[Exene Says] Remembering Ray Manzarek

Categories: Exene Says

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Exene Cervenka
[Editor's Note: Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. Her column, Exene Says..., is her space to basically just write what's on her mind, everything from crazy life stories to political theories and observations about what's going on in this fucked up world of ours. To contact her, send all messages to askexene@ocweekly.com.]

In 1967, when I was 11, my favorite song was the Doors' "Light My Fire." One day, it started playing on the car radio, and my mom turned it up so I could hear it better from the back seat. When the organ solo started, I was blown away. I'd never heard the long version. Then the guitar solo! By the time the song ended, my mind had been unlocked, and I was transformed.

The last time I saw the band's late keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, was at the Roxy last summer, when he played with X. I told him that story. I knew he had heard it a thousand times, but I just had to tell him again and say thank you. His expression implied he had never heard such a wondrous tale! He was gracious and happy to hear it.

I met Ray in 1980 after an X show at the Whisky a Go Go in LA. He came backstage, and we talked. He asked if we had recorded yet and said he'd be interested in producing a record for us. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't because we covered "Soul Kitchen."

Punk was right on the heels of the hippies, time-wise, though it seemed as though it were music from another galaxy at the time. But punk and the Doors had everything in common.


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