John Densmore, former drummer and co-founder of the Doors, has filed a multiple-count lawsuit against surviving original band members Ray Manzarek and Robert Krieger, among others. The suit revolves a
John Densmore, former drummer and co-founder of the Doors, has filed a multiple-count lawsuit against surviving original band members Ray Manzarek and Robert Krieger, among others, Billboard Bulletin reports.
The suit -- filed yesterday (Feb. 4) in Los Angeles Superior Court by Densmore and on behalf of the estates of the late vocalist Jim Morrison and his wife, Pam Courson -- revolves around a new incarnation of the Doors that has performed in recent months. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims that written and oral agreements mandate that the Doors name and logo can be used only by the original band members.
Keyboardist Manzarek and guitarist Krieger have been playing dates as the Doors with Ian Astbury (formerly of the Cult) on vocals and Stewart Copeland (ex-Police) on drums. The group, which performed recently on "The Tonight Show," played the L.A. House of Blues on Jan. 31 and is scheduled to play Universal Amphitheatre on Friday.
Manzarek told Billboard.com in September that Densmore had opted out of the tour because he was suffering from tinnitus (a ringing in the ears). However, the drummer said in an interview yesterday with the Hollywood Reporter that he has fully recovered and will be performing live Saturday for a public school district benefit.
"I'm troubled by one guy singing the whole night," Densmore said. "There are Doors cover bands in every city; we shouldn't join that, should we? No disrespect to Ian Astbury or Stewart Copeland; they are wonderful musicians. But my point is they are not the Doors."
Manzarek countered in an interview with Reuters that Densmore's suit was "frivolous," and that he and Krieger were billing themselves as "the Doors, 21st Century." In fact, Densmore said he found out that Astbury and Copeland were going to tour as the Doors from an article in Billboard. "I thought, 'Oh, OK, I'm fired in the paper,'" Densmore said. "I called Robby and said, 'Robby, you've got to change the name, please.'"
Even though his ears are back in shape to perform, Densmore said he would not want to play with the group. "Who can fill Jim's leather pants?" he said. "The Doors is John, Jim, Ray, and Robby. It's not Ray, Robby, Stewart, and Ian." Densmore said he's not after money, nor will he try to stop Friday's show. He just wants the band to change the name. "They can call themselves Formerly Members of the Doors or the Hinges or the Windows," he said.
-- Erik Gruenwedel, L.A.The Hollywood Reporter's Tamara Conniff contributed to this story.