Rockers Aerosmith, Stone Temple Pilots, Chrissie Hynde, Creed and the Cult have recorded songs with members of the Doors for an upcoming tribute album to the 1960s blues-rock band.
Though the track listing has not been finalized, plans call for the disc also to include late Beat writer William S. Burroughs' final recording and a duet featuring bluesman John Lee Hooker singing with late Doors frontman Jim Morrison.
"Personally, the high points for me are William Burroughs' recitation of some Morrison poetry and Creed's 'Riders on the Storm,' " longtime Doors manager Danny Sugerman said. "Creed really put their stamp on it, so it's not just a slavish cover. Some bands went in and were afraid to fiddle with history. And then others, like Creed and the Cult, really brought their style to bear on it."
The album tentatively titled Stoned Immaculate, from a line in "Texas Radio and the Big Beat" is expected to be released in the summer. Ralph Sall, who also masterminded tributes to the Grateful Dead and the Eagles, is producing the disc.
Sall approached various bands, then asked the Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore if they were familiar with the different groups. Whichever Doors member reacted most enthusiastically played on each track, recording with sometimes much younger musicians.
"In the world of artists, you get to a certain level of artistic expertise, and you're neither young nor old," Manzarek said. "They're accomplished musicians who are 20 years younger than I am, 30 years younger than I am, but ... they've broken on through to the other side, and they've gotten up to the top of the mountain, and it's like everyone's an equal."
'It Was Just Rocking'
Manzarek recorded "Wild Child" with the Cult. He and Krieger collaborated with Stone Temple Pilots on "Break on Through (to the Other Side)" and laid down the classic Morrison stomp "Roadhouse Blues" with a supergroup whose lineup included Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and drummer DJ Bonebrake of L.A. punk veterans X.
"Locking in with DJ, you know, just bangin' away on two and four, and Flea just holding the whole thing down, and Robbie and I playing our lines ... it was just rocking," Manzarek said.
"Roadhouse Blues" also features an overdubbed vocal duet between Morrison, who died in 1971, and Hooker. Morrison's tracks are digitally remastered outtakes from the recording sessions for Morrison Hotel (1970).
After hearing Creed's album, the Doors members played on their version of the brooding "Riders on the Storm." Creed played that song and "Roadhouse Blues" (RealAudio excerpt of Doors version) with Krieger at Woodstock '99.
Burroughs' Last Recording
Burroughs read "Cancer City," a piece of Morrison's poetry from the singer's book, "The Lords and the New Creatures." The track is the last the author who also made an album with late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain recorded before his death in 1997.
" 'The Lords' originally, before it was published, each little section, each poem, each stanza, was on a different page, and you could shuffle the pages up, and Jim would say you can read it in any order you want," Sugerman said. "It was just like William Burroughs' cut-up method, you know?
"Burroughs would cut up lines and just randomly put them together, and then use what synchronized itself, but he did that with Jim's poetry, which is exactly what Jim suggested be done with it. And no one told him. He just picked the material and put it in the order he wanted it, and read it out."
Electic Group Reworks Eclectic Tunes
Manzarek and Krieger recorded "Love Me Two Times" with Boston rock veterans Aerosmith. All three surviving Doors play "Touch Me," from The Soft Parade (1969), with Pretenders singer/guitarist Hynde and saxophonist Curtis Amy, who played the horn part on the original recording.
Reggae group UB40 contributed "Light My Fire," X singer Exene Cervenka recorded "House of the New Dead," and Smash Mouth, with Krieger, recorded "Peace Frog." Days of the New laid down their version of Morrison's Oedipal rant "The End," and Krieger, Manzarek and Densmore recorded "Love Her Madly" with veteran blues guitarist Bo Diddley.
Sugerman said some of the inspiration for the album came when Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder filled in for Morrison at the group's 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"In the beginning, [the idea] was Eddie Vedder doing 'Light my Fire' and Kurt Cobain doing 'The Crystal Ship,' " Sugerman said, noting that the Doors were initially hesitant to work on a tribute to themselves. "Eddie was real humble and real focused, and it gave the guys a sense of what a tribute album could be."