Ray Manzarek Breaks Through


Sad news tonight for rock fans: The Doors’ keyboard player Ray Manzarek died on Monday after a long battle with bile duct cancer. Manzarek brought jazz influences to The Doors’ brand of dark, poetic rock and held down most of the bass duties on stage and in the studio – playing a keyboard bass with his left hand and an organ or electric piano with his right. Manzarek had a jovial, engaging persona, but was also known for his controversial and obstinate relations with his surviving bandmates and the band’s music. In this Los Angeles Times article, Doors drummer John Densmore remembers his friend:

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words,” Densmore said through a spokeswoman. “Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”

For me Ray was an invaluable contributor to a band that I consider to be America’s greatest. The Doors were massively popular, but there influence was outrageously deep. It’s no exaggeration to say “No Doors, no punk rock.” Their songs are among the most original and moving of those of their peers, and are now considered to be timeless classics. Their live shows – inspired and infuriating – were the stuff of legend.

Smooth sailing, Ray. One more passenger on the Crystal Ship.

A thousand girls, a thousand thrills
A million ways to spend your time
When we get back
I’ll drop a line

Stay Awake!


Joe Nolan was born under a bad sign on June 13th in Detroit, Michigan in the last Metal Year of the Dog. Polymath, provocateur, inter-media artist, his tell-tale signs have turned up in music, visual art, journalism, poetry, fiction, video and film. A double Gemini, his interests range from the pharmacology of phenomenology to fly fishing; from mysticism to mixed martial arts; from chaos science to chaos magick. Joe Nolan's Insomnia blog republishes to some of the most read counter-culture sites on the web and the Coincidence Control Network podcast which he hosts has been downloaded more than half-a-million times.He is recording his fourth CD in Nashville, Tennessee where he lives to the east of the Cumberland river on a little wooded lot dubbed Bohemian Walnut Grove.

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12 Comments on "Ray Manzarek Breaks Through"

  1. Bruteloop | May 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

    Thank you for the soundtrack to a whole lot Mr Manzarek. RIP.

  2. BuzzCoastin | May 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

    Ray’s left hand will be sorely missed

      • BuzzCoastin | May 22, 2013 at 1:45 am |

        after googling a few times in different ways
        I have yet to see a quote from Ray or Jim about
        Jim’s father, Rear Admiral George Morrison
        and his role as CIA trigger-man
        for the escalation of the Vietnam war
        during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964
        too bad that couldn’t break on through

        • No doubt. Ive seen his pops mentioned in books and articles but Jim just said his parents were dead when asked by reporters

  3. Incredible musician, and the music lives on..

    I was most in awe of Ray when I saw him performing (through film) one night and Jim had become sick, he sang the whole damn show while playing his usual bass and keys parts. The idea of keeping three different melodies going is baffling to me

    • Truly. One of the biggest myths about The Doors is that they were Jim Morrison’s band. Of course. in fact. they were a group of four incredibly original musicians and Jim didn’t even write the biggest hits. Thanks for reading!

  4. Noah_Nine | May 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm |

    i think its funny that hipsters venerate the beach boys but won’t touch the doors with a ten foot pole…..

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