As songwriter and guitarist for the Doors, Robby Krieger earned his rightful place in rock and roll history.
Penning such timeless hits as Light my Fire, Touch Me, Love Me Two Times, and Love Her Madly, Krieger’s free-form jazz-flamenco inflected licks fueled the Dionysian darkness of the Doors’ musical milieu and helped transform the fledgling local L.A. hot shots into an international sensation.
Still musically active, Krieger’s latest project, Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen, offers testament to his consummate six-string skills and well honed creativity.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Tell us about your new band Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen.
Robby Krieger: We’re in the middle of recording. I have a new studio I’ve been putting together out in Glendale. It’s finally just about finished so we’re out there recording our stuff out there and it’s turning out pretty good.
Rock Cellar Magazine: What’s the vibe behind the music you’re writing, a free form musical slate?
Robby Krieger: Well it starts out that way. Like we do these jams and record them, and then the songs kind of come from those jams. As far as being a jam band, that’s where that comes from but when we finish the song they’re more crafted.
Let me tell you a little about the band. It’s my old friend from Frank Zappa’s band, Arthur Barrow…he and I have been doing projects for the last 20 years, mostly instrumental stuff. On our last album, Singularity, we recruited some other guys from Frank Zappa’s band like Tommy Mars, a keyboard player.
Then a little bit later when we started doing live shows we got Chad Wackerman to cut with us so that’s three guys from Zappa’s band and then we got a guy named Larry Klimas who plays the saxophone, he was with War for a while and he’s played with everybody in town pretty much.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Are there any jam bands out today that have caught your ear?
Robby Krieger: Well, I think Gov’t Mule are my favorite of the jam bands. In fact, I’ve played with them three or four times last year. I really like Warren Haynes mainly but the other guys are great too; just the way they all fit together. They’re amazing; they have such a big repertoire that they can do five shows and never repeat a song.
Rock Cellar Magazine: What’s the first song you wrote where you felt, wow, this is really good?
Robby Krieger: (laughs) Light My Fire.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Were you writing songs for a while when you came up with that one?
Robby Krieger: No, not really. I had done a few things but that was pretty early in the songwriting slate for me.
Rock Cellar Magazine: The verses in Light My Fire are very interesting with that modal feel.
Robby Krieger: Yeah, it’s got different kind of minor chord in it. A regular A minor chord has a C on top and I dropped the C down to B so that made it sound kind of modal. I wanted it to sound kind of East Indian. So you’re right, the verses have that modal sound and the solos too.
Rock Cellar Magazine: When you brought that song into the band, what was the reaction?
Robby Krieger: Everybody loved it immediately. It wasn’t released as our first single because it was too long. In those days you had to have a three minute song to be a single and Light My Fire was six minutes. So we put out Break on Through first and that did okay but not great; I think it went to number 40 on the charts.
Robby Krieger: We didn’t want to cut Light My Fire down ‘cause we loved the solos in the middle. This guy named Dave Diamond had the first FM radio station out in the Valley back in the early ‘60s and he would play the long version of Light My Fire on the radio because on FM you could do that.
But there weren’t any other FM stations; that was the only one in town so it didn’t have a very big listening base. He said every time he played that song, people would call up and go, “What the hell was that?”
He told us, “You guys are crazy, you should cut it down and get it on AM radio” so we did. And then they started playing the long version anyway.
Rock Cellar Magazine: So you were victorious with that one.
Robby Krieger: Yeah, that’s right. (Laughs)
Rock Cellar Magazine: When the Doors were an up and coming band on the L.A. scene, who were the contemporaries you rated?
Robby Krieger: Well, Arthur Lee and Love was the main group we liked; Buffalo Springfield was happening as well as the Byrds, Sky Saxon and the Seeds with Sky Saxon and then there were the San Francisco bands too.
Pages: 1 2