Read the whole article at Rolling Stone.
When the Doors’ producer, Paul A. Rothchild, suggested adding orchestral strings and horns to guitarist Robby Krieger’s song “Touch Me,” Krieger was not happy. It was two years after Sgt. Pepper, and he says he was wary of the band being seen as copycats. “I said, ‘Oh, God. Now we’re copying the Beatles,’ and the Stones had just done their version of the orchestra thing,” he recalls. “So it was like we were keeping up with the Joneses or something.” Also, he worried the move might alienate the band’s fan base. “We were a four-piece band,” he says.
“Touch Me” was one of several songs Rothchild wanted to orchestrate, and it wasn’t until Krieger heard what arranger Paul Harris, who had worked with B.B. King, had come up with that he was on board. These days Krieger thinks “Touch Me” is “one of [his] better songs.”
But now, half a century later since he made peace with the orchestrations, the Doors are releasing a version of the song without the strings that will appear on a new box-set reissue of the band’s 1969 LP, The Soft Parade. A couple of months back, Krieger recorded a new guitar solo for the track that he based on Curtis Amy’s saxophone solo and added some of his own ideas to it. “It sounded empty without it,” he says. Krieger now hears the song a little differently: John Densmore’s drumming and Ray Manzarek’s keyboard playing stand out more to his ears since they were previously covered with strings and horns.
“It was cool to strip that stuff down,” Krieger says. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, this is what it would have been like if we didn’t do the horns and strings, because I think we would have approached it differently, but you have an idea of what it sounded like. I think it’s kind of cool.”
Although he’s proud of the song, he remembers the time surrounding the recording of The Soft Parade as unpleasant. The group had more resources than ever before, and it meant they spent much more time in the studio working, especially with the orchestrations. Meanwhile, the musicians were growing apart from their singer. Once upon a time, he and Jim Morrison, who was similar in age to him, were very close and would take acid and smoke pot. But now Morrison was more interested in drinking.
“Jim was starting to drink too much,” Krieger says. “John and I were pretty close, I think we were living together, but Ray and [his wife] Dorothy were always off by themselves. The only time we came together was to work on the record. So we would spend all day on the drums in the studio, and Jim would get bored and go get drunk. If you needed him for a vocal, he was useless. But considering all that, I think it came out great.”
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