The recent passing of one of our great musical heroes, Ray Manzarek of the Doors, reminded me once again of the bittersweet and fleeting nature of life - not only by way of losing one of the originators of the influential and groundbreaking music we all grew up with and treasured - but in human terms.
Ray seemed like a good friend of mine. I spent many hours with him playing those records over and over again - memorizing the lyrics - singing those songs in my head to the point where the music became the anthems of my existence and in some way validated my path through the tangled weeds and broken glass of teenage rebellion.
As our heroes vanish one by one, there is a longing to trace backward and search for the ruins of our youth in memories we've made safe by the nature of our revisionist imaginations. This is the core of the power of cherished music - that nuclear center of it - that creates some kind of fission that sparks energy when the paths of our collective past collide with the reality of our existential dilemma.
It's that almost irreconcilable clash between the present moment and the awareness of our impending yet inevitable mortality.
That fission takes place in the face of impossible odds, against terrible dangerous visions we conjure from the shadows of things yet to be haunt us, if not consciously, but just below the surface. The power of the music takes us back to a safer and more innocent time we believe was happier. Perhaps that is the power of art - to give us some sense of truth.
The psychology of it notwithstanding, these heroes were the architects of a revolutionary sound that was created from the raw cloth of the Blues and the swinging sounds of the post-war era, in an electric wave of energy that exploded into our atmosphere and changed forever the way we looked at the world - and each other.
As a curator of music, as a creator and as a preservationist, there is a sense of duty to maintain and purvey the legacy these heroes have left us. Nothing lasts forever - not even the pyramids, and one day all of our collective work will go the way of all atoms.
All the more reason to celebrate life and art and love one another like there's no tomorrow.
In the end, we are all just Riders On the Storm.