Monday, May 20, 2013

Ray Manzarek "breaks on through"

It's often been said that without Jim Morrison, The Doors could not have existed, and it's a simple truth.  Morrison's style was like a fingerprint, with his lyrics and his vocals and his controversial "presence."

The same could be said for Ray Manzarek.  Without his underrated touch on keyboards, helping keep the rhythm on the bass pedals, and his meeting up with Morrison at UCLA, The Doors' sound could have never been the same.

The Doors gave it their best shot without Morrison, recording two albums after he died in July of 1971.  Manzarek didn't stop there, not by a long shot, even coming up with the Doors of the 21st Century in 2002.  The magic came in its original form.

When word of Manzarek's death from a battle with bile duct cancer came on Monday, many people didn't want to believe it.  A hoax had already made the rounds in the days before.  This time, though, it was no hoax.  Manzarek was gone at age 74.

The vital cog in the existence of The Doors is gone.  The music remains.

Ray Manzarek

The worst -- and best -- of the Billboard Music Awards

My Monday started by seeing what friends had to say about the Billboard Music Awards the night before.  There are many musicians and music fans alike on my Facebook friends list, so the comments themselves were entertaining.

The toughest comments had to do with the prevalence of lip-synching and computerized touches that took away from the human element.  I can't say that I disagree with that desire to see more emphasis placed on the "human touch."

There's a place for the electronic element in music.  But there's more skill and emotion involved when the music is "real."

The Billboard awards had their share of bad moments, "lowlighted" by the poorly conceived leap by R&B singer Miguel that ended up with him landing feet and legs first into two female fans and leading to a "what the ..." moment that was all the rage on the internet.

And then there was Prince, bringing out the best.  He may not be burning up the music charts the way he once did, at least in comparison to the performers taking the stage Sunday night.  But the diminutive one came out looking a bit like Hendrix, and playing a bit like Hendrix too.  When it came to Prince, the best part of the night was saved for last.

Best of all, it was "real."