Raymond Manzarek Jr.

Raymond Manzarek Jr.

American rock musician, producer, songwriter, one of the founders of the group “The Doors”
Date of Birth: 12.02.1939
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Ray Manzarek Jr.
  2. Early Life and Musical Interests
  3. The Doors' Early Days
  4. Later Years and Tribute Performances

Biography of Ray Manzarek Jr.

Ray Manzarek Jr. was an American rock musician, producer, and songwriter, best known as one of the founding members and keyboardist of the band "The Doors" from 1965 to 1973, and a member of "Riders on the Storm" from 2001. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.

Raymond Manzarek Jr.

Early Life and Musical Interests

Manzarek grew up taking piano lessons and initially had a passion for basketball, particularly playing as a forward or center. However, his coach informed him that he would be better suited as a guard, leading Manzarek to abandon his sporting aspirations. According to Manzarek, if it hadn't been for this ultimatum from his coach, he might never have joined "The Doors."

Raymond Manzarek Jr.

In 1962, Manzarek enrolled in the film department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It was there that he first met Jim Morrison. They happened to cross paths approximately forty days after Morrison's graduation, and during their conversation, Morrison mentioned that he had written a few songs. Intrigued, Manzarek expressed his desire to hear them, and Morrison proceeded to perform a rough version of what would become "Moonlight Drive." This encounter marked the beginning of one of the most iconic bands of the century.

The Doors' Early Days

In January 1966, "The Doors" performed at a nightclub on the Sunset Strip. According to Manzarek, there were hardly any attendees in the club, only a few sailors and some locals. While this lack of audience didn't provide the band with practical experience, it did allow them to refine their sound. They were eventually fired from this club but managed to find a new gig on the same day at the "Whisky a Go Go" club, where they gained more recognition.

The band initially signed a contract with Columbia Records, but due to the musicians' inactivity, the contract was soon terminated. The group lacked a bassist, and Manzarek often covered the bass parts on his piano. He occasionally took on vocal duties as well, although his voice was better suited for blues than rock. Some live recordings, including "Close to You," feature his vocals.

Later Years and Tribute Performances

On August 4, 2007, Manzarek hosted a program on "BBC Radio 2," which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the recording of the legendary song "Light My Fire." In April 2009, Manzarek, along with Robbie Krieger, participated in the monthly internet concert "Live From Daryl's House," where they performed several songs by "The Doors" with Daryl Hall himself.