Founders Award 2017: The Doors

For the past 11 years, MoPOP supporters have shown their generosity at our annual Founders Award Celebration, a fundraising gala and concert in honor of artists who have changed the face of pop music. Fellow musicians travel from around the world to perform a tribute concert, putting their own twist on the honorees most iconic songs. It’s basically a one-of-a-kind concert with some of the coolest people around playing music and having fun.

This year, we were lucky to give the award to The Doors, one of the most influential bands of the 1960s, on their 50th anniversary.

Micah Nelson at Founders Award

Robby Krieger performing with Lukas and Micah Nelson

The Doors joined up in 1967 as a four-piece who wanted to challenge audience expectations. While most bands at the time were singing about peace and love, The Doors were exploring the darker side of popular music. Author Tom Robbins said it best during the award presentation when he quoted his first review of the band after their 1967 show in Seattle, “The Doors are carnivores in a land of musical vegetarians.” Not too shabby.

Jerry Cantrell at Founders Award

Jerry Cantrell performing "Love Her Madly" with Robby Krieger

"The Doors are carnivores in a land of musical vegetarians." - Tom Robbins

One of the coolest parts of Founders Award is seeing so many generations of musicians and music lovers come together to celebrate an indelible piece of music history. Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana performed with John Densmore on songs like “Riders on the Storm” and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic brought out his accordion for “Light My Fire.” X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka treated us with their brilliant punk cover of “Soul Kitchen.” Brothers Lukas and J. Micah Nelson were joined by Robby Krieger on “LA Woman,” with Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, Tim Pike, and John Denney of The Weirdos filling out the rest of the set.

Exene Cervenka at Founders Award

Exene Cervenka of X performing "Roadhouse Blues"

Without a doubt, it was a night to remember, and thanks to the support of our community, MoPOP was able to raise more than $1 million for the museum's programs and youth initiatives. This support helps us create a platform for the next generation of artists, musicians, and creators.

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana performing "Break on Through" with Cindy Blackman Santana

Thanks to all the tribute artists, guests, and everyone behind the scenes who made this night so magical.


Mick Rock photographing Robby Krieger

Krist Novoselic at MoPOPFounders Award

Robby Krieger at MoPOP's Founders Award

John Densmore at MoPOP's Founders Award

John Doe at MoPOP's Founders Award

Tribute artists at MoPOP's Founders Award

Photos by Jim Bennett and Seattle Met.