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The Doors: Krieger and Densmore on America's most influential band

With new DVD Feast Of Friends on the horizon, in a CR exclusive we bring together the two surviving members of The Doors – for the first time in a decade.

The two surviving members of The Doors sit at either end of a leather couch, as far away from each other as possible, a palpable sense of unease separating them. “This doesn’t happen very often, so you must have some pull somewhere,” guitarist Robby Krieger says wryly. Krieger and his former bandmate, drummer John Densmore, have come together in the LA offices of the company that manages The Doors’ estate. They’re surrounded by mementos of their success, which began further along the Sunset Strip at the fabled Whisky A Go Go club back in 1966. Even a year ago, getting the two of them together anywhere other than a courtroom would have been unthinkable. Densmore and his ex-compadres spent much of the past decade embroiled in a lengthy and acrimonious legal battle over the use of The Doors’ name, and he and Krieger only reconciled after the death of keyboardist and founding member Ray Manzarek last year. Even today there’s a whiff of residual tension. Densmore, dressed all in black with his thick grey hair swept into a ponytail, is blunt and domineering; Krieger is frail, quiet and calm, his benevolent manner in stark contrast to Densmore’s more impatient state. The pair are here to talk about their much-anticipated new DVD, Feast Of Friends. Shot in cinéma vérité style, the film chronicles The Doors’ summer tour of 1968. Inter-cutting live footage with candid moments away from the stage, it provides a close-up view of life on the road with the group as they were on their way to becoming one of America’s most influential and revered bands. “We’ve pilfered from it in the past,” says Densmore. “Let’s see the whole damn thing as it was intended.” In the 43 years since the death of the band’s iconic singer, Jim Morrison, reams have been written about The Doors, much of it by Densmore himself. “Don’t believe all this shit I wrote,” he barks when one of his lines is quoted back to him. Now, as he and Krieger come face to face with each other, and with their past, we get to hear the real truth of what it was like to be in The Doors.

Whose idea was it to finally release Feast Of Friends?

Robby: I don’t know. Maybe the fans. We interact a lot online with the fans, and I think they really wanted to see it – the whole thing, rather than just pieces stuck into other films.

Why now?

Robby: Maybe we need the money now.

John: As the late, great Ray Manzarek would say, it’s an alignment of the stars. It’s a cosmic conjunction of planets that made this moment happen.

Was the release of Feast Of Friends in any way prompted by the passing of Ray?

Robby: No, nothing like that.

Did you initially have any reservations about making the film?

Robby: I thought it was kind of a waste of money, actually. 

How do you feel now?

Robby: I wish we’d done it more now. I wish we had done all of our tours like that, with a film crew.

Was it painful or joyful watching the footage this time around?

Robby: It was fun because I hadn’t seen it for a long time all together like that. It was very enjoyable.

John: To me it was poignant. Two Doors are gone, and seeing Jim and Ray on the sailboat at the end, it’s very touching. It has the beautiful adagio for strings, and you’re seeing this beautiful sailboat, and Jim, and Ray. It’s powerful.

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