Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: The Double Doors

Performances from local Doors tribute band The Double Doors are rare. Only two are set for this year -- one in November and one on Thursday, marking the anniversary of Jim Morrison's death.

The Double Doors are made up of a cast of local music all-stars: Nate Butler (as Jim Morrison), Jeffrey Fetters (guitar), Darren Fletcher (keyboards), June Beard (drums) and Mark Michel (bass).

We talked to Butler and Fetters about the band's origin, its preparation and the show at 10 p.m. Thursday at Club Fred, 1426 N. Van Ness Ave. Cover is $10.

How did the Double Doors come about?

Butler: I was on a major Doors kick in 1994 and actually wanted to "break on through to the other side," so I figured putting together a Doors cover band would give me a chance to get it all out. I approached Jeff, June, et al and asked if they'd be interested in the project.

Why The Doors?

Butler: In the '90s, I never thought that playing the music of The Doors would be "fun." I'd always viewed The Doors as a dark and brooding band, and, as I said earlier, I was in a dark and brooding mood at the time, so I used the band as a venue to act out my darkness and depression.

It was only in our later incarnation in the new millennium that I realized how much fun the music could be. It doesn't depress me anymore, and in fact, it's quite cathartic.

Is it a show for the casual or more hard-core Doors fan?

Fetters: Both; we play the hits and some of the not-so-hits.

Every year, you guys do a show on the anniversary of Morrison's death. How did that get started, and isn't that a little morbid?

Fetters: I was doing some Web work with [Doors bass player] Doug Lubahn for the release of his book and was learning a bunch of stuff about the Doors that I never knew. Doug told me stories about Jim and his experiences with Jim in the studio while recording "Soft Parade," "Waiting for the Sun" and "Strange Days." I got all excited about Jim Morrison and started talking with the guys about some of the stories Doug was telling me and mentioned doing something different with the show.

The idea was to give the audience something more than just listening to the music, [such as] a resurrection and some stage props, add some theatrics. The guys in the band liked the idea of something different and started throwing out suggestions also.

We started that three years ago when it was his 35th anniversary. The audience responded well so we continue to do it. Of course it's morbid, but it entertains the crowd.

What other work goes into re-creating a Doors concert experience?

Butler: I spent a lot of time building an elaborate prop that is a replica of Morrison's gravestone in Paris, complete with hippie graffiti and empty liquor bottles, flowers, etc. Every year I have to haul it out and touch it up a bit. In fact, I better figure out where it lies now, because if it's not at my place, I don't know where it is.

Also, I should mention that our harmonica player, Jay Van Horn, built the coffin and bathtub props and also designs our stage lighting. He never gets enough credit for that stuff.

If someone can't make this show, when can he/she see The Double Doors?

Fetters: Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving, at Starline. Or they can go to our Web site (thedouble doors.com) and watch some of the video we have posted.

Know a local musician with whom more people should be familiar? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda, mosegueda@fresnobee.com.

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