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As the SG-wielding guitarist in The Doors, Robby Krieger helped elevate Jim Morrison’s visionary lyrics to astral heights, as the band became one of the most darkly incandescent creative forces rock has ever seen. We talk to Robby about lighting the fire with Magnatones, Maestros – and plenty of good ol’ fashioned blues...
“I had a friend up the street who had a guitar when I was 10 or 12. It was an acoustic and the first time I tried it I really liked it. I’d played the piano and trumpet, but those things didn’t really have much fascination for me, but the guitar did. It wasn’t until later, in junior high, that I heard the blues guys, who really I’d been missing out on.
“Blues licks are made for a guitar, so it’s something that you do naturally. I had started more with flamenco and folk music, but when I first heard blues it blew me away: like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson. A friend of mine had some of those records and that really tripped me out.”
“Moonlight Drive was the first song we played together. Before that, Jim had come over to my
house to meet me – John brought him over, John Densmore and I were buddies from high school. I’d just got a new guitar and I was fooling around with slide – you know, bottleneck – and Jim really liked that. He thought it would go good on Moonlight Drive.
“So the next week we got together with Ray [Manzarek] over at this little place. His friend Hank had a house in the middle of a parking lot in Santa Monica, crazy little house, and that’s where the rehearsal was. We cranked up Moonlight Drive and it was really magical, it just seemed to work, you know.”
“I was the last one to join the band so they already had three or four songs that were in some form, and so we worked those out together with the guitar.
“One day Jim says, ‘Hey, you know what we don’t have enough originals, why don’t you guys try to write some?’ So we said, ‘Okay.’ I went home and the first one I wrote was Light My Fire. I brought it to the guys and I showed them the chords and we worked it out. After that I wrote Love Me Two Times and different songs, I brought them in and we’d arrange it together.”