Blast their music at top volume and you will know “what it was like to hear men play rock ’n’ roll music.” So writes Hunter S. Thompson, making a cameo in this thoroughgoing biography of the iconic rock band.
The recent death of founder Ray Manzarek has brought renewed attention to the extent of The Doors’ influence over the last 45 years. Spearheaded by veteran producer and former Electra Records head Jac Holzman, this app bowed in just before Manzarek’s passing. Naturally, it is singer Jim Morrison, a walking train wreck, who commands the most attention, but Holzman and contributors such as David Fricke and Greil Marcus (with smaller pieces by Patti Smith, Barney Hoskyns and the band members themselves) give all due to the brilliant musicianship of Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. Each of the band’s albums is presented in detail, with sound samples that link to full files available from the iTunes store. There are lyrics too (even the blue ones of “The End”), as well as promo videos and technical notes on the details of recording (such as the fact that “Unknown Soldier,” from “Waiting for the Sun,” marks “the first use of 8-track Dolby ‘A’ on a pop record.” An additional gallery offers a trove of still photographs, videos, demos, concert posters and other material. All the material is easily navigable and intuitively laid out. Fair warning to fans and rock geeks: This poses every danger of being an enormous time sink, since each piece is part of the puzzle, from a recent gubernatorial pardon granted to Morrison for the infamous charge of lewd and indecent behavior to Francis Ford Coppola explaining how the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now came into being.
A model of multimedia publishing and an essential for fans of the band and students of rock history alike.