Books by Ray Manzarek
"With the publication of this stunning book, Ray Manzarek -- keyboardist for the Doors -- fulfills a vow of friendship and adds an astonishing, unexpected chapter to the legend of the Doors. Is the lead singer of America's most notorious rock and roll band really buried in Paris? Years after the Poet's apparent death, his longtime musical collaborator and friend Ray receives the first of several mysterious postcards bearing cryptic verse, signed only J. Trusting his instinct that this is not a hoax, Ray traces the cards to their apparent source--a remote island in the Indian Ocean. There, to his amazement, he is re-united with the man once known as the snake man, and hears the remarkable story of his faked death--and the re-birth it made possible. Dramatically abandoning his self-destructive life as a rock God, J had managed to disappear and undertake a private journey to the East. After years of rigorous study and meditation in India, he returned to his island hideaway and settled down. A happily married man, the father of two children, he had discovered the secret to life and was finally free of the demons that had driven him headlong through the American night. And yet there was a pile of notebooks and manuscripts--and an enticing question: Would destiny smile upon the re-launch of one of the most influential rock and roll bands in history?"
The Poet in Exile: A Journey Into the Mystic
Thunder's Mouth Press, 2001.
The publisher says,
Read an article about the book and a short interview with Ray here.
"Manzarek, musical leader of and keyboard player for the Doors, takes us back to the strange days of 1960s L.A. in a striking personal memoir and ode to Jim Morrison. After singer-lyricist Morrison's untimely demise, the band drifted apart, but its music and Morrison's leering public persona get dredged up periodically by new generations of fans. Manzarek and fellow UCLA film graduate, budding poet, and aspiring lizard king Morrison were the band's nucleus, to which Manzarek added guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, whom Manzarek found in a transcendental meditation group. As the Doors, the four captured the orgiastic mood of the Age of Aquarius, L.A. style, by mixing mystical lyrics and extended musical jamming with the signature sound of Manzarek's carnival-like electric keyboard stylings. They enjoyed a commercial success rooted in the singles charts, which provoked dismissive criticism from the album-oriented rock-critic cognoscenti of the time. Manzarek posits that if Morrison had not fallen in with the wrong crowd (a problem then as now), he would have enjoyed an enduring career either as poet or rocker (like, perhaps, Henry Rollins?). Literate, perceptive, and thoughtful, this is the best book yet about the Doors and their legendary singer, not to mention Manzarek, and may be the best rock bio of the year, on a par with Dave Davies' Kink last year."
Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors
Listen to Ray discuss "Light My Fire" & The Doors on NPR's Freshair, 07.06.98.Mike Tribby wrote in Booklist:
(Real Audio) Interview begins 6:00 minutes into broadcast, just fast-forward your RealPlayer to that point to listen.
Here's another review, written by Peter Kurth for Salon.com.