Doors-founder Ray Manzarek died of cancer on Monday at the age of 74.
A pivotal L.A. band at the height of the ’60s, The Doors was a wonderful symbiosis of Morrison’s beat-lyrics, Robbie Krieger’s unique scale runs, Densmore’s simple but solid drumming, and most significantly, Manzarek’s distinctive keyboard stylings (with his left hand working the Fender keyboard bass, his right hand working melodies on the Vox Continental organ.) They created a most unique, classic, and (in terms of rock history) eternal sound.
Manzarek recently reminisced on how, at tht time, they felt to be on the cusp of something big. From NPR:
Manzarek brought the Chicago sound to L.A.’s beaches, and The Doors added beat poetry and psychedelic drugs to rock ‘n’ roll. “As the sun is setting into the Pacific Ocean at the end, the terminus of Western civilization, that’s the end of it,” Manzarek said. “Western civilization ends here in California at Venice Beach, so we stood there inventing a new world on psychedelics.”
From Fox News:
“Well, to me, my God, for anybody who was there it means it was a fantastic time,” Manzarek told The Republican in Massachusetts during an interview last year. “We thought we could actually change the world — to make it a more Christian, Islamic, Judaic Buddhist, Hindu, loving world. We thought we could. The children of the ’50s post-war generation were actually in love with life and had opened the doors of perception. And we were in love with being alive and wanted to spread that love around the planet and make peace, love and harmony prevail upon earth, while getting stoned, dancing madly and having as much sex as you could possibly have.”
As a huge Doors fan, trying to pick a favorite song that best demonstrates the band’s synergy is difficult, but for me the band’s high water mark was “Riders on the Storm”:
Here’s a cool, recent video of Ray, sitting at a Rhodes electric piano (through a warm flanger or phaser pedal), discussing how the song was written and recorded: