For music fans young and old, Ray Manzarek needs little introduction. In the late '60s, Manzarek co-founded the Doors, one of rock & roll's most influential bands. He has written novels, directed films and, at the age of 71, is still cooler than you are.
Ray Manzarek: Well I’m such a reserved and quiet guy that they cater to my insane side that I try to keep under wraps.
SoundDiego: During the 60s, popular music seemed to serve as a sort of therapy for the nation, helping to exorcise the demons of the time, and of Vietnam in particular. By way of contrast, pop music today seems to have regressed to a more juvenile, anti-confrontational state. Why do you think people’s approach to dealing with national strife has changed so drastically?
Manzarek: Boy, I have no idea what’s happened, other than that the younger generation has all been distracted by their electronic screens. Everybody is communicating with each other over Twitter and YouTube, and people are in a state of constant communication and lack that solitary moment -- that Zen moment -- in which you can experience a oneness with all things. That’s what we did in the '60s.
And the constant jibber-jabber of what’s going on today is a total distraction from finding the true oneness within yourself. And I can only hope that the younger people of today -- and especially today’s college students -- will stop for a second, put down all your communication devices and open the doors of perception, and find the true self within. In fact, find the god within.
SoundDiego: In the Oliver Stone film The Doors, you were played by Kyle McLachlan. If a movie was made about you set in the present day, who would you like to have play you?
Manzarek: In the present? I guess Harrison Ford could play me. He works out, he pumps iron and stays in shape. He’s a pretty organic, natural kind of guy. So I’d say that Harrison Ford plays Ray Manzarek, and vice-versa [laughs]. I could play him in The Harrison Ford Story!
Chris Maroulakos is a writer and editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.