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Founding member of The Doors
Soundtrack, Director, Composer
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Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. (February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013) known as Ray Manzarek was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He was a co-founding member of Nite City from 1977 to 1978, and of Manzarek–Krieger from 2001 to his death.
Manzarek was of Polish descent, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, as were his parents, Helena and Raymond Manzarek. Growing up, he took private piano lessons from Bruno Michelotti and others. He originally wanted to play basketball, but he only wanted to play power forward or center. When he was sixteen his coach insisted either he play guard or not at all and he quit the team. Manzarek said later if it was not for that ultimatum, he might never have been with the Doors. He went to Everett Elementary School on South Bell Street and attended St. Rita High School in Chicago. He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in economics and played in many shows at the school.
From 1962 to 1965, he studied in the Department of Cinematography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met film student Jim Morrison. At UCLA, he also met Dorothy Fujikawa, whom he married. At the time Manzarek was in a band called Rick and the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim. Forty days after finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang rough versions of "Moonlight Drive", "My Eyes Have Seen You" and "Summer's Almost Gone". Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at that moment.
Manzarek met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger at a Transcendental Meditation lecture. Densmore says, "There wouldn't be any Doors without Maharishi."
Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek and Morrison in a publicity photo from 1966
In January 1966, the Doors became the house band at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip. According to Manzarek, "Nobody ever came in the place...an occasional sailor or two on leave, a few drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together." The same day the Doors were fired from the London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whisky a Go Go. Their first performance at the Whisky was with the group Them.
The Doors' first recording contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they learned they were on Columbia's drop list. At that point, they asked to be released from their contract. After a few months of live gigs, Jac Holzman "rediscovered" the Doors and signed them to Elektra Records.
The Doors lacked a bassist, so Manzarek usually played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes PianoBass. His signature sound is that of the Vox Continental combo organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo combo organ (which looks like a Farfisa) because the Continental's plastic keys frequently broke, according to Manzarek.
Manzarek occasionally sang for the Doors, including the live recording "Close To You" and on the B-side of "Love Her Madly," "You Need Meat (Don't Go No Further)." He also sang on the last two Doors albums, recorded after Morrison's death, Other Voices and Full Circle. Additionally, he provided one of several guitar parts on the song "Been Down So Long."
Later career and influence
Manzarek in March 2006, performing in the Netherlands
Manzarek played in several groups after the Doors, including Nite City. He recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Philip Glass, played with Iggy Pop, backed one track on the eponymous 1987 album Echo & the Bunnymen, backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure's poetry readings and did improvisational composition with poet Michael C. Ford. He also worked extensively with "Hearts of Fire" screenwriter and former SRC front man Scott Richardson on a series of spoken word and blues recordings entitled "Tornado Souvenirs".
Manzarek produced Los Angeles, the 1980 inaugural album of the punk band X, also contributing on keyboards.
His memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, was published in 1998. The Poet in Exile (2001) is a novel exploring the urban legend that Jim Morrison may have faked his death. Manzarek's second novel, Snake Moon, released in April 2006, is a Civil War ghost story.
In 2000, a collaboration poetry album entitled Freshly Dug was released with British singer, poet, actor and pioneer Punk rocker Darryl Read. Read had previously worked with Manzarek on the Beat Existentialist
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St. Rita High School, Chicago
Economics, DePaul University, Cinematography, UCLA (1962-1965)
Full Name at Birth
Raymond Daniel Manzarek Jr.
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Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. (February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013) better known as Ray Manzarek, was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He was a co-founding member of Nite City from 1977 to 1978, and of Manzarek–Krieger from 2001 until his death in 2013.
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Rick Manzarek (musician), Jim Manzarek (musician)
Oysters, Snails, Prime Ribs
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Musician, singer, producer, film director, and author
www.raymanzarek.com/, www.facebook.com/pages/Ray-Manzarek/16088054154/, www.rayandrobby.com/, www.manzarek-rogersband.com/, www.mcclure-manzarek.com/, www.thedoors.com/, www.nndb.com/people/068/000023996/, www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=110887909
Music Genre (Text)
Psychedelic rock, acid rock, blues rock, jazz rock, hard rock, blues, jazz fusion, funk, rock and roll
Main: Keyboards, keyboard bass, vocals, Marxophone Occasional: guitar, percussion
The Doors, Manzarek–Krieger, Rick & the Ravens, Nite City, The Manzarek–Rogers Band
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Deceased||Ray Manzarek passed away on 20th May 2013 aged 74.|||