Publié sur classicrockrevisited.com, mars 2002
Entrevue réalisée par Jeb Wright
Robby Krieger has had a remarkable career. As a member of the Doors he made history playing guitar next to the legendary Jim Morrison. From the bands earliest days until the groups demise, Krieger remained faithful to the groups vision of approaching music as art. He has had a successful solo career and continues to write and record jazz fusion/rock/blues with The Robby Krieger Band, his latest effort being titled Cinematix.
Robby, along with his son Waylon on guitar, Angelo Barbera on bass, Ty “Stick” Dennis on drums and Steve Bach on keyboards invaded Tulsa, Oklahoma on the Ides Of March. The show was nothing less than amazing. Krieger and company pumped out classic Door’s songs all night long to a screaming crowd at downtown Tulsa’s Sager Center. Classic Rock Revisited’s Jeb Wright and Jon Fultz knew they were in for something special as the band jammed on “Maggie M’Gill” and “Soft Parade” during sound check. The senior Krieger’s guitar playing is fluid and from the smile on his face he was in the mood to rock. During sound check, Waylon Krieger’s voice sparked memories of his Father’s deceased bandmate, sending chills up the spines of the handful of people privy to rehearsal. We could not wait until Showtime!
The band took the stage by storm opening with “Peace Frog” from Morrison Hotel. Other Door’s classics thrown out in the opening set included “Love Street” and “Whiskey Bar.” Krieger took command of the stage and was whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The only drawback to the evening was the alarming number of times that the show was stopped early on due to technical difficulty. Krieger was visibly annoyed with the sound crew as the stops were threatening to zap the energy the band was sending out into the crowd. In all honesty, the crowd really didn’t seem to care about the problems as they were jamming with every note and even when everyone lost power exept keyboardist Steve Bach they remained loud and supportive. Bach led the crowd through a tribute to George Harrison that was basically a classical rendition of the Harrison penned Beatles classic “Something.” When order was restored in the pit and the juices were flowing through the coaxial cables, Robby approached the microphone and told a story of when the Doors would play in the studio after Morrison had died. It seems that the band encountered many technical problems whenever they would play after the singer’s death and every time it would happen he and his band mates would attribute it to “Jim being in the wires.” Indeed, the spirit of Morrison was in the wires in Tulsa. In the end, Krieger lead his group through an astonishing set of 16 Doors classics!
The barroom crowd nearly collectively wet their pants when Waylon belted out “Five To One,” shortly followed up by “Spanish Caravan,” “The Wasp (Texas Radio & The Big Bea)” and an excerpt from “The Lizard King.” What was interesting was that Krieger ignored FM staples “Hello I Love You,” “Touch Me” and “Break On Through” instead playing songs that Doors fanatics embraced. The lost gems only fueled the fire and energy of the crowd. Before the night was over security was removing fans who jumped onstage to dance or to simply hug Robby! Emotions were running high as the magic of The Doors oozed through the atmosphere transporting everyone backward through the spirals of time.
Krieger threw in three original instrumentals, the most intense being “Snake Oil” from his latest CD Cinematix. Before the band left the stage the crowd was treated to many Door’s classics not heard in some time including “Who Do You Love” and “Riders On The Storm.” The set ended with an extended version of “Soul Kitchen.” Krieger’s backing band literally thundered the music into your soul whether you wanted it there or not. For starters, they played The Door’s tracks, note for note perfect during the main verse and chorus of each song. The bonus came in the form of extended jams during many of the songs. Kudos to Steve Bach for his Ray Manzarek maneuvers. Krieger and Bach toyed with each other during song after song trying to one up each other in a game of call and response. Angelo Barbera and drummer Ty “Stick” Dennis provided a rhythm section that was part Doors and part Miles Davis Bitches Brew. They put on a show as Barbera put on an Eddie Van Halen bass clinic, complete with two handed double pull offs before jumping on the drum riser and letting Dennis pound his sticks up and down his fret board!
