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 shared La Neta Noticias's video.

La Neta Noticias
Border Crossings
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👨🏻‍🏫El profesor de música les enseñó a sus alumnos "People Are Strange" del grupo The Doors🎶🎵 ¿Ya nos sigues en Instagram? 📸 👉http://bit.ly/2eUIr5z

Noe Arenas, Jose Pena and 23 others like this

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Neto Cruzo'ob WailerI was the same age, the same country,the same fucking flute, but not the same teacher (who actually was bulling us) or year. Strugglin with the idea of authority, making my own personality, untill someone gave me a Doors album. The rest is history.

6 days ago   ·  6
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Jon RobereThat was bitchen... The Doors captured my soul while in my teens and they have been with me ever since... Only wish I could have seen them live... :)

6 days ago   ·  4
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Yanet LópezYes, John! The Doors has been crossing borders since always! My uncle and my mom used to dance to your music back in the 70s here in Argentina! And now, my sister and I do it. It is in the blood. Everyone everywhere is a The Doors fan.

5 days ago
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Jeho Nat HanMost teacher dont think like that good for him that get the young people to listen to good music not to thrash like todays music

6 days ago   ·  3
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Memo Perez HernandezAnd this is México I love you John Densmore!

6 days ago   ·  7
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Jorge A. GutierrezMéxico loves the doors, I love the Doors thanks to my father...

6 days ago   ·  1
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Nick Griffithsand the band..played on!

6 days ago   ·  1
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Cristina PezzarossaGrace Bennet noi a scuola invece Fra Martino Campanaro!! Ma ciao!

6 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Roy Abraham Rojas HuamanGonzalo puedes retomar tu fe en la humanidad por esto? :v

6 days ago

1 Reply

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Jim Cobain EdgarPooMuchas gracias por compartir el vídeo Sr. John Densmore soy el profesor de música de esos chicos y siempre he sido fan de su musica es muy gratificante y un honor que lo haya visto larga vida a usted y al legado de The doors.

5 days ago   ·  1
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Juan OrtegaI'm am Mexican and I grow up with your music , now I a Musicien. Vivan los Doors!!

6 days ago
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Oscar René MolinaHéctor Herrera lo compartió el buen John Jajajaja que loco

6 days ago   ·  1
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Piotr CzechOrchestra la The Doors :) maybe create?

6 days ago
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Edo van HeeseJimmy van Heese, ken je hem nog ? "When your strange"...

6 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Francisco García CruzWhen the rock & roll is running in your veins

6 days ago
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Charlie PoirierAwesome John. Thanks for sharing. Made my morning.

6 days ago
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Jorge C-rI sent this link to Mr John Densmore and he shared it!!!!!!! Thank you John!!

6 days ago
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Bradley Le BoeufI'm waiting for the marching band version during halftime.

6 days ago
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Raul Negrete UzetaGuillermo Chávez Rodríguez chingon!! buen trabajo de ese maestro!!!

6 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Mikel HernandezJohn Densmore Thanks for share! This is México :)

6 days ago
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Javi Villaseñor VazquezMira comprade Noe Lino y Roberto Rockalma ya le gustó a John densmore este video

6 days ago

3 Replies

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Alex Dalí Lennon RiveraYeah ! People are strange from THE DOORS , good song

6 days ago
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Sebastian LeonXavier Vallejo Franco asi q hubiera sido el rayban jaja

6 days ago
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Andrómeda Electra GarciaKeila Salgado Ya viste quien compartió este video?

