Break on through to the other side.
May 20, 2013 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors, has died at the age of 74. Not a lot of links. Just a place to share your thoughts, your faves... and to remember.
posted by markkraft (100 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by tatiana131 at 4:09 PM on May 20, 2013


♪ ♫ ♩
♬ ♭ ♮
♯ ° ø
posted by nickyskye at 4:09 PM on May 20, 2013


The End... live, 1967. Such a beautiful, pure sound of creation, back when the songs were still fresh. Absolute encapsulation of emotion and feeling throughout.

Doors fans aren't made. They're born.
posted by markkraft at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


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posted by worbel at 4:11 PM on May 20, 2013


2006 interview with Terry Gross, in front of the keyboard. What a talent.
posted by harkin banks at 4:11 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm speechless.

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posted by TedW at 4:19 PM on May 20, 2013


Man, one of my favorite albums from the WCBN collection was a Ray Manzarek showcase that included X's Los Angeles and a bunch of other early '80s tracks, all of them with significant organ parts that we assumed (the album was uncredited) Ray put in there. He'd introduce each song with something like, "These guys are a real happening band out of Los Angeles, I think you'll like them as much as I do," and then we'd joke about how Ray knew what he liked — bands with him as organist.
posted by klangklangston at 4:19 PM on May 20, 2013



posted by Smart Dalek at 4:22 PM on May 20, 2013


Hearing Ray Manzarek on those early Doors hits when I was a kid made me want to learn to play keyboards.

Here's Manzarek talking about the writing of "Riders on the Storm" and demonstrating the various parts on a Rhodes electric piano.

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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:22 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by Joey Michaels at 4:24 PM on May 20, 2013


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I had the honor of meeting him twice at signings. Once was in 1996, the other time in 2002.
The latter was a small show at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica (I think). Best quote of the evening: "Jim Morrison rolled the best joints in the world."

Lots of good stuff on Spotify. Look up "I'm Your Doctor". Pure Ray Goodness.

RIP, and say hi to Jim and Pam.
posted by luckynerd at 4:25 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by jabo at 4:27 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Kitteh at 4:32 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by jpziller at 4:33 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by tzikeh at 4:34 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Faint of Butt at 4:36 PM on May 20, 2013


The Doors have always received a lot of flack. They’re the kind of band you get really into in the early high school years and then, as you get older and more mature and maybe stop smoking so much pot, you abandon them. You might even mock them and feel a little embarrassed that you were so into them. But there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The Doors Phase is a crucial part of any child’s classic rock education. As time continues it’s relentless march and you mature a bit more, you’ll come back to the Doors. They may not be your go-to late night driving music anymore and you still occasionally laugh at Morrison’s lyrics, but hey, he’d be laughing right there with you. And most importantly, while the lyrics were laughable at times, the music was always top notch. Ray Manzarek, in particular, was a virtuoso and a game changer for organists in rock music. He'll be missed.

I came here to link the Kids in the Hall sketch too.

"The gypsies had no homes, The Doors had no bass. But don’t let that scare you, my friend let that liberate you! ‘Cause when you’re free flying with the Doors, man - what do you need a safety net for?"

posted by saul wright at 4:37 PM on May 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


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posted by absolutelynot at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2013


The Doors were awesome, but for me it's all about Los Angeles, Wild Gift, More Fun in the New World, and, most importantly, Under the Big Black Sun.

Rock on Manzarek. Rock on.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]




Yep, it's all about X, the last American band to get played on the radio. Thanks, Ray.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:43 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aw, shit. I've gone through a lot of different phases with Morrison, but the strains of Ray Manzarek's keyboards are forever burned into some of the best (and strangest) recesses of my brain. Thanks, man. You showed me things. Understand? Of course you do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:44 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by wallabear at 4:48 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by little mouth at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Guy Smiley at 4:51 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by scody at 4:52 PM on May 20, 2013


The keyboard and guitar play in "L.A. Woman" is as close as you'll get to perfection. The Morrison's mojo rises, oh well.
posted by Max Power at 4:56 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Golden Eternity at 4:58 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by drezdn at 5:00 PM on May 20, 2013


But there isn’t anything to be ashamed of.

Definitely not. There are some live performances you can see on Netflix and what a band they were hearing how well they played live. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "man" more than Manzarek.
posted by juiceCake at 5:03 PM on May 20, 2013


I still think it's awesome that he played on Weird Al's Door's parody.
posted by ericales at 5:05 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by lapolla at 5:13 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by disclaimer at 5:15 PM on May 20, 2013


1967 news article mentioning "Joe Morrison" and Ray describing music as "electric eclectic". You will be missed, good sir.
posted by snap_dragon at 5:20 PM on May 20, 2013


They’re the kind of band you get really into in the early high school years and then, as you get older and more mature and maybe stop smoking so much pot, you abandon them. You might even mock them and feel a little embarrassed that you were so into them. But there isn’t anything to be ashamed of.

