A chance meeting with the Doors' Ray Manzarek, RIP

Ray Manzarek.

Ray Manzarek, co-founder and keyboardist of the Doors, died today at 74. Complications from bile duct cancer.

As the master of the spooky-sounding and creepy organ first heard in rock and roll in "96 Tears" or "She's About A Mover," Manzarek was both the embellishment and the bottom for Venice, Calif.'s most famous band. They had no bass (live, on records they did). The bass was Ray's left hand -- according to Manzarek, every time they tried to add a bass, the sound became leaden and useless. And so, that oddly springy feel the Doors made real owed as much to Ray as it did their colorful frontman or their jazzy guitarist and drummer.

He also produced X's first four discs and wonderfully, too -- never tried to clean them up or polish them and while his keys were all over their debut, they disappeared afterwards, when the band was better known and more confidant.

He was cool. Changed my life too!

When I was 16, my friend Tommy got us backstage passes for the Doors/Dr John gig on the Boston Commons (Tommy knew Chuck Leavell from Florida, Chuck was playing keys with Dr John.)

As Dr John was doing his gris-gris thing onstage, I found myself standing next to Ray Manzarek and as I had a J in me pocket, I sparked her up and passed it to my childhood hero. He and his wife and I finished the reefer.

I couldn't even talk -- not because of the herb, but because I had SMOKED A JOINT WITH RAY FUCKING MANZAREK!!!!!

Thanks for helping me be a kid, Ray. Peace to you.


The Doors-like band he had at the Fillmore a few years ago was fantastic. Can't imagine it being much better - if at all - with Morrison in '68. Manzarek and Kreiger were excellent and the singer (from another famous band, The Cure maybe?) completely nailed Morrison's part.

I also caught the same band (but with another guy doing the Morrison part and this one with Densmore on drums) about 15 years ago now at some joint near 3rd St I believe (been awhile) which was excellent too. I also caught him one time at the Noe Valley Ministry with the poet Michael McClure which was really good.

I had no idea he had cancer - a real shame the disease takes another good guy from us (especially when I believe we're on the verge of basically curing it if one can get past the cost of the drugs somehow - a big reason the govt should be in the biz of creating drugs).

Posted by Guest on May. 20, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

Ray's keyboards were a staple of The Doors. He'll certainly be missed after such a long and fruitful career helping to create such haunting music. The Doors' songs opened my mind to other realms of possibilities and cleansed my perception. I paid tribute to Ray when I heard of his passing by creating a new portrait of him and some melting doors which you can see on my artist's blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2013/05/in-memoriam-ray-manzarek.html Drop by and let me know how The Doors influenced you too.

Posted by Brandt on May. 21, 2013 @ 12:19 am

Dude, you are super old. When are the Thrills getting back together?

Posted by Chromefields on May. 21, 2013 @ 10:14 am

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Posted by dafInwamfrura on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 11:11 am

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