Last week, the Supreme Court of California refused to hear the appeal of Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, two former members of the notorious rock group the Doors, who had sought the right to profit off of their former band’s title in recent tours. Accused of violating a written agreement made in the 1970s, the two must now pay a hefty sum of 5 million to their former bandmates.
Despite missing at least half of the original band, the keyboardist and guitarist had hit the concert circuit in 2003, calling themselves The Doors of the 21st Century. Fellow Doors drummer John Densmore, as well as the family of Jim Morrisson, took the two to court, charging that the use of the iconic name violated an earlier agreement made by the band. According to their contract, the four members agreed that any business decision involving the Doors had to be agreed upon unanimously. Morrisson, unable to approve the tour from the grave, and Densmore, who refused to participate, were clearly not included in the decision-making. So, in 2005 a court ordered the renegade Doors to cease using their former band’s name, and to cut the profits from the tour with Densmore and Morrissson’s family.
Densmore objected to the tour in the first place, wisely understanding that without Jim Morrisson, the Doors could never be complete. Manzarek and Krieger still try to keep the light alive, now touring as the “Riders on the Storm” and jamming to their old hits. But, the Doors without Jim Morrisson sounds downright criminal to me.