After having shown a stunning lack of muscle regarding the Clash and Bob Dylan, I figured I’d give our trusty panel of rock critics one last chance to embarrass themselves in front of whatever baby boomers have figured out the Internet. The Doors were some band that the under-40 crowd knows mainly from Jay-Z samples, Dead Milkmen covers, and creepy pencil-drawn posters of “Rock & Roll Heaven” at Spencer Gifts. They said “higher” on Ed Sullivan, which is nowhere near as cool as whatever Odd Future are going to do on Jimmy Fallon. So how much do today’s rock critics know about these Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pioneers and/or hippie footnotes? We asked:
How many members of the Doors can you name?
Should be easy right? We all saw enough PBS specials to know who these druggies are.
We quizzed 15 professional and semi-professional rock critics and gave them the usual rules:
1. I will not identify you AT ALL, so it is OK to be wrong. [We will say that our esteemed panel edits magazines, websites, and alt-weeklies. They have written for pretty much every outlet you’ve ever heard of, from Rolling Stone, Spin, and Billboard on down to random Tweets.]
2. You can’t use Google.
Did our panel of critics break on through, or was it a soft parade of face palm? The answer and results below:
The correct answer: Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger
Out of 15 polled:
Number of critics that got all four members: 6
Number of critics that got three members: 3
Number of critics that got two members: 4
Number of critics that just knew Jim Morrison: 2
Most forgotten member: Drummer John Densmore
Number of critics who supplied a variation of “I hate the Doors,” “I fucking hate the Doors,” or “The Doors suck”: 6
Number of critics who almost said John Entwhistle: 1
Number of critics who went for sad Ian Astbury bonus points: 3
Number of critics who got all four members and then immediately expressed shame about it: 2
Number of critics who referred to Robby Krieger as “Robby Somebody” or “that one Frank Whaley played in the biopic”: 2
Number of critics who referred to John Densmore as “John Drummer”: 1
Number of critics who had a high school creative writing teacher who bummed around Cali in the ’60s and was Bob Dylan’s babysitter and made them read “The Celebration of the Lizard” out loud: 1
So yeah, the Doors aren’t exactly the most popular band among the new generation. But we’ll get our payback when we see how Animal Collective is treated in 40 years.
Here’s some fun facts about drummer John Densmore, so we always remember his loose feel and demonic flurries. Densmore is definitely the coolest of the three living Doors, as he’s the one turned down $15 million from Cadillac and $4 million from Apple when the companies wanted to use Doors songs, saying, “People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music. I’ve had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn’t commit suicide because of this music. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That’s not for rent.” We assume he would definitely not be cool with Best Coast selling her life away for a pair of sneakers.
To celebrate the one dude not taking part in the endless Manzarek-Krieger shitshow, here’s the mighty Densmore awesomely drumming and reading from his best-selling biography Riders on the Storm on The Dennis Miller Show in 1992.