By Christopher Scapelliti
In April 1968, the Doors began filming a documentary about themselves as they headed out for a summer tour. Financed by the group and shot by their friend Paul Ferrara, the film combined live performance footage and intimate, behind-the-scenes moments with the band members: singer Jim Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore.
The film, titled Feast of Friends, was shown at festivals the following year, but funding for the project dried up after Morrison's arrest on obscenity charges following the Doors' performance in Miami on March 1,1969. Feast of Friends faded into obscurity, known only through bootleg copies that were most likely sourced from Morrison's copy of the film. He had taken it to Paris in 1971 and left it in a brown paper bag at a friend's house. A few days later, Morrison was dead from a heroin overdose.
This November 11, after 45 years, Feast of Friends will finally be released. Eagle Rock Entertainment and Doors Property, LLC have restored the film from the original negative, and the soundtrack has been remixed and remastered by longtime Doors co-producer/engineer Bruce Botnick.
In addition, Feast of Friends will be packaged with three bonus features: Feast of Friends: Encore, The Doors Are Open, and The End.
Feast of Friends: Encore is a newly produced feature that employs footage shot for Feast of Friends. In addition to showing the band members sightseeing, playing poker and vacationing, Encore reveals the Doors recording their hit "Wild Child" and includes footage of a solo backstage performance by Krieger and a never-before-seen altercation with legendary photographer Richard Avedon.
The Doors Are Open is a British TV documentary that originally aired on December 17, 1968. It shows the band's performance at London's Roundhouse, just days after the completion of filming for Feast of Friends. Although the film was previously released, this version features improved picture quality and audio improvements courtesy of Botnik.
The End features a performance of the Doors' song "The End," filmed in Toronto in August 1967 for the Canadian TV program The O'Keefe Centre Presents: The Rock Scene–Like It Is. In addition to the performance, it includes later interviews with Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek and longtime Doors collaborator Danny Sugerman. Many fans consider this recording to be one of the best Doors performances ever caught on film.
Feast of Friends will be available for preorder at the Doors' web site. DVD, $14.98, Blu-ray, $19.98.