Writings about Music

Meeting Manzarek

Using A Vox Organ For Spirit Lady Recalls My Late Friend

Ray Manzarek wrote his home address on the back of a concert poster Michael Robinson handed him as shown above.

We feel its OK to include the full address because the property was sold in 2003.

 

This is the front of the Michael Robinson concert poster Ray Manzarek used to write his address on the back of.

 

It was a pleasant surprise to find myself using a Vox organ timbre for the first time on my new album, Spirit Lady, this being the instrument my late friend, Ray Manzarek, probably made more use of than anyone, including on "Light My Fire". Wish he was still here to hear it!

 

For Spirit Lady, Michael Robinson uses a Vox organ favored by Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

 

Ray Manzarek and Michael Robinson in Ray's home studio.

 

I met Ray in April 2003 at the Beverly Hills Library while distributing posters for a concert. He said he would be out of town on that date, and wrote his home address on the back of the poster I handed him, asking me to send a copy of my first album, Trembling Flowers, stating he would contact me if he enjoyed it. (This was my only album at that time.) Three weeks later, Ray phoned at 9 AM on a Tuesday morning, indicating how he found my music original, substantial, well crafted, and engaging. He gave his home phone number asking me to call back in a few weeks for lunch. A month or so later, our friendship began with an extended three-hour lunch including abundant chardonnay at an elegant Italian restaurant on South Beverly Drive. I wore a favorite purple silk shirt while Ray was more subdued in khaki colors. An article had just appeared about me in the Los Angeles Times, and Ray confided he told his personal trainer earlier that morning he was having lunch with "that guy". After our memorable repast, we began regular music sessions at his home on South Rodeo Drive. By the way, this home did have an incredible front door. One key to our friendship was something I instinctively knew, which was never to mention The Doors or Jim Morrison unless Ray did so first. Laid-back Southern California rock legends? Ray was about as laid-back as a guided missile. For more details about our friendship see Indian Summers In Forests of Azure.

- Michael Robinson, October 2019, Los Angeles

 

© 2019 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

 

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).