Website - 17 January 2006
I recently joined the web phenomenon of MySpace.com - which trumpets itself as "a place for friends". It's also renowned for its famous users, and I was stunned to find the keyboardist/organist from my favourite band The Doors, Ray Manzarek walking the chatroom corridors. I was a tad apprehensive at first, as any interviewer would be - was this just a spotty teenager with an obsessive personality posing as Ray? The profile page of 'Ray' was very detailed - even down to some pictures of his family. There were a few doubts though; 'Ray' kept sending out bulletins with the usual crap that chokes people's inboxes - 'send this to 15 people or your wish won't come true' poems and friendly questionnaires. But, I decided to press ahead anyway, motivated by the prospect of being printed by my editor at Aesthetica and (perhaps) Q or NME Magazines. I mailed 'Ray' a few questions of my own, and he responded within a couple of days. I giddily posted our interview on the site and set about getting it published. I asked 'Ray' for his press agent and he told me it was .....@yahoo.com. Here's what the Managing Coordinator at Aesthetica wrote to me.
Cherie [my editor] asked me to have a look at this interview and authenticate it. I am a linguist and an English Language teacher and looking at the interview from a sociolinguistic perspective, I have a few concerns.
The first thing that struck me was the personal email address for his press agent. I managed to track down Ray's press agent. It is a company called Empty Mirror Books Agency in New York. It's a big company with their own web-domain, meaning that they wouldn't need to use Yahoo.
The next thing was the length and depth of his answers. Ray went to university and is quite the philosopher. If you have a look at published interviews with Ray on the Internet, he spends a lot of his time discussing politics, social inclusion and personal happiness. Unfortunately, these answers show minimal depth and understanding of such matters. Also, the reason people agree to interviews is to promote their latest projects. I would expect more references to Riders on the Storm playing in Europe.
Ray is a writer and has written a few books. The writing style in the answers are mainly composed of simple sentence structures and run-on sentences. You see this style of writing in people who are operating around a low level 2 to high level 1 education standard. This is equivalent to GCSE English grade C to D.
There are also some grammatical inaccuracies and American English spelling mistakes. The grammatical inaccuracies present are common in colloquial British English, and it is written using the British English spelling system.
Also, the term 'Negro Music' is a right-wing, uneducated to mid-educated reference. Ray is left-wing and educated. I do not believe he would use this reference.
Sociolinguistics works by categorising stereotypes and that is it's downfall, because there are always exceptions to the rule. However, there seems to be too many loose ends in this short passage. If I were to categorise the person who wrote it, I would say that they are white, aged between 16 to 29, highest education level is GCSE and is from, and currently lives in Britain.
I'm sorry Steve, but I think this person is trying a bamboozle. Don't worry, we get them sometimes. Last year somebody managed to convince us that they were a great artist when in fact they submitted a rare Manet. We didn't realise until after we published it. I also use to teach art history and I was surprised that I didn't know that piece. A year before that, somebody submitted a great poem for consideration. It had a peculiar sentence structure that seemed familiar to us. It turned out to be a rare American poem written by an unknown author during the 1800s.
But thanks for all the work you have put into the magazine. Cherie and I really appreciate it and are glad to have somebody on the team with your enthusiasm.
All the best
Who knew? Well, I guess this is a valuable learning curve for me. Here's the interview of 'Ray Manzarek' - together with my blind affection for this stooge.
What do you get up to these days?
”I spend a lot of time with my family and they are wonderful supporters of ‘Riders on the Storm’ [Ray’s new band with former Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger] which we are planning a tour with this year… starting in Europe.”
Is there more of a divide now between your musical and domestic life than there was 40 years ago with The Doors?
”You could say that. Back then I had a girlfriend/wife and was a young kid with ambitions today there is a lot to hold me back, a son and grandson but I wouldn't trade it for the world.”
What did you make of Oliver Stone’s 1990 biopic of The Doors?
”Dislike it, disapprove of it, despise Mr. Stone.”
Patricia Kennealy described the movie as a “music video” – she didn’t like Stone’s portrayal of her and Pamela Courson. What do you remember about Pamela’s influence in the band?
”It seems the women are never happy with what you say about them. All I am going to say is that Pam took Jim away, and I believe it was her addiction to heroin that killed him. Jim was never a heroin addict, but she got him into it, and as we all know it killed him.”
Did having such an iconographic lead singer make it difficult to be noticed in the band?
”I hear people say how the organ was one of the most distinct sounds in the band, and it was. I never felt left out of the spotlight, though Jim belonged in it. He was made for it.”
I’ve read that the ‘L.A. Woman’ album was the first time You, Robby and John could focus independently from Jim on the musical side of things. Plus of course you had a different producer (Bruce Botnik). Was this your most accomplished album with The Doors?
”I think they were all ‘the most accomplished’ albums. I never think we ever made a bad one or even close. Although, L.A Woman was a very tough album to do and to promote after Jim died – that is why we came out with D2C and Riders on The Storm, to promote what Jim couldn't.”
A lot is made of your rift with John Densmore nowadays. Is it as bad as the media suggests, or do you actually see eye to eye?
”It's bad. He want his money and he wants it bad. He never understood Jim and although he is dead now he thinks that he can be a "Media Saviour" and appear as the good guy. “
Jim Morrison took LSD largely due to the philosophy of the band and ‘The Doors of Perception’. Why were you guys never as indulgent as him?
”I tried LSD once and it was great, man. But the second time sent me into the depths of hell. It was sickening. I couldn't walk or even move without becoming sick.”
What were your musical influences growing up?
”I liked a lot of what they called ‘Negro Music’ or the blues and loved to listen to the radio.”
Apart from yourself of course, who is your favourite musician of all time?
”Muddy Waters, and a vast amount of Jazz and Blues musicians”
Is it true you made a nude film of your girlfriend during your college days in film class?
”Yes, But she wasn't nude. She had a strapless bikini on and the way she appeared in the arms of her co-star, she looked nude. “
Finally – clichéd, but what would be your advice to a young experimental rock band in 2006?
”Go for it. There are people out there in this world who want to make new things and inspire new people. There are people out there who understand the same things and will find the music – and they will listen.”