'I don’t protect Jim Morrison's self-destruction': The Doors' John Densmore on life after Jim and Ray

Doors drummer John Densmore calls Jim Morrison's actions his 'cross to bear' PHOTO: AP PHOTO/JOHN CARUCCI
Doors drummer John Densmore calls Jim Morrison's actions his 'cross to bear' PHOTO: AP PHOTO/JOHN CARUCCI

When he died of an alleged overdose in a Paris bathtub, 27-year-old Jim Morrison left behind only six completed albums of work with his soon-to-be-canonical rock band, The Doors. Forty-three years later, the self-professed Lizard King’s myth and legacy still loom large over Doors drummer John Densmore. In his latest biography, The Doors Unhinged, Densmore documents his efforts to keep the memory and spirit of Morrison and The Doors alive — rejecting large sums of money for commercial use and taking his former bandmates to court when they tried to tour under the name — at the expense of great financial gains and his friendship with guitarist Robbie Krieger and keyboardist, the late Ray Manzarek. Jonathan Dekel recently sat down with Densmore to discuss his peace offering with the dying Manzarek and the difference between protecting Morrison’s wishes rather than glorifying his self-destruction. 

It’s been a wild year for The Doors. You released your book, the band released an iPad app, the remaining members broke a decade-long estrangement and, most significantly, Ray Manzarek passed away from cancer. I heard you called him just before he died. What did you say?

If you read the book you’ll know what a struggle it was with Ray. I sent the last chapter [of The Doors Unhinged] to him and Robbie before it was published and with the note, “I want to make sure you get to this because [the book] is going to be a hard pill but this is where I say, ‘How can I not love you guys? We’re musical brothers. My god, we created this magic in a garage!’’’

When Ray was getting sicker, the inner circle all knew. We had been estranged for some time so I called him and told him I was drumming for his health and he thanked me. So we had closure. I didn’t know he was going to go only a few weeks later.

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Retrieved on 16 January 2019 from https://o.canada.com/entertainment/music/i-dont-protect-jim-morrisons-self-destruction-the-doors-john-densmore-on-life-after-jim-and-ray

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