News Segment


April 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – As the Doors’ surviving members gear up for the band’s 40th anniversary — with plans for a comprehensive boxed set, reissues, merchandise and an interactive Las Vegas attraction — there is a possibility that their music may be used in commercials for the first time.

It almost happened in 1969, when drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek agreed to license “Light My Fire” to Buick to advertise its German-made Opel. Singer Jim Morrison, who was out of town for the meeting, vehemently disagreed, and the deal never came to pass. From that point, Densmore has opposed commercial usage, although Krieger and Manzarek have opened up to the possibility.

All deals, licensing and otherwise, must be approved by all partners in the Doors’ assets: The three surviving members have a 75 percent share, and Morrison’s families and his late girlfriend, Pamela Courson, share the other 25 percent.

Why the consideration now? “With older music no longer getting played on the radio and listenership fragmenting, how do we penetrate a whole new generation?” manager Jeff Jampol asks. “Selling out the Doors is not an option. On the other hand, certain commercials can be effective at reaching listeners.”

But Jampol adds, “We will never license a Doors song for a mundane product like toothpaste or deodorant.”

Densmore says, “There’s a possibility if something came along that’s very ‘green’ that agreed with where we’re at, then maybe” the band would consider commercial usage. But Densmore puts the emphasis on “maybe.”

In addition to environmentally friendly products, Jampol says cutting-edge Internet or mobile platforms could be contenders. For example, Densmore says the SBC Internet commercial featuring Eric Clapton is “very cool.”

Densmore hates that there has been industry confusion about the Doors’ position on licensing and stresses that the group has allowed numerous song placements in movies (“Apocalypse Now,” “Forrest Gump,” “Jarhead”) and TV shows (“Alias,” “Entourage” and “The Simpsons”).

“People think I veto everything,” Densmore says, “(but) we are open and excited by an artistic film.”


The Doors 40th anniversary will be marked with a 12-disc box set due this fall via Rhino. It will pair the band’s first six studio albums — all remastered with bonus tracks — with six DVDs featuring 5.1 remixes of the studio albums and bonus material. There will also be a vinyl boxed set of the first six albums and January will see two-CD versions of the albums released individually.

Targeted to open in 2008, the Las Vegas show will be helmed by video director Jake Nava, who describes it as “a one-hour acid trip, but you don’t come down.” A traveling Doors memorabilia exhibit is being planned and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit will open in April 2007.

Other plans include a documentary film directed by Bill Guttentag, a summer 2007 multi-night TV special (“Six Nights, Six Years, Six Records”) and a pair of coffee-table books (“The Doors by the Doors With Ben Fong-Torres” and “Jim Morrison: Treasures” by Rock Hall curator Jim Henke).

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