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The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, film work, artwork, spoken word & music with The Doors.

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Robby Krieger Reopens the Door to the ‘L.A. Woman’ Sessions

When Robby Krieger joined The Doors, he immediately impressed singer Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore with his slide-guitar technique.

Through the years, Krieger would selectively and tastefully play slide on The Doors' albums, including 1971's "L.A. Woman," the band's last studio album with Morrison.

The Doors - L.A. WomanRhino has released a belated 40th-anniversary edition of "L.A. Woman," and, like past Doors reissues, this one comes with bonus material. There's a second disc with previously unreleased alternate versions of "Love Her Madly," "Riders on the Storm" and other songs from the original "L.A. Woman" album, plus two recordings recently discovered by engineer and co-producer Bruce Botnick: the original song "She Smells So Nice" and a cover of the Muddy Waters-penned "Rock Me."

In conjunction with the two-disc reissue, Eagle Rock Entertainment released the documentary "Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman" on DVD and Blu-ray.

With a busy 2012 ahead—including plans to tour Europe and Mexico with Manzarek—Krieger found time to reflect on the late 1970-early 1971 sessions that resulted in "L.A. Woman" and provide an update on his autobiography.

GM: The blues surfaced from time to time throughout the history of The Doors, and it culminated with the "L.A. Woman" album. Growing up, what was your interest and exposure to the blues as a music fan and then as a guitarist?

Robby Krieger: Well, when I was a teenager, some of my buddies were into blues, and this is when I first started playing guitar. I really got into it quite heavily—Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson, a lot of slide players and guys like Blind Lemon Jefferson. I just loved all that stuff, and I continued to be enamored with it in The Doors.

GM: Guest bass players were nothing new to Doors albums, and "L.A. Woman" was no exception. For that one, Jerry Scheff rounded out the band and played on every song. What did he bring to the music in terms of his feel and his personality?

RK: He brought a lot. We loved what he did with Elvis [Presley], so we knew Jerry was a pro. We had no idea what he would play like [with us]. Bruce Botnick is the one who got him. He said, "How about Jerry Scheff?" And we said, "Yeah, let's try him," and he turned out to be perfect.

GM: Was he given the freedom to just play what he felt was right?

RK: Yeah, he sure was. There were a couple of songs [where we gave him direction]. For instance, "Riders on the Storm"—he just played basically what Ray was playing with his left hand. But like on "Love Her Madly," I thought he did a great bass part on that with no coaching—the same with "L.A. Woman." So for the most part, yeah, he just played what he felt and was usually right.

Jim Morrison & Mark Benno LA Woman

Jim Morrison and Mark Benno in the studio for The Doors LA Woman

Jim Morrison and guest guitarist Marc Benno work in the studio on The Doors' "L.A. Woman" recording sessions. Benno was one of a handful of outside musicians who had the opportunity to work with the band. Photo courtesy Marc Benno.

GM: "L.A. Woman" was also notable for having a second guitarist—Marc Benno, who plays on a handful of songs. How did his presence change or free up your playing and your approach to the guitar?

RK: That was the idea—to have me be able to just concentrate on playing my lead parts, without having to overdub them, by having [another] guy play rhythm, and I thought it worked great.

GM: Talk about recording "L.A. Woman" in The Doors' rehearsal space and having Bruce Botnick co-produce with the band, and how all of that helped influence the end result.

RK: Well, because [producer] Paul Rothchild didn't want to be involved, we ended up saying, "Hey, let's just do this ourselves." And I think it was Bruce who had the idea of doing it at our rehearsal space rather than having to be under the gun of a big-money recording studio. So that sounded like a good idea. Bruce wanted to make it as natural and comfortable as possible for us, and that really worked. We knew the sound of that place from rehearsing in it all the time, and Jim loved the sound he got in the bathroom, singing-wise.

GM: Had you forgotten about "She Smells So Nice" and "Rock Me" until Botnick rediscovered them by going through the "L.A. Woman" tapes?

