RAY MANZAREK Biography - Musicians


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Name: Ray Manzarek                                                                       
Birth name: Raymond Feldmann Manczarek                                                   
Born: 12 February 1939 Chicago, Illinois, U.S.                                           
Raymond Daniel Manzarek or Manczarek (b. February 12, 1939, Chicago, Illinois)           
is an American musician, singer, producer, movie director, writer, co-founder             
and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973, and the Doors of the 21st                 
century (renamed Riders on the Storm) since 2001.                                         
Ray Manzarek is of Polish descent and is a Catholic. Manzarek attended and               
graduated from St. Rita High School in Chicago and majored in economics at               
DePaul University. In 1962-65, he studied in the Department of Cinematography at         
UCLA, where he met another film student named Jim Morrison. Forty days after             
finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, they met by           
chance. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an               
interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang a rough version of "Moonlight           
In January 1966, The Doors became the house band at The London Fog. 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.               
The Doors' first contract was with Columbia Records,in 1965. 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 piano Bass. His signature sound is that of the Vox Continental             
organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He             
later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo (which looks like a Farfisa) because the             
Italian Continental keys "sticked" and remained "down" without pushing it.               
Manzarek occasionally sang for The Doors, including the live recordings of "Close         
To You," "Who Do You Love," and "Tightrope Ride." He also sang on the last two           
Doors albums, recorded after Morrison's death, Other Voices and Full Circle.             
On August 4, 2006, Manzarek hosted a program on BBC Radio 2 about the 40th               
anniversary of the recording of "Light My Fire" and The Doors' musical and "spiritual"   
Manzarek recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Philip             
Glass, produced Echo and the Bunnymen and Los Angeles band X, played with Iggy           
Pop and backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure's poetry readings. Ray also             
worked extensively with Hearts of Fire screenwriter and former SCR front man             
Scott Richardson[1] on a series of spoken word and blues recordings entitled             
Tornado Souvenirs.                                                                       
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.                                                         
After living many years in Beverly Hills, Manzarek resides in Napa County,               
California in a house he remodeled extensively.                                           
Manzarek frequently guest stars on the popular drama ER as the goofy but lovable         
Doctor Kryzewski