Robby Krieger plays his best golf when he listens to the voices in his head. And familiar voices they are.
“Todd [Yoshitake], the pro at Riviera, always tells his students to think of their favorite song when they’re swinging, and I’ve tried that,” Krieger said. “Sometimes you play golf and you can’t get a song out of your mind. It’s always a different song I think of, but I like to think of ‘People Are Strange.’ It’s a good one for golf. Just the tempo of it is right.”
You may have a different song ringing through your head mid-swing, but it’s a good bet you didn’t perform that piece thousands of times in front of hundreds of thousands of people as Krieger has. And it’s a good bet the other members in your foursome didn’t go by the names (Jim) Morrison, (Ray) Manzarek and (John) Densmore.
The guitarist for the iconic band The Doors, Krieger is also a longtime golfer and Riviera member who combines guitar chords with enough golf chops to play to a 6.9 index.
But Krieger, who still tours and performs with Manzarek, has another project awaiting when he returns from a 3-week, 14-city European and Middle East tour.
Along with renowned sports artist Scott Medlock, Krieger co-chairs the Scott Medlock-Robby Krieger Celebrity Golf Invitational and Concert, one of Southern California’s largest charity golf tournaments. This year’s event, which again benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is Aug. 20 at Moorpark Country Club. Aside from golf, it features Krieger and several of his rock-star cohorts — including Tommy Thayer of KISS — performing a benefit concert after the tournament.
“When I got involved in this tournament, first with the Pat Tillman Foundation and now with St. Jude, [Krieger] was the first person I called,” said Medlock, who met Krieger through a mutual friend at Riviera when the artist was commissioned to paint the winner of the annual PGA Tour event held there.
“He’s the most giving person, and he always wants to help other people if he can,” Medlock said. Besides, he added, “He’s one of my best friends, so who else do you call when you’re thinking about doing something other than your pal?”
Krieger is old-school when it comes to music, and - aside from the Loudmouth pants he often sports on the course - he’s old-school when it comes to golf. He started playing when he was 10, tagging along to Riviera after his father – a rocket scientist at Northrup – joined the club. He took the better part of two decades away from the game during The Doors’ heyday and afterward, playing only the odd round with his dad between gigs.
Krieger’s flexibility uncoiling his sweeping, repeatable swing got him as low as a 5 handicap.
“More and more rock-and-rollers are golfing nowadays. Back in the day, nobody played because it wasn’t cool,” Krieger said. “I didn’t totally give it up, but in the early ’90s, when I met Scott, we started playing more and more. Then you had Alice Cooper playing a lot and some of the other guys. Nowadays it’s pretty common. I play in five, six tournaments a year but try not playing in too many because it would take away from what we’re doing here.”
What Krieger is doing here is recruiting rockers to tee is up in the afternoon and bang it out in the evening. The voices he wants you to hear now are not about strangers, but about kids fighting diseases with strange and frightening names.
“It’s a lot of fun doing this because you can get musicians and people who you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to play with to come,” he said. “You tell them what this is for and oftentimes, they’ll come. It’s pretty cool to actually see a kid who has been helped here by St. Jude and see they have a whole new life in front of them.”
For information on the Scott Medlock-Robby Krieger Celebrity Golf Invitational and Concert, visit scottmedlockgolf.com.