Wed February 6th, 2002
Wed February 7th, 2001
Wed March 3rd, 1999
A Poet In Exile: A Journey Into the Mystic (book) (2001)
Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors (book) (2000)
Freshly Dug (with Daryl Read) (1999)
Strange Days Original Soundtrack (1995)
Ray Manzarek
Most dedicated Doors fans know that the band took its name from the British artist/poet William Blake who wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite.”

Aldous Huxley (best known as the author of Brave New World) later used The Doors of Perception as the title of the book he wrote about his experiences with the hallucinogenic drug, mescaline. But before you set off for the Southwest to find adventures in psychedelic botany, it’s a good idea to understand that all things mescal are not the same.

The peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) produces the powerful hallucinogenic alkaloid, mescaline, which is chemically similar to the hormone adrenaline, produced by the human adrenal gland. Though many people find the “visions” induced by peyote are less than pleasant, mescaline is relatively harmless, unlike the effects of the mescal bean. This leguminous shrub (Sophora secundiflora) can be found throughout the American Southwest and Mexico.

The mescal bean does not in fact produce mescaline, but another alkaloid called cytosine. It was once used in the truly intoxicating, vision-seeking, and potentially lethal “red bean dance.” Neither the cactus nor the bean should be confused with the extremely potent alcoholic beverage mescal (or mescal), which is made from the distilled juices of several varieties of the agave plant.
Ray Manzarek
Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek met in 1965 at the UCLA Graduate School of Film. At the time Manzarek played in a campus band called Rick and the Ravens and Morrison was already a budding poet. One day while the two were hanging out on a Southern California beach, the notion of forming a band together coalesced.

Manzarek’s brothers Rick and Jim rounded out the fledgling Doors line-up until Ray met drummer John Densmore, who was playing in a group called the Psychedelic Rangers along with guitarist Robby Krieger. Densmore and Krieger soon replaced Manzarek’s sibs and the final transformation of the Doors was complete.

By 1966, the group had recorded a demo and started making the rounds in the L.A. club circuit, eventually securing a regular gig as the house band at the Whisky-a-Go-Go. The Doors’ tenure came to an abrupt end when it was axed after performing the flagrantly Oedipal “The End.” But the end of its tenure at the Whisky was just the beginning of the next phase of its career.

At the urging of Love’s Arthur Lee, the Doors were signed by Elektra Records. After two albums (The Doors and Strange Days) Morrison’s alter ego, the Lizard King made his debut on Waiting For the Sun in the verses printed inside the record jacket (“The Celebration of the Lizard King”). The next few years would be the most volatile of the Doors’ career and secure it a permanent seat in the upper echelons of the rock pantheon.

Counterbalancing the commercial success the band enjoyed with hits like "Roadhouse Blues," "Love Her Madly," "Touch Me," "Hello, I Love You," "Riders On The Storm," "Light My Fire," "Break On Through," and "L.A. Woman," Morrison felt compelled to push the limits of performance, resulting in a string of arrests for indecent exposure. 1971’s L.A. Woman would be the last album featuring Morrison, who took a leave of absence shortly after it was completed. He died of heart failure on July 3, 1971 in Paris, France.

As with Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix, conjecture has always surrounded Morrison’s death and there are many people decades after the singer’s passing that believe that his death was a hoax, and that he is still alive and living in Paris. Even among the less conspiracy-minded, the Doors popularity hasn’t diminished, and the band’s albums continue to sell at a steady pace as young fans discover the band that inspired so many generations of musician.

Rockline didn’t come into existence until a decade after Morrison’s death, but over the years the surviving Doors have joined BC many times to discuss the various projects they have pursued, from solo recordings to studio ventures with younger artists like X.
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