One of Ray's favorite films was the 1958 Orson Welles classic, "Touch of Evil". He loved the long opening tracking shot with Henry Mancini's amazing music and Welles' performance as police captain Hank Quinlan. Here is a photo of the incredible mural in Venice depicting that opening scene. This was taken yesterday
In 2006, Ray Manzarek published his civil war novel "Snake Moon", based on the Japanese film "Ugetsu" by Kenji Mizoguchi. In Ray's own words, "Snake Moon is my next journey into novel writing. It is a Civil War ghost story. A tale of the supernatural, forbidden love, and man's greed and folly set in the South of 1863. The idea came from my interest in things Americana, the world of phantoms, and the possibility of transubstantiation. Could the world of solidity somehow be joined by the world of the shades? And what is it that drives men to risk everything for the feeding of their egos?".
When Ray was a grad student at UCLA, one of his student films was called "Induction". The film starred his girlfriend (and future wife) Dorothy Fujikawa. It also included cameos from future Doors photographer Paul Ferrara and fellow film student Jim Morrison! Huge thanks to Marc Morningstar for sharing this program for the screening of the film.
The Good news: X, featuring Ray Manzarek, live at the Roxy on 8/17 as part of the Sunset Strip Music Festival (celebrating The Doors). The bad news: Looks like tickets are already sold out. — with Sebastian Lopez Gutierrez
Ray Manzarek, who founded The Doors with Jim Morrison in Venice in 1965 after their time at UCLA, died today at the age of 74, the band's official Facebook page announced.
The keyboard player, who gave the quintessential L.A. rock band part of its signature sound, died at RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany "after a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer," the band's page states:
Even as Doors frontman Jim Morrison struggled with drugs and ultimately succumbed to an early death in Paris in 1971, Manzarak stood as the band's straight man and subsequent leader.
The Facebook page says The Doors ultimately sold 100 million records and downloads worldwide.
Guitarist Robby Krieger:
I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will
Manzarek: [Morrison] took the title of a Richard Farina novel. It's another retrospectively prophetic song. He was tired and worn out. He needed to be in a quieter, calmer place.
Growing up, we both heard lots of blues on the radio. When I turned 12 and found the Chicago black radio station, I was turned on to Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed. It was unbelievable.
Holzman: Jim always thought he was the world's best blues singer. He'd see somebody up on the stage and say, "You can't sing the blues worth shit," and nearly get into a fight with them. He was generally drunk by then. Jim had a preponderance of wonderful qualities, a great gentleness. But he was Mr. Hyde when he was liquored up. It wrecked his insides. He was funny, lighthearted, but accepting of his fate. The idea of the tragic poet appealed to his dark side.
"Cars Hiss by My Window"
Manzarek: It's a dark Venice Beach song. Four a.m. You can't sleep. Your girl's passed out, and who knows what arguments you've been through. She's cold and she'll kill. You. Take it out of Venice and stick in Hollywood and it's The Day of the Locust.
Manzarek: You arrive looking for a little girl in a Hollywood bungalow. Then it goes to half-time. Motels, money, murder, madness. Film noir L.A. You go through the back alleys of Hollywood, looking for drugs, witnessing a crime. Someone pulls out a roscoe and is blasting right between the eyes. They fall hard and fast, blood splashing everywhere. Then they shoulder the gun and get the fuck out of there. That's "L.A. Woman."
Krieger: We were never stupid enough to ask Jim what his lyrics meant. He never would have given a straight answer. The L.A. woman was the city itself. When he's talking about driving on the freeway, I always think about the intersection of the 405 and the 10. It was actually designed by a woman and it kind of opens up like a pair of legs.
Densmore: After we recorded the song, he wrote "Mr. Mojo Rising" on a board and said, "Look at this." He moves the letters around and it was an anagram for his name. I knew that mojo was a sexual term from the blues, and that gave me the idea to go slow and dark with the tempo. It also gave me the idea to slowly speed it up like an orgasm. The difficulty is that it's a seven-minute song, and at the end, I was trying to approximate the same tempo I did seven minutes earlier. I overshot it. It's faster at the end. But you know, sometimes you get excited when you have sex.
"L'America" source http://www.laweekly.com/2012-01-19/music/la-woman-doors-track-list/
Manzarek: Antonioni was interested in using it in Zabriskie Point. So we played it for him, and it was so loud, it pinned him up against the wall. When it was over, he thanked us and fled. So he turned to Pink Floyd, as European filmmakers tend to do when they want rock & roll.
Densmore: One of his saddest songs. He needs a brand-new friend who won't bother him. He was re-examining but not with regret. Toward the end, Jim said, "Probably next time, I'd be a little solitary, Zen gardener working in his garden." I don't interpret that as a regret, but he had a hunch. I was shocked when he died. I thought he'd be an old Irish drunk living to 80
Krieger: The Hyacinth House was my old house in Benedict Canyon. I had a really cute baby bobcat that I kept out in the yard and on the patio. That's the lion Jim talks about. Eventually I had to give her away when she got too big. It was probably highly illegal.
"Crawling King Snake"
Botnick: We only did one take. In the middle of the sessions, [Morrison] had to have a blues day, so he just started riffing. And I thought to hit the record button. He was just riffing, train of thought, nothing planned. He was very good at that.
"The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)"
Krieger: I heard a song that was basically only on the radio for one day, but it gave me the feel for "Texas Radio." I came up with the whole song musically, and [Morrison] had this poem that he had previously written about Texas radio and the Big Beat. I don't think he ever lived in Texas, but I bet he heard Wolfman Jack, broadcasting on XERB in Tijuana.
"Riders on the Storm"
Krieger: This was the first time that we'd actually written some of the songs together in the studio. Before, I'd usually have some music and bring it in, and Jim would set some words to it. This time, we actually spent time jamming and making songs out of what came out of it. One day we were riffing on the old Western song "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," and it morphed into "Riders on the Storm."
Holzman: I knew "Riders on the Storm" was going to be a rock radio staple forever. DJs have to go to the bathroom, or maybe have something else going on in the studio late at night. So long tracks are loved. And every rainy night, when there was a storm out, I knew they were going to play "Riders on the Storm." —Jeff Weiss