Following last month's release of the latest Doors box set, the surviving
members of the legendary blues-rock quartet plan to digitize their newly
reopened tape archive to make audio and video material available over the
The Complete Studio Recordings a seven-disc collection
comprising all six of the band's studio albums and a rarities disc that
includes one never-before-released song launches the new high-fidelity,
high-tech approach to archive management by the band whose career ended
when iconic singer Jim Morrison died in 1971.
"This is an introduction to the new sound of the Doors on Elektra Records,"
Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek said from the Los Angeles office of the
band's longtime manager, Danny Sugerman. "We've remastered everything for
the 21st century."
The Doors are talking with Elektra about plans to start their own
Internet-based record label to remaster and release audio and video material
from the band's archives, including live Doors performances, surviving
members' solo projects and Morrison's film "Feast of Friends."
The Jimi Hendrix catalog was similarly revamped when the late guitarist's
estate won legal control over his music in 1997.
"The Internet has ... provided me an opportunity to link up with the
[Janis] Joplin estate, the [Jimi] Hendrix estate, the people doing the
Grateful Dead archive," Sugerman said. Doors and Hendrix organizations
recently teamed up to battle a bootleg recording of Morrison performing
with Hendrix in 1968.
The new box set offers the first complete digital remastering of the Doors'
original two-track analog tapes, using state-of-the-art, 24-bit technology.
Manzarek said the sound quality rivals that of the original six vinyl LPs.
The band has restored all six albums' original artwork, and the discs are
packaged as miniature versions of the original LPs, complete with L.A.
Woman's transparent window, raised lettering and paper sleeves.
The seventh disc, Essential Rarities, features selected cuts from
1997's The Doors Box Set and the previously unreleased song "Woman
Is a Devil," recorded as part of a warm-up jam during the 1969 sessions
for Morrison Hotel.
"That drunken day that we spent having a grand time in the studio and
drinking and eating at the Blue Boar down the street, being knights of
the round table," Manzarek recalled. "We all went down and just got
completely drunk. ... It was a great recording session. Absolutely one
of the high points of my life, just goofing and jamming."
On "Woman Is a Devil," Morrison sings, "Me and the devil, walkin' side
by side/ Me and the devil gonna take you on a long and evil ride," beginning
the slow, traditional 12-bar blues, with guitarist Robby Krieger playing
dry, call-and-response-style blues riffs.
"Woman is a devil, that's what I've been told. ... She'll take all your
money, then she'll spend all your gold," Morrison growls, gaining vocal
power as the tune progresses.
The rarities disc also includes a demo version of the classic "Hello, I
Love You," recorded in 1965 before Krieger joined the band, and "Orange
County Suite," which Morrison recorded as one of a batch of poems, on his
birthday, Dec. 8, in 1970. Krieger, Manzarek and drummer John Densmore
added instrumental tracks in 1997.
The newly remastered discs including Essential Rarities
will be sold separately, eventually replacing outdated versions.
While The Complete Studio Recordings encompasses the band's studio
career, Sugerman said the Doors' archives contain a wealth of other material.
When the Doors' longtime producer and guardian of the band's audio archives,
Paul Rothchild, died in 1995, "We found an opening at the bottom of the
well," Sugerman said. "Paul told us there was nothing [releasable, but]
once we got the tapes and started listening to them, it turned out there
was a lot there."
Manzarek and Sugerman said much of that material would soon begin showing
up on the Internet.