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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John Densmore added 4 new photos to the album: Music Biz 2016 - Nashville, Tn (05-05-16).

(John's words from Music Biz Conference)

Real pleased to be here. I’m pleased to be helping out raising money for scholarships for kids, paying tribute to the young firefighter (Richard Sheltra) who lost his life, and to the people at the Bataclan (Paris Terror attack). Years ago I performed on that stage in that club in France.

And to be on the same stage with the Wrecking Crew dudes – the guitar picker for Elvis & The Beatles, and the Stones horn player is an honor.
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(Johns words from Music Biz Conference)

Real pleased to be here. I’m pleased to be helping out raising money for scholarships for kids, paying tribute to the young firefighter (Richard Sheltra) who lost his life, and to the people at the Bataclan (Paris Terror attack).  Years ago I performed on that stage in that club in France.  

And to be on the same stage with the Wrecking Crew dudes  – the guitar picker for Elvis & The Beatles, and the Stones horn player is an honor.

Theo Pap, S.A. Miller and 863 others like this

View previous comments

Marcelo CostaJohn, it's very sad that your dream's generation: peace and love still haven't achieved at all, but we cannot lose hope for a better world in the future.

3 days ago   ·  3
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Jay UsherCarmine A. And John D. In the same building.......... And the same frame ...wow .....

3 days ago   ·  2
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Ezra GabaySo great of you John!

4 days ago
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Katy MurphyThat is awesome John...you do great things! 💖

4 days ago   ·  1
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Kevin KoleYou don't need a drum key Densmore! You are always in tune.

4 days ago
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Alain Van den NesteKeep the spirit alife John you're doing your best, man!

4 days ago
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Guillermo BarajasJohn buena onda por ayudar ala gente no te olvides de ese gran grupo los doors eres el mejor cuando tengas un chante me das unas clasecitas de bateria👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

4 days ago
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Michael BartusYou are a class act John Densmore

4 days ago
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Donna HauserWhat a life you've lived!!! Such great accomplishments...

4 days ago   ·  1
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Gayle WilmouthRock on!

3 days ago
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Carlos Maza MonterOther time, LORD JOHN!

4 days ago
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Luiz FrancoMuito criativo e bom

3 days ago
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Clare LeesRock on ✌❤

4 days ago
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Dan ShepherdNice one john. Lifelong fan.

4 days ago
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Mary Ann PierceYou're helping people and making it a better place to live

4 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Jim Morrison

4 days ago
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Jim Morrison

4 days ago
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Herzog PascalEs sollte mehr Manzareks und Doors- Anhänger geben.

3 days ago
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Sven Kalmar

4 days ago
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Katie Waller

3 days ago
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Tarcisio SampaioSabrina Andrade olha que gato

3 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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John Densmore shared Hen House Studios's video.

Hen House Studios
With Keith Secola at Hen House Studios. #keithsecola #stevewyreman
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#johndensmore @keithsecola #stevewyreman #thedoors #nativeamericanmusic , #firstnation Edited by @noahbenjam_n #henhousestudios🐓🐓🐓

Amy Cecelia, Luan Abreu and 622 others like this

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Katie WallerJohn your the Best👊✌

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Ann Hamilton TarkingtonJohn, is your sister a PE teacher by the name of Ann Bennett? I believe that she was my PE teacher at Lincoln Jr. High in Santa Monica...

1 week ago

1 Reply

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Dan Maltbythe best part of the trip, the part I like

2 weeks ago   ·  2

1 Reply

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Tracy MelhornFrybread! Frybread!Secola knows ;)

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Janice Moore ApplegateNice to see you having fun.

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Ashley ScogginsGlad you still having jam sessions

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Gayle WilmouthOh yeah. Love it

1 week ago   ·  1
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Vitor LeonardoOh yeah

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Carlos Maza MonterFantastic MR JOHN!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Richard Vancilawesome as always

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Hilda Nereyda P RGrande Densmore!!

2 weeks ago
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John-paul CoeBeautiful guys 👍🏻

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Mark MateosWish he would play on a drum kit.

2 weeks ago
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Richard LandonDo it Robby!

2 weeks ago
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Dennis CrowderLooking good Johnny boy... real good.

2 weeks ago
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Jean-Noel JacquinThk for sharing

2 weeks ago
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Oliver KretzmerNice - reminds me a bit of Can with Damo Suzuki.

