“Crystal Ship” - instrumental, solo piano performed by Ray Manzarek.
October 27, 2010
This has never been heard by anyone other than those of us who were in the room during a daylong shoot we did with Ray Manzarek. He came to NYC to support the launch of Rock Band 3 (finally featuring a keyboard peripheral) and we spent an entire day in a very small studio with him, producing what turned out to be essentially a one-man version of Storytellers.
We went through The Doors’ songbook and Ray told us anecdotes about the songwriting process and what he and Jim Morrison were doing and thinking when they were crafting every song. He taught us about the musical composition and theory behind all of his keyboard parts. I did oodles and boodles of research and led the interview, coaxing him into revealing all sorts of hilarious nuggets about what it was like being in The Doors. He made a joke about a jewish grandmother and I replied in yiddish; he played “Light My Fire” in character as a yiddish yenta — and from that point onwards, the interview went really smoothly.
“The Crystal Ship” was not on the list of the songs he was supposed to perform but I told him how it was my favorite song in 8th grade and how I listened to it every morning — especially because the piano breakdown was my most favorite snippet of ANYTHING musical. (At the time, OKAY? I was young). And so Ray Manzarek played this piano-only sort of freeform version of the song, just because I loved it so much when I was a tween. The editor who was working on the project sent me this track right after the shoot wrapped. The project never saw the light of day and so no one has ever heard this before, but now I am feeling sad about Ray Manzarek and how we thought he was so grumpy but he turned out to be such a lovely man and what an incredibly and amazing day we shared.
This was such an incredible experience and day… Hearing him play this live, to the handful of us fortunate enough to be in the room, was pure magic.