Gallery


The Doors trio

The Doors continue as a trio


The Doors trio

Like old times. Robby, John and Ray revisiting the Brooks Avenue mural in Venice Beach


The Butts Band

The Butts Band


Butts Band LP

The Butts Band’s first album


Butts Band

The logistical troubles of having band members in the US and UK took its toll


The new Butts Band

The new Butts Band


Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza

1983’s Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza


The Untold Story of The Butts Band

by David Dutkowski | July 24, 2017

When Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore weren’t sure what to do. Was this the end of The Doors? Should this be the end of The Doors? They loved making music together, but could The Doors still be The Doors without Jim? They debated all the options, from changing the band’s name, to hanging it up completely and going their separate ways. In the end, they decided to do the one thing they knew how to do.. be The Doors. They weren’t sure how it would work, or if it would work, but they decided to continue on as a trio.

On July 14th, 1971, Danny Sugerman sent out a letter to fans stating, “As you have undoubtably heard, Jim Morrison passed away on July 3rd in Paris. The other three Doors, while understandably devastated about the loss of their friend, realize that the show must go on. They intend to still make music together.” And make music together they did. The results were two albums: “Other Voices” and the follow-up “Full Circle”, with Ray and Robby handling lead vocals. The fans and trade publications were very supportive of the band, but everyone knew it wasn’t the same without Jim, and the band knew it too. At that point, they decided that if they were going to continue, they needed a new lead singer. They found that none of the available singers in the US were interested in joining a band, as it was so lucrative to do session work at the time. So the band traveled together to Europe in January of 1973 to audition new singers for The Doors. They auditioned some very notable UK talent in Howard Werth, Kevin Coyne and Jess Roden. The auditions went very well, but after a few weeks, Ray, Robby and John decided it just wasn’t going to work out, and all agreed it was time for the Doors to disband and go their separate ways. Ray later called it the “seven year itch”, plus, Ray, Robby and John all knew inside that they were each going in different directions musically. It was time to officially close The Doors.

While Ray went back to Los Angeles to start his solo career, Robby and John decided to stay in London and put together a new band of their own. After jamming with various musicians, they put together a line-up that they were genuinely excited about. They chose Jess Roden as their lead singer, who incidentally was one of the singers they had just auditioned for The Doors. They rounded out the group with keyboardist Roy Davies and bassist Phil Chen. During auditions, Chen played for about 10 seconds, after which Krieger and Densmore looked at each other and said “this is it”. The band would call themselves the “Butts Band” named after a cave where Roden’s band used to practice.

They were originally going to sign with Elektra Records, but Jac Holzman had recently left Elektra, so they went with Blue Thumb instead. The first half of the album was recorded over the course of three weeks at Olympic Studios in London, and the other half recorded the next three weeks in Kingston, Jamaica on their way home. Being in Jamaica also allowed bassist Phil Chen to see his parents for the first time in many years. Their self-titled debut album “The Butts Band” was released in 1974. When asked to describe the music of the Butts Band, Robby put it this way, “It’s not ‘head music’, it’s ‘heart music’. It’s ‘up music’. It’s music you can dance to.”

The band began touring and even appeared on a few television shows such as “Midnight Special” and the Old Grey Whistle Test. Following the release of the debut album, the band realized very quickly there were logistical issues due to the fact that Robby and John were located in Los Angeles and all the other band members lived in London. They wouldn’t see each other for months at a time, and would take turns travelling between the US and the UK for rehearsals and gigs. Robby put it this way, “We had found some of the best musicians in Europe, but since John and I lived in Los Angeles, it turned out to be impossible to hold a band together with two home bases.”

After discussions with the UK-based members, it was decided that Robby and John would reconstitute The Butts Band with a new group of musicians from the LA-area replacing the UK-based members. Jess Roden went on to release a solo album soon after and start up the “Jess Roden Band”, Roy Davies went back to his band “Gonzalez” and Phil Chen went back to the studio as a session bass player. Brought in to replace them would be Michael Stull (guitar/piano), Alex Richman (keyboards), Karl Rucker (bass), Bobbi Hall (Congas) and an additional drummer, Mike Berkowitz. They went right to work in the studio. The resulting album, “Hear & Now” went away from the bluesy feel of the debut album and had a much more “soulful” sound.

Although both Robby and John decided to explore their solo careers soon after, these albums are definitely an important part of their careers and worth seeking out and giving a listen. After his time in the Butts Band, Robby would begin working on his first solo album, which would become the funky, disco-infused “Robby Krieger and Friends”, while John would become involved in acting, appearing in multiple plays. In 1978, all three Doors would reunite for the first time during the creation on “An American Prayer”.

As an interesting epilogue to the Butts Band, Robby and John released a 12″ single in 1983 after the death Bob Marley containing two Butts Band recordings from the second line-up. Advertised as “The Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza”, the single contained the an unreleased Butts Band outtake “Kinky Reggae” on the A-side, and the song “Get Up, Stand Up” from the second Butts Band album on the B-side.

Right now both “Butts Band” albums are out of print (hopefully not for long), but the good news is, Robby recently pulled out three Butts Band outtakes (“Black Cloud”, “Loving You For All The Right Reasons”, and “That’s All Right”) from his archives and released them to the fans. Check them out by clicking the links on the right.


