John Densmore

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“I play the drums,” says John Densmore, with tangible pride.

He may be belaboring the obvious, considering that, as the rhythmic engine of The Doors, he’s responsible for some of the most famous beats in rock history. But Densmore still bristles at what he calls the “dumb drummer” stereotype.

“The drum was the first fucking instrument,” he declares. “The reason people move and dance is that they’re trying to get back to that heartbeat. It’s the heartbeat you hear in the womb that started the whole deal. An orchestra, a four-piece rock band, whatever it is, they’re trying to get back to that heartbeat.”

The universal, ancient call of this heartbeat has been Densmore’s obsession since his childhood in Southern California.

“I took piano when I was eight, and I loved it,” he recalls. “I liked improvising on songs I had learned, rather than learning new ones. I got turned on by the piano. My teacher would give me songs to play, simplified classical and pop, and I got off on it.”

Eager to try his hand at another instrument, young John at first fixated on the clarinet. His orthodontist, however, strictly forbade him to wrap his wired mouth around any reed instruments. The world has this medical professional to thank, then, for the fact that John Densmore headed for the drums.

“I was in the orchestra and the marching band with those stupid uniforms,” Densmore recollects. “I got a rush from playing with 40 musicians, no matter how amateurish–there’s power in a marching band.”

He became enamored, in his teens, with jazz–and particularly with the playing of drummer Elvin Jones, whose evocative, muscular grooves with John Coltrane’s band influenced a multitude of rock musicians. He also became a habitué of the L.A. club scene, where bands like The Byrds and Love were a foretaste of things to come.

He met guitarist Robby Krieger, and the two began writing and playing together in a band called Psychedelic Rangers. Densmore next hooked up with Chicago-bred keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who was then playing in a group known as Rick and the Ravens with his brothers and a shy Floridian named Jim Morrison, who knew Manzarek from UCLA film school.

Eventually, Manzarek’s brothers left the band, and Densmore brought Krieger in. The foursome gelled, despite lacking an element most bands took for granted. “We couldn’t find a bass player,” Densmore remembers. “We tried once or twice, but we sounded like the Stones. A white blues band. Who cares? We wanted to be different.”

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2 days ago

John Densmore

Went to a benefit yesterday and heard The Chambers Brothers... they were great... we reminisced about playing the Hollywood Bowl together... jd ... See MoreSee Less

Went to a benefit yesterday and heard The Chambers Brothers... they were great... we reminisced about playing the Hollywood Bowl together... jd


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I know of John Denmore but I don't know him anymore I know Paul macartney I know of them they are not personal friends

"...and my soul...has been psychedelicized!!!!"

I was privileged to meet and converse with both bands backstage after a concert they played together in San Diego, two nights before the Hollywood bowl appearance. My buddy Clyde and myself drove to the hotel where the bands were staying in Mission Valley at their request, to see what kind of shenanigans went on with rock bands after the show,Only to get rousted by the San Diego Police Department, and told to go home because it was after curfew. The doors, of course were great, but the Chambers Brothers were Headliners in their own right. It’s great to see that they’re still kicking ass and taking names

Fantastic! That's a lot of talent represented in that photograph! Chambers Brothers have a great sound, didn't realize they are still performing together.


When you can live memories they are very special

All love, peace, and happiness to all of you guys.

(Tick...tock...tick...tock...tick...tock...) TIME!!!!!

Great photo!

Yes, Time Has Come Today!!!

What????? No way, awesome

What a great photo!

Que bien

Far out!!!!!!!!!!!1



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5 days ago

John Densmore

John and Robby playing at the Santa Monica Pier 18 years ago today. (Thanks Len for sending).The Robby Krieger Band is joined live on stage by special guest John Densmore at the Santa Monica Pier on July 13, 2000. 1. Introduction - 0:00 2. Love Me Tw... ... See MoreSee Less

Video image


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I would pay unfathomable amounts of money to see the two of you play together! C’mon guys... “get together, one more time”!

Robbie Krieger, John Densmore, Cliff Morrison, and Pablo Manzarek!

Glad I saw riders on the storm in 2005...Ian Ashbury did Morrison right

I remember going to see Robby play at the House of Blues around the same time period, Perhaps a year or two before. Desmore appeared at the side of the stage out of nowhere making me lose my shit. He walked up Robby's drummer, I think his name was Dale Alexander, in the middle of a song and John took Dale's place in the middle of the song. They switched so smoothly that if you weren't watching you wouldn't have noticed. I was so thrilled to see to members of the doors performing at once and John;s appearance was completely unexpected. Such a good time. I'll never forget that show.

So when are you going to play together again

I wish I had been there having fun and having one my best memories ever. 😀🎈🥁🎸🎹🎶🎶🎤🎶🎵🎵🎵🎼🎛️ 💑👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩

Not the same without the lizard king

I was there, John Densmore!!!! You & Robby Krieger nailed it as always!!

Awesome music keep it up

Only the Best...

That's the first time I've seen that video. Awesome!

back when Robby's concerts were really good

Robby Krieger on voice!! <3

Vuelvan a juntarse y vengan a guadalajara México

Awesome video! I wish I was there! 😫

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1 week ago

John Densmore

Photos from Yasuni Man - The Film Screening event at the Harmony Gold Theater, L.A. (6-14-18) (Photo credits: JB Henderson/Brandon Tyler Williams). ... See MoreSee Less


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Thank you for coming, John! Really grateful to have your support at the screening. Your attendance was a great honor. Hope to see you again sometime. For the Amazon!

John , have you any plans to visit the uk ?

John is the man!

Un grande por exelencia....

Cuando por chile john saludoors

Andrew Michael Martin this guy was the drummer for The Doors and does all kinds of awesome stuff still yet. We HAVE to attend one of his live performances in some capacity when we’re in CA.


Danny Ruiz

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