Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ray Manzarek: Breaking On Through To The Other Side

I've always thought The Doors were full of shit, with Jim Morrison leading the pack of worst rock and roll legends and Ray Manzarek's rinky-dink organ sounding only slightly less annoying than a car alarm. With the exception of some of the debut and half of "Strange Days," The Doors output has not only left me cold all these years, it occasionally made me laugh.

I didn't know Ray Manzarek and it's always sad to see someone pass from such a horrible illness. I wasn't even planning to post on the loss of Ray, but after seeing the abundance of R.I.P. posts on Facebook, I was inspired. The Doors had a lot of fans, of course. I was just taken aback by how many of my friends seemed to love them. More than a dozen citing "Riders On The Storm" as the "best" Doors song, a song that sits up top of my all-time worst songs list. Some friends of friends who I don't know, actually got verbally violent towards the few who, like me, "had the nerve" to say they didn't like The Doors.

"Why do I have to like The Doors?" asked one person, who was indirectly referred to as a "dumb fuck."

"Fine. Listen to the Beach Boys, then," was the reply.

Good times.

Thanks Ray, for letting me vent. Hope you're resting peacefully. If you see Jim, tell him he's a putz.

That said, I did enjoy this.


Scott Kennedy said...

The Doors never bugged me too much. I was surprised they garnered so much attention, as their music wasn't particularly extraordinary. More like a garage band kind of feel.
And Morrison had to be the most pretentious front man in the history of rock.

Anonymous said...

Rock would be a lot less interesting without the occasional evil-sounding goofballs.

he gets a pass from me as the producer of X's first four albums, tho i was always sure that was a good thing.

buzzbabyjesus said...

So sad about Ray.

I hate The Doors so much they make me mad.

Here is the only moment in their discography I like:

"I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer
The future is uncertain and the end is always near"

I remember saying that to myself in my punk rock days as I was getting my morning beer.

Here is my favorite Doors song. "Craigslist", by Weird Al:


sclinchy said...

My feelings about the Doors are pretty much the same as Scott's. I don't really understand people who get all worked up about whether someone loves or hates the same artists that I love or hate. This made me try to think if there is really an artist about whom I'd say "If you don't like so and so, you really don't understand music", but I don't think there i one.

Chris Collins said...

I fully agree with you. And all these years after Morrison died, the other members were STILL kissing his ass. When asked if Jim really took out his penis that night in Florida, Manzarek said "If Jim took it out he would have tripped over it"

Good lord.

soundsource said...

and I enjoyed it vicariously

Gene Oberto said...

While Jagger/Richards were known as the Glimmer Twins, no band stirred up the Ju-Ju like the Doors. It's hard for people who only judge the band by its recorded output. The Doors were banned, were arrested in mid-show and, like a NASCAR race, you never knew what wreckage might happen. They were talented, charismatic and sexual dynamite, much of it done through the mood set by the keyboard player. Morrison didn't invent his persona, we, the fans crowned him the Lizard King, demanding more from the artist until he had nothing left.

As to Riders of the Storm: http://tinyurl.com/phql5w2

Anonymous said...

I love a bunch of Doors songs, and I think there's a bunch of truly shitty ones, too. I think Jim Morrison is officially noted as the inspiration for Jim Osterberg transforming into Iggy, whom I dare you to watch without seeing the influence. Without The Doors, no Stooges, Apocalypse Now would have been less than it was, bands like Pearl Jam and others would have surely sounded different, and I'd vote that whatever you think about Morrison ( and I'd agree with half of it, whichever side you take ) he certainly set the template for the Dionysian, dangerous frontman, taking Jagger's flirtations with those ideas to new heights or depths.
Mainly, there were some great songs, like LA Woman, Break On Through, Texas Radio And The Big Beat, Five To One, Peace Frog, People Are Strange, Moonlight Drive, and yes, Light My Fire.
I hated much of Ray's organ sound, too, Sal, but here and there, it actually was the right sound for the song. Riders On The Storm, The End, etc, it did work for that mood. IMHO

Noam Sane said...

I remember reading a book many years back, something along the line of "The 100 Greatest Rock Singles," I want to say Greil Marcus but I can't remember and Google won't help, but I got to the end and there wasn't a Doors song in the list and I was surprised because those songs just leap out of the radio. Production-wise, some of the best stuff from that era.

