Remembering Ray Manzarek, Keyboardist For The Doors | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Fresh Air

Filed Under:

Remembering Ray Manzarek, Keyboardist For The Doors

Play associated audio

This interview was originally broadcast in 1998.

The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music's tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors' distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."

Manzarek, who died of bile-duct cancer on May 20, spoke with Fresh Air after the publication of his memoir Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors in 1998. He described encountering Morrison on the beach near Los Angeles shortly after they'd both graduated from UCLA. Morrison told him he had spent the months since graduating writing songs. Manzarek asked him to sing one of those songs and was blown away. "I said, 'Man, this is incredible. Let's get a rock 'n' roll band together,'" he told host Terry Gross.

It didn't take long for Morrison and Manzarek to add drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger to the band. The four soon found themselves at the epicenter of a cult of sexual adoration that gathered around Morrison. Manzarek recalled anticipating this development from the beginning.

"It was fabulous," he said. "I mean, we made our music, that's what we did. You know, the fact that Jim attracted the little girls was something that I knew he was going to do when I saw him at 135 pounds on the beach [and said], 'We're going to start a rock 'n' roll band and you're about the handsomest guy I've seen.' I didn't say that to him. 'The girls are going to love this guy,' and the girls did love him."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

'Historic Landmark' Status Complicates Corcoran Renovations

Plans by George Washington University to renovate the Corcoran Gallery of Art may be thrown for a loop after D.C.'s historic preservation board designated much of the interior of the building as a historic landmark.

NPR

In This Museum, Visitors Can Eat At The Exhibits

The Southern Museum of Food and Beverage in New Orleans chronicles the eats and drinks of the Southern states. And it may be one of the only museums where visitors can imbibe while viewing exhibits.
NPR

Staten Island Candidates Avoid Talk Of Eric Garner Case

In the New York Congressional district where an an unarmed black man died at the hands of police last year, neither candidate for a special congressional election is using the death to score points.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.