John Densmore


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Biography

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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

Jim and John - Waiting For The Sun recording session. (Photo Credit: Paul Ferrera) ... See MoreSee Less

Jim and John - Waiting For The Sun recording session. (Photo Credit: Paul Ferrera)

 

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Why does everything JM did be construed that he was under the influence? Why not believe that these 3 musicians and 1 poet were visited by the Muse and created songs that are still relevant today.

So thankful for Paul Ferrara because his photo/films have truly helped keep the memory of The Doors alive these past 50+ years.

Why does the Album "Waiting for the Sun" not have the track " Waiting for the Sun", I've always wondered that

You are still the nicest, coolest Rock Star I’ve ever met. Good man, great drummer JD😘

What can I say? I never tire of seeing photos like this, of men of genius creating their timeless music. Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks John you have awesome talent!

Aww that's a precious scene one of my favorite songs! 😢 miss Jim

Cool room , looks like they really made the acoustics work look at the cieling

John, jim was drunk in this session ?

What the song recorded on this photo? Summer's almost gone ?

Endless sessions. Jim was in the teeth of addiction by then.

Simplemente sensacionales son the Doors

Good picture. Rock & Roll history.

AWESOME PHOTO

epic photo John!

Such a great album

Album or song?

Not to touch the earth

Is Jim eating?

So Much Yessssss to this Photo!♥️♥️♥️

Roby um abraço.

Ying and Yang...

🙏🏼

👍

💙👊🏻💙

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1 week ago

John Densmore

Happy Birthday Ray (Feb 12) ... See MoreSee Less

Happy Birthday Ray (Feb 12)

 

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Happy birthday to the greatest organist and storyteller in the history of rock . RIP Ray Manzarek

Happy Birthday, Ray! We have all been blessed by your music and by your mere presence on this earth!

Fly in the Sky Ray! Happy birthday! <3

I had that Doors poster back in the late 60s, purchased in S.F. It dissapeared when we moved😭 Happy Birthday Ray!!

Sending Birthday Wishes to Heaven~~~~ Happy Birthday Ray. ❤

Happy birthday Ray, thanks for the music

Happy birthday Ray! Rest peacefully ✌️

Peace be with you Ray, thank you for the beautiful music!

Happy birthday Ray manzarek

Thanks for sharing John. Happy birthday Ray!

Ray is a Great South Side Chicago Guy..!

Happy heavenly birthday Ray. Stay cool 🎶

R.I.P. Ray, you are missed, man.

Be thinking of you soon when I see The Doors Alive tribute band. Just the best. Shut my eyes and I'm there with you all back in 69. A tribute to 4 fantastic guys

RIP Ray; we will miss you always....

The driving force of the doors

He was amazing, fantastic and is still unmatched. <3

Taken too early.up there jammin with jim

Met ray in boston 77 what a nice guy love the doors!

🙁saludoors friend happy birthday low piano😇Ray

Happy Birthday Ray Greetings From Mexico🎶🇲🇽

'you're going to where..Paris?'

Belle photo souvenir! What can I say, unless, dreamin' spending a night, inside the mythology , breathing sparkle's cymbal's, snaring stars, dream of a crown, whistle training organ, baffled mind, twisted, looking for some. Thing's, some rolling chord's and then, a train, Jim & the wagon wheels, rollin' & tumblin'. .. Four together and I'm the fifth, the crowd, so thankful. You made me, now I share✌️Five to one, we are

Great shot...best four ever...timeless and endless...

Love that Vox Continental.

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