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Jim Morrison Lives — Sort Of

Doors ‘reunite’ with deceased singer’s vocal for box set

Although “The Doors Box Set” hits stores in less than a month, the
band’s surviving members — John Densmore, Robbie Krieger and Ray
Manzarek — still can’t agree on why they selected the songs on its
four discs. “I wanted it to be a comedy album,” claimed Bruce
Botnick, the group’s longtime producer. “All you hear about is Jim
[Morrison]’s dark side.” But Manzarek had a different conception:
“People should listen for the spiritual side of our music.”

Whatever their intent, the track sure to get the most attention
is “Orange County Suite,” which the band’s record company, Elektra,
is trumpeting as the group’s first new song in two decades.

Huh?

Taking a page from the Beatles playbook — though the comparison
seems to rankle the band — the song is a posthumous reunion with
Jim Morrison, for which the three surviving Doors played new
instrumental tracks over a vocal the singer recorded in 1970. As
might be expected, the result sounds like an outtake from “L.A.
Woman.”

“It came together amazingly easily,” Densmore said of the
session at a press conference at Los Angeles’ Whisky-A-Go-Go
announcing the album’s release. Although he, Kreiger and Manzarek
worked separately on ideas for the song, they found they were still
in sync when they entered the studio. “The rhythm I had in mind
worked perfectly with the bassline that Robbie envisioned,”
Densmore added. Indeed, the only trouble came from some studio
equipment, which broke down when they were ready to record. “We
looked at each other and said, ‘Well, Jim’s here,'” Kreiger
laughed.

Judging from the attendance at the press conference — some fans
waited overnight in front of the Whisky hoping to get in —
interest in the band remains strong. Still, some in the industry
worry about the timing of the set, which also includes various live
tracks, a 1970 performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden and
unreleased material, including some 1965 demos. “It’s about five
years too late,” an executive at one reissue imprint said. “They’re
not nearly as hot a commodity now.”

Others disagree. Todd Meehan, manager of Tower Records on Sunset
Strip in Los Angeles, has ordered 750 copies of the four-disc set
to meet the expected demand. “People will be very excited,” he
said, adding that the time lag hasn’t hurt the Cream box set, which
sold out his original order in less than a week.

In This Article: The Doors

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