On November 22, 2000, the surviving members of The Doors appeared together as part of VH1’s “Storytellers” series. But what started out as a celebration of the band and their place in rock ’n’ roll history turned into an event that had long-term ramifications. “Storytellers” changed the relationships in The Doors and it was the last time that Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger performed live onstage.
Each “Storytellers” episode features popular musicians performing a concert for a small studio audience, talking about their music and memories, and answering questions. VH1 and The Doors entered the project enthusiastically and VH1 allotted the band 90 minutes as opposed to the usual hour for the show. The Doors took advantage and played, in the absence of Jim Morrison, with some of the best-known vocalists in rock ‘n’ roll. They also released a tribute album, the acclaimed “Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors,” in conjunction with the program.
Appearing with The Doors were singers such Pat Monahan from Train, Travis Meeks from Days of the New, Scott Stapp from Creed, Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots, a very enthusiastic Perry Farrell, and Ian Astbury from The Cult. They all tried on Jim Morrison’s leather pants (with the exception of Farrell), ostensibly to see who filled them out best.
The show as originally aired filled up the full 90 minutes, but since then only a one-hour edited version has been shown. The group plays Doors hits spanning their career, including “L.A. Woman,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Back Door Man,” “The End,” “Light My Fire,” and “Roadhouse Blues.” In a brief question and answer section of the show, Ray Manzarek is candid about the prospects of Jim Morrison’s remains being brought back to the U.S.
The success of the show apparently inspired Manzarek and Krieger to perform together again, and they formed a band they called “The Doors of the 21st Century” with Astbury standing in for Jim Morrison. Densmore objected to their use of the name “The Doors” and filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates in which he alleged that they couldn’t be “The Doors” without Morrison. The lawsuit kicked off a couple of years of legal and interpersonal fights, and Densmore was subsequently joined in the suit by Morrison’s estate. The Densmore-Morrison team eventually prevailed, but relations between the surviving trio were fractured, and they didn’t appear onstage, in the studio, or in public together again. It was only after the death of Manzarek on May 20, 2013 that Krieger and Densmore reunited for a tribute to Ray.
Originally published November 22, 2012 and appears in “The Doors Examined.”