Set the Night on Fire: Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar with the Doors

Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780316243346. $29. MEMOIR
It’s hard to fathom there could be anything new to discuss about the much-documented band the Doors, but this memoir by the group’s guitarist/singer/songwriter Krieger puts a deeply personal and moving spin on life as a rock star. Some might assume that Krieger, having grown up in relative wealth, had nothing to rebel against, but in fact he found ways to push boundaries at a young age—particularly by shunning education and immersing himself in music, beginning with folk and jug bands. Influenced by Chuck Berry, he discovered electric guitars and found his future bandmembers, including the introverted Jim Morrison. Krieger discusses the creation of the Doors’ iconic songs, including his “Light My Fire,” which transformed the Doors from an unknown group to the most in-demand band in the United States. He attempts to lay to rest some of the rumors about the band that have been perpetuated in Oliver Stone’s film The Doors, Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarman’s No One Here Gets Out Alive: The Biography of Jim Morrison, and his own bandmates’ memoirs. Krieger casts himself as the peacemaker with no hidden agenda and writes openly about his own drug addiction, his twin brother’s mental decline, and the difficulty of life without Morrison.
VERDICT Krieger brings another perspective to the mythology of the Doors; music aficionados will devour his intimate memoir.
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