OTM. OTM.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:23 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]



The Doors have always received a lot of flack. They’re the kind of band you get really into in the early high school years and then, as you get older and more mature and maybe stop smoking so much pot, you abandon them.........But there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The Doors Phase is a crucial part of any child’s classic rock education.
(blah blah ad nauseum) -- Enough of your pretentious dime store music analysis, dude. Thanks for your permission for letting me like the Doors.

Now, let's get back to Ray.
posted by snap_dragon at 5:30 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


the music was always top notch

Yes indeed. I got tired of Morrison after awhile, and only bought the first four Doors albums as they came out, but there's hardly been a better keyboard accompaniment to any song than Riders on the Storm, from Doors album #6.

My favorite episode of Daryl's House (April 2009) featured Manzarek and Krieger... for some reason it's not among those still posted at the show's website, but pieces of it remain on YouTube, like Ray's solo on this most-unDoors-like song, Family Affair, and him (at age 70) driving this post's theme song Break On Through.
posted by LeLiLo at 5:32 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:33 PM on May 20, 2013


I can't imagine why anyone would be embarrassed loving The Doors, they were a great band; I love LA Woman (written by Manzarek), I love Roadhouse Blues (written by Manzarek), I love Riders On The Storm (also Manzarek) on a rainy night, and if it's not a rainy night it makes it feel like one to me.

Manzarek created some nice pieces of the soundtrack of my life.

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posted by dancestoblue at 5:34 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uh ; at best. Ray is apparently the victim of a death hoax.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:36 PM on May 20, 2013


Now this collaboration, I did not know about...

Like Skrillex or not, that's a pretty sweet keyboard riff Manzarek did there.
posted by markkraft at 5:39 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Xoebe at 5:44 PM on May 20, 2013


"Ray is apparently the victim of a death hoax."

Unfortunately, the hoax is a hoax.
posted by markkraft at 5:51 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by fatbaq at 6:06 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Brody's chum at 6:08 PM on May 20, 2013


"Enough of your pretentious dime store music analysis, dude. Thanks for your permission for letting me like the Doors."

Yeah, yeah, the gypsies had no homes, the Doors had no bass. Do you have the mullet too?
posted by klangklangston at 6:11 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the hoax is a hoax.

Well in that case, Fuck!

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posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:12 PM on May 20, 2013




while the lyrics were laughable at times, the music was always top notch.

I'd argue that part of growing up is stopping digging the Doors for their lyrics, and starting to dig them for the music instead.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:22 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by homunculus at 6:34 PM on May 20, 2013


I can't say that I like this, but
I hear a very gentle sound
With your ear down to the ground
We want the world and we want it...
We want the world and we want it...
Now
Now?
Now!

So when the music's over
When the music's over, yeah
When the music's over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
posted by item at 6:35 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really, though, this is a whole big pile of suck. 74 or 44 or 24, Ray had a huge role in changing music's course. No Doors, no Stooges. No Doors, no Dead Kennedys. No Doors, no Stereolab.
posted by item at 6:40 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lay off the sauce for a lil' while, klang and let's talk about Ray, 'k? note to self: do not make eye contact.
posted by snap_dragon at 7:01 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by raysmj at 8:03 PM on May 20, 2013


I picked up "Wild Gift" because of the cover of "Soul Kitchen", but I love the organ on Nausea a lot; so evocative of that queasy feeling.

Thanks for everything, Ray.

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posted by mogget at 8:13 PM on May 20, 2013


I saw The Doors on acid. (I need to get a t shirt made of that.)
posted by eggtooth at 8:16 PM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's a bit more for you:


Manzarek, born in 1939, was the oldest member of the band by some years.

Manzarek met Jim Morrison at UCLA film school (having previously earned a degree in Economics from DePaul). A chance meeting on the beach after graduation led to a songwriting partnership. Manzarek recruited guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore whom he met via Transcendental Meditation.

Despite Morrison's star power and lyrics, Manzarek was probably the principle architect of the Doors' sound. No other band member had significant experience playing in bands. Upon joining up, Krieger was 18 years old, had only switched to guitar from trumpet two years earlier, and had less than a year's experience playing electric guitar.

Because the band had no permanent bass player, bass parts on most studio recordings and nearly always in concert (until after the death of Morrison) were provided by Manzarek on the Fender Rhodes PianoBass.

