Burning down the house

Burning down the house
Reviewer: mdurshimer
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Set the Night on Fire:
Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar With the Doors
432 pages
October 12, 2021
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

In his tell-all, legendary Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger, one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” opens up about his band’s meteoric career, his own darkest moments, and the most famous black eye in rock ‘n’ roll.

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I told you not to read
Robby’s Set the Night on Fire

The legend of Jim Morrison is just that. Conflated accounts of performances and incidents - Miami, 1969, the strange Parisian death, the Oliver Stone adaptation of reality – have, for years, led us all to believe that G-d walked among us for 27 years. Well, if you believe the creator could be a drunk with a propensity for poetry.

That myth has been dispelled by guitarist Robby Krieger, the last of the Doors to tell his story. Set the Night On Fire, Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar With The Doors, sets the record straight. Written with Jeff Alulis, the former lead singer of The Dead Kennedys, it obviously tells the story of Jim, Ray, John, and Robby, but in the end, it’s a love letter to life. There’s a lot more to Robby than his musical talent and his words remind us that rock stars are no different than you and me.

Most readers will be looking for, and find, details about the Ed Sullivan Show, the alleged exposure on stage, and the drug/alcohol abuse - all the things that keep the fantasy alive. But Robby tells us about the real Lizard King, a human far different from the illusion. Because the man in the leather pants WAS human. The more time passes, the more we’ve turned Jim Morrison into something he wasn’t. A kernel of truth lies in all those stories. But it’s just a kernel.

Once you get past the urge to find all the salacious parts of the book, settle in for an enjoyable autobiography that puts it all out there. Robby accepts everything that has happened to him – from heroin addiction, a horrible car accident that left a friend paralyzed for life, the death of his twin brother, the lawsuits after Jim’s death and the contentious relationships that resulted, even the stupidity of owning exotic animals (are you listening Tiger King fans?). My fellow Hebrew, who is more an Eastern religion kind of guy, believes he is a work in progress and that everything we do is a lesson for the future, when we no longer inhabit this mortal coil. He knows his life has been less than perfect, but he is grateful for it all.

After all, he set the night on fire. And then some.