Carl Harp from sister station WNCX was at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yesterday to view a preview of the soon-to-open Rolling Stones exhibit. But while he was there, he spoke to Howard Kramer, the Hall Of Fame’s Curatorial Director about the sudden passing of Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

Six years ago, to celebrate the Doors’ 40th anniversary, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum presented “Break on Through: The Lasting Legacy of the Doors,” which Kramer worked on. When asked about his initial thoughts about Ray’s passing, Kramer took a deep breath and said, “I was deeply saddened. I worked with Ray on the Doors exhibit and I spent a lot of time with him and his wife Dorothy. I went to their home, and I feel like I got to know him and his brother Rick.” He continued, “I had no idea he was sick and it really caught me by surprise.”

Certainly considered more than a friend, Howard dug deeper into his relationship with Manzarek and the influence of the Doors.

“Ray was really talented and insightful guy. I think the Doors are often lumped together with a lot of other groups from ‘67, or became popular in ’67, like the (Grateful) Dead or the (Jefferson) Airplane, and that sort of thing. But they were very different. They were rooted in blues and rhythm and blues a lot more than those other bands, their contemporaries, particularly the San Francisco bands. They were truly an product of Los Angeles, not a product of San Francisco. And that’s one of the reasons I think they stuck out.”

“Their music had a different type of root than the people who are considered their contemporaries.”

The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, when, for the first time, the ceremony was held in Los Angeles – the Doors’ hometown. Twenty-years later, Kramer recounted the ceremony, even though he has only seen video.

“I was a pretty interesting thing. It was one of the last times that the three surviving guys played together. Having Eddie Vedder there, who in many people’s estimation, certainly filled the mantle that Morrison had in terms of being a charismatic front man.”

Visitors to the Rock Hall can still see Manzarek’s VOX keyboard and a drum head cover from Rick & The Ravens, the band Manzarek played in prior to the Doors. A photograph and biography will be added in the “In Memoriam” section on the museum’s 4th floor.

— Carl Harp / 98.5 WNCX


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