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Ray Manzarek’s Influence on the LA Music Scene Revealed By Musicians and Fans That Knew Him

Ray Manzarek
Matthew Peyton, Getty Images

The tall, lanky stalwart that commanded your attention from behind a keyboard, despite the looming enigmatic presence of Mr Mojo Risin‘, had a significant impact on the LA Music Scene. That’s according to a recent post on the LA Weekly Blogs website.

Ray Manzarek, co-founder and ivory tickler for The Doors, lost his battle with cancer last week in Germany. For most, Ray was known for his ‘carnival-like’ runs on the classic Vox Continental keyboard, and relatively over-shadowed by lead singer Jim Morrison. However, Manzarek was instrumental in forming The Doors and their sound.

After Morrison died in July of 1971, Ray convinced the other members to carry on, which they did, recording two not-very-well-received albums Other Voices and Full Circle. However, Ray was also a heady influence on New Wave and post-punk bands in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Ray played with Iggy Pop, and backed on one track of Echo & The Bunnymen‘s self-titled album. He also went on to produce the debut album for the post-punk band X, entitled Los Angeles and three more albums for the LA icons after that. It was during this time in LA that he began to collaborate on several projects in just about every musical genre.

In the LA Weekly article Ray is remembered for his advice, influence, humour and style by fellow musicians like Guns-N-Roses’ Matt Sorum who said ‘His musical vibe was magical‘, and Alice Cooper who called his playing as poetic as Morrison.

He’s also recalled fondly by fans of his, most notably the Mayor of Sunset Strip, KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer who credited Ray with “the opening of the door to allow punk rock to be heard and exposed to mainstream media“.

You can also read the article on the same site that Henry Rollins wrote, reminiscing on Manzarek’s key influence on his life.

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