Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Too Late Apology to Ray Manzarek

In 1984 at 16 years old I fell into The Doors. They seemed like such an ancient band, but truth is they had only been away from the scene for around 10 years, and Ray Manzerek who seemed like an old man to me at the time was only 45. When I read of his death today I thought about what a jerky 16 year old I was and I felt the need to apologize to Manzarek for me and for all the others like me.

In 1984 it was easy to find Manzerek talking about The Doors. He was trying to keep their legacy alive and to make it a richer, fuller legacy than just Jim Morrison's band. Funny thing is at 16 I viewed Manzarek as a guy who was trying to build credit for himself when really all the glory did belong to Morrison. Of course now that I'm almost 45 and a bit smarter I can understand what Manzarek and the other band members contributed to The Doors. I can also better appreciate how frustrating Manzarek must have felt at 34 when Morrison died and The Doors died too. Forever caught in the undertoe of the turmoil Morrison had created Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger were left to only talk about what had been.

Even that probably isn't fair as these guys continued to exist in the world of muic, Krieger just put out an album in 2010, but they would never again find themselves at the top of the music scene as they had been with The Doors.

It must be incredibly frustrating to be a part of something like The Doors and come to realize you are at the mercy of someone who can't seem to show any self control, and you know in your heart it will not last and it will end quickly and tragically.  Of course Manzerek did make it to the top and got to tell his side of the story for many years after the band was no more and for that I'm happy for Ray Manzerek.  All too often people, like I did, look at The Doors and only see Jim Morrison, but what Manzerek, Densmore, and Krieger created musically to bring Morrison's lyrics too life are perhaps one of the most underrated pieces of rock history.  It's the whole package that made The Doors such an influential band and that grabbed 16 year old kids like me in 1984 to their sound.  I understand that now and I'm sorry for not getting it sooner.

Rest in peace Ray Manzerek. 


  1. This is excellent. The same issues arise if you think about the other two guys in Nirvana, or the other two women in the Dixie Chicks.

    1. I would say the difference with Nirvana is that they weren't around as long, Chris disappeared off the face of the Earth, and Dave Grohl went on to become popular on his own.