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on 3 September 2014
Having been a fan of The Doors since my teenage years (am now 61), we go back a long way, whether it be seeing them at the Isle of Wight in 1970 (actually I slept through that) or seeing The Doors of the 21st Century at Wembley Arena in 2004. I was given this book whilst recuperating from a heart attack. My first reaction was, I am not sure I want to read this as I did not think I wanted to know about disagreements within the band. Also there is a world of difference between enjoying the music and knowing about their personalities, which are often not so attractive.
Anyway I gave it a go and was hooked from the first couple of pages. It is a well written book taking one through the tension of a court case with lots of interesting anecdotes on the way. I did not want to be put off any members of the band as they were all such fine musicians and I did not allow myself to judge any of them harshly. I did however get to like John Densmore very much as a friend, and by the end of the book you will feel as though you really would like to know him as a friend and chat to him as a friend. I can't help agreeing with John's view of the original band (1965-71) and totally respecting his integrity.
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on 26 January 2014
This is a tough book to rate, on the one hand I ploughed threw the book over a weekend and was gripped wanting more and more trial detail but on the other hand I found some of the different directions that Densmore goes off on to break up the court room drama a bit dull.

Having seen Ray and Robby perform under different names three times I am grateful that I was able to see the songs I love performed by half of the original line up. I even made the short trip to Paris in 2011 to see the guys perform for the fortieth anniversary of Jim's death, truly a remarkable experience.

I was firmly on John Densmore's side from the moment I read about the court case and the action taken against him, the drama of the court room was captured well and John has really translated his 'voice' to the page, it is distinctly Densmore.

Unfortunately, and this is nothing to do with either the book or John's ability as an author, Ray and Robby don't come out of this book looking good. Manzarek in particular coming across quite appallingly.

John offers a helping hand to anyone not familiar with the history of The Doors and I think this is a book that anyone who is frustrated at seeing their favourite songs end up selling or plugging something.
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on 25 July 2014
I started this book with trepidation, not really wanting to know the ins and outs of a what I imagined to be a very painful experience for the remaining Doors. I wanted to hold onto the golden days of unity. I went to see both The 21st Century Doors and Riders on the Storm, and remain very glad that I did, and didn't want to feel guilty for doing so. But this is a very important episode in the life of the band so I knew I needed to read it and I'm very glad that I did.

John Densmore has written an extraordinarily eloquent book describing the reasons behind his decision to sue Ray and Robbie for touring as The Doors and their counter suing of him for £40m for vetoing opportunities to sell Doors music to advertise products as wide ranging as tobacco, cars and computers. It is a well considered discourse on the issues of brand - what is 'The Doors' - and the commercial licensing of music for both advertising and other creative endeavours particularly in films. Not only that, it is a stark account of a deeply flawed legal system where anything can be manipulated and presented as evidence.

This is a must read for Doors fans but also for anyone interested in or concerned about the misappropriation of music to sell products.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2014
Growing up I was constantly hearing the lesson of the 60's - we're all one, love the Earth, love your brother. This is the story of a pair of men who forgot this mantra and one who stood up for it.

The Doors have been one of my favourite bands for a long time. They were great musicians, led by an iconic symbol of the dark edge of 60's Flower Power.

Here John Densmore tells the story of the death of the myth. Where friends fall out over money and try to co-opt the legacy of their leader. A man greedy for money, the one mystical about what The Doors, and Jim Morrison, stood for; the self appointed Keeper of the Flame.

Thus us well written and paced. It doesn't feel like a dry story of a legal battle but a story that tells of betrayal, lies and greed. At the centre of the story is Densmore desire to retain desire to protect the legacy and Manzarack's desire to milk it for every penny he can.

I was constantly suspicious of Ray's recollections of Jim and their work. It also seemed to show him in the best light and raise his profile above all. Now we see that he wanted to keep the cash rolling in because he put the acquisition of wealth over all else.
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on 3 August 2013
A couple of key events in the formation of the Doors sowed the seeds for future malcontent. Firstly, the four Doors agreed a veto whereby without unanimity in the decision making process a band member could veto anything he didn't agree with. Secondly, Morrison waivered his right to 50% of the song writing royalties in favour of an equal four way split.