6 days ago   ·  3

6 Replies

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Bollo FluxALSO THEY PLAY LIGHT MY FIRE

6 days ago   ·  2
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A great friend has passed... a great actor, too. It was a great thrill to sit in with Harry Dean Stanton at a club in Hollywood. We played Dylan's 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door." I felt that Harry Dean was knockin' on heaven's door his whole life! A deep soul...jd

(Photo from L to R: Johnny Depp, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Dean Stanton, Harper Simon, John Densmore)
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A great friend has passed... a great actor, too.  It was a great thrill to sit in with Harry Dean Stanton at a club in Hollywood.  We played Dylans Knockin on Heavens Door.  I felt that Harry Dean was knockin on heavens door his whole life!  A deep soul...jd

(Photo from L to R: Johnny Depp, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Dean Stanton, Harper Simon, John Densmore)

Sherri Honea, Dennis Ruddy and 23 others like this

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Scott BerlinerGreat actor! I can't believe he was 91! I would have guessed him much younger. Good for him! I think the first movie I ever saw him in was Repo Man, but the role that I'll always identify him with was in Cool Hand Luke. His part in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as the sentencing judge was short, but also memorable. That might be because I've seen that film so many times though!

1 week ago
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Sandra SchulmanSaw him play at The Mint, he was juggling a cigarette, a guitar, harmonica, whisky glass. He kept bonking his head on the oversize microphone. It was brilliant.

1 week ago
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Brian LuxOne of my all-time favorites. A sad day but grateful for the man's excellent work. Best wishes and sorry for the loss of your friend, John.

1 week ago
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Paul MorrisonOne of my favorite actors, will miss him.

1 week ago
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Deborah Martin LareauI'm so sorry for your loss, John. R.I.P. Harry Dean Stanton.

1 week ago
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Mike LashmettCocktails and conversations with him at Dan Tana's I will never forget....

1 week ago
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John CollinsJohn good friend of Richie wright hit me up please

1 week ago
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Nick GriffithsMy condolence, on the passing of your friend John.

1 week ago
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David DiMatteoHe made every thing he was in better. Look at the talent on that stage!

1 week ago
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June SchalitJust watch "Big Love" He was very good in it.....

1 week ago
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Bedrich MohrPlaying that big gig in the sky.

1 week ago
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Jeannine RobertonSo sad to hear it. I loved his performance in Big Love.

1 week ago
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Patrick BoyleI listened to The Doors last night....for the millionth time. just sayin'

6 days ago
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Peter Boris KolbohmA real legend,sadly missed

1 week ago
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Thomas RestelAVENGE ME!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Jim AllenGod Love Him!!!

1 week ago
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Edward Dillon"What do want Brain?"

1 week ago
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Rean Nancooso sorry God Bless.

1 week ago
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Gayle WilmouthSo sorry. Bless him

1 week ago
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Kerry HarpurSorry for your loss

1 week ago
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Tommy MartinHe will be missed! What a life. What a lifestyle!! ❤️🙏

1 week ago
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Julie CliffordRIP Harry Dean.

1 week ago
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Andrea Pamela Nicolas ZilliGrande jhon!!

1 week ago
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Rodrigo Alejandro Rojas Zuazagoitiaque genial momento

1 week ago
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AnnaMaria CritelliMy Condolences JD! 🙏🏼

1 week ago
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Sitting in with Lukas Nelson's band ... See MoreSee Less

performed at Charley's Saloon. John Densmore sits in on drums

Isabel Dorado, Neil Walker and 23 others like this

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Marco SteinerJohn, your drumming is magic!

1 week ago
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Eliseo Hernandez OrtegaI got shivers up the back of my neck _at the slow down of the beat at the end.my Thanks to you John!

1 week ago
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Bart StarfunkleNice! You should consider sitting in at the Pappy and Harriet's show in the desert!

1 week ago
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Adam StephensHow lucky are you guys, having the legend John Densmore performing with you, amazing.

1 week ago
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Brian DowneyMy favorite Doors song!! 🤘🤘

1 week ago
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Gibrann Sánchez-RamosVery nice Master John Densmore 😌👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

1 week ago
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Rean Nancoosweet.

1 week ago
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Jai Sri Krishna ChaitanyaAllright buddy ..keep that torch lit

1 week ago
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Diego Jimenez SalazarJohn y su magia

1 week ago
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Dane KlassenWow , great to see you playing !

1 week ago
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Guglielmo MezzafavaGRANDE JOHN!!!

1 week