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The Doors of the 21st Century is an American rock band formed by the three surviving former members of The Doors, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, in 2002. They perform Doors material almost exclusively, along with songs/poems submitted to the band by top rock poets.

Formation and history[]

In 2002, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore reunited and produced a new version of The Doors called "The Doors of the 21st Century." The lineup was fronted by Ian Astbury of The Cult, with Angelo Barbera from Krieger's band on bass. It was announced that Densmore would be free to drop out for other commitments, at which time the shows would be performed with Ty Dennis, the drummer from Krieger's band. Likewise, Barbera would be free to drop in and drop out, with Phil Chen, who worked with Krieger in The Butts Band, filling in when needed.

The newly reconfigured group performed on several late night TV shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. The band also secured a contract with Exploitation Records through which to release DVDs and live albums of their concert tours, as well as one studio album.

In 2003, the band launched massive tour which included performing the songs from The Doors' 1971 studio album L.A. Woman, a tour the original band never undertook due to the death of Jim Morrison. A live concert DVD and album, L.A. Woman Live, was released at the end of 2003. On December 6 and 7 of 2003, the band did two shows in Paris to commemorate what would've been Morrison's 60th birthday, which made up a live package.

In 2004, the band's lone studio album, D21C, was released. This album featured songs like "Cops Talk", "Forever", "Eagle In A Whirlwind" and "American Express," which were written by Astbury, Michael McClure, Jim Carroll, John Doe, Henry Rollins and others. A deluxe edition included a disc of re-recorded studio versions of classic Doors songs, as well as the performance of "Touch Me" by Astbury and the three surviving Doors members for the Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors tribute CD in 2000. The song "Wild Child" had also been recorded by Astbury with his band The Cult for the CD, along with Manzarek.

A series of special officially released live recordings available through the band's website and at concerts was released by Exploitation Records in partnership with DiscLive:

  • Live in Hollywood, CA: New Year's Eve 2004 (12/31/03)
  • Live in Atlanta, GA (5/1/04)
  • Live in West Palm Beach, FL (5/2/04)
  • Live in New York City, NY: "Live from the Five" (5/5/04)
  • Live in Uncasville, CT (5/6/04)
  • Live in Denver, CO (6/18/04)
  • Live in Anaheim, CA: New Year's Eve 2005 (12/31/04)

Densmore has been steadfast in refusing to license The Doors′ music for use in television commercials, including an offer of $15 million by Cadillac to lease the song "Break on Through (To the Other Side)", feeling that that would be in violation of the spirit in which the music was created. Densmore wrote about this subject for The Nation:

People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music. I've had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn't commit suicide because of this music ... On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That's not for rent.


Ray Manzarek was quoted as saying, "We're all getting older. We should, the three of us, be playing these songs because, hey, the end is always near. Morrison was a poet, and above all, a poet wants his words heard." When Morrison was asked what he would most like to be remembered for, he responded, "My words, man, my words."

Manzarek described the band's sound as Bauhaus music. "It's clean, it's pure. There is a keyboard on one side, a guitar on the other, drums in the middle, a bass line underneath that and the singer up front ... you can hear the words. That's one of the reasons why The Doors' sound is still important today. It's perfectly modern. That's what we wanted.

On February 16, 2007, Astbury announced he would be relaunching his old band, The Cult. The Doors of the 21st Century announced they would pare down their touring schedule to allow Astbury to make time for both groups. Still, the band did a series of shows with guest performers that year, notably Brett Scallions of Fuel, Milijenko Matijevic of Steelheart, Scott Stapp of Creed and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. This set of shows was gathered together as a live package, Got Some Friends Inside.

Through the band's existence, it has performed at a variety of theaters, clubs, amphitheaters, arenas and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Russia, Czech Republic, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2016, the band launched a full-scale world tour to celebrate The Doors' 50th anniversary. It was well-received. This led to 50th anniversary tours to promote The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun and The Soft Parade. A 50th anniversary tour to promote Morrison Hotel was planned, but was postponed due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The anniversary was rolled over to be part of the celebration for the 50th anniversary of L.A. Woman in 2021.

Members[]

  • Ray Manzarek-keyboards, vocals
  • Robby Krieger-guitar, vocals
  • Ian Astbury-lead vocals
  • Angelo Barbera-bass guitar
  • Phil Chen-bass guitar (standby)
  • John Densmore-drums
  • Ty Dennis-drums (standby)

Guest musicians[]

  • Brett Scallions-lead vocals
  • Milijenko Matijevic-lead vocals
  • Scott Stapp-lead vocals
  • Scott Weiland-lead vocals
  • Rick Manzarek-guitar, whistle and percussion (2011)
  • Owen Goldman-percussion (2011)
  • Forrest Penner-guitar (2011; Mexico/South America tour March 2011. Taking Krieger's place due to health problems)
  • Alex Lora-vocals (2011; only on 2011 Mexico City concerts)
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