Skip to comments.Opening Doors Into the Past (Barf alert-"The Doors" keyboardist tells us whats wrong with the world)
Posted on 10/10/2006 2:11:39 PM PDT by skyman
Ray Manzarek doesnt just remember the 60s. He lived the 60s to their psychedelic, mind-bending hilt as the keyboardist for the legendary rock band, the Doors.
Manzarek, who wrote music for Jim Morrisons lyrics, soared with the Doors into the rock stratosphere with a string of hits including Light My Fire and Riders on the Storm.
After a five-year flight that symbolizes the highs and lows of that era, the Doors came crashing back to earth. Unlike Morrison, found dead in a bathtub in Paris in 1971, Manzarek lived to tell the tale.
We were at the top of the pyramid along with the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Jefferson Airplane ... maybe a dozen people at the top of the pyramid leading an entire generation, said Manzarek, who now lives in east Napa.
Pausing for dramatic effect, Manzarek asked, Leading them to what, Ray? Then he provided the answer: Leading them to freedom, to go beyond themselves ... to find out we were all brothers, all humanity is related to one another.
Only it didnt work out quite like the rock gurus predicted. Were not in the golden age, man, Manzarek said. When the Doors sang break on through to the other side, they werent thinking of a Bush presidency and the multi-headed wars on terror.
Manzarek will hold forth on the meaning of the 60s and his life with the Doors, and play songs, at a Nov. 2 fundraiser at the Napa Valley Opera House for Napa Valley Community Housing, which builds and manages low-income housing in the valley.
Was it a crazed drug time or was it something more than what we perceive the 60s to be 30 or 40 years later? Ill talk about what we hoped to accomplish and still hope to accomplish, he said.
Manzarek will try his best to explain the terrible morass were in now, the terrible war in Iraq, the bugging of everybody, keeping secrets, lies that have been told to us, visions of an entire generation gone wrong.
Back in 1967, Manzarek was the cerebral one. On the first Doors album covers, hes the tall, intense guy with the wireless glasses, the counterpoint to Morrisons sexuality.
I played Apollo to Jim Morrisons Dionysius, the Greek god of madness and craziness, the dying and resurrecting god, the fecundity of the earth, he said.
Manzarek and Morrison met in the mid-60s as film students at UCLA. Manzarek was already playing in bands. Morrison was writing poetic lyrics, but sang weakly.
He wanted to be a rock star. He wanted to be like one of the Beatles or Rolling Stones, Manzarek said. He was handsome enough to do it. In two-three months he had transformed himself ... from 165 pounds of baby fat ... to 135 pounds with bone structure that was just gorgeous.
The hair had soft, Alexander the Great ringlet curls. He just looked fabulous, he said. The native American shaman, the cowboy and the Indian, had merged in Jim Morrison.
Morrison sang primal lyrics that flirted between ecstasy and destruction. His early death guaranteed a celebrated afterlife.
As a Door, Manzarek never claimed the spotlight. When you have a lead singer like Jim Morrison, the band recedes into the background, he said.
Not so today. A lanky, good-looking 67-year-old with rapid-fire speech and sharp intellect, Manzarek holds forth like a celebrity professor of psychedelic rock.
Since Morrisons death, Manzarek has sporadically revived the Doors, produced other bands, assembled Doors music videos, joined forces with poets, classical composers and others on new albums, penned two novels and a memoir, Light My Fire My Life with the Doors.
Manzarek and his wife of 38 years, Dorothy Fujikawa, moved to Napa three years ago, gutting a farmhouse and turning it into an open, uncluttered space, surrounded by a large vegetable garden and two acres of landscaped grounds.
She supported me and Jim while we put the songs together. Manzarek said. We got married when Light My Fire became a hit in 1967.
Their union succeeded because it wasnt a rock n roll marriage, he said. She was my art school sweetheart.
A visitor stepped over a doormat in the shape of a leaping rabbit, past a bench holding a BB gun. While waiting for Manzarek, he perused a library containing such titles as Cosmic Consciousness, Nietzsche and Emerson and Jack Kerouacs Doctor Sax.
Compared to today, with its destructive white powder drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth and heroin, the 60s were a time of beneficial, consciousness-expanding psychedelics, particularly LSD, Manzarek said.
Psychedelics make you a slave to love, a slave to joy, a slave to the energy of the universe, he said.
Manzarek credits LSD with helping him pass through the doors of perception, the title of the Aldous Huxley book from which the Doors took their name. Once through that door, LSD became unnecessary.
The tragedy of Jim Morrison, Manzarek said, was alcohol. Jim had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Thats what did him in, the alcohol. It wasnt the drugs, he said.
I was too young to see it. I didnt think a person as evolved as Jim Morrison would succumb to alcohol. I thought it was a temporary infatuation.
Now I know he needed a Betty Ford clinic and someone to really lay hands on him, he said.
Remarkably, Doors albums sell nearly as well today as they did back in the day, Manzarek said. The Doors royalties allow me to indulge my fantasies.
Manzarek is proud of how fresh the Doors sound remains. Their blend of jazz, rhythm and blues, beatnik and gothic poetry created something clean and open and elegant like the Bauhaus, like the piece of Bauhaus furniture Im sitting on, he said.
At the Napa Valley Community Housing fundraiser, Manzarek will answer questions from the audience about his life and times, but words will hardly do justice to the experience.
It was a roller coaster of incredible highs, he said. Insanity, madness, riots. My God, riots in Cleveland. They shut the concert down in Cleveland with people storming the stage, fighting the security people. In Chicago, rock with riots going on. There was a great joy at the same time.
Occasionally Manzarek will turn on his TV and see a Knicks game being played at Madison Square Garden in New York.