“The Changeling” was another welcome classic from the LA Women album and the crowd sang along with every word and hung on every note. Krieger took over the microphone between songs announcing, “There is a guy here who says he can sing like Jim Morrison. Should we give him a try?” With that Jim Morrison impersonator Joe Quinlan joined the band onstage. Krieger hammered out the opening riff to “Roadhouse Blues” as the crowd went ape. Quinlan took over and did a formidable take-off on the legend complete with leaping twirl, guttural snarl and icy stare. His performance led Krieger to shake his head and simply state, “Not bad” at the songs conclusion.
It was clear that the boys would be back for an encore but once again the crowd was in for a surprise as the band jammed through five more Door’s classics, lasting nearly 45 minutes! They started off with “When The Music’s Over” before going into the morose “The Unknown Soldier.” Next up was “Crawling King Snake” followed by “Love Me Two Times.” The final song of the evening “Light My Fire” eclipsed 11 minutes and featured extended jams between Father and Son. Finally, just after 1:00am the show came to a close.
Classic Rock Revisited highly recommends, and we mean HIGHLY recommends that you catch Krieger in concert. His guitar playing is top notch, his band in astonishing and the energy that is created when Jim is in the wires is magical. Watching the legend trade licks with his son is also special. The fact that Waylon Krieger naturally sings Morrison baritone is kind of creepy. Being witness to the show in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the Ides Of March lends to a new belief in the supernatural. Anyone who believes the spirit of Jim Morrison and The Doors to be dead has not witnessed the manifestation of The Robby Krieger Band in concert!
You are back in the Midwest of the United States and we are trilled that you are back for another round.
Robby Krieger : It seems to be a good area for us. I don’t know why. There are just terrific audiences here. We played in Joplin, Missouri last night and it was great.
How long are you out?
Robby Krieger : Just about a week and a half.
Have you recorded anything since Cinematix?
Robby Krieger : We have not recorded anything but I am working on some stuff.
Is it the same Robby Krieger style? Will we know it when we hear it?
Robby Krieger : Actually I have been working on some stuff with Ray (Manzarek) and John (Densmore). Nothing has come of it yet but it might. (Editors note: For you youngsters reading this, Manzarek, Densmore and Krieger are the three remaining members of The Doors.)
Now you know there are only a few million people who would want to hear that! How did the three of you start playing together again?
Robby Krieger : We did the VH1 special and then Ray and I have been talking about doing something. We all went over to his house and we started writing to see what would happen. Lately, we have got John to come down and put his two cents worth in. It sounds pretty good.
In your opinion, who was the best Morrison on the VH1 special?
Robby Krieger : I don’t want to get in trouble! I think that Travis Meeks was the best. I liked him. I also liked the guy from Train. Some of the guys didn’t have time to rehearse so they came in cold. To get all of those people all in the same place was hard to do. It was like the only day in the year that we could do it. Most of them were out on tour already so there was no way to get any rehearsals done.
I have heard that the VH1 Storytellers are done a lot more on the fly than people realize.
Robby Krieger : Yeah.
How long did it take for you guys to set that damn thing up?
Robby Krieger : It took a couple of months of planning. Ray and John and I rehearsed for a couple of weeks. The only one that had time to rehearse was Ian Asbury. A couple of others came in the day of the show and did a run through but that was it.
Had the three of you actually played together recently before that?
Robby Krieger : The only thing that we have done other than that is some recording when American Prayer came out again. We did add some stuff to that but that is the only times that we have played together in years.
Is it ironic, strange or expected that getting you guys together on stage would lead to more music?
Robby Krieger : It was hard enough getting us back onstage after Ray’s book. I don’t know if you read Ray’s book but John was not to happy about it (laughter). The two of them were not speaking very much and it was a mess.
But still here you are, Robby Krieger: The Door that doesn’t cause any trouble!
Robby Krieger : That is because I didn’t write a book (much laughter).
I had a bunch of stuff prepared and you told me that you three were playing together and it just floored me. That is exciting news.
