. But while Krieger often wore his influences on his sleeve, he still
managed to create an extremely identifiable style and a sound unlike anyone else’s.
After the Doors disbanded in the early ’70s, Krieger formed the Butts Band with Doors drummer John Densmore, bassist Phil Chen, keyboardist Roy Davies, and British vocalist Jess
Roden. In addition, he eventually recorded and toured with his own band, which concentrated
primarily on instrumental jazz/rock fusion. In 2000, Krieger recorded the critically acclaimed
album Cinematix with powerhouse drummer Billy Cobham and keyboard whiz Edgar Winter.
Then, in 2002, he joined with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and former Cult vocalist Ian
Astbury in a band that was first billed as the Doors of the 21st Century, then Riders on the
Storm, and now Ray & Robbie of the Doors.