In 2007, work was started on what would become the “When You’re Strange” documentary. Initially, the production was going to consist of archival footage and interviews with the three remaining Doors. Right around that time, a discovery was made in the Doors archives that would change the direction of the project. That discovery was of all the original 35mm footage that Jim Morrison, Frank Lisciandro and Paul shot for HWY. When director Tom DiCillo saw this pristine, beautiful footage, he knew it needed to be the focal point of the documentary. Narrated by Johnny Depp, “When You’re Strange” would go onto be nominated for an Emmy and win the Grammy for Best Long Form Video.
August 14, 2012 was the official release date of the Manzarek/McClure CD “Piano Poems”. Recorded in an old wooden church in San Francisco in early 2011, this release contains a live performance of Michale Mclure reading both new and older poems accompanied by Ray on a Steinway grand piano.
Every year on the historic Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, the “Sunset Strip Music Festival” becomes the focal point of music, celebrating the history of the Strip and the bands that shaped its legacy. For three days in 2012, the festival honored and celebrated the legacy of The Doors. The celebration started on August 16th, declared “Doors Day” by the city of West Hollywood, with Ray and Robby performing a concert at the House of Blues with Billy Morrison, Matt Sorum, Mark McGrath, Emily Armstrong, Linda Perry and Franky Perez. On the 17th, Robby and his “Roadhouse Rebels” played the Viper Room while Ray Manzarek and 80s punk band “X” would rock the Roxy performing the entire album “Los Angeles”. The stranger-than-fiction conclusion to the festivities on the 18th included Ray and Robby performing “People Are Strange”, “Love Me Two Times” and “Five To One” with shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
Ray and Robby’s last show together occurs at the Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY on October 1, 2012.
On February 9, 2013, Ray plays his final live performance while touring with Roy Rogers and the Manzarek-Rogers band. In this performance at the Palace Theater in Hilo, Hawaii, Ray and the band perform a set of Manzarek-Rogers tunes.
In May of 2013, Ray travels to Germany for treatment for his recently diagnosed bile duct cancer. During his time in Germany, Ray makes a deep connection with his expert doctors and nurses. In fact, Ray actually did a private performance for them at one point. Regretfully, the treatment is unsuccessful, and at 9:31 local time on May 20, 2013, Ray passed away in Rosenheim, Germany, at the the age of 74. The next day, on May 21 at 9:31 pm, multiple Sunset Strip venues dim the lights on their marquees in memory of Ray.
On June 9th, 2013 a “Celebration of Life” was held in memory of Ray at the Napa Opera House in Napa, CA. This event was attended by Ray’s family and closest friends and was a true celebration of Ray’s life. A true “Feast of Friends” with the people who meant the most to Ray. For hours, everywhere you turned were people telling stories of their memories of Ray and how he impacted their lives. Ray would have loved the positive energy in the room. The featured speakers at the event were Jim Manczarek, Rick Manczarek, Bruce Botnick, Robby Krieger, Jim Ladd, Jeff Jampol, Michael McClure and Pablo Manzarek. After the featured speakers Rick and Jim Manzarek set up their instruments and performed a short set of blues tunes in memory if Ray. The evening continued with Ray’s friends talking and sharing their “Ray Stories” with each other.