Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek
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Ray Manzarek

ray manzarek
I suppose if Jack Kerouac had never written On the Road, The Doors would never have existed. It opened the floodgates and we read everything we could get our hands on -- Howl, Allen Ginsberg; Gasoline, Gregory Corso; A Coney Island of the Mind, Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Peyote Poem, Michael McClure...All mind-benders, soul-twisters, heart-openers, foot-tappers, bone-crushers, eye-wideners... and general fine things. I suggest you read them all.

Ray Manzarek, Light My Fire, 1997.

Books & CDs:

The Poet in Exile: A Journey Into the Mystic, Ray Manzarek's new novel, is published by Thunder's Mouth Press.

Light My Fire is Ray Manzarek's autobiography, focusing on his life with The Doors and beyond.

The Doors, Myth & Reality: The Spoken Word History (CD, out of print but occasionally available) The audio equivalent of Light My Fire, the CD includes Ray's stories of The Doors and beyond.

Earlier Work:

The Doors were precursors of what McClure and Manzarek do with music and poetry:

Here was a band whose unexpressed goal was nothing short of musical alchemy -- they intended to wed rock music unlike any ever heard before with poetry and that hybrid with theater and drama... no gimmicks, nothing up their sleeves, no elaborate staging or special effects -- only naked, dangerous reality, piercing the veil of maya with the music's ability to awaken man's own dormant and eternal powers.
[Danny Sugarman, from intro to No One Here Gets Out Alive]

The Doors have recently reunited - please sign up for our newsletter or check the news & events page for details on upcoming shows.

Solo Albums and Albums with Other Bands:

Golden Scarab a spiritual journey in music. 1973, recently rereleased on CD. (Liner notes and two RealAudio tracks)

Carmina Burana -- Manzarek's contemporary arrangement of an opera based on the songs of mediaeval renegade monks and wandering minstrels. 1983, out of print. (Liner notes and two RealAudio tracks)

Golden Days and Diamond Nights with Nite City -- his first post-Doors band. 1978. (Liner notes, one audio track.)

xtheband.com ~ the official X website. Ray was producer of the seminal punk rock band, X.

Films & Videos:

Though he'd been studying music from the age of 8, Ray Manzarek originally intended to become a filmmaker. His student films at UCLA have been preserved (unlike those of classmate Jim Morrison) and he also produced three videos of the Doors -- Dance on Fire, The Soft Parade, and Live at the Hollywood Bowl -- as well as the documentary on his work with Michael McClure, The Third Mind.

Love Her Madly, Manzarek's digital feature film, premiered February 15, 2000 at the Santa Monica Film Festival. A "story of love, obsession and murder set on a college campus," it includes cameo appearances by Manzarek and McClure. A brief outline is posted at The Doors Archive.

Biography & Context

An interview in Keyboard Magazine, Feb. 1991 gives Ray's own view of his musical influences, his history with McClure and other poets, and how "that cheesy California organ sound" of the portable Vox Continental redefined the instrument for rock keyboardists.

The Psychedelic Sixties: Literary Tradition and Social Change. Though it unaccountably fails to mention The Doors, an excellent overview of their context is offered by the Library at University of Virginia. And the site lives up to its subtitle in showing the clear connections between the Beats and visionary rock lyricists like Jim Morrison.

American Cultural History: the Sixties gives a more general but very comprehensive picture of the decade -- background for just how extraordinary Manzarek's music was when the Doors began.

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