My name is Mike. I live in Lancsater County. I used to live in Hawaii. i like Burritos, Guitars and Stuff.
When I was a kid, my Dad who most of the time shunned rock music the way I shunned vegetables, had three albums in his collection that I found interesting. He had Crosby Stills Nash and Young's Deja Vu, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality and The Doors' debut album.
I'd sit and look at the covers, but my Mom would say "Michael, you won't like these albums, this is acid rock" so I'd wander off and listen to my Monkees albums.
Years would pass, and we found ourselves living in Ewa Beach Hawaii. There was a young couple who lived across the street, LuAnn and a guy named Michael. They were about 10 years older than me, so they were grown ups..I was still a dumb kid. One day they asked me if I'd like to buy their record collection and their stereo since they were splitting up and moving. And for about 30 bucks, I inhereted Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Johnny Winter and a ton of music that a 13 year old kid in the late 70's would love.. One of those albums was "Waiting for the sun" by The Doors.
Again, I found myself looking at this cover.. Robbie Kreiger looked like a mile of bad road, John Densemore looked like a pissed off Michael Nesmith, Jim Morrison looked like he took the pic yesterday, (oddly he still does).. But then there was this other guy, with a side combed haircut, and a suit. What kind of rock star wears a suit? Especially when you're hanging with Jim Morrison. That guy would be Ray Manzarek. I had to listen to this music finally. I'll admit to being underwhelmed by the album. I think of all of the Doors albums with the original line up, this was their worst. So, for a long time, I was a casual fan. It was "OK", but it wasn't Cheap Trick.
As time went on, I heard more of their stuff, and it was unmistakably 1960's. Ray played this Vox continental organ which *everyoe* was using at that time. A high nasal sounding keyboard. I was still discovering all of the magic that rock possesed. Revisiting the 1960's was something I was not interested in doing for a long time.
Leave it to the marketing move of the "Greatest hits" album, One day I happened upon a cassette of the "Best Of The Doors" the one with Jim Morrison with his arms outstreched. And so much of the music on this tape crept into my head. I loved it. I'll admit to enjoying them in altered states of conciousness, As I matured, the more the Doors made sense to me. I have everything they did. My favorite album is LA Woman. I was living with a pretty girl named Pam in York, who really liked The Doors too. So. as you might imagine, we really enjoyed that album.
Rays playing went from being "annoying", (I actually hated his playing for the longest time) to being the heart of the band. Even the albums that The Doors recorded after Jim Morrisons' death were good albums, with Ray taking on lead vocal duties. You cannot make a list of improtant keyboadists without mentioning Ray. I had heard nothing but the nicest things about him. He had an appearance at The Wire in New Cumberland in PA. I regret missing that. Everyone there told me what a great guy he was. He even signed the wall. I was honored to just be in the same room as he was.
Today, as the news broke of Ray's passing, a report that quickly went viral said that it was a hoax. For a moment, I thought it was just a cruel joke. It turned out the cruel joke was to tall us that his actual passing was a joke.
I'm glad that I came around to the music of The Doors. Without Ray, they would not have sounded the way they did.
Goodbye Ray Manzarek, he always made music that sounded like the middle of the night.