RK: Yeah, definitely. I had remembered that we had done a "blues day," basically for Jim. Jim was always saying, "We gotta do more blues." So finally we said, "All right, look: Let's just do a blues day, where all we'll do for the whole day is blues—you know, get that out of your system" (laughs). And he said, "Great, man—that's going to be great." So we all went down to do the blues day, and Jim doesn't show up (laughs). Who knows what he was doing, and he was, of course, totally embarrassed, so we did it the next day. It was cool—what guitar player doesn't like blues? And Jim, for some reason, really loved doing blues at that time. He was always after us to do more blues.

So basically, we thought of [those two songs] as demos, just for ideas. We never thought they would be released, but people want to hear anything you've done. What's really interesting about "She Smells So Nice" is he does the Mojo Risin' thing at the end of it, so it's obvious that's where it came from.

The Doors Wendell Hamick

The Doors Wendell Hamick photo

The Doors' recording sessions for "L.A. Woman" occurred in late 1970 and early 1971. Wendell Hamick photo.

GM: What is your favorite Jim Morrison memory from the "L.A. Woman" sessions?

RK: Just the fact that he was really having a good time, which was very unusual in the recording process. As time went on and we were able to spend more time and money in the studio, we got into the syndrome—at least Paul Rothchild did—of spending a lot of time getting the drum sound. So he'd spend all day getting the snare drum sound or something, and by that time, Jim was either drunk or he had left. The vocal was always the last thing to be done, so it was always a little painful for Jim, I think, to record. But this time, it was totally different. Vocals were part of the [song's instrumental tracks] and done at the same time, mostly, and he was having the time of his life. We did maybe eight to 10 takes of a song, whereas normally we'd do 50 to 100.

GM: The reissue of the "L.A. Woman" album and the companion DVD documentary are part of what's been dubbed "The Year of The Doors" campaign. Why do you think the music of The Doors remains so much a part of popular culture, 45 years after the band broke nationally?

RK: I don't know. It seems like every generation, kids seem to get into it, whether they're turned on to it by their parents or their friends. I think the music is just going to come through one way or the other. I think people like to think that they've discovered The Doors. We're not huge like The Beatles or something like that. We're more of an underground kind of thing, and I think people love to say, "Hey, have you heard this?"

GM: In the summer of 2010, you talked about your in-progress autobiography. Is the book finished? And do you have a publisher and a release date?

RK: I do have a publisher; I haven't finished the book yet, so it's still a work in progress. It may take a while longer, because I've been reading other autobiographies, like Sugar Ray Leonard's. I have to give him kudos for being so honest, but I don't know if I can be that honest. I mean, I can, but I don't know what good it does. I might have to wait until I'm on my deathbed or something (laughs).

GM: A lot of people probably feel, "Well, Ray did his book, and John did his—now Robby needs to do his."

RK: Right, I know. Yeah, I'll get it done.

Chris M. Junior (2012, June 4). Robby Krieger reopens the door to the 'L.A. Woman' sessions. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from www.goldminemag.com
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Guest Friday, 19 September 2014

