LOVE LION, released as a video by Mystic Fire Video, and on CD by Shanachie, presents a live 70-minute performance at The Bottom Line in New York by Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek.
Michael McClure's introduction to the CDWhen Ray plays I hear rock, blues, and boogie woogie as well as what sounds like the Russian mystic composer Alexander Scriabin. I give Ray the words, sometimes I mail them to him with a tape of my reading. Other times I read Ray a new poem before a sound check, at maybe the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco or The Bottom Line in New York -- and he plays what he hears. It's fuid and like velvet and ivory and granite and flesh. This isn't like anything we do solo. When we work together it's not like me reading a poem, or like Manzarek playing a keyboard piece; a new shape comes into being.
Ray and I first met at the third recording session of The Doors. Then a few years ago I heard Ray playing piano and he heard me reading a long poem "Stanzas in Turmoil." We both said let's start working together, and we'll begin with that piece. Ray said about "Stanzas," "I hear a great C Major, the wheat fields and the corn fields." When Ray plays the notes for "Antechamber of the Night" I hear Balinese visionary musicians. Once when we were performing at The Fillmore Auditorium I thought Ray was playing Beethoven's Ninth then it changed and sounded like a divine jazz riff. There's a lot of improvisation in this art. We're here to wake people up and then listen to their roar.
Michael Dare on the LOVE LION video"...Magic, an intensely mystical exploration of the joy of language and sound. When Michael McClure speaks and Ray Manzarek plays piano, they complement each other in an entirely new way. It's a purer, more raw form of communication than we've heard before. Though this unique collaboration between poet and rock 'n' roll artist bears a resemblance to modern rap music, this is far from the language of the street. McClure and Manzarek express personal and political pain with illumination rather than anger. They put the rap in rapture."
You can read John Aiello's review of Love Lion here: Poet, Pianist Combine Talents on 'Love Lion'