Earlier this week, as Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger were about to launch a tour of their reconstituted band, Manzarek told the Associated Press that drummer John Densmore didn’t mind being left out. (Ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland is taking his place, and filling the late Jim Morrison’s leather pants as lead singer is former Cult frontman Ian Astbury.) ”Well I assume we have John’s blessings as far,” Manzarek told AP. “You know, John’s got bad ears and he’s got tinnitus and can’t play this loud rock ‘n’ roll stuff and he’d blow his brains out if he tried to, it’d just be too loud for him. So, John has said fine, go ahead.”
Um, apparently not. According to Reuters, Densmore filed a legal action in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday charging the quartet with breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition. ”I’m sad and hurt that my former bandmates are misusing the logo and the name, confusing people,” he told Reuters.
The name and logo are owned by Densmore, Manzarek, Krieger, and the estates of Morrison and his wife Pamela Courson. (Morrison died in 1971, and Courson outlived him by only a couple of years.) According to Densmore, the Doors had a legal arrangement dating back to 1965 that gave each member veto power over the other three. He says he has nothing against the newcomers as musicians, and it would be all right with him if Manzarek and Krieger billed themselves as ”former members of the Doors. It could be Windows, the Hinges, I don’t care what it is… but it’s not the Doors. That’s my point here… It shouldn’t be called the Doors if there’s someone other than Jim singing, y’know?”
Manzarek told Reuters that Densmore’s suit was ”frivolous,” since the band is officially billing itself as ”The Doors, 21st Century.” The quartet is making the rounds of the late-night talk shows and will perform on Friday at the Universal Amphitheater outside Hollywood. Additional tour dates have yet to be announced.