RIP: Ray Manzarek, 2/12/39 – 5/20/13
Story by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
No question about it, Jim Morrison was the myth-maker of the Doors, but keyboardist Ray Manzarek was the music maker.
Manzarek always wanted the Doors’ legacy to be about the music, about something more than just the Lizard King Morrison myth.
“I think most fans still want the Sex King, the Lizard Sex Man. I’ve gotten a lot of criticism from fans who don’t want to read about the psychedelic aspect of it all, the spiritual aspect,” Manzarek said of the Doors’ music when I interviewed him about his book, “Light My Fire: My Life With the Doors,” back in 1999. “No, they just want to know about the Sex Man, the Snake Man in Black Leather. They still want the Lizard King to come visit them at night.”
Morrison left us more than 40 years ago, and yet his myth still looms large. And now Manzarek is gone, too – having left us at age 74 on Monday night after a bout with cancer. And for Manzarek’s sake, let’s hope that in the long run, the Doors’ music outlives the myth.