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Ray Manzarek

Updated on August 22, 2014
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Nerd, cinephile, TV-junky, research-loving, left-leaning, science-fiending, atheist from the gutter. Follow me on Twitter @TheGutterMonkey.

Who is Ray Manzarek?

Along with the iconic rock legend, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek was one of the founding members of the 1960's groundbreaking rock group The Doors.

In 1962 Manzarek began studying in the Department of Cinematography at UCLA, where he met a film student named Jim Morrison. The two didn't know each other very well at this time and after graduating film school they went their separate ways, not meeting again until, by chance, coming across one another at Venice Beach. By then Ray was a keyboardist for a struggling rock band and when Jim showed Ray some of his poems, Ray insisted to Jim that they should put together a band of their own for him to sing the poems. Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison right there on the spot. Ray and Jim then recruited Robbie Krieger as a guitarist and John Densomore as the drummer for their new band and began calling themselves the Doors.

From there The Doors became an instant sensation; skyrocketing in fame, controversy, and, due do Morrison's exceedingly chaotic lifestyle, eventual infamy. When Morrison died in 1971 Manzarek took over as lead singer for the bands last two albums.

Since then Manzarek has gone on to perform and record with several other bands and artists, including Iggy Pop, Darryl Read, Echo & The Bunnymen, and even "Weird Al" Yankovic. He also went on to perform with the remaining members of the Doors on several occasions.

Three reasons to love Ray Manzarek

1.) He survived the 60's!

2.) Without him the Doors would have never formed!

3.) He played bass for the Doors... with a piano!

Check out these books by Ray Manzarek

Along with his memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, Manzarek has also written several novels, including The Poet in Exile which explores the legend that Jim Morrison may have faked his own death.

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Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors
Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors

"Wryly intelligent...mixes juicy behind-the-scenes bits...with energetic, note-by-note accounts of the evolution of the band's songs."--PeopleNo other band has ever sounded quite like the Doors, and no other frontman has ever transfixed an audience quite the way Jim Morrison did. Ray Manzarek, the band's co-founder and keyboard player, was there from the very start--and until the sad dissolution--of the Doors. In this heartfelt and colorfully detailed memoir, complete with 16 pages of photographs, he brings us an insider's view of the brief, brilliant history...from the beginning to the end."A refreshingly candid read...a Doors bio worth opening."--Entertainment Weekly"[An] engaging read."--Washington Post Book World* By the keyboard player and co-founder of the band who saw it all* Includes 16 pages of photos * Extraordinary reviews from People, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post Book World and others...Booklist calls it "literate, perceptive, and thoughtful" and says it "may be the best rock bio of the year"

Ballads Before the Rain
Ballads Before the Rain

The legendary co-founder of The Doors, Ray Manzarek and the critically acclaimed slide/blues guitarist Roy Rogers have put their artistic minds together and have truly created a captivating new duet album for Friday Music entitled Ballads Before The Rain.......The nine instrumental works that make up this debut album are sonically some of the finest recordings to be released this year, and we are very proud to have both of these fine gentlemen on board with this incredible new release.......Audiophile fanatics and fans alike will truly dig the amazing new takes on Doors classics like The Crystal Ship and Riders On The Storm, as well as the other blues/jazz/classical tracks that define the utmost level of musicianship that each of these award winning composers/producers/performers display.The much emulated keyboard technique of Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers solid guitar work carry on throughout all of the works contained on this debut release. Not foreign to the classics, the two even combine their talents and visit Eric Satie s Gnossienne No. 1 as well as deep blue etchings from Roy Rogers himself on Remembering You and Ruby Red Nails.Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers- Ballads Before The Rain....This historic meeting is now waxed and ready for their legions of collective fans to enjoy. A session fit for a king indeed!

Ray Manzarek & Michael McClure: The Third Mind
Ray Manzarek & Michael McClure: The Third Mind

William Burroughs said that when two minds collaborate, a third mind is created. This is the third mind between the psychedelic and beat sensibilities of Manzarek and McClure (who was a poetry mentor to Jim Morrison). This DVD features live performances interlaced with commentary on the nexus between spoken word and music. With appearances by Alan Ginsberg, Jim Carroll, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Diane di Prima, Ed Sanders, Lee Ranaldo,and Ann Waldman, "The Third Mind" DVD is a compelling primer on the impact of music on the Beat Generation.


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      CR2000 6 years ago

      Nice :)