Opening Doors: The six degrees of Miljenko Matijevic
Miljenko Matijevic goes by "Mili," as in "mealy-mouthed," though his soaring vocals are anything but. That's why the Yugoslavian-turned-Charlottesvillian has landed a hot new job as the new voice of The Doors.
Well, sort of. Thirty-some years after the tragic death of iconic frontman Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robbie Krieger toured briefly with a different singer under that name, but that did not go over too well with Morrison's estate, so they instead ended up playing Doors material as simply Manzarek-Krieger. Matijevic is the new voice for that operation, which stops in Richmond at The National on June 7.
Matijevic started as the frontman of hair-metal band Steelheart, which released its debut album in 1991 and scored a hit with the power ballad "I'll Never Let You Go."
But then, at a 1992 show in Denver, part of the lighting rig collapsed, and Matijevic suffered serious head injuries in the accident, bringing the band's career to a screeching halt.
The silver lining may have been that Steelheart was spared the brutal execution that awaited its frizzy friends when Nirvana showed up just a couple years later to lay that whole scene to waste and usher in the age of alternative. For that matter, Matejevic likewise has been holed up lately in a studio he built for himself in a warehouse out on Market Street working on new modern-rock oriented material under his old band's name.
Another neighbor is Brian Craddock, the former Charlottesville Music employee who was recruited by Fluvanna graduate and ousted American Idol fan fave Chris Daughtry for his eponymous hard rock band, which ruled the charts in 2007 with the best-selling debut album in history. Craddock was also a member of the short-lived local alt-metal outfit Sickshot, which infamously shot its own foot and then promptly ate it in our 2006 music issue, in which they responded to criticisms that they sounded like mall-metal by stating that their sole goal was to sell a ton of records to the MTV demographic.
But he wasn't the brains– that was guitarist Carl Bell, which is why Scallions found himself kicked to the curb in early 2006 after some unfortunate combination of internal disagreements and throat problems.
This brings us up to the beginning of Daughtry's run on the 2006 season of Idol. (Whoops! Sorry about the maddeningly muddled chronology here. Just pretend you're watching Lost.) His March 1 performance of Fuel's 2000 modern rock smash "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" left the judges reeling–- even the notoriously nasty Simon Cowell–- and sent the original recording shooting back up the iTunes charts the next day. Nevertheless, he was canned the following week, at which point Fuel made a special appearance the very next day on the nationally-syndicated television show Extra to publicly offer him Scallions' recently-vacated seat.
This strangely parallels the manner in which Mark Wahlberg's character goes from fronting a tribute band to the real deal in the 2001 film Rock Star. Or maybe it's closer to Craddock's story, actually; Daughtry, of course, declined the offer, and with Craddock at his side, went on to sell the gazillion records Sickshot never did.
Either way, guess who subbed in to serve as Wahlberg's singing voice in Rock Star? That's right–- our man Mili. Thank goodness for that.