Doors Keyboardist and Pot Advocate Dies at 74

By May Wilkerson 05/21/13

Ray Manzarek, a founding member of The Doors, passes away after living the high life.

Rock and roll loses a major player. Photo via

Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, has passed away from bile duct cancer at age 74. Manzarek founded The Doors with Jim Morrison in the '60s, and helped the band become one of the most successful rock and roll acts of its time. The band eventually fell apart after Morrison's death in 1971, following his epic battle with alcoholism and addiction. Manzarek continued to play in other bands, and will be remembered as one of the most notable keyboard players in the history of rock and roll. He was also an ardent advocate of marijuana legalization. At a conference of marijuana advocacy group NORML in 2008 (video below), the keyboardist recalls getting high during the first recording session with The Doors, and muses on God, outer space, and the effects of marijuana on the time/space continuum. "Years, days, they don't matter. Time is an ephemeral thing," he says, "Time is some sort of Judeo-Christian construct, that has nothing to do with smoking marijuana. Smoking marijuana puts you into a timeless state in which you are kind of revolving with the planet in its eternal rotation around the sun...what's great about marijuana is that it opens the doors to perception."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.