2 weeks ago
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Mik ChesneyKarin General... miss you!!!💚💚💚😘

2 weeks ago

2 Replies

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Saara Sutinen<3

2 weeks ago
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Markuz RobertJOHN , YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST BY FAR..JUST DONT FORGET IT..

2 weeks ago
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Johanna Kaufmann

1 week ago
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Well, the NRA got its wish. The whole country is armed. I sure hope "the good guys with guns" win ... See MoreSee Less

Brad Kopp, Vickie Nolden and 712 others like this

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Jonathan PreeceDallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said: "It's logical to say that in a shooting situation, open carry can be detrimental to the safety of individuals." Psychos like freedom too. Hell, I like shooting guns but I am happy to give up that right in exchange for living in a country where people aren't shooting each other daily. The UK had ONE school shooting and banned guns and now has one of the lowest gun crime rates in the world. It's a sacrifice you have to make to ensure people's safety. America's biggest problems are the 1st and 2nd. You allow racist hate speech and then allow those people access to guns, it's madness. You need to move on from that outdated constitution and join the rest of the civilised world asap

2 weeks ago   ·  30

17 Replies

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Christopher NollettI'm not the spokesperson for the NRA, but my sense in their aims are not to arm the whole country, just protect the rights of those exercising them responsibly. Dial it back and we might actually all be able to get along. The violence problem is bigger than you, guns, and most everything else.

2 weeks ago   ·  15

5 Replies

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Brian MooreHey John! I stayed in Jim's room on La Cienga this weekend. Went to Barney's Beanery, and the whiskey! Love you guy's!!! Wish I could have been there to see you guy's! The Doors!!!!!!! Best of wishes!!!!

2 weeks ago   ·  9
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Kevin WistromJohn, 'Merica wont be safe til all (white) people over the age of 10 have at least one loaded assault weapon at all times! Yee-haww!

2 weeks ago   ·  8

4 Replies

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Jason K. HaneyThe whole country has been armed since its inception. That is why we have the 4th of July. Don't get it twisted.

2 weeks ago   ·  8
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Christopher LawrellJohn times like this and political unrest in a divided country sounds familiar doesn't it? I'm one voice of millions who love the music you created with Ray,Robbie and Jim. Get behind those skins with the fortitude of your words. In these troubled times we have I hope the muse who gave you thought, promise and talent will rise again! You made this country scream do it again! Your voice is louder than mine John!

2 weeks ago
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Ron McClureIt's typical for most entertainers, to feel like John. No surprise he made this statement. I'll still forever dig The Doors; however.... anyone here been in close proximity when shots're fired? EVERYONE hits the deck. FEAR instantly sets in. IF....you're NOT armed, all you have is HOPE. To be in that situation is TERRIFYING. Trust me, please trust me, you'll be praying that a 'good' (yeah, John) person with a gun (hell, you won't even care, at that fearful moment, if that 'good' person has a permit or not!) will make an attempt, while risking their own life, to stop the NON law-abiding person from killing the law-abiding citizens. I hate to bring the bad, common sense news, but gun laws do not magically REMOVE all the guns from our Country. How many times must it be said that LAWS only apply to people who wish to follow them. Again, all the guns in America can't be removed. So, as far as us Americans go; if you wish to not carry, or possess a gun in your home, you have that right. I respect that. However, those of us Americans who wish to carry and/or keep firearms in our home, respect our right. As far as all this country-bashing or 'my country is better than your country' crap goes, can't we stop that? None of us have any control over where we were born, let alone any control over being born wealthy, poor (or in between) or of what skin-tone. I've been to many other countries, and I have my personal reasons for being proud to have been FORTUNATE enough to have been born American; by me staying that, as well as everything else I've written, is by no means saying I'm better than anyone...I'm just GRATEFUL that I have the FREEDOM to be able to write or speak and post this. Today, may we all enjoy a little peace. Mr. Densmore, thank you for creating all the music (absolutely love your drumming!) for all the world to forever enjoy!

2 weeks ago
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Jammy JerryThe majority of the "bad guys with guns" (street gangs) didn't buy their guns legally to begin with. They're lawless. Why are you only worried about the bad guys that shoot up your schools, malls, movie theaters, and nightclubs? Never open your mouths about gun control till the media tells you to. If BLM then get off you social media asses and go protest the gangbangers that shoot nearly 10x more than police yearly. I'm calling you all out as worthless keyboard warriors.

