A year after releasing his second memoir, The Doors Unhinged, drummer John Densmore is still on the book store circuit signing copies of his engrossing and oftentimes harrowing account of the battle he waged for The Doors name and the lawsuit he brought against his two former band mates, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger.
The subsequent trial turned deeply personal at times (at one point, opposing counsel, in an attempt at character assassination, made a far-flung claim that Densmore sided with Al Qaeda), threatening to forever upend the harmony that existed for decades amongst the surviving Doors members. “Suing my musical brothers was definitely not fun," Densmore says. "They thought I was crazy, but I had to do it. And it was very difficult; it was like I was being crucified, pulled in one direction and another."
The book differs from Densmore’s first memoir, Rides On The Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison And The Doors, a first-rate chronicle of the group's history and drummer's difficult relationship with the hard-living "lizard king," but it’s no less gripping, recounting the courtroom proceedings with Woodward and Bernstein-esque detail and examining how Densmore's relationship with the surviving Doors first soured after he refused to OK a lucrative Cadillac deal and deteriorated even further after Manzarek and Krieger hit the road as the Doors of the 21st Century.
"For me, at first the lawsuit was like, ‘Well, I shouldn’t do this – they’re my musical brothers,'" Densmore recalls. "But then I thought, ‘No, Jim would have wanted it this way. I should do it.’ But it was hard – really hard.”
Densmore sat down with MusicRadar to talk about the trial, mending fences with Krieger and the late Manzarek, classic Doors tracks and the some of the particulars of his unique drumming style.
(John Densmore's The Doors Unhinged is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords.)
The trial got so intense and personal. At any point, did you say to yourself, “This is too crazy. It’s too much. I’m just going to end it”?
“I said it a lot, sure. Not at any specific point – in the middle, when it got really intense. You know, I was risking my finances. That was pretty scary.”
And finances you didn’t even have.
“Well, I had finances, but I could’ve lost it all.”