Organist Ray Manzarek’s Cause of Death — Rolling Stone

In fact, in 1965, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison were certain that they would never see each other again. Both were film students in different years at UCLA in Los Angeles who occasionally ran into each other on campus. A small talk here, a greeting there, no real friendship. But things turned out differently. Shortly after Manzarek graduated, they met by chance in Venice Beach. Morrison told Manzarek that he had written a few songs and, as the legend goes, he performed a rough version of “Moonlight Drive” on the spot. The song later appeared on the Doors’ second album Strange Days.

The Doors
The Doors

Ray Manzarek was so convinced that he recruited John Densmore on drums and Robby Krieger on guitar for the project with Jim Morrison. It was the birth of the Doors. Manzarek had met Krieger and Densmore at a transcendent meditation course. “Without Maharishi there would have been no Doors,” said John Densmore.

The founding of the Doors was a happy coincidence

At this point, Ray Manzarek had already had a remarkable academic career. In 1960, he earned his first degree in economics in his hometown of Chicago before beginning to attend law classes in Los Angeles. However, the alliance between him and Justitia did not last long. Manzarek was interested in culture, politics and, above all, working with the camera. The first attempt at studying film failed, but after he had deciphered codes and enemy messages for a US secret service, the second attempt was successful.

Ray Manzarek, circa 1960

Manzarek’s parents had always supported him, including paying for his piano lessons, which encouraged their son’s musical talent. It may seem different at first in retrospect, but Ray Manzarek was, despite everything, not the kind of person who had nothing but music on his mind and put everything on that card. Rather, his intellect, his general curiosity for cultural, political and social contexts and his passion for culture as a whole flowed into his work as a musician. Music was a color on his palette with which he wanted to express himself. There was the film here, the music there. If you will, the founding of the Doors was a happy accident. Nothing that was forced. When Ray Manzarek met Jim Morrison in Venice Beach, he was already 27. An age that Morrison, as we know, should not exceed.

Ray Manzarek and The Doors: Beginnings on the Sunset Strip

At the London Fog, a seedy club on the Sunset Strip, The Doors got a job as the house band. In keeping with the spirit of the times, their band name was inspired by Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception”, always looking for doors to new levels of consciousness. “Nobody ever came to that club,” Manzarek recalled. “A few sailors here and there, otherwise mostly drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us the time to really flesh out the music.”

The Doors

Soon after, the owner of the London Fog fired them, so they found a new home at Whiskey A Go Go. It was their luck, because the A&R’s from the record companies regularly found their way into the whiskey. They got their first contract with Columbia, but the label didn’t believe in them. Without releasing a single sound from the Doors, they were released from the agreement. Jac Holzman, legendary founder of Elektra Records and Nonesuch Records, proved Columbia wrong when he signed Manzarek, Morrison, Krieger and Densmore. The rest is history.

Ray Manzarek after The Doors

After Jim Morrison died in Paris, it became clear that while Ray Manzarek was indispensable to The Doors as organist and keyboardist, he was not indispensable as lead singer. Other Voices and Full Circle, the two albums on which he shared vocal duties with Robby Krieger after Morrison’s death, were nothing more than stewardship of the legacy the band had built with their charismatic frontman. She was never really able to connect with it.

Ray Manzarek on stage shortly before his death

Ray Manzarek recorded two solo albums, both with moderate success, and then went with the flow. A rock adaptation of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” with Philip Glass as co-producer, a guest appearance with Iggy Pop, as producer of the punk band X – life as an early retiree from rock. The Doors’ royalties made it possible. In 1998, he published his memoir Light My Fire: My Life With the Doors. His novel “The Poet in Exile,” about a Morrison-like rock star who fakes his own death, was received less favorably.

The later years of his life made it clear how much Ray Manzarek drew from the success of The Doors. In 1997 he released a double CD audio book, The Doors: Myth and Reality, and five years later toured with Krieger as The Doors of the 21st Century. John Densmore and Jim Morrison’s estate immediately filed a lawsuit against the use of the name The Doors. Manzarek himself was very careful about how the band’s memory was treated. He was passionately outraged about Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “The Doors”. “[Bei uns] “It was about idealism and the 1960s quest for freedom and brotherhood,” he said. “But the film is based on madness and chaos. Oliver turned Jim into an agent of destruction.”

Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger 2007

Ray Manzarek dies in Germany

In March 2013, doctors diagnosed a rare form of biliary cancer, prompting Ray Manzarek to seek treatment from specialists in Rosenheim, Bavaria. The temporary disagreements with John Densmore were finally resolved at this time; the situation was too serious. At first it seemed as if Manzarek was on the mend. His stay even included concerts for the doctors and hospital staff. Ultimately, however, the battle against cancer was lost. On May 20, 2013, Ray Manzarek died in hospital in Germany; he was 74 years old.

His two surviving fellow musicians from The Doors expressed their dismay. “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” shared Robby Krieger. “I’m just glad I got to play Doors songs with him over the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.” John Densmore said: “There was no keyboard player on the planet better suited to support Jim Morrison’s words. Ray, I felt completely in tune with you musically. It was as if we were always on the same page while holding the foundation on which Robby and Jim could float. I will miss my musical brother.”

The Whiskey A Go Go was reminiscent of Ray Manzarek

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