Full details are forthcoming, but Doors guitarist Robby Krieger says the upgraded and expanded edition of the original group's 1971 swan song "L.A. Woman," due out early next year, is a revelation.
"It's pretty cool," Krieger tells Billboard.com. "We found a lot of outtakes and separate takes of most of the songs, which are going to be on the set, as well as remastering the original album. I pretty much totally forget about these other takes; when you're recording you kind of just throw them away in your mind. But it's interesting because you can see how different songs developed and changed from one take to the next. 'L.A. Woman,' the song, is quite different from what it started out as."
The multi-disc set is expected to include the two discs that comprised a 40th Anniversary release -- which included the bonus tracks "Orange County Suite," and Willie Dixon's"(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Furthur" -- along with a cover of Barrett Strong's Motown hit "Money (That's What I Want)," alternate takes and studio chatter between the band members and producer Bruce Botnick that's dubbed "Inside the Workshop."
Fans will get a taste of what's in store for "L.A. Woman" on Black Friday, Nov. 25, when the Doors release a limited edition "L.A. Woman Singles Box" that includes 7-inch vinyl of three songs -- "Love Her Madly," "Riders on the Storm" and "The Changeling" -- and a fourth disc that includes "Inside the Workshop" looks at "Riders on the Storm" and John Lee Hooker's "Crawling King Snake."
The box is part of a new campaign called Year of the Doors 2011-2012, which is also expected to feature digital apps and box sets dedicated to the Doors' early career residencies at the Matrix in San Francisco and the London Fog in Los Angeles. But Krieger doesn't expect more outtake-laden album treatments like the group is doing for "L.A. Woman."
"I wish we could, but very few outtakes exist," Krieger says. "It's really a catastrophe; Elektra, being a small label, they took a lot of our masters, our 8-track and 16-track tapes, and bulk-erased them so they could use them for other bands to record on. So very few outtakes remain. The stuff on 'L.A. Woman' was just an amazing find."
While the Doors camp -- a partnership with Rhino that also includes drummer John Densmore and the estate of frontman Jim Morrison -- continues to mine their vaults for reissues, Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek continue to play the group's music, now billed as Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors after stints as the Doors of the 21st Century, D21C and Riders on the Storm. They've been fronted by the Cult's Ian Astbury. "That's probably what we should have been in the first place," Krieger notes. And the current incarnation of the act is fronted by Dave Brock, who hails from the Los Angeles Doors tribute band Wild Child.
"We've always been kind of afraid to ask him to play with us, because people say, 'Oh, you're using a tribute singer. Now you're your own tribute band,' " Krieger explains. "But then Journey got that karaoke singer (Arnel Pineda) and everybody loved it, so we said, 'If they can do that, we can use David. And he's been great. That's not to say the other guys (the Cult's Ian Astbury, Fuel's Brent Scallions) didn't do a good job, but I think when people come to see Ray and I, they want to see us do the Doors music as it should be done, so why not use a guy who really is an expert? He knows the songs better than we do, really."
Krieger says he and Manzarek also "talk about" recording some new music and even have songs they began when Astbury was working with them. "I think it would be a lot better if (Densmore) would be on it," Krieger says. "We do have some songs that we've worked up. We're just waiting for the right time, but we'll definitely be doing that." He and Manzarek are also looking ahead towards a full-scale world tour to celebrate the Doors' 50th anniversary in 2017.