We were center stage, Madison Square Garden, he said. We were there, center court, theater in the round. Im where the center jump takes place and watching the light bulbs flashing, going off all the way around. I stood in the middle of the stage and turned around ... and thought, it dont get no better than this.
""Manzarek will try his best to explain the terrible morass were in now, the terrible war in Iraq, the bugging of everybody, keeping secrets, lies that have been told to us, visions of an entire generation gone wrong.
Yep it looks like he is eminently qualified to teach about world affairs/sarcasm
Jim Morrison = Big, fat dead guy in a bathtub.
Boy, he sure is full of himself, just like most of his Boomer cohorts.
I base my political opinions on what Madonna thinks :)
Quote: "Ray Manzarek doesnt just remember the 60s. He lived the 60s to their psychedelic, mind-bending hilt..."
...and is, therefore, little more than a dope head to this day and should be ignored whenever speaking.
Shut up and play!
"found dead in a bathtub"
I thought it was a swimming pool?
Jim Morrison didn't die, he changed his look and changed his name to....Karl Rove.
I gotta admit, this is where I laughed outloud.
Far out, man.
Were not in the golden age, man,
Gee Ray, trying to tell us something?
Morrison's father was CINCPAC at the Gulf of Tonkin.
I originally read "Ray Manzarek just doesnt remember the 60s" which is probably closer to the truth.
This pseudo-intellectual POS needs to wake up and realize that the 60's mentality was nothing more than a dangerous pop fad with lasting destructive consequences. Many of those people who have had their lives destroyed by having drug addicted, sexually promiscuous or despairing family members can thank idiots like him.
Kids, this is why it's not a great idea to take beneficial, consciousness-expanding psychedelics...
Hippies.They're everywhere. They wanna save the earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad.
I think it was Keith Moon found dead in a swimming pool and Morrison in a bathtub.
Nope, that was the blond headed guitarist from the Stones.
IMO, LA Woman was their best recording.
More like you were Ether, the god of "hot air" cause you are full of it..
This is the End...
"I originally read "Ray Manzarek just doesnt remember the 60s" which is probably closer to the truth."
Pinin' for the fjords.
The public remains infatuated with the messianic mystics, but not so much as they are with themselves.
I never 'got' the Doors. Hated Manzerak's keyboards, in particular. Plus there's something vaguely pathetic about a surviving group member making excuses for the one that died young and other excesses of their youth.
"I never 'got' the Doors. Hated Manzerak's keyboards"
Yup! Yup! I was a hippy musician, and I thought they were stupid, amatuerish, and pompous. 'Course I was into Zappa.
"Boy, he sure is full of himself, just like most of his Boomer cohorts."
He is TOO OLD to be in the boomer cohort. He is 67 years old. Boomers are no older than 61. Based on year of birth beginning 1945.
So based on that, he falls into an older cohort, including 50s and early 60s beatniks and communists and free-speech Berkely types.
As for his views, he is still as naive as he/they were in the 60s. He probably truly thinks Osama would jam with him, if he shared the hookah and chanted kumbaya.
My take: Politics = predictably horrid, naive, dangerous. Music = As he says, among a group of creative and influential ones.
Other people impress me far more. For instance Eric Clapton got clean and sober long ago, makes great music today. And walks the walk, by donating money and time to a recovery facility in Antigua (Crossroads). He grew up.
With the ability to create often goes the propensity to overindulge (like accidental suicide). Modigliani, Billy Holiday, Elvis, Hendrix, Joplin, many other artistic types. Maybe it is genetic like left-handedness following artistic talent.
Trivia time, two points for the correct answer: Who was Jethro Tull and what is he to Ian Anderson? Sorry, sounded more interesting than rattling on about the politics of the last man to get rich playing the old Vox organ.
Nah, it was Joe Flynn. Look it up.....
I thought it was a swimming pool?
Either way, "you can't dust for vomit."
/shamelessly off-topic Spinal Tap quote
"... found Morrison in a bathtub."
Which is why he is now known as Bathtub Jim.
"Say a prayer for the unknown liberal,
lying in a pool of spittle"
In other words, not only does "rock 'n' roll-based marriage" facilitate divorce, relational dead-ends, and the like, but the "rock 'n' roll culture" is not exactly the epitome of personal/physical health, relational health, spiritual health, psychological health, & emotional health.
If it ain't healthy, don't export it.
I'm not cheating! I think Jethro Tull had something to do with an agricultural revolt, or Ministry, or something like that. His relationship to Ian Anderson is unknown to me, except I've read somewhere that Ian is a "gentleman farmer".
"Hated Manzerak's keyboards, in particular."
You too??? They were disturbingly reminiscent of something out of Lawrence Welk, and not very original, IMHO.
And it didn't get any better than that, apparently, seeing how it's forty years later and he's got nothing else to talk about. The Doors are the most overrated band in rock history. They put together maybe 15 or 20 sort of decent songs that sound quite alike and that all get boring after a only a few hearings. Their shows were chaotic drug fests to be sure, but you truly had to be there since listening to any of their live recordings now reveals them to have been the duffers and poseurs they were. The real laugh is Ray's pondering whether they accomplished all that they intended to. Look Ray, you got high, you got laid, and you made some bucks. If you really thought there was anything more going on at those hippie parties, you were just listening to the dope talking, man.
I guess the drugs never wore off.
>>"Leading them to freedom..."<<
Your father's generation led your generation to freedom, Ray, soaked not in LSD, but blood.
I am SOOOOO important.
Ray's been playing this "conscience of the Doors" routine for way too long. Nobody cares, dude.
The Doors sucked when Morrison was alive. They still suck.
"I thought it was a swimming pool?"
Brian Jones. Get the deaths of your your drugged and dead rock stars straight!
And don't Bogart that joint.