This could be the last time — in Atlantic City, anyway — that you’ll be able to hear the live version of Ray Manzarek’s signature organ riff on The Doors’ classic “Light My Fire.”
“We’re getting old,” says the 73-year-old Manzarek, who performs with The Doors’ co-founder Robby Krieger on Friday, Sept. 21, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “Who knows? The future is uncertain, and the end is always near.”
Old or not, Manzarek promises to bring audiences to a “frenzy,” with his and Manzarek’s take on The Doors’ catalog of psychedelic rock from the mid-’60s.
Now considered classic rock staples, songs such as “Hello, I Love You,” “Touch Me” and “Riders on the Storm” broke new ground with their mix of pop and more exotic musical influences and the haunting vocals of the band’s late lead singer, Jim Morrison.
Of course, the legendary Morrison is long gone from the lineup, having died under mysterious circumstances in Paris in 1971 when he was just 27. Filling in for him is Dave Brock, lead singer of Doors tribute band Wild Child.
Despite breaking up officially two years after Morrison’s untimely demise, The Doors continue to draw attention, via their original recordings, compilations and live albums; multiple books, including the Morrison biography, “No One Gets Out of Here Alive”; the controversial 1991 feature film by director Oliver Stone, and “When You’re Strange?” the Grammy-winning 2009 documentary Manzarek says gets closest to telling the true story of the band.
Manzarek and Krieger have since formed other groups and performed solo, coming together over the past decade to perform The Doors’ material.
Before hitting A.C. again, Manzarek talks about capturing the essence of The Doors on stage and hints at how Oliver Stone completely missed the mark on film.
Q: Can you use The Doors’ name when you perform?
A: Technically, (we) cannot. A judge has told me who I am. He told me what I can do professionally and what I can’t. So technically, we’re not allowed to use the name, The Doors.
Q: How do you interpret the songs today? Are they like the albums or something completely different?
A: They’re never like the album version — the album version is one snapshot of eternity. “Light My Fire” (live) is like the album version, but we always improvise. It will be like the record, but not like the record. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s an existential moment on stage — you never know what’s going to happen, what we’re going to do.
Q: Do you still feel that spontaneous on stage after all these years?
A: All these years haven’t been all these years. It’s not like we’ve been playing continuously since 1967. People say, Don’t you get sick of “Light My Fire?” Are you kidding — do you get sick of sex? It’s the same thing. We’re making love on stage. We’re having our little spiritual-psychological orgasms with the audience, so we love playing.
Q: What didn’t you like about Oliver Stone film version of “The Doors?”
A: I didn’t care for it. It was over the top — not the Jim Morrison I knew.
Q: What did the movie miss about him? Can you give an example of how he was wrongly portrayed?
A: We’ve have to do the whole Oliver Stone thing — that’s too much to do. It wasn’t Jim Morrison. It was Oliver Stone in leather pants, acting out as outrageously as Oliver Stone could possibly react to the situation surrounding him. I would suggest that you look at The Doors documentary, “When You’re Strange,” narrated by Johnny Depp. See the documentary — it’s the real Doors. The real Doors with the real Jim Morrison.