I've never bought a Doors album but they are certainly part of the rich pageant that is rock & roll and I'm glad they were around.

If they made you laugh, bully for them. Laughter is a good thing, and rock music is often ridiculous. As for Morrison's pretention, there can be no art without pretention. Some folks just take it a bit further than others.

Sal Nunziato said...

Your Doors experience is much different than any of mine. Nice job.

Not sure I agree with your Apocalypse Now theory, and the songs you call great---LA Woman,Texas Radio And The Big Beat, Five To One, Peace Frog and Moonlight Drive---do no more for me than Riders On The Storm.

They had a "sound," I'll say that.

Anonymous said...

You know how you try one of those "craft" beers and the first mouthful or two tastes like the best thing ever but by the end of the glass you're gagging, unable to finish? That's the Doors for me. Could never get through a whole album ... but like Noam Sane said, they sure do leap out of the radio at ya.

Robin said...

I liked the Doors. I still do. Jim was very charismatic, though I understand all the charges leveled at him and the band completely, Jim always so out of tune, so out of time, so pretentious, so "important".

To each his own. And I do really love "Break on Through" and "Soul Kitchen".

R.I.P. Ray

ASH On The Beat said...

The Doors are one of those bands that Journos would have you believe you have to like.

Make your own mind up. I did and I'm with Sal, I gave every album a try and for me there's not enough to fill a cd single yet alone a full album.

Hype over substance.

Sad to hear the passing of Trevor Bolder. He carved out a career with Uriah hHep from 1976 bar a diversion with Wishbone Ash for a while, however he will always be a Spider.

Noam Sane said...

Thinking back, it couldn't have been Greil Marcus because it was written in English.

But I'm really checking in again because of the headline, a classic. Nice work, Sal.

Eric said...

ray did some serious shyt with X..... the doors were amazaing, never could their sound be replicated....crystal ship... r u nutz sal..weak.....

Anonymous said...

For me, the Doors are a great singles band from an album era. Plus they deserve props for making sexy music in an era of great but not particularly sexy music.

Bruce H

Bill said...

I got caught up in the first Doors revival, in the late 70s. Bought all the albums, played them a lot, wished I could have seen Jim live. And then I just got tired of them. I ended up selling all the albums--and I NEVER sell albums. I just got oversaturated.

And I really never got back on the bandwagon. In these late days of my life, I'll leave songs play on the radio that I would never have listened to back in the day (I'm looking at you, Don't Stop Believing), but I can't really listen to a Doors song at all.

Still, RIP Ray. You were true to your sound.

Marsupial said...

Never had a thing for the Doors. Never got them, I guess. (I remember my wife's younger sister telling me about the Doors movie when it came out, and when I mentioned they were a "1960's & 70's band" she said "I think its a different Doors!")

X made a long Facebook post today about Ray being their mentor. Ok, then I will give him that.

I will write something similar to what Sal wrote when Steve Perry passes.

Sal Nunziato said...


The Doors are only amazing if you like them.

Anonymous said...

Sal, " the doors are only amazing if you like them" is technically also true about the Beatles, Dylan, Stones, Zeppelin, anything...
Just saying.

Sal Nunziato said...


Yes, that is true.

Shawn said...

The Doors seem to engender the same sort of Love/Hate that The Grateful Dead do, you love 'em or you absolutely can't stand the thought of having to listen to them. Personally I like some of their songs, usually live cuts over the studio versions.

Ray provided a unique sound , to say the least, and Morrison...much has been said and written that paints a portrait of a human being who was intense, intelligent, sexy,creative, drunkard, and usually, an insufferable a$$hole.

R.I.P. Ray.

Anonymous said...

Long, long ago,I attended a record convention where Manzarek was speaking. (I didn't particularly like the Doors, but I was reporting a story.) He really enjoyed fanning the Morrison-is-alive flames. Near the end, as I recall, he said something like, "So people always ask me...is Jim really dead?...[long pause]....All I can say, man, is: I NEVER SAW THE BODY." [wild cheering]. Shameless--but, of course, RIP.