The result was a unique, open, keyboard-based sound.

After The Doors disbanded, Manzarek released two notable solo albums, The Golden Scarab (1973) and The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control (1974).

In 1998, he published a memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors.

In 2001, he published The Poet in Exile, a novel exploring the urban legend that Jim Morrison may have faked his death.

Here are some seldom heard recordings of the Doors without Morrison, with Manzarek on lead vocals (and keyboards, and, usually, keyboard-bass).

The Doors live post-Morrision with Manzarek on lead vocals
Light My Fire ((bad) audio only)
Love Me Two Times
Tightrope Ride
Ships with Sails

From a 1968 Amsterdam concert, where Morrison collapsed during the Jefferson Airplane's set, before the headlining Doors could take the stage. The decision was made to go on as a trio with Manzarek on keyboards, 'bass', and lead vocals.
Soul Kitchen
Alabama Song / Backdoor Man
 
posted by Herodios at 8:31 PM on May 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


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posted by Token Meme at 8:48 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by From Bklyn at 8:50 PM on May 20, 2013


There are very few bands that I own near to a complete set. The Doors is one. When I was a little kid I had an LP of L.A.Woman that I bought used that had the cover with the gray on yellow celophane portrait of the band window on the front of it. One of my early clues to the ephemrality of reality is the experience of seeing a copy of L.A.Woman without the celophane panel; it was just printed on the albulm cover. My little young mind went: WTF is this? This is so WRONG!

Within a few months I got over that but it was definitely a touchstone experience. Thank you Ray! (and Jim et al.)

One of my favorite recent metafilter posts was the Riders on the Storm re-keyed to major.
posted by bukvich at 8:53 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


2006 interview with Terry Gross, in front of the keyboard. What a talent.

I love the story (about xx minutes in; seriously, listen to the whole thing) of how the radio edit of "Light My Fire" is unveiled to the band.
posted by kurumi at 9:26 PM on May 20, 2013


Goddammit, I'm tired of this day.
posted by donnagirl at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2013


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posted by chillmost at 11:29 PM on May 20, 2013


..But there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The Doors Phase is a crucial part of any child’s classic rock education.

Guess I never grew up then. Because I've never gone more than a few months without throwing some Doors into the mix. It started when I was nine, a friend's birthday party. It would've been 1969. We were rampaging around the basement when his big brother walked in (a hippie). He gave us an unimpressed look, then disappeared into his room ... which had a Doors poster on the door.

The first I'd ever heard of them. The Doors on the door.

Maybe a year and a half later, Miss Cabel's Grade Six class, Justin Jeffries, smug little teacher's pet, was delighted to report Jim Morrison's death by drug overdose. It was the first time I'd ever even heard his name, but if Justin Jeffries didn't like him, he had to be cool.

As the 1970s progressed, I'd get a little better informed about the Doors and their music, mainly via radio, which meant mainly the hits. Which were all top notch, but for whatever reason, I never really dug deeper ... until Apocalypse Now, the first time I ever heard The End. That changed everything. That got us digging deep, me and couple of friends. It helped, I guess, that we were getting into psychedelics, with The Doors quickly the fallback soundtrack of choice ... particularly the non-hits, the more out there stuff, Mr. Morrison's musings coming at us from beyond the grave ...

And holy shit, what a band! Only later did I discover that there was no bass player, that Ray Manzarek handled all of that with his left hand. Let me say that again. Holy Shit.

It's worth noting. The Doors were huge in the early 80s, including a Rolling Stone magazine cover (Jim Morrison - "he's hot, he's sexy, he's dead"), to the point of it getting annoying. Because there was so much cool music that just wasn't getting heard (the kind of bands that Ray Manzarek was producing).

And then came the Oliver Stone movie, which is as far as I'll take things. Not because I didn't like it. Anything but. But it was problematic because so many people didn't like it, thought it was way over the top. Younger people for the most part, late teens and early twenties types who would've had no real memory of the 60s and their various eruptions and apocalypses. I remember trying vainly to explain to one young guy that the movie wasn't really an exaggeration. That shit really was that intense and hyperbolic for a while, 1967-68-69, and the Doors were always right out front, defining cultural edges that still haven't been fully explored.

And yeah Jim Morrison got most of the headlines (and the notoriety), but he'd have been nowhere without that band, who would've been nothing without Ray Manzarek, the cool dude behind the organ.

