It is with sad and heavy hearts that the members of the seminal punk rock band, X, pay tribute to their friend and mentor, Ray Manzarek.
Ray Manzarek is an integral part of X’s history. The band’s debut album, Los Angeles was released on April 26, 1980 and produced by Ray. The album includes a cover of the 1967 Doors song “Soul Kitchen” and was the bands most successful release. It ranked # 16 for the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics Poll. Subsequently in 1989, it was ranked number 24 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 best albums of the 80s and Pitchfork ranked it 91st on their top 100 albums of the 1980s. The title track is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and again in 2003, the album was ranked number 286 on the Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Ray went on to produce the next three studio albums for the band, Wild Gift in 1981 (also on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time at #334), Under the Big Black Sun in 1982 and 1983’s More Fun in the New World.
In late 2010, X celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Los Angeles by playing the entire album, start to finish. Ray joined the band during their two shows in San Francisco, just after Christmas. In August of 2012, Ray again joined the band for the entire show at the famed Roxy Theatre during the Sunset Strip Music Festival, playing Los Angeles in its entirety. In 2013, Rhino released The Doors/X Side by Side: Soul Kitchen, a split white vinyl 7″.
Ray led by example, from the doors to carmine burana and beyond. He is and will always be a spirit being, adept at expanding perception. And once those doors of perception are opened, they never close. He taught me that we are the keys, that we can unlock all doors, everywhere, to create magic, to transform ourselves and power the world, through joy and love and imagination and art and, above all through music. – Exene
Ray was a mentor to X in our early days and a something of a father figure to Exene & me. He was brilliant & soulful. If Bob Dylan brought poetry & folk to popular music; Ray & the Doors brought the blues & poetry to rock music. The Doors are rock royalty. It has been a privilege & honor to call Ray a friend and share the stage w/ him. -John Doe
Ray always believed in us. We’ll miss him. My heart goes out to Dorothy and Pablo. -Billy Zoom
I am so sorry to hear about Ray’s passing. Not only was he an integral part of X’s history, he was a smart, funny, and kind friend. I will miss him. – DJ Bonebrake