The Robby Krieger Archives

Robby Krieger Store

Butts Band: Black Cloud Butts Band: Lovin You Butts Band: That's Alright

The Untold Story of The Butts Band

by David Dutkowski | July 24, 2017

When Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore weren’t sure what to do. Was this the end of The Doors? Should this be the end of The Doors? They loved making music together, but could The Doors still be The Doors without Jim? They debated all the options, from changing the band’s name, to hanging it up completely and going their separate ways. In the end, they decided to do the one thing they knew how to do.. be The Doors. They weren’t sure how it would work, or if it would work, but they decided to continue on as a trio.


The Doors trio

The Doors continue as a trio


The Doors trio

Like old times. Robby, John and Ray revisiting the Brooks Avenue mural in Venice Beach


On July 14th, 1971, Danny Sugerman sent out a letter to fans stating, “As you have undoubtably heard, Jim Morrison passed away on July 3rd in Paris. The other three Doors, while understandably devastated about the loss of their friend, realize that the show must go on. They intend to still make music together.” And make music together they did. The results were two albums: “Other Voices” and the follow-up “Full Circle”, with Ray and Robby handling lead vocals. The fans and trade publications were very supportive of the band, but everyone knew it wasn’t the same without Jim, and the band knew it too. At that point, they decided that if they were going to continue, they needed a new lead singer. They found that none of the available singers in the US were interested in joining a band, as it was so lucrative to do session work at the time. So the band traveled together to Europe in January of 1973 to audition new singers for The Doors. They auditioned some very notable UK talent in Howard Werth, Kevin Coyne and Jess Roden. The auditions went very well, but after a few weeks, Ray, Robby and John decided it just wasn’t going to work out, and all agreed it was time for the Doors to disband and go their separate ways. Ray later called it the “seven year itch”, plus, Ray, Robby and John all knew inside that they were each going in different directions musically. It was time to officially close The Doors.

While Ray went back to Los Angeles to start his solo career, Robby and John decided to stay in London and put together a new band of their own. After jamming with various musicians, they put together a line-up that they were genuinely excited about. They chose Jess Roden as their lead singer, who incidentally was one of the singers they had just auditioned for The Doors. They rounded out the group with keyboardist Roy Davies and bassist Phil Chen. During auditions, Chen played for about 10 seconds, after which Krieger and Densmore looked at each other and said “this is it”. The band would call themselves the “Butts Band” named after a cave where Roden’s band used to practice.


The Butts Band

The Butts Band


They were originally going to sign with Elektra Records, but Jac Holzman had recently left Elektra, so they went with Blue Thumb instead. The first half of the album was recorded over the course of three weeks at Olympic Studios in London, and the other half recorded the next three weeks in Kingston, Jamaica on their way home. Being in Jamaica also allowed bassist Phil Chen to see his parents for the first time in many years. Their self-titled debut album “The Butts Band” was released in 1974. When asked to describe the music of the Butts Band, Robby put it this way, “It’s not ‘head music’, it’s ‘heart music’. It’s ‘up music’. It’s music you can dance to.”


Butts Band LP

The Butts Band’s first album


The band began touring and even appeared on a few television shows such as “Midnight Special” and the Old Grey Whistle Test. Following the release of the debut album, the band realized very quickly there were logistical issues due to the fact that Robby and John were located in Los Angeles and all the other band members lived in London. They wouldn’t see each other for months at a time, and would take turns travelling between the US and the UK for rehearsals and gigs. Robby put it this way, “We had found some of the best musicians in Europe, but since John and I lived in Los Angeles, it turned out to be impossible to hold a band together with two home bases.”


Butts Band

The logistical troubles of having band members in the US and UK took its toll


After discussions with the UK-based members, it was decided that Robby and John would reconstitute The Butts Band with a new group of musicians from the LA-area replacing the UK-based members. Jess Roden went on to release a solo album soon after and start up the “Jess Roden Band”, Roy Davies went back to his band “Gonzalez” and Phil Chen went back to the studio as a session bass player. Brought in to replace them would be Michael Stull (guitar/piano), Alex Richman (keyboards), Karl Rucker (bass), Bobbi Hall (Congas) and an additional drummer, Mike Berkowitz. They went right to work in the studio. The resulting album, “Hear & Now” went away from the bluesy feel of the debut album and had a much more “soulful” sound.


The new Butts Band

The new Butts Band


Although both Robby and John decided to explore their solo careers soon after, these albums are definitely an important part of their careers and worth seeking out and giving a listen. After his time in the Butts Band, Robby would begin working on his first solo album, which would become the funky, disco-infused “Robby Krieger and Friends”, while John would become involved in acting, appearing in multiple plays. In 1978, all three Doors would reunite for the first time during the creation on “An American Prayer”.

As an interesting epilogue to the Butts Band, Robby and John released a 12″ single in 1983 after the death Bob Marley containing two Butts Band recordings from the second line-up. Advertised as “The Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza”, the single contained the an unreleased Butts Band outtake “Kinky Reggae” on the A-side, and the song “Get Up, Stand Up” from the second Butts Band album on the B-side.


Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza

1983’s Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza


Right now both “Butts Band” albums are out of print (hopefully not for long), but the good news is, Robby recently pulled out three Butts Band outtakes (“Black Cloud”, “Loving You For All The Right Reasons”, and “That’s All Right”) from his archives and released them to the fans. Check them out by clicking the links below.


Robby Krieger Store

Butts Band: Black Cloud Butts Band: Lovin You Butts Band: That's Alright