Publiť sur rockdaily.com, mai 2000
Entrevue réalisée par Gregg Donshik

Fire Starter

The Doors ceased to be a band almost 30 years ago, but their influence has hardly waned. Thanks in part to steady classic rock radio airplay, the California-based foursome remain one of the world's most popular bands. Millions of fans still regard the late frontman Jim Morrison as a rebellious rock icon. Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger, who jammed with modern rockers Creed onstage last year at Woodstock, continue to bask in frenzied adulation, as does keyboardist Ray Manzarek, whom many considered the Doors' musical center during their heyday.

With the dawn of the new millennium, it is Manzarek who continues to make headlines. His 1998 tell-all, Light My Fire: My Life With the Doors, was recently released in paperback. Fire became the third major book detailing life making music with the Lizard King (Morrison). It sturdily stands alongside Densmore's Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and the Doors (1991) and the best-selling Morrison biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive (updated in 1995), by Danny Sugarman and Jerry Hopkins.

As far as recording is concerned, Manzarek has mostly been quiet. The Golden Scarab, released in 1975, remains Manzarek's only major U.S. solo release still in print. Nowadays, Manzarek prefers things on a smaller scale, touring universities and coffeehouses with poet Michael McClure.

Just as Light My Fire hit the shelves, Manzarek sat down with RockDaily.com to rap about psychedelia, Iggy Pop, Manzarek's rift with Densmore and saving the planet. (Gregg Donshik)

We Couldn't Get Much Higher

Ray Manzarek : [During the '60s] we were like in a Zen state of ecstasy. The whole country was at once fighting the war and yet in an ecstatic state. We were ecstatic with joy and love and peace -- you know, 'Make love, not war.' That's what it was all about.

After having my LSD experiences and then reading about it through history, I realized the psychedelic experience and the ecstatic experience that I had was no different than mystics -- and Christian mystics and Jewish mystics and Kabbalah and certainly Islam.

Native Tongue

Ray Manzarek : Every once in a while from the microphone, I would hear some strange guttural Indian utterances [laughs] . . . I'd say, 'What on earth, where did that come from?' And sure enough it came out of Jim Morrison's mouth, you know, and you could see Jim['s] eyes roll back ever so slightly in his head and he was gone, man. He was gone and somebody else had come out. And I loved that, because the American Indian had come out, to offer to the white people of America that tribal vision. And the '60s were a tribal time -- that vision of peace and love and harmony with mother earth.

Shaman Sense

Ray Manzarek : [I] didn't realize what that whole shamanistic thing was until the ingestion of psychedelic substances. Up until then I was just a normal human being going about my life trying to figure out what is the purpose of existence. 'God, am I bummed out.' And then I ingested psychedelics -- the doors of perception were opened and I saw things as they truly are.

There's certain guys on the planet -- Morrison, [former Jane's Addiction singer] Perry Farrell, [Pearl Jam's] Eddie Vedder -- they definitely got that shamanistic side to them and it comes out when they sing onstage, and I love it, not being that way at all -- being the Apollonian. You know, the orderly keyboard player.

Jim Morrison was an electric shaman with his electric shaman band behind him, and Densmore with his drums could just send a crack through Morrison. You could see his spine stiffen.

The Four Stooges ?

Speaking of shaman -- how about Iggy Pop? You know, there's another one, man . . . He becomes possessed. He becomes a whirling dervish on stage.

Ray Manzarek : We're talking to Iggy Pop right now [about playing with the surviving Doors], so we'll see . . . how Iggy's schedule works out. But wouldn't that be great, man? Iggy and the Doors? I'd love that, you know, and Densmore said he'd play, too. So John and Robby and Ray may all play together -- the three surviving Doors with Iggy Pop, and I'd really dig that.

After Jim died, Iggy was definitely one of the names that was considered as the Jim Morrison replacement, but that was such an impossible task . . . somebody to replace Jim Morrison.

Thirty years have passed now, so it's OK for Iggy to sing with the Doors. He's not going to be Jim Morrison's replacement -- it's Iggy singing with the Doors and I think that's going to be really cool.

Hello, I Loathe You

Ray Manzarek : John . . . wasn't happy about some of the incidents I portrayed [in my book]. My portrayal of his personality is not exactly the way he sees himself, but then, when we look into the mirror, we have a different version of what other people see, you know? I look into the mirror and I see one heck of a great guy, but in public people say, 'Ray you're a jerk,' you know? So I kind of blew the whistle on John.

I wasn't happy with my portrayal or happy with Danny [Sugerman]'s portrayal in John's book, nor was I happy with Jim Morrison's portrayal in John's book, but John had to do what he had to do, and turnabout is fair play, after all. So, hopefully, we'll bury the hatchet and everything will work out fine.

Not To Touch the Earth

Ray Manzarek : We should really be saving the planet. We cannot be deforesting the planet . . . we've got to clean the air up. We've got to stop using the internal combustion engine. We've got to find some new way of power, you know. It's got to be solar power. We've got to power our automobiles and heat our houses with . . . an alternative fuel. It's got to be discovered. And the fact that we're not there yet is a real disappointment to me. The computer generation is going to evolve into a very ecologically intelligent, spiritually whole generation.