A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that The Doors are so 20th century – or, at least, they are not The Doors of the 21st Century. But the name
Former Doors drummer John Densmore won his lawsuit against the two remaining members of The Doors when Judge Gregory Alarcon issued a permanent injunction against keyboardist
The band is currently touring in North America, and the ruling took effect immediately, meaning the members had to cease using the name, selling merchandise, putting up flyers or even being announced from the stage as anything containing the words “The Doors,” Densmore attorney S. Jerome Mandel told Pollstar.
“There is no permission for them to use the (Doors) name; there never has been, and there isn’t today. We expect them to honor the court’s order and not refer to themselves as The Doors of the 21st Century or any name that includes the words ‘The Doors.'”
That meant the band had to come up with a legal name, and quickly.
“Somebody from one of the festivals just called and said, ‘We’ll just call them D21C.’ And I said, ‘I can’t tell you to do that. I don’t know what their name is,'” Mandel continued.
D21C – an abbreviation that’s already in fairly wide use as a nickname – it is, the band’s booking agent, Dave Kirby of
Mandel said while he and Densmore intend to be reasonable about what promoters cannot control in terms of already-purchased advertising and the like, venues have been notified and are in the process of being given copies of the court order barring the use of The Doors’ name as well as Jim Morrison’s likeness.
“Our intention isn’t to make life miserable for the promoters,” Mandel explained. “If a promoter has already got an ad buy out for a concert that’s tomorrow night, we don’t expect them to go to the newspaper and have them change the ad although, technically, they might have to. There’s a reality that we recognize.”
Densmore and the estates of the late Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson sued in 2003, charging a breach of contract over the name, and the judge agreed that the former band members had a unique “unanimity requirement” in which any one member could veto any group decision involving The Doors.
Though Densmore had been invited to join The Doors of the 21st Century, a severe hearing loss made it impossible for him to take his seat at the kit. The band instead recruited former Police drummer Stewart Copeland, who played with the outfit briefly before suing the group for replacing him. Copeland is also a defendant in the Densmore suit.
The group began touring in early 2003 with Manzarek, Krieger, Copeland and
“John has always held as his primary motive to preserve the legacy of the band,” Mandel said. “This wasn’t filed for economic reasons; it was to stop them from calling themselves The Doors.”
The injunction also orders Manzarek and Krieger to turn over profits from their performances to The Doors’ partnership, which includes both of them along with Densmore and the two estates.
The Doors of the 21st Century has earned at least $3 million to $4 million, Mandel said.
Morrison, who died in Paris in 1971, left all of his property to Courson, his girlfriend. She was found to be his surviving widow by a Los Angeles probate court. After she died in 1974, her estate was divided between her parents and Morrison’s parents.
The Morrison and Courson estates both were included as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
— Deborah Speer