We know what happened, by 1971 big Jim had shaken off this mortal coil and after a couple of unsuccessful post Morrison albums the group called it quits. By 1980 the cash registers sprang back into life via Apocalypse Now and the He's Hot He's Sexy He's Dead Rolling Stone cover and they haven't abated since. Fair play to Ray and John, that's a hell of a pension plan to have.

But there was a falling out in the offing. Ray wants to rejuvenate the Doors but without John - and Jim naturally - and coupled with this he spies some money making opportunities via advertising deals. But hang on, didn't Jimbo put the tin lid on any advertising when he threw the TV out of the window after hearing about Light My Fire being given to Buick? John smells a point of conscience, cries foul and uses his veto. Then battle commences.

It's a fairly sad tale, primarily because at the root of all this is greed. There's also the question of how a group exploits its legacy and the extent to which this is deemed "acceptable". Clearly, to John advertising is a no no but turning out expensive box sets is OK? - the Doors SACD and 2x45rpm vinyl box sets were going for £300 and £400 in the UK respectively. And lets face it, the Doors catalogue has been exploited to within an inch of its life; the Doors team make Experience Hendrix, no strangers themselves to the reissue programme, seem like rank amateurs by comparison.

You have to question some of Johns comments here. He expresses surprise that Ray admits in court to perpetrating myths around Morrison. Did John never read No One Here Gets Out Alive then? And there's the other side of the coin, no matter what you think of Ray a lot of the credit for the Doors resurgence rests with him, even if his means were somewhat questionable. And John benefitted directly from that.

A little bit of self awareness wouldn't go amiss either. JD bemoans the fact that he lost a summer having to go to the court house every day. Hey John, I've lost every summer since leaving school and am likely to lose every forthcoming one until I retire. His diversion into his relationship with George Harrison is somewhat bemusing, especially as in the final meeting with the ex Fab George seems to give JD the kiss off .

All in all, it's a sorry tale. Ray comes across as a money grubbing, humourless fart, John as a hippy too far up his own bum for his own good and Robby as the man in the middle. One of many jaw dropping moments is Rays defence team attempting to discredit JD by showing he was a Socialist! Holy smokes, it says it all.

It's a good read, there are some swell pictures in there but at the end of the day you get the distinct impression that it's too spoilt kids fighting over the family inheritance. Jim is well out of it.
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on 5 January 2014
This little book gives an interesting inside of the legendary The Doors. It explains the controversy of the densmore vs. manzarek & krieger trial and why densmore did it. I was so interested in the detail I wasn't able to put it down until finished. Great read for all the doors fans. Love it,
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on 27 June 2013
This is a great book about the trial.When i seen the other two band members at the time going to tour, i wouldnt go to see them as the Doors without jim Morrison and john densmore is not the Doors.The other two where trying to cash in with the name and could see this before the trial.Thank god theres people like John densmore who managed to stop this as Ray would have destoyed the group i loved all my life for money.And to say the things he said in court even now that he is gone made me lose a lot of respect for him. A great read Johns other book riders on the storm is also worth having.
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on 17 August 2014
A book that I wish didn't have to be written. Sensitively handled by John Densmore, his integrity and pathos shine through. A thoughtful and intelligent man in extraordinary circumstances.
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on 6 December 2014
Very interesting book indeed. It takes a lot of proxy to say no to $15.000.000 for Buick to use a number by The Doors. Even Morrisons heirs declined the offer and stood behind Densmore vs. Krieger and Manzarek. However, he could have taken his share, some $3-4.000.000 and given them to charity. I don' t think even the ghost of Morrison would have had anything against such a move. Densmores book is well written and a very interesting look at the courtrooms of the US.
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on 11 December 2015
This is a pretty sad book. It honestly changed my perception of Ray and Robby, Ray came across as self and childish in this book. I couldn't help but agree with John as he said it their was no Doors with out Jim and he is extremely right and it was wrong for Ray to try and use their name. This is a great book if you are interested what happened after Jim Morrison death. All in all a good read.
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