You may have missed this story when it ran in October of 05, but I think it's relevant here. I assume the whole story can still be found at this URL:
If not, an email to email@example.com will get you a copy.
From the Los Angeles Times
Ex-Door Lighting Their Ire
Drummer John Densmore refuses to let the group's songs be used in TV ads, much
to the chagrin of his former bandmates.
By Geoff Boucher
Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2005
Bob Dylan is singing "The Times They Are A-Changin' " in a television ad for
healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente these days, and who could argue? With Led
Zeppelin pitching Cadillacs, the Rolling Stones strutting in an Ameriquest
Mortgage ad and Paul McCartney warbling for Fidelity Investments, it's clear
that the old counterculture heroes of classic rock are now firmly entrenched as
the house band of corporate America.
That only makes the case of John Densmore all the more intriguing.
Once, back when rock 'n' roll still seemed dangerous, Densmore was the drummer
for the Doors, the band with dark hits such as "Light My Fire" and "People Are
Strange." That band more or less went into the grave with lead singer Jim
Morrison in 1971, but, like all top classic-rock franchises, it now has the
chance to exploit a lucrative afterlife in television commercials. Offers keep
coming in, such as the $15 million dangled by Cadillac last year to lease the
song "Break On Through (to the Other Side)" to hawk its luxury SUVs.
To the surprise of the corporation and the chagrin of his former bandmates,
Densmore vetoed the idea. He said he did the same when Apple Computer called
with a $4-million offer, and every time "some deodorant company wants to use
'Light My Fire.' "
The reason? Prepare to get a lump in your throat â€” or to roll your eyes.
"People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this
music," Densmore said. "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 musicâ€¦. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and
magic. That's not for rent."
That not only sets the Doors apart from the long, long list of classic rock acts
that have had their songs licensed for major U.S. commercial campaigns, it also
has added considerably to Densmore's estrangement from former bandmates Ray
Manzarek and Robbie Krieger, a trio that last set eyes on one another in the Los
Angeles County Superior Courthouse last year.
"Everyone wanted him to do it," said John Branca, an attorney who worked on the
Cadillac proposal. "I told him that, really, people don't frown on this anymore.
It's considered a branding exercise for the music. He told me he just couldn't
sell a song to a company that was polluting the world.
"I shook my head," Branca said, "but, hey, you have to respect that. How many of
your principles would you reconsider when people start talking millions of
Densmore relented once. Back in the 1970s, he agreed to let "Riders on the
Storm" be used to sell Pirelli Tires in a TV spot in England. When he saw it he
was sick. "I gave every cent to charity. Jim's ghost was in my ear, and I felt
terrible. If I needed proof that it was the wrong thing to do, I got it."
Since then, the animus between the drummer and Manzarek and Krieger has
intensified, including a bitter dispute over naming rights.
In August, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon ruled that
Manzarek and Krieger could no longer tour together as the "Doors of the 21st