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Can the Cult's Ian Astbury fill Jim Morrison's shoes? Probably not, but you'll be too drunk to notice.

Wednesday, Jul 16 2003
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There was a time not long ago when millions of adolescent boys supercharged with pubescent hormones, rebellious spirit, and rock "n" roll fantasies longed to be Jim Morrison, the coolly confrontational poet/singer of "60s hit-makers the Doors who romantically drank himself to an early grave by the age of 27. Indeed, countless modern rock stars -- from Misfits founder Glenn "oh so dark and mysterious" Danzig to Michael Hutchence, the former INXS leader who tragicomically didn"t survive his own bid to break on through to the other side (via autoerotic asphyxiation) -- have variously emulated Morrison"s rich baritone vocals, leather-clad sex appeal, deep-artist persona, and boundary-pushing wild side.

So it was easy for original Doors members Ray Manzarek (keyboards) and Robby Krieger (guitar) to find adequate Morrison stand-ins -- like Stone Temple Pilots" Scott Weiland, the Cult"s Ian Astbury, and Creed"s Scott Stapp -- to appear with them on a VH1 Storytellers special a couple years back. When they decided to regroup for a full-blown dinosaurs-of-rock tour this summer, they called on Astbury to play the singer. "He"s coming from the same place as Jim," says Manzarek, 64, in the band"s press kit. "He"s got that sense of danger about him that is so Morrison-esque, without being an imitation."

Though it may be tough for longtime fans to accept the pouty British vocalist as the Lizard King -- despite his convincing croon and the inevitable leather pants -- preliminary media reviews are largely thumbs-up. Of course, many of these fawning critics were probably those selfsame teenage boys of yore who chugged Jack Daniel"s in suburban parking lots and dreamed of better times through rock "n" roll. But seeing as how that describes pretty much anyone with a ticket to this show, chances are Astbury will come off smelling like, er, whiskey.

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Sam Prestianni

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