Robby Krieger wrote The Doors' classic Light My Fire. But what he really wants, more than anything, is to have an instrumental hit

Robby Krieger and the Soul Savages group shot
(Image credit: Robiee Ziegler)

If ever the story of a group has grown in the telling, it is that of The Doors. Robby Krieger, the band’s guitarist and principal writer of many hits including Light My Fire, has since made his way primarily as an instrumental artist. 

His new group the Soul Savages started playing together “for fun” two years ago. Their self-titled debut album is a seductive collection of “cinematic groove music”, which pulls together influences from soul, jazz, blues, psychedelia and more.


How did the Soul Savages get together? 

Well, I have a new studio down in Glendale in Los Angeles. And I had some studio musicians come down there to do some gigs. One of them, Ed Roth [keyboards], happened to know Kevin Brandon [bass] who played on one of my albums a few years ago [Singularity, 2010], so we got back together, and eventually got hold of Franklin Vanderbilt [drums] to join us. 

How do you write the songs? 

They’re mostly jamming. Sometimes I’ll have an idea or one of the other guys will and we’ll just start playing, and then as we go we add parts. We’re all very accomplished musicians, so it just kind of flows. Our hope is to get people to use them in movies or TV-type shows. 

The Soul Savages is a new group, but it’s the latest in a long line of instrumental albums that you’ve done. What’s different? 

My goal has always been to have an instrumental hit like Booker T & The M.G.’s. So far I haven't had much success doing that. But I think with this band I might be closer to it, because most of my previous attempts, I think I’ve been too much into playing jazz guitar licks and showing off. I think this record is more about the songs, and I think maybe we’ll have a better chance to make a hit.

You recently published your memoirs about your time with The Doors [Set The Night On Fire, 2021]. Did it feel good to finally get the story told in your own words? 

Yeah. It does. John [Densmore, drums] was the first one that wrote his memoirs, and then Ray [Manzarek, keyboards] wrote his, and the two of them kind of put each other down in each of their books. It made for a lot of problems. I didn’t want to add to that, so I kinda kept putting it off. 

Have you had any responses to what you wrote in your version? 

Well, the only guy left is John [Densmore]. He complained about certain things. Not bad enough to cause a lawsuit or anything like that. In fact we’ve gotten together and done some musical things in the past year or so. Maybe you’ll be hearing some of that. 

You said in the memoir: “Writing with Jim [Morrison] was a uniquely inspiring experience, one that I haven't been able to replicate since.” Does that have a bearing on your preference for instrumental music in the later years of your career? 

Yeah, I think so, definitely. I mean, having a guy like that to write music with… I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was amazing. It was tough to beat that. That’s probably one reason why I concentrated more on instrumentals. 

Robby Krieger And The Soul Savages is out now via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group.

David Sinclair

Musician since the 1970s and music writer since the 1980s. Pop and rock correspondent of The Times of London (1985-2015) and columnist in Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines. Contributor to Q magazine, Kerrang!, Mojo, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, et al. Formerly drummer in TV Smith’s Explorers, London Zoo, Laughing Sam’s Dice and others. Currently singer, songwriter and guitarist with the David Sinclair Four (DS4). His sixth album as bandleader, Apropos Blues, is released 2 September 2022 on Critical Discs/Proper.