Daniel Manzarek, born February 12, 1939, in Chicago, is The Doors
keyboard player. He attended UCLA Film School.
"I grew up in Chicago and left when I was 21 for Los Angeles. My parents gave me piano lessons when I was around nine or ten. I hated it for the first four years -- until I learned how to do it -- then it became fun, which is about the same time I first heard Negro music. I was about 12 or 13, playing baseball in a playground; someone had a radio tuned into a Negro station. From then on I was hooked. I used to listen to Al Benson and Big Bill Hill -- they were disk jockeys in Chicago. From then on all the music I listened to was on the radio. My piano playing changed; I became influenced by jazz. I learned how to play that stride piano with my left hand, and knew that was it: stuff with a beat -- jazz, blues, rock.
"At school I was primarily interested in film. It seemed to combine my interests in drama, visual art, music, and the profit motive. Before I left Chicago I was in theater. These days, I think we want our theater, our entertainment to be larger than life. I think the total environmental thing will come in. Probably Cinerama will develop further.
"I think The Doors is a representative American group. America is a melting pot and so are we. Our influences spring from a myriad of sources which we have amalgamated, blending divergent styles into our own thing. We're like the country itself. America must seem to be a ridiculous hodgepodge to an outsider. It's like The Doors. We come from different areas, different musical areas. We're put together with a lot of sweat, a lot of fighting. All of the things people say about America can be said about The Doors.
"All of us have the freedom to explore and improvise within a framework. Jim is an improviser with words."
Taken from the original Elektra Records biography, 1967