Talk about riding out the storm.
Only now has The Doors drummer John Densmore released his new book, The Doors Unhinged; Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes On Trial, about his nasty six-year legal battle with former bandmates - Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek - that began in 2004.
"It was a lot of work," said Densmore, 68, whose previous Doors book was his best-selling 1990 autobiography, Riders on The Storm.
"There was 20,000 pages of transcripts which I skimmed, narrowed it down to 500 and then I thought, 'I don't want this to be a dry courtroom book.'"
Densmore sued Krieger, 67, and Manzarek, who died from cancer in May of this year at the age of 74, over their use of the band's name as a 2002 touring act - The Doors of the 21st Century - without himself or the late singer Jim Morrison in the lineup.
Krieger and Manzarek, in turn, countersued Densmore for $40 million for not allowing the Doors hit, Break On Through, to be used in a 2003 Cadillac commercial.
Densmore, who suffers from tinnitus (ringing in his ears), eventually emerged the legal victor.
"The Doors got put back on their hinges after years of stress and my effort," he insists.
More recently, he's buried the hatchet with Krieger as they are planning to come together to honor Manzarek with an all-star tribute concert.
"It's just so ironic that Ray passed, not too long ago, and this book is out there getting legs," he says. "I certainly took Ray to task in this book. ... And then I heard Ray was really, really sick and I called him. ... He sounded weak but hopeful. And he passed a few weeks later. I got closure. I never thought that would happen. It was just so rough ... And then the Grim Reaper comes around and death trumps all."
We caught up with Densmore following a book signing in Toronto, where he'll return Thursday (Oct. 17) to be the keynote speaker at the Reel Indie Film Festival following the world premiere of his dark comedy Window Of Opportunity, which he produced.
Q: How soon will the concert for Ray come together?
A: I called Robby and said, 'Look let's play a concert. We haven't played in 20 years. Let's play Doors songs with whoever wants to join us, a benefit for cancer.' Like the concert for George. Concert for Ray. I don't know where, we just started figuring it out. The problem is getting famous musicians all together on the same night, in the same city. So we're going to be at either the Whisky-A-Go-Go or Madison Square Garden.
Q: Did the relationship with Robby take a while to repair?
A: No, with Ray getting sick ... and then I saw him and I hadn't seen him since the trial. I got out, 'F--k you, you a--hole!' And then we hugged. He didn't want to get into it too much. I wished he'd kind of gave me s--t about it. But musically, we're totally in sync. ... Those songs are in our blood.
Q: Why did you want to write Unhinged?
A: Some hardcore fans got pissed that I was ruining the band they loved. 'Ray and Robby are out there playing, why aren't you out there playing with them?' What feeds me is new creative stuff and doing your old songs with the Jim-a-tator, it's not new. I'd do it with Jim!
Q: What would Jim, who died in 1971, be like had he lived to 2013?
A: I always used to say, 'Oh, my God. He wouldn't be here. He was a kamikaze drunk!' Then I see (Eric) Clapton, he's one of the first rockers to get clean and sober, and then Eminem, an angry creator, a guy like Jim, he's got an album named Recovery? This is a different time and if Jim was around maybe he would be cleaned up and making films and music.
Q: Do you have one word to describe your first impression of Jim Morrison?
A: Shy. And then he transformed into The Lizard King. I'm serious. He couldn't face anybody. Just this guy in the corner. The first few clubs (we played) he would face us. He couldn't turn around. And then look what happened. My God!
Q: What was/is your favourite Doors song to play?
A: I love L.A. Woman. And Light My Fire too. It's hard to narrow it down to one.