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OPENING A NEW DOOR

Hollywood turned back the clock 30 years Wednesday when the surviving members of the Doors gathered at the famed Whisky a Go-Go nightclub to promote an upcoming boxed set.

Above the Sunset Strip venue the original billboard used to promote the rock group's self-titled 1967 debut album was installed. The marquee out front read simply, "The Doors."

Inside, drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robbie Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek draped themselves on a black leather couch on the stage, fielded questions from reporters and fans and spoke about the old days.

The only person missing was the group's hard-living, mercurial vocalist, Jim Morrison, who died of a heart attack in Paris in 1971, age 27.

"Doors Box Set" (Elektra), due for release Oct. 28, comprises three CDs of previously unreleased material and one CD of five favorites chosen by the trio.

"Some of this stuff is less than perfect," said a gaunt Krieger, 51, with thinning white hair.

Talk of Morrison dominated the news conference. "He sure loved to sing the blues on stage," said Manzarek, now 62 but the best-preserved of the group.

"Yeah," added Densmore, 51, his black hair speckled with gray and tied into a bunch. "He would rather sing 'Little Red Rooster' than 'Light My Fire.' "

Krieger introduced a note of solemnity to the proceedings when someone asked him how he would do things differently now.

"I think we would all possibly have tried to keep Jim from drinking as much as he did, which probably would have been impossible anyway."

The three last played together publicly when the Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, with Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder sitting in for Morrison.

Manzarek said it would be "tacky" to perform to promote the boxed set, but it could be an option if the band had new material. He suggested Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders as a substitute for Morrison.

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