Ray Manzarek – Music and Melody, a personal view

The news of the passing of Ray Manzarek, keyboard player of The Doors, has got me thinking of just how important music has been in my life’s journey.

The foundations of my love of music were prepared and cemented in the seventies and eighties in north west Kent (or South East London if I’m after a bit more street cred).

I was exposed to a diet of Top of The Pops (let’s remember the music not the presenters), both the programme and those cover LPs with scantily clad ladies adorning the sleeves, along with my mother’s love of Elvis, Glenn Campbell and John Denver and my father’s singles collection of The Beatles, The Hollies and The Everly Brothers.

The first singles I bought were Don’t Bring Me Down by ELO in 1979, closely followed by Someone’s Looking At You by The Boomtown Rats.  Moving through secondary school The Beatles were all I could think about until bands like The Jam, The Cure, U2, REM, The Smiths, The Pogues, Billy Bragg and Echo & The Bunnymen all began sinking their hooks into my forming musical consciousness.

Somewhere along the line the music of The Doors snuck in and grabbed me around the earlobes.  I think it may have been my older cousin in County Mayo, who first introduced me to them on one of my many childhood visits to the west of Ireland as a youngster.

I can remember sitting in the sixth form of my secondary school sharing sounds on the communal record player during yet another ‘free period’….  no wonder the exam results went down the toilet.  All of a sudden it seemed everyone I knew was listening to The Doors.  This was twenty years after the fact, yet somehow they spoke to those of us who were becoming obsessed with music.

The initial appeal was obvious; Jim Morrison’s cool front man snaking his way into your brain, all bravado, poetry, sex appeal and of course the rock ‘n’ roll death only added to his draw.  Then there was the music, those wonderful keyboard lines, providing cascading melodies that carried the songs, both underpinning and sometimes outshining the brooding vocals.  It’s worth remembering Ray was also responsible for many of The Doors’ bass lines, both on the earlier recordings and live, playing these parts on an alternative keyboard, a master of counterpoint.

In the late eighties my first band tried to copy Echo & The Bunnymen and U2’s habit of breaking into other artists’ songs during the middle of one of their own, doing a very poor version of Break on Through (To The Other Side) – I shudder at the thought.

So, fast forward twenty five years and the news is reporting the death of Ray Manzarek.  His legacy is one of melody, and melody has been the driving force in my love of music, inspiring me to seek out new music and to continue to play for the joy it can bring.

DS, The Janskys, Sheffield

The Janskys Q&A: Pat Donoghue Part 1

Ahead of the release of the new album we’ve asked fans of The Janskys to send in some questions for the band. 

Here’s the first in a sporadic series of Q&As leading up to the release of When Silence Speaks.  

Pat Donoghue, singer and acoustic guitarist please take the stand….

 

What’s the most interesting venue you have played at?  The foyer area of City Hall in Sheffield for sure.  Not only because I live in Sheffield and it’s City Hall Man (!!), but the acoustics were amazing.

What recent equipment has had the biggest impact?  I’m not a gear head but getting my new guitar really helped me find my playing style…   if I could be so bold to say I have one!

Who’s the best drummer John or Liam?  Not a chance, I’m taking the 5th.

What tune best describes your thought processes and feelings whilst you were making the album?  I’m going to go for Devil In Your Head; it was such a wonderful thing recording the album but the problems, late nights, broken equipment, noises from above sometimes drove us to distraction.

What’s the plan?  Aside from my family, making and listening to the results of this album have been the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  Beyond getting as many people to hear it as possible I can’t think, that is a task as big as making the thing!

In what place or situation would you be most pleasantly surprised to hear a Janskys song being played?  I spend holidays on a board (surf or snow); after a day’s riding, having a drink in a cosy little pub hearing one of our tracks would really make me smile.

How has the recording of When Silence Speaks differed to the first Janskys album?  Too many things to mention, once you hear the album you’ll know.  The main thing is time, two days recording as against two years……….enough said really.

Pat looks for inspiration...

Pat looks for inspiration…

How did you decide which tracks to record for the album?  We took the best songs we’d written, played them and played them (at gigs and in the studio).  There was a natural selection process from this; we even added little bits as the recording progressed.

How many pedals does Damian now own?  I had to take my shoes and socks off to tally up last time so I’ll guess at 21, we should perhaps do a quiz and offer a free album for the winner!!

What’s next?  Sleep; as well as the band I have a young family so there’s little time to rest, all the lads are saying I should take time to relax, maybe one day I’ll surprise them and do it.

Welcome to Sawayaka Sheffield

Hi All,

We’d just like to say welcome to Sawayaka Sheffield’s new website, home of The Janskys.

Over the next couple of months we’ll be bringing you updates on the forthcoming new LP by The Janskys, When Silence Speaks, which will be released early Summer 2013.

Today we are pleased to reveal Tell Me, the lead track from the LP, to give you a taster of the delights that will follow in due course.

Please visit our MUSIC  page to listen and download.