May 23, 1969: The Doors Appear on “Critique” TV Show

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The Doors Live on PBS' "Critique'"

After the “Miami incident” on March 1, 1969, The Doors became persona non grata in the music industry. They immediately lost what was characterized by manager Bill Siddons “as a million dollars worth of gigs” as promoters weren’t willing to gamble on booking them. So The Doors retreated into themselves, back to the solitude of the recording studio to finish “The Soft Parade” and Jim Morrison into recording his poetry and making his film “HWY.” This exile allowed them time to worry about creation and perhaps to heal. And on May 23, 1969, the first signs that a thaw was coming The Doors’ way was when they appeared on the PBS show “Critique.”

“Critique” was hosted by Richard Goldstein, a writer for the Village Voice who had been an early and earnest advocate of The Doors as not merely a rock band but artists.

The show was broken up into three segments, the first being Goldstein interviewing The Doors, in which they discussed rock stars as a shaman, Jim’s poetry, and how audiences perceived the band. This interview includes Morrison’s now famous prediction of a musician surrounded by electronic instruments and tapes. Although this clip has been bootlegged since the ’80s, in recent years adherents of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) have discovered it and touted it as Morrison’s validation of their art. The interview was recorded on May 13, 1969.

The second part of the show was of The Doors performing songs from “The Soft Parade” sessions, including “Tell All the People”, “Wishful, Sinful”, “Build Me a Woman” (which was not included on “The Soft Parade”), the title track of “The Soft Parade,” and The Doors’ standard medley of “Alabama Song/Back Door Man”. While most of the songs were from “The Soft Parade” the band was not accompanied by the horns and strings present on the album. The performance shows a very animated Morrison doing a toned down version of a Doors stage show. The recording session for this part of the show was recorded on April 29, 1969.

The third segment of the “Critique” show was a panel discussion on the band led by Goldstein and featuring Patricia Kennealy, who was at the time the editor of Jazz and Pop Magazine and would later marry Morrison in a pagan wedding ceremony. Also present were Al Arnowitz, who had introduced The Beatles to Bob Dylan, and had the perspicuity to say The Doors wouldn’t be remembered in five years. Rounding out the panel was a DJ, Bill Mercer, who went by the name Roscoe.

The Doors: Live on PBS' "Critique"

The Doors: Live on PBS' "Critique"

The “Critique” show was the end of The Doors’ exile from the public eye after Miami, and soon they would resume touring, recording their shows for a live album.

Originally published May 23, 2016.

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