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posted by philip-random at 12:56 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by brujita at 1:25 AM on May 21, 2013


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posted by El Brendano at 2:09 AM on May 21, 2013


Somewhere, SOMEWHERE, there's an interview or article wherein
Morrison pointed to Ray sitting on a couch and said, "There. There's
the Doors."
posted by Chitownfats at 3:05 AM on May 21, 2013


The "Riders On The Storm" video was amazing. What a great song.

I thought it was odd that Manzarek said Jerry Schiff complained that the bass line was too difficult on bass guitar. Schiff must have been playing the part an octave higher than the lowest position, where it is pretty easy, due to the open E and A strings. An octave higher, it is not too difficult to play once or twice, but it gets a little hairy trying to play it again and again.
posted by thelonius at 4:53 AM on May 21, 2013


From a 1968 Amsterdam concert, where Morrison collapsed

I loved Manzarek ever since my uncle taped a special off HBO/ Showtime/ Where ever when I was a kid documenting that tour by talking to Ray, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner. I was blown away by the clips of Manzarek signing lead.
posted by yerfatma at 5:59 AM on May 21, 2013


We had a Doors listening party on a long road trip last year. We had forgotten how many great songs they had in the catalog and how good they sounded. RIP Ray, and thanks too for the X albums.
posted by whuppy at 6:58 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Doors were big when I was in grammar school and we even studied their songs in music appreciation class in high school. Since seeing bands live wasn't usually possible for me, I had no idea the Doors had no bass player until much later. I just assumed...
posted by tommasz at 7:11 AM on May 21, 2013


9 times out of 10 there was a session bass player on the records.
posted by anazgnos at 7:17 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Mister_A at 7:23 AM on May 21, 2013


Jerry Scheff

Played with Billy Preston, Merry Clayton, Sugarcane Harris, The Association, Bobby Sherman, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Vinton, The Everly Brothers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Doors, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison (and Friends) . . .

More on "Riders On The Storm" and the Doors without Morrision:
Classic Rock Review: L.A. Woman -- Gone is the image of a half naked Jim Morrison out in front of his “backing band”. On the cover of this album, an off-center, bearded [and overweight] Morrison is slouched down to appear smaller below the rest of the band.

"Riders on the Storm" is a unique song in the history of rock n roll. With several influences. . . . Often considered a Morrison masterpiece . . . the song is really a showcase for the other three band members . . . who use the song as a preview of the group’s new direction.

[T]he band had already quietly agreed to a break from Morrison, as he planned to move to Paris* following its completion, and continue as a trio. . . . A common misconception is that Other Voices was made in reaction to Morrison's death**, when it was actually started prior to his passing, some songs worked on during the L.A. Woman sessions.

[T]wo addition musicians [were] involved with the making of L.A. Woman, bassist Jerry Scheff who played on every track and blues guitarist Mark Benno, who played rhythm guitar on four. Scheff, who was Elvis Presley's regular bass player at the time, was as much a part of the music on L.A. Woman as any of the "regular" Doors (a defacto "fifth Door") . . .
------------------------------------------------
  * Or possibly do jail time in Florida.
** Other Voices was released only three months after Morrison's death.

posted by Herodios at 7:23 AM on May 21, 2013


Scheff, thanks. Terrific bass player. They had a live "Suspicious Minds" on one of the Oxford American compilations a few years ago, and he is just killing in it.
posted by thelonius at 7:27 AM on May 21, 2013


9 times out of 10 there was a session bass player on the records.

Yeah, the 'no bass player' thing has perhaps been a bit oversold. Possibly because there's no bass player on "Break On Through" or "Light My Fire" from the first album and [AFAIK] they never appeared on TV or in concert with a bass player until after Morrison died.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by no relation at 8:44 AM on May 21, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 8:53 AM on May 21, 2013


It's worth noting. The Doors were huge in the early 80s, including a Rolling Stone magazine cover (Jim Morrison - "he's hot, he's sexy, he's dead"), to the point of it getting annoying. Because there was so much cool music that just wasn't getting heard (the kind of bands that Ray Manzarek was producing).

I didn't mind the Doors revival so much (you can also credit--or blame--the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, which is an enjoyable read, although it flogs the idea that Morrison faked his death), but I do think that more attention should have been paid to X; I liked them ever since seeing The Decline of Western Civilization, which opens with a live version of their "Nausea" (the version on the album, which Manzarek produced, has him on organ).
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 AM on May 21, 2013




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posted by RussHy at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2013




X with Ray Manzarek. Slim's, S.F., 2010.
posted by markkraft at 5:10 PM on May 23, 2013


meanwhile, in the 1980s ...
posted by philip-random at 7:45 PM on May 23, 2013


Meanwhile, in the 1990s …
posted by entropicamericana at 8:14 PM on May 23, 2013


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