Other articles about the D21C Conflict:  #1  -  #2  -  #3  -  #4  -  #5  -  #6

March 1, 1969. Dinner Key Auditorium, Miami, Florida. A very sad day in Doors history as Jim Morrison forever altered the image of the Doors with the ensuing legalities that followed this controversial concert. To this day, many websites and Doors historians continue to pursue the task of trying to get Jim Morrison's case State of Florida v. James Douglas Morrison a second look, a consideration for a new trial and/or a full pardon by the Governor of Florida. Given the present status of trying to bring worldwide attention to this cause with all of the Iraq and North Korea news going on, this has proved to be a difficult task.

Another sad day in Doors history, over 30 years later, as Fred Shuster of the Los Angeles Daily News reported worldwide on 2-7-03 that Doors drummer John Densmore has filed a lawsuit against the Doors 21st Century, as Shuster reports Densmore is charging breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition against Ray Manzarek and Robby Kreiger. Densmore has stated this is not about money, rather, to simply have the Doors 21st Century drop the name, citing that the Doors' name and logo belong to the founding members.

Many internet sites have previously reported that John Densmore gave this current project his full blessing given the fact that Densmore's current battle with the ear condition tinnitus has prevented him from further participation with the group, thus Stewart Copeland has taken the drum seat.

I question John Densmore's true motives here. First off, what breach of contract? Certainly the lawyers and promoters have done the necessary good faith bargaining initiatives to get this current tour underway. Second, I am puzzled by Densmore's insistence to drop the band's name in the absence of Jim Morrison, when in fact Densmore himself participated in the VH-1 STORYTELLERS project with multiple lead singers, plus Densmore has also participated in many Doors tribute CDs with alternate takes of Doors classic songs.

John Densmore is citing unfair competition. Frankly, I don't see Tribal Jazz, John's current project, with the same worldwide mass appeal and demand that the Doors 21st Century is currently pursuing. By the way, if Mr. Densmore has tinnitus, why is he playing with another band, rather than thanking Stewart for his time served and resuming his seat in the band he helped make famous? Wouldn't this eliminate the need to sue the band for this element? That's like getting into a shower and complaining the water is cold, but you haven't turned on the hot water yet?

Some of the internet articles I have read say this lawsuit is being filed on behalf of the family of Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson's estate. Robby Kreiger meanwhile gives his opinion on the matter in the 2-7-03 article to Fred Shuster by saying "I think Jim would be happy we're playing as the Doors again since we've waited a long time and the only thing that matters now is how well we all play together."

I am very inclined to agree with Mr. Kreiger's assessment of the situation and am left very puzzled by this current lawsuit endeavour by John Densmore. It seems to me that after all these years of the surviving members of the band talking in-depth of the discrepancies of the Miami trial, in which Jim was found guilty of lewd and lacivious behavior, that the LAST thing in the world the band needed was another lawsuit, especially by one of its founding members!

John's current lawsuit is making it even more incredibly difficult for the historians, collectors and writers for the band to get the worldwide attention to the Miami case, especially now that worldwide attention is being asserted to this current lawsuit.

I very simply cannot fathom that Jim Morrison would be pleased with any of this, even though the suit was filed on his family's behalf and that of Pamela Courson. I fully support the current Doors lineup and would love to see John Densmore a part of the current project. Recent appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn have clearly demonstrated to me that the Doors magic is still there and Ray and Robby still have what it takes to carry the Doors indeed into the 21st Century.

A few years back, KISS fans and historians watched the case of Klein vs. Cusano (Gene Simmons vs. Vinnie Vincent) as Vincent Cusano was allegedly owed royalties and a chunk of the band's name, plus the full rights to use the painted ankh-face that he used in 1982. All were denied, as the case went in favor of KISS and Cusano got nothing more or newer than what he had before the suit was filed. On top of that, Cusano had to pick up all court costs and accomplished nothing. I would strongly urge John Densmore to research this case before moving forward in asking the Doors 21st Century to drop the name.

Having seen the band on recent television shows, Stewart Copeland's drums clearly state Doors 21st Century. To me, that seems like a fair compromise. Ray and Robby are entitled to use this name and use the name any way they see fit. I believe it is John Densmore's decision to participate in this or not. But, trying to stop his bandmates could have some major short term and long term ramifications which could ultimately end up costing John a lot more than he would have gained by supporting the current tour.

Plus, the current endeavours by historians to act on Jim Morrison's behalf to get the Miami case re-examined could go a lot smoother with the current case out of the headlines. A majority of the controversy of a lawsuit surrounding the band is only going to fuel ticket sales and expedite immediate interest no matter where the current lineup goes. I don't believe this is the trigger that needed to spark interest in the Doors. I believe that Jim Morrison's poetry, his lyrics and the legacy of the band should be the things that entice people to get tickets for the show.

The immediate damage of John Densmore's lawsuit is that wherever Ray and Robby go to play, they now need to answer questions on how they feel about what Densmore is doing, rather than just concentrating on sharing the old memories and making new ones with the fans. John Densmore's lawsuit is ultimately denying a history that Ray, Robby and John himself swore to uphold for the duration of time. Jim Morrison would not be pleased.

I welcome your feedback and opinions of this writing. How do you feel about John Densmore's lawsuit vs. The Doors 21st Century?

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