2 weeks ago
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Russ NewellI understand the slogan "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" has been replaced with "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a robot with a bomb." And, of course, god forbid that assault rifles were banned; why that would be almost as if someone banned the Tommy gun after gangster used that weapons for a couple of decades. Er, uh, oh, Tommy guns were banned and somehow the nation stood.

2 weeks ago
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Bill HamiltonThey got the guns but we got the numbers... But, they have the senators

2 weeks ago   ·  22
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David RamatowskiOh yes, it would be much better if our corrupt, criminal, and violent government had the exclusive franchise on deadly force. Have you read the DOJ statistics? Gun violence has been steadily declining for decades. But, worshipers of The State will stand on the bodies of victims of terrorists to justify their lust for control. Shame on you, John Densmore. Shame. Shame.

2 weeks ago   ·  4

2 Replies

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Matt RogaThese issues are never black and white. Anyone who thinks completely one way without any regard or understanding for the other side won't change anything.

2 weeks ago   ·  4

3 Replies

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Peter LamontMy car designed as transport has to be insured for about $600 a year in case I mame or kill someone. Their assult rifles designed to kill people has nothing like that

2 weeks ago   ·  3

3 Replies

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Carl BringThis is not about guns or gun control this is about the end of an era...and the rise of evil & if you're getting your information from television you are brainwashed!! You better fucking pray that someone with a gun is nearby to protect your ass when they come for you!! You have failed to open the Doors that have been laid in your path & John you have become old and afraid and docile this liberal agenda for gun control is not to protect us and give us a safer society it's a much larger plot and the very people who think they are the change are all just sheep being led to the slaughter because you didn't listen to Jim "This is the End" cheers ol chaps! may the creator have mercy on us all!!

2 weeks ago
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Gavin SavageI live in the u.k so I can't judge , we have are problems but , fear for the future of gun crime is not one of them , why because we just don't need them ✌️

2 weeks ago   ·  8

1 Reply

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Robert LagesThe bad guys always have guns--and they'll get them illegally, if they have to...

2 weeks ago
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John Q. SmithThe NRA used to support gun control; it used to care how reasonable people saw it. Then the nutcases took over - the people who think they know everything about the history of this country when they don't know squat from shinola. The government had the right to take yer gun back in 1776 you flockheads! You had to register exactly where it was in your house so they could take it when they wanted it! I'm waiting for the doctored George Washington quotes in rebuttal- here they come....

2 weeks ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Howard ConnorTo an Englishman it all seems rather mad. Tighter rules and less guns equals fewer shootings. But I doubt anyone in U.S. Politics has the balls to push and implement that. Different culture with different history and rules.

2 weeks ago
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Jane AyersMediatoday you gotta have guns to protect the gun free zones... geez~~

2 weeks ago   ·  2
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Katie WallerGuns kill unfortunately Good people. Your the Best band ever excited bad boys of Rock n Roll.

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Rich JohnsonImagine thirty, 5 year old children playing in a park. 1 of them has a stick and is going round hitting some of the other children. Is the answer to give all of the children a stick or is it to take the stick off the first child?

2 weeks ago

3 Replies

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Tammy ElaineJust thinning the herd...don't need to ban guns, there just needs to be more control over who gets them, and what kind....Canada seems to do just fine with gun control, I am very glad to live somewhere I don't feel the need to carry a gun to Walmart.....if the Orlando shooter had to stab 49 people, it would have to taken a lot longer, and he would have been stopped long before he got more than say 1 or 2 people stabbed...however keep comparing apples to oranges, whatever you need to keep your guns....my Dad owned guns my whole life, he hunted....it seems to me that it's to easy for the nut bags to get a hold of weapons that can shoot off multiple rounds...I don't understand why any regular citizen requires a gun that shoots more than 1 bullet at a time....

2 weeks ago   ·  1
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Paul HarperToday the Bahamas posted a travel advisory warning it's citizens about getting near police in America. No joke. The whole world is watching.

2 weeks ago
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Pereyra Mikha'el"I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures." -Geronimo thank you for honesty Mr. Densmore

2 weeks ago
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Bryn Devaneyso many have fought and died for freedom, and now that is the very thing that has become the bane of modern society. gonna need a lot of good hearts to clean up the messes we've made.

2 weeks ago
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