May 202013



Bummer, man. No joke. Ray Manzarek, Doors keyboardist and Tonto to Jim Morrison’s Stoned Ranger, has died after a battle with bile duct cancer.

RayMan, as he was known to at least a few of us, brought much joy and laughter to the Halls of Rock—not to mention some actually cool musical contributions, both with the Doors and as producer of the essential albums by X!

The guy’s insufferable proselytizing of his allegedly late partner in crime and their band’s works began to charm me as the years passed. It’s rare that an artist is willing to talk in detail about the process of making music—and do so with an enthusiasm and belief in the greatness of his or her mates’ achievements that is usually only expressed among fellow bandmates. Let’s face it, whether it’s the Beatles, the Stones, the Doors, X, Jedward, or Nixon’s Head hunkered in their rehearsal space or studio, hammering out their latest creations, musicians experience a sense of godliness during the creative act. Most gods have the good sense to keep details of their creative process mysterious; Manzarek practically ran down Mount Olympus to tell us how the magic was made…man. We’ve got to learn how it’s done somehow.

Over time, the loyalty and love shown toward friends count for a lot, too. You know what I’m talking about, E. Pluribus Gergely!


  13 Responses to “Doors Founder Ray Manzarek Dead at 74”

  1. mockcarr

    The VH1 documentary about him will consist solely of videos of his own appearances on other documentaries.

  2. machinery

    I always wondered if Ray’s stated love and admiration for Jim would have been different if Morrison were still alive. Would he have gone to such lengths if say, Jim were sitting next to him on the porch? Death has a way of immortalizing people, of course … and loosening the tongue, methinks.

  3. machinery

    Plus his keyboard playing on Nausea washes away a lot of sins …

  4. 2000 Man

    That was the first thing I thought of. Man, I just love the racket he makes on that song, and it doesn’t need it to be a great punk song, but Ray really helps elevate the song to greatness in any genre. Hey, he was “an old dude” when that came out,. and he really seemed to get X.

    I love what he did on The World’s a Mess It’s in My Kiss, too. He didn’t have to hog the spotlight, and there’s a lot of guys from his era that wouldn’t have played what the song needs as much as what their ego needed.

    Nice job, Ray.

  5. cliff sovinsanity

    Along with Machinery’s thought about the legacy of The Doors after Jim’s death, I would be curious to know if anyone else thinks that Morrison’s death ruined people’s perception of the band in hindsight. It seems to me the beatification of Morrison by his fans and some writers bothered so many that rock snobs turned their nose and backs on the music. Yet,it’s the music and style-hopping that most appealed to me about The Doors.

    Manzarek’s keyboard playing is most interesting aspect of the band and at the core is their most defining sound not the drunken buffoon. That’s what I first heard in the band and it’s what kept me a fan after all these years besides the sometimes annoying praise heaped on the other guy. I’m really going to miss the guy popping up on all those documentaries if only for his unabashed love of music. If he had only produced those 4 X albums I’d still be gushing.

  6. I probably like the Doors more than the average RTHer. Nevertheless, for the last week after hearing this on an ‘FMU morning show, I have been obsessed with this:

    And now Ray’s gone. Bummer.

  7. Oh yeah, I’ve got that album!

    The older I get the more I like the Doors. I’m even at the point where I’m beginning to like the cabaret side of the band. Weird.

  8. misterioso

    Like geo, I’ll actually cop to liking the Doors. Sometimes, a lot. Other times, less. And although Ray was a ridiculous figure at times, like the Doors or hate them, it has to be said that he brought something unique to the band and just as irreplaceable as Jim Morrison. I mean, what would the Doors have been without that organ sound? A whole other thing, that’s for sure. Anyway, he’s with Jimbo now, not that Jim died. Well, you know what I mean.

  9. I’m not a Doors hater and I was sorry and surprised to see Ray’s obit this AM — I went through a Doors phase during the “Hot, Sexy and Dead” revival of the late 70s, where I even listened to those post-Jim albums “Full Circle” and “Other Voices” albums.

    I didn’t understand some of Ray’s projects — and The Doors of the 21st Century was kind of stupid, but I’m getting mellower on this reunion stuff. These guys need to make a living. Anyway — RIP Ray.

  10. I just pulled Morrison Hotel out of the basement this past weekend. While listening, before the bad news, I didn’t focus on the keyboards at all; it is kind of a more guitar-based record for the Doors. Good for Ray if he decided to hang back in the mix for the benefit of the album as a whole.

  11. jeangray

    Oh man! I had forgotten about “Nausea.” Love that song. 🙂

  12. bostonhistorian

    Never had any use for The Doors. That’s someone else’s revolution, not mine, but he does get points for the work with X. I didn’t realize he was quite so old. It might just be me, but I was amazed that he was only two and a half years younger than Buddy Holly.

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