You don’t need to be under the influence of anything to get the most out of music or life...but I do enjoy the title spin on the Huxley book. And it does tie into this week’s show for the Memorial Day weekend.
An icon of music and culture died this past week, Ray Manzarek of The Doors. In an age of guitar driven bands from the 1960s, Manzarek created alluring keyboard colors that accented the group’s music in multi-leveled ways. And if Jim Morrison fronted the band on stage, this innovative keyboard player was never at loss of words for fronting--some might say dominating--interviews with The Doors. I remember that very clearly from a PBS interview on TV back in NY. At that point I found the group a bit scary. I wasn’t alone. Out of all the dozens of bands invited to play Woodstock in ‘69 (whether they chose to accept the gig or not)--its said The Doors were unwanted. The combinations of music and poltics played a heavy role. Check out their Hollywood Bowl concert from the same era and you’ll see how experimental they were. Spearheading that in many ways was Manzarek. The band shunned a bass played in those days and RM’s keyboards fulfilled both roles. From blues to psychedelia to Brecht&Weill--his simple keyboard configuration plied every sonic form to malleable reality. And influenced countless tinklers of the ivory from my generation.
That’s one door that opened and is now closed with his passing.
Another is represented pictorially on this blog. Sarah Kane, who has been influencing and encouraging kids with music via her open mic club at Tuckahoe Middle School for 5 years. I love seeing kids involved with music. From grade school/high school days when I was involved with brass--those memories are sweet, instructive and downright fun. That was brought to the surface when I taught guitar to kids in the 1990s. What Sarah does is to provide a platform for expression, creativity and musical growth. This year saw the club producing its own CD and having a release party. You’ll hear her on the Croude this week and examples of the kids writing--a lot more mature than you might expect from 11, 12 and 13 year olds. If Sarah’s name is familiar, you’re correct. She is an alumna and continuing vocalist with The Electric Croude Bande.
Jim Morrison once said--regarding youth--he is the ink and they’re the paper. Take it with a grain of salt or not. JM loved to push buttons. But...he was accurate about the continuing saga of youth and saw they're potential even as self destructive ways led to his own demise.
On this Memorial Day weekend its sometimes hard to weed through the countless car/mattress/appliance/et alia sales that assault our sensabilities and take stock of WHY we are really remembering this time. Those men and women who gave their lives for our freedom would no doubt rejoice in the fact that young people in Tuckahoe MIddle School and elsewhere--have the opportunity to grow to their full God given potential.
The Electric Croude airs every late Saturday at midnight EDT on WCVE Public Radio[88.9FM] while simul streaming at ideastations.org/radio.