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 habituΓ© 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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5 hours ago

John Densmore

This kid makes me smile when he plays!...jdyoutube.com ... See MoreSee Less

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Comment on Facebook

John densmore you make me smile when I hear you play.

Kojo is wise beyond his years and his chops are quite impressive, nice to see the flame of Jazz is alive and well with the next generation. 😺 Thanks for posting John Densmore.

Cool work kid. Thank you John for sharing your talent to the world

6 days ago

John Densmore

Happy Birthday Jim (Dec. 8) ... See MoreSee Less

Happy Birthday Jim (Dec. 8)

 

Comment on Facebook

Happy birthday. Wish i were in Paris to celebrate

Happy Birthday Mr Mojo Risin❀

Jim, The one member of The Doors I did not get to shake hands with. In memory, celebrating 75 today, in 2018.

Happy birthday JDM! You changed the world, brother. ❀

Happy Birthday to Jim, who may or not be living in Seychelles Islands.

Happy b’day Mr Morrison, for ever in our heart πŸ™‚

there's heroes and there's legends: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

Happy birthday to Jim, and R.I.P to John Lennon.

Happyness Jim Morrison... greatest ever..rest in eternal peace..m

Happy Birthday Jim! You have inspired me so much, in my life.

I love pics where he was smiling. Happy birthday to Jim the poet. ❀️

Happy Birthday to my Spirit animal!

Happy bday poeta del rock!

Happy Birthday, Jim! Miss you!!

The legend never die! Happy birthday Jim

Happy birthday lizard king...

Happy Birthday Jim! MR MOJO RISIN!

This is an amazing picture! Thank you John for sharing it with us as well as your amazing music. Happy Birthday Jim <3 <3 <3

Happy Birthday to one of my biggest inspirations! Love the Doors!

Happy birthday, Jim....u are definitely missed

Happy Birthday, Jim Morrison.

The lizard king happy birthday

Thank you John....and happy birthday to you..... and Jim...love from e/liz ...friend of etheridge knight...all ways

Great pic. Happy birthday in the great beyond, JimπŸŽΆπŸ’™

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

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Comment on Facebook

Glad you’re still around!

Happy Birthday John Hope you have a Grand celebration ! Maybe some one will buy you a new drum set ! Love hearing you play ! I love your time your feel and your swager ! The swager is what takes you to next level ! Thank you for the most important thing of your playing ! PASSION ! Keep driving forward maybe it’s time to reinvent your self with your playing ! Maybe try to play some old school JAZZ ! Piano ! Upright Bass ! And drums ! no vocals ! Just about the music ! Thank you

Happy Birthday ole boy!!!!πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚

Happy birthday John πŸŽ‚

Happy Birthday John πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚

Happy birthday John!

Happy birthday John wish you many many more, Love The DOORS you guys are still the best, your a great drummer

I am honored to share the same birthday as you, Happy Birthday John !

Happy Birthday John!!!!! Much love to you!!!! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸŽπŸ¨πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚πŸ¨πŸŽπŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Have a Very Happy Birthday John. I hope that you're doing great!

Happy birthday John You and Jim was born in December

Thank you for all the music and many happy returns to you :)

Happy Birthday John! Hope you're getting spoiled today.

Happy birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday, John and thank-you for always keeping the music, stories and Jim’s memory alive. You have no idea how you have affected so many of us in a positive way. Thanks so much for for being you! Have a great day!

Happy birthday! The music you created along with The Doors has been my perfect partner in this trip called life.

Happy Birthday Johnny !

Happy birthday Mr. Densmore! You've always been one of my "favorite people", best wishes for a happy birthday and many more healthy, happy years ahead. Thank you for supplying the beat to my lifetime! β™₯️

Happy Birthday John! Thanks for still being a good guy. : )

Happy birthday my fellow SagittarianπŸ˜ŽπŸŽ‚πŸ‘

Happy Birthday John!!! Have a Great Day

I so still love the drumming on the song, "The End." Well-Well Done, John Desnmore!

Happy Birthday you are truly a Legend

All the best, JD. Happy Birthday!

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