Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story Of L.A. Woman is a new, 100 minute DVD documentary from Eagle Rock that chronicles the creation of what turned out to be the Doors final album with iconic lead singer Jim Morrisonthe band recorded two more as a trio, before disbanding 1970's L.A. Woman. As tempting as it might be for some to grouse that the Doors have already been done to death as a rockumentary" subject, this film actually manages to unearth some juicy new tidbits behind the making of the Doors sixth studio album.
Besides, has there ever been a more fascinating rock legend than big Jimbo the Lizard King?
But what Doors fans will find most interesting is the inclusion of a brand new, previously unreleased track from the L.A. Woman sessions. She Smells So Nice" is a blues number much in the same vein as other recordings from the project, and is also included on the new 40th anniversary remastered version of the album. But on this DVD, you get the actual studio footage. Here, the song eventually morphs into a sprawling jam, including a brief cover of the blues standard Rock Me, Baby" (as in rock me all night long"). This footage alone makes Mr. Mojo Risin' a keeper.
Beyond that, all of the usual bases that students of Doors history will instantly recognize are covered here. The infamous Miami bust (that essentially ended the Doors career as a live concert act), as well as Morrison's tragic descent into alcoholism, leading up to his death in Paris are all discussed in detail. What makes this DVD most interesting though, is hearing these events recounted by the surviving Doors members themselves. The contrast between Ray Manzarek's admission that when Morrison walked out of the L.A. Woman sessions it was the last time that he spoke to him, and John Densmore's memories of a post L.A. Woman phone call from Paris, where Morrison said he would be coming back home to rejoin the band upon learning that the album was a hit, are particularly telling.
Even more interesting though, are the stories behind the creation of some of the Doors most famous songs. Robbie Kreiger (the Doors secret weapon," according to Manzarek), talks at length about the genesis of Riders On The Storm" for example. The big revelation here is that the jazzy, haunting Riders" actually grew out of a jam on the country standard Ghost Riders In The Sky." When he demonstrates on guitar, the transition from the twangy, country two step of Ghost Riders" to the slower jazz based riff of the final Doors song, the chasm between the two songs doesn't seem nearly as far as you'd think. Hearing Kreiger (and later Manzarek) recount this story, it actually makes perfect sense.
The DVD also features some interesting extras, including a Doors Guide to L.A." (set to the song L.A. Woman" of course); the aforementioned She Smells So Nice"; and some all-too-brief live footage. The lack of any really good live film of the Doors in concert during their heyday has long been a sore spot with fans though, and the brief snippets (some actually in color) here will only further feed that frustration.
Overall though, this is a very well-done documentary much in the same style as other Eagle Rock rockumentaries in their Classic Albums" series, but with the added punch of much better production values. The attention paid here to the small details (like prefacing each chapter with a Hollywood style billboard) gives Mr. Mojo Risin' that unique feel of being something truly special. The participation of the surviving Doors themselves, as well as insiders like Bruce Botnick, Bill Siddons, and Jac Holzman only adds further legitimacy to this first rate Doors film.