Robby Krieger’s 71st Birthday

Robby Krieger and Jim Morrison, Onstage in New York
Jim Morrison Watches Robby Krieger Ply His Art, Village Theater, New York City, September 1967

Robby Krieger is the youngest member of The Doors, having been born January 8, 1946. Here’s a quick bio for Doors and Robby fans.

Robby Krieger Portrait

Robby was born in Los Angeles. He developed an early interest in music, playing the trumpet as a child. Later, after discovering the blues, he played the piano. When he was fourteen he started surfing, and his parents, afraid that surfing was distracting him from school, enrolled him in a private school near San Francisco where he borrowed a friend’s guitar and was soon teaching himself to play and became enamored of flamenco guitar. After high school he returned to Los Angeles, enrolled in college mainly to avoid the draft and got into the folk scene where he played in a couple of bands. After seeing Chuck Berry, Robby traded his acoustic guitar for an electric. Prior to The Doors, Robby was in the band the “Psychedelic Rangers” with John Densmore who recruited Robby to The Doors after meeting Ray Manzarek in a meditation class.

In The Doors, Robby was responsible for the psychedelic roar of the guitar that was most audible in the song “When The Music’s Over.” Krieger’s eclectic and varied training also led him to use different styles, such as his use of drop-D tuning to mimic a sitar in “The End,” more of a blues approach in “Love Me Two Times,” and his flamenco chops in “Spanish Caravan.” Krieger also stepped into the creative breech of songwriting when needed for The Doors. He mostly employed the themes of Jim Morrison using archetypal imagery such as in “Light My Fire” and “Your Lost Little Girl” and at times he paired with Morrison in writing songs like “People Are Strange” and “Hyacinth House.” Krieger’s songs have become some of The Doors’ biggest hits including “Touch Me” and “Love Her Madly.”

Some fast facts about Robby:

His parents were early supporters of The Doors, enlisting the band to play at a party given by friends of Robby’s parents. Max Fink was Robby’s father’s attorney and later came to represent not only The Doors but Jim Morrison.

Robby shares his birthday with Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935) and they were both twins. Robby’s twin brother Ronnie appears in the Malibu U video in place of Jim Morrison because Morrison didn’t show up for the filming.

The songs “Touch Me” and “Love Her Madly” were inspired by arguments with his girlfriend Lynn (who later became his wife). “Touch Me” was originally titled “Hit Me” but Morrison refused to sing that because he thought the audience would be all too ready to take him up on the offer.

Robby Krieger Portrait

Robby donates a lot of his time to charity work, lending his name and performing for charities that raise money for music programs. Robby also sponsors an annual golf outing to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital.

Robby still plays a lot of shows throughout the year. Most recently he’s appeared with Gov’t Mule for a special holiday show. He’s also appeared with his jazz band Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen. And he does a lot of media work, promoting Doors reissues like “LA Woman” and playing on Conan O’Brien’s show just for fun.

Robby still lives in the hills above LA, his old stomping grounds from The Doors days, and he had a geodesic treehouse installed in his back yard.

Robby Krieger Onstage
Robby Krieger, Onstage with His Trademark Gibson SG

In recent years Robby toured with the Manzarek-Krieger Band, but the passing of Ray Manzarek in May of 2013 led to rapprochement with Doors drummer John Densmore that in turn led to at least one surprise performance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on December 5, 2013. You can also watch the Q and A session with Robby and John with host Elvis Mitchell. Krieger and Densmore hinted that they would like to play a show on or around the anniversary of Ray Manzarek’s birthday (February 12) and finally did so in 2016.

Happy Birthday Robby!

Originally published January 8, 2014.

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