5 plus years ago I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him at the Sunset Strip offices of The Doors. The walls were covered with platinum albums and pictures of young Ray and young Jim Morrison, young John Densmore and young Robbie Krieger. Larger than life images of rock gods in their prime. Ray told stories of the bands heyday with the joy and wonder of a child on Christmas morning. He reveled in the hazy days of tripping with Jim on acid, playing those songs around the world. The arrests, the groupies. He told me one story of Jim Morrison receiving oral from Nico while Andy Warhol directed. He told the tale with such graphic detail I felt like I had witnessed it in person. And it made me blush. When he spoke of losing Jim Morrison his joy turned to sorrow. The mourning seemed as fresh as if Morrison had died that day and not decades before. Sadness filled his eyes the way I imagine it is filling the eyes of his friends and band mates today. He was a gentleman and one hell of a story teller.
As a musician he was a mystical being. Who else could play two parts of a song at the same time? Ray was the keyboard player and, for all intensive purposes, the bass player. The way he worked those foot pedals in association with those keys was nothing short of magical. He's the reason I loved The Doors. Surprised I love The Doors? Don't be. I get it. On the surface it seems weird that I would love them. After all I am a child of the 80s not the 60s. But The Doors are a timeless band that seem to get re-discovered by every generation. I found them senior year of high school (1985) Is it clever marketing? Maybe. There was that not half bad film starring Val Kilmer. Most likely it's that quality will also rise to the top. That's why some day my kids who now listen to Carly Rae Jepsen and Psy will discover The Doors. At least I hope so.
At some point in every music fans life they find the magic and power of Ray, Robbie, John and Jim. Hipsters know that years from now Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire (both decent bands) will be footnotes in musical history compared to the lasting legacy of The Doors. Everyone loves The Doors whether they are too hip to admit it or not and that's The Bitter Truth. R.I.P Ray.