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It's a Shame About Ray

By Rick Koster

Publication: TheDay.com

Published May 21. 2013 10:00AM   Updated May 21. 2013 10:13AM

Given the iconic keyboard work of The Doors' Ray Manzarek, it was probably a bit of a drag that he spent 43 years talking exclusively about Jim Morrison.

Yes, Morrison and his Dionysian/Lizard-King/Dark Poet/I-Like-To-Booze-It-Up-A-LOT persona made him one of the greatest frontmen in rock history. It also made him (convolutedly) immortal when he died at 27 – just about the time the liquor was winning the war and his act was about to become truly boorish.

In any case, his premature passing guaranteed Manzarek was doomed to talk about Big Jimbo forever more – or at least until yesterday, when the keyboardist passed away at the age of 74.

But, hell, what do I know?

Maybe Manzarek loved talking about Morrison.

It certainly helped keep The Doors on the radar for generations of music fans.

Somehow, I doubt the two remaining original members of the band – guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore – will spend a lot of time answering media and fan questions about “What was Ray really like?”

Perhaps that’s okay.

Perhaps obsessed fans will at last forget about whether Jim’s alive or whether he really exposed himself in Miami or whether crusty hippies still sleep on his tomb in Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery  – and just let the Doors’ often brilliant and absolutely distinct spookhouse rock ‘n’ roll speak for itself.

You were a giant, Ray. No one ever sounded like you. Your “Something Wicked This Way Comes” carnival organ sounds haunted me the first time I ever heard them in 1967 – and they haunt me still.

No matter what Jim said, the music's never over. 



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