February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013
When I was 11 years old I was sent to boarding school. There was an older kid who lived down the hall from my dorm room and I would go and visit and listen to his cassettes. It was 1984 and everyone was listening to The Smith's or REM; but in the red light of his room I heard the first notes of Ray Manzarek's wicked "Soul Kitchen" organ groove; I was changed forever. Of course, Morrison and his seductive words quickly captured my attention and the band became one of the few things that kept me company through those lonely years. In the end, Manzarek always seemed a little square compared to Mr. Mojo Risin'; but what would Morrison's words have sounded like without Ray laying down the bass line on his Fender Bass keyboard with his left hand, and framing the poems with the Vox Continental with his right? without the spooky Rhodes on "Riders on the Storm"? without the rolling notes of "Yes, The River Knows" or the dreamy pad of "Blue Sunday"? Without the spooky harpsichord invocation at the top of "LA Woman"? Regardless of how square Manzarek seemed then and even now, he was the older statesmen of The Doors, the one who heard, before anyone else, the first waves of "Moonlight Drive" come out of Jim's lips and recognized the genius that stood before him on Venice Beach. On all the pilgrimages to sights-Morrison the sound of that organ accompanied me. Jim might have dreamed of having a band that rocked as hard as the MC5, but the Doors had already been gathered in the hands of the Angelic hierarchies and blown into their incarnations, into the incarnation of The Doors, one voice all.