At Home With Robby Krieger of The Doors
The legendary guitarist takes us inside his California home, which features a music studio, a cool backyard treehouse and – of course – plenty of Doors memorabilia.
While he’s best known as the guitarist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band The Doors, Robby Krieger has several current projects on his plate, including organizing a summer memorial concert for Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek (who passed away in 2013) and touring with his band, Jam Kitchen.
Plus, The Doors’ records are still selling: The long out-of-print compilation, Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, was reissued for the first time digitally on May 19 with Rhino Records. Originally released in 1972, this gold-certified double album was the first compilation to be released after Jim Morrison's death in 1971. The poster of the album cover (which would look great on any Doors fan’s wall) will be available as a gift with purchase at participating indie retail stores.
When he’s not on tour, Robby can be found in his southern California home. The musician recently gave HGTV.com a tour of his residence and told us about his favorite rooms.
Do you have any funny stories about The Doors' Jim Morrison in your house?
Actually Jim was never here; I bought this house after he died, unfortunately. He was in my old house up across the street – a different one in the canyon. One night we were sitting there, and I had a pet bobcat in the yard. That was the night we wrote “Hyacinth House,” which has the line in it about the lions. The lion was the bobcat!
What’s your favorite room?
That’s a good question. Probably our large living room. Actually, we sleep down there too, since the bedroom has so much stuff upstairs. Plus, we’ve got the cool, big television screen in here so it’s nice to hang out and watch our favorite shows.
I also love to spend time up in the treehouse; it’s a geodesic dome made out of redwood. A guy next door built a treehouse, and then the guy down the street too. Eventually I said, “I’ve got to get one too!” Except ours is extra special: Theirs are old mini houses, and ours is an actual dome. Pretty cool!
The Doors have a song called “Soul Kitchen,” and your band is called Jam Kitchen. Are you a foodie?
I do love food. People tell me I am too skinny and I should eat more! I like to cook when I can.
Tell us about your favorite Doors memorabilia.
I have some of our old gold records in my studio and a Doors poster posted in the kitchen. Some stuff has gotten worn out, but I still keep it for its sentimental value. And we have lots and lots of photos everywhere. I have a “Horse Latitudes” painting upstairs. I kind of feel the spirit of Jim and Ray around me in the house too; there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. I’m sure [fellow band member] John Densmore feels the same.
Where do you like to write and play music?
Upstairs above the garage is where I’ve always had my studio, and I’ve made some good music over the years up there. That’s where I play the guitar. And it’s quiet; I like to relax there. Also, I’m building a new place out in Glendale. I’ve found that it’s really hard sometimes to make music at your house because there are so many distractions. Everyone has a home studio, and I think people are going to get tired of recording at their homes in the next few years. I know I did! So I figured I’m about two or three years ahead of most of the musicians around here.
At the new studio in Glendale, we have a golf simulator, where you can practice your golf swing and actually play a golf course. It has the actual pictures of a real golf course – you can play anyone and pretend you are anywhere you want. It seems like more and more musicians these days play golf, and if they can't play in their own backyards they need somewhere to play!
We also have The Doors room at the new studio; we found a bunch of old doors and put them up on the walls. The name of the studio is called Horse Latitudes, which is the name of a Doors song. The reason we named it that is because the studio is right where the equestrian center is. On the other side of the alley, across from our studio, there is a horse in a backyard stable, who is beautiful.
How many guitars do you have?
Not as many as you might think! Probably about 30 that are around the house. I love this coral sitar I am very partial to.
You have a beautiful garden area.
We’ve been working on that in the last year or so. I used to have a very steep cliff there, and rocks would come down every time it would rain. So we decided to put up these planters with railroad ties and knock the hill back. Now it’s no longer an earthquake hazard. I really enjoy growing tomatoes, zucchini – anything like that. It’s fun to garden! Planting seeds that sprout new growth is just incredible.
Where do you like to shop for your home-related items?
You’d have to talk to my wife about that – she’s the shopper! She has very good taste.
What are some of your favorite colors, textures, fabrics?
It started off with bamboo. We like old antiques, and we have a few interesting pieces. When we redid the house, we did a lot of oak in the kitchen. I really like natural wood.
What are some of your must-have essentials at home?
I have to have music going through the house, so definitely the stereo system. I’ve got that NutriBullet, which is fantastic. And I have an inversion machine, which is supposed to help your back. I just like the idea of fighting gravity!
Do the dogs have their own doggy beds?
Yeah, there’s one in the kitchen, and then the other one sits over here in the living room. Their names are Gizmo and Uma – like Uma Thurman, because she’s blonde and she has blue eyes. And we have a big aquarium in the kitchen.