Doors' keyboardist Manzarek died at age 74 in May following a battle with bile duct cancer
Guitarist Robby Krieger says he's been in touch with drummer John Densmore since then
Krieger: "Not sure when or where it will be, but we'll definitely do it"
The fourth member of the original band, Jim Morrison, died in 1971
The two surviving members of The Doors have put aside old tensions and are planning to reunite for a tribute concert in honor of the band’s late keyboardist, Ray Manzarek.
Guitarist Robby Krieger says he and drummer John Densmore have been in contact since Manzarek’s sudden death last month, following a battle with bile duct cancer.
“We’re talking about it,” Krieger tells CNN, confirming tribute plans. “Not sure when or where it will be, but we’ll definitely do it.”
The Doors were formed in 1965, after keyboardist Manzarek met a UCLA film student and poet named Jim Morrison on Southern California’s Venice Beach. The pair then joined forces with Krieger and Densmore, and The Doors went on to become one of the most controversial and successful rock acts of the ’60s. The band sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and gained fame for hits like “L.A. Woman,” “Hello, I Love You” and “Light My Fire.”
After Morrison’s death in 1971, The Doors continued as a trio for two more years before disbanding. In 2002, Manzarek and Krieger formed a new version of The Doors called “The Doors of the 21st Century,” featuring Ian Astbury from The Cult on vocals.
Densmore did not participate in this incarnation and, along with Morrison’s estate, sued the others to prevent them from using The Doors in the name of their band. In recent years, Manzarek and Krieger toured under the moniker Manzarek-Krieger, or Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors.
Krieger says he was stunned by Manzarek’s passing. He recalls a devastating phone message from his longtime bandmate in early May, with Manzarek displaying his infamous dry wit even while delivering heartbreaking news about his health.
“I got a voice mail from Ray saying, ‘This is Ray Manzarek, your keyboard player, and I’m dying – but maybe not!’ And so I called him back, and he told me what was going on, and that was maybe two weeks before he passed,” Krieger recalls. “He’d gone over to Germany to try to get a cure at the clinic over there, and that was pretty much the last I talked to him.”
Manzarek died on May 20.
In the meantime, Krieger has been keeping busy, prepping a tour with his side project, Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen.
“It’s kind of a jam band, some of the guys from Frank Zappa’s band,” Krieger explains. “We do kind of jazz-rock, our own stuff, as well as a few Doors songs.”
In the fall, three of Krieger’s guitars will be featured in a new coffee table book of photographs by Lisa S. Johnson called “108 Rock Star Guitars.” It’s the first time he’s allowed his instruments to be photographed for a published collection.
Even with new projects in the works, Krieger’s thoughts haven’t strayed too far from his friend, Ray Manzarek.
“It’s not easy, you know. Ray was such a part of my life, and he passed away kind of suddenly. It throws you for a loop, but we’ll get past it. He had a great life, so what can you say?”