Robby Krieger : I probably shouldn’t have said anything about it. It is a possibility that something could happen. Ray and I are both wanting to do something but John is having problems with his ears. When he did the VH1 thing, his ears were messed up for weeks so he is afraid to do anything, especially when he has to play loud. He has tinnitus, where your ears ring all the time. It has gotten a little better lately so we will see.
Now you have a totally new band since your last CD Cinematix. How hard is it to get new musicians to play your music?
Robby Krieger : Good ones you mean? (laughter). It isn’t hard to get them to do it because it is fun music to play but it is hard to find the ones who can do it right. It sounds simple but it is really not. People say, “Well, lets jam on a Doors song” and the only thing they can think of is “Roadhouse Blues” because everything else has little parts in it where if you don’t come in on it right, it sounds stupid. It ain’t as easy as it sounds.
How much of your set is Doors music?
Robby Krieger : It seems like more and more of it is lately. 60 to 80%. It is fun to play and I realize that people want to hear it and that is why they come but we do some of my other stuff too. It depends on the crowd. If it looks like a crowd that is up for something different then we will play more jazz rock and blues but some crowds you can tell are just more hardcore Doors fans.
I know that you have a show do to here in a little while and I don’t want to hold you up but if I could take five minutes of your time and ask you a few questions about LA Women you would make my day.
Robby Krieger : All right.
When the band went in to do LA Women they were fragmented yet you guys produced one of the most complete albums in your career. How did you go from the personalities interacting to the finished product?
Robby Krieger : One reason is that we produced it ourselves. Up until then we had Paul Rothchild who produced all of our records. He kind of finked out on that album. He was busy with Janis Joplin or something so we decided to do it ourselves. We took all of our recording gear and brought it down to our little rehearsal studio. It was kind of relaxed and nice. It was like jamming, you know.
Rothchild had a hard time getting vocal tracks out of Morrison so how did The Doors get vocal tracks out of Jim?
Robby Krieger : There was no problem really. We had our engineer Bruce Botnick who worked on all our albums so getting the sound was no problem. Jim was just into it. When Paul was getting the vocals out of him it was hell. He was a perfectionist kind of guy so we would sit in the studio for three days straight trying to get a drum sound and Jim would get bored and get drunk. By the time he was ready for the vocal he would be in a lather. We were just more relaxed and we had no problems.
Your guitar playing on LA Woman the song is very inspiring. How much was rehearsed and how much was live in the studio?
Robby Krieger : I believe it was all live in the studio. I would say that is the most natural Doors song because we were all playing together. There are hardly any overdubs on that one. We had a rhythm guitar player named Mark Benno on the whole album. That let me play lead and I didn’t have to overdub it. That led to a more natural sound.
How did you decide on the cover?
Robby Krieger : That is a good question. I suppose it was Elektra who thought of the album. It was a neat idea with the laminated thing. Unfortunately, they didn’t do to many that way. They started printing them with just the picture on them. If you have one of the original ones it could be worth something.
Do you have one of them?
Robby Krieger : (smiling) I think I do.
What was your input on “Riders On The Storm?”
Robby Krieger : We were just jamming one day and we were playing “Ghost Riders In The Sky.” You know that one? Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum dum dum dum dum -- kind of a Duane Eddie guitar sound. All of the sudden Jim started singing, “Ghost riders in the sky/Riders on the storm. It kind of evolved from that. It is kind of the same thing with ghost riders and riders on the storm.
You guys stole it from “Ghost Riders In The Sky!”
Robby Krieger : (laughing) I don’t know about that but it was the inspiration!
Eagle Vision DVD has re-released the documentary No One Gets Out Of Here Alive. You have gone from just being able to see it on TV to having it on VHS to having it on DVD. Do you find it surprising that the Jim Morrison legend it still strong in the new millennium?
Robby Krieger : It doesn’t shock me. It has been going on this long so I don’t see why it should stop now.