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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1 day ago

John Densmore

John and Robby at the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles / 98.7 FM Santa Barbara 60th Anniversary Benefit. (9-7-19) ... See MoreSee Less

 

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I wish, I was there for an amazing night!

I am far away, I have never seen them play, and I am not even of their times, yet it was the most influential band, "The Doors"! This is greatness! Thanks John, Robby, Ray, and Jim!

Wonderful

Love to my fav band.

I'd love to meet you and talk about the 60s!

I sure hope you played “Chrystal Ship”

You guys rock. Would've loved to have been there. Keep rocking you legend's πŸ€™πŸ‘‹

Wish I could have been there!!

It was a great show. Wished the live music opened the show. But it was worth waiting for.

Nice pants

Awesome!

Love Robby's pants.

Hello John πŸ’™πŸ₯°πŸ˜Š

Please come to Ireland, Especially Limerick the South part of Ireland.

Long live the Doors. Mojo

John and Robby come to Guadalajara πŸ‡²πŸ‡½

The moment you realize you are a legend and don't care what you wear, looks like pajamas Robby..

Rock On, Brother

Hermosos ambos!!!! πŸ˜πŸ’œπŸŽΌπŸŽΆ

Heath Chauncey

What a treat!...

Here's a title for ya,,, 'The Doors Ajar'.

You should do this so more oftenπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘

Why you did not play togheter the lasts tour with Ray too!!??

🀘🀘🀘

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2 days ago

John Densmore

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John, you guys were so magical during those 6 years...it's awsome just to imagine how great you could've become if Jim hadn't left so early. Better than the Floyd, better than the Zeppelin, better than the Queen, etc...because you had the best song writer in music history writting for you! 3 great musicians playing the words of a genious. Greetings from Portugal and THANK YOU.

Wow, John and Robbie jamming together. Ray and Jim have to be smiling from beyond!

Peace, & many Heavenly blessings to you & yours...✌❀

Would love to meet him and Robby and have them sign my doors vinyl record

Great to see you guys still jamming together.

Too cool for school....fabulous

Today my 6yo sang Break on Through back to me in the car...so I know I've achieved something!! Once a Doors fan, always a Doors fan....

Wow John densmore y robby krieger excelentes fotos

John and Robbie still rocking

Good pictures. Where was he @

Rock on. Jack now good music.

Looking good

So cool!!!!

β€πŸ‡¦πŸ‡·

Epic indeed!

Get together one more time...

Maestroo!!!!!πŸ‘πŸ‘

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