As storms tear across the Midwest today, I learn of the passing of Ray Manzarek. Like so many other people, The Doors played a large part in my musical heritage. The studio cuts are absolutely stunning; pure genius at certain points. I am not a fan of their live recordings – I’ve never been into the kinds of drugs one needs to heavily consume in order to think that extended chaos is entertaining.
And how about the giant storms today? The juxtaposition is interesting because I wanted to ruminate for a moment on one of my favorite tracks from The Doors, ‘Riders on The Storm‘. I’ve got my headphones on right now listening to the track; the details are incredible, the mix is sublime, and with every listen I hear something new buried in the background of this track.
I’ve always used this track to mellow out to; how can you not with the soothing sounds of rain and thunder, the smooth keyboard parts that Manzarek gently puts in during the opening of the track, Krieger’s haunting guitar, and Jim Morrison delivers a smooth performance without screaming. And that ride cymbal that John Densmore is playing? That damn cymbal sounds like the rain itself. Brilliant.
And the song just glides. From front to back we have a smooth tune with that signature bass line running on auto-pilot throughout, stopping only for a break at the end of the keyboard solo. Soothing. I have fallen asleep to this song numerous times; I can get absolutely lost in a trance-like, meditative state.
I’m on my third listen through the song now. Fucking brilliant. Put on your headphones and go lie down. Right now. Listen to the entire track two or three times.
OK. Are you back? What did you think? Pretty awesome isn’t it? I know!
Did you hear the congas? Yep, it’s true. There’s some congas on this track. It’s always interesting to hear what you’ve been missing for 40 years isn’t it? That’s because this music is timeless; it ws written and performed by people who pour their life into their art and truly give a fuck about creating a great piece of art.
And as I write this, a massive storm has killed scores of people in the Midwest – the exact opposite of the mellow vibe that this tune can create… The Rider has claimed a lot of souls today….