The Doors Playlist

  • The Doors Live Footage at "Kongreßhalle" Frankfurt 1968
  • Feast Of Friends Trailer - Nov. 10th, 2014
  • L'Histoire de Jim Morrison (Documentaire français 1991 TVRip)
  • The Doors  "Miami - March 1, 1969"
  • The Doors - R-Evolution 2013 (Official DVD Release)
  • The Doors PBS Studio 1969 Full concert
  • The Doors Break On Through at "She-Bang" 1967 New Good Quality
  • The Doors Break On Through "Promotional & Publicity Film" 1966 HD New Footage
  • Jim Morrison - VH1 Confidential Segment
  • The Doors at '"Murray the K In New York" Full Outtakes 1967
  • The Doors - Light My Fire [HD]
  • Jim Morrison Backstage at "Bakersfield Civic Center " 1968 Footage
  • The Doors- Light My Fire Official Live
  • Jim Morrison on Why Fat is Beautiful | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios
  • Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison [OFFICIAL FILM PREVIEW]
  • Riders on the Storm - The Doors HD
  • The Doors, Mr. Mojo Risin The Story Of LA Woman
  • Jim Morrison: His Final Hours - "Final 24"
  • The Doors Aura Studio Demos (1965) [Early recordings of the Doors]
  • THE doors - Live at the Bowl `68
  • Doorstown: Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary
  • The Doors Live 1968
  • The Doors Are Open (Full Movie)
  • The Doors   Soundstage Performances 1969
  • The Doors: Mr. Mojo Risin - The Story of LA Woman extras
  • The Doors - Bakersfield 1970 (Synced footage)
  • The Doors When the Music's Over Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • Turn out the Lights - Jim Morrison's last night on stage
  • The Doors | People Are Strange (Official Video)
  • The Doors Break on Through Live at "Boston" 1970
  • Members of The Doors Discuss The Genesis of "Mr. Mojo Risin'"
  • Patricia Kennealy-Morrison on Jim Morrison
  • Jim Morrison & Women
  • 40 Second Wonder ;)
  • The Doors - Roadhouse Blues, BEST version (live in N.Y. 1970) [music video]
  • The Doors - rare - backstage before a concert
  • The Doors - L.A. Woman - HQ (official music video)
  • The Doors - Wishful Sinful
  • The Doors Build Me a Woman Live at Aquarius Theater "Private Rehearsal" 1969
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel Silent 8mm Film Footage 1969 The Changeling 12 11 70
  • The Doors Five to one / Spanish Caravan Live at "Philadelphia Arena" 1968
  • The Doors Five to One Live at Cleveland Public Auditorium August 3 1968
  • The Doors Back Door Man Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • A Night With Jim Morrison at The Alta Cienega Motel
  • The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim
  • The Doors - GLORIA - dirty version (music video, fantasy cut)
  • The Doors, Spanish Caravan Live, Madison Square Garden, New York Jan 24, 1969
  • Dawn's Highway Trailer Small.mov
  • The Doors - Ships With Sails (HQ Audio)
  • THE DOORS ROBBY KRIEGER TALKS JIM MORRISON PARDON
  • THE DOORS - Rare promo video of Light my fire
  • Rare Live Footage of The Doors and Jim Morrison
  • The Doors - Let It Slide
  • The Doors- Five to One
  • The Doors - Love Street
  • The Doors - Roadhouse Blues (Live)
  • The Doors - Moonlight Drive [HD]
  • The Doors - When The Music's Over (LIVE IN EUROPE 1968)
  • Jim Morrison in "Florida State University: Toward a Greater University"
  • Jim Morrison Alta Cienega Motel Room 32
  • The Doors - Waiting for the sun
  • the doors live light my fire hollywood bowl 1968
  • The Doors - The Changeling Live RARE 8mm Home Movie
  • The Doors - Spanish Caravan (From "Live In Europe 1968" DVD)
  • Back Door Man- The Doors( Live in Seattle ) RARE
  • The Doors - Light My Fire (Live In Europe 1968)
  • The Doors - Frankfurt, Germany 1968
  • Jim Morrison in an Airplane
  • Jim Morrison, The Weird Dawn of Dreams
  • The Doors - The Soft Parade
  • Adolf Hitler is still alive
  • The Doors (The Crystal Ship)
  • The Doors (Wild Child rare version)
  • The Doors - Touch Me
  • Deleted video

Featured Book

The Doors On The Road
by Greg Shaw provides a comprehensive timeline of live performances, reviews of the shows, stage antics of the performers, gossip related to the events, and recording sessions.

I just got out of college. I wasn't doing much of anything. I was free for the first time. I had been going to school, constantly, for fifteen years… I wandered around; I was living down in the beach in abject poverty… It was a beautiful hot summer, and I just started hearing songs. I think I still have that notebook with those songs written in it… But I heard in my head a whole concert situation, with a band and singing and an audience—a large audience. Those first five or six songs I wrote, I was just taking notes at a fantastic rock concert that was going on inside my head. And once I had written them, I had to sing them… This kind of mythic concert I heard… I'd like to try and reproduce it sometime, either in actuality or on record. I'd like to reproduce what I heard on the beach that day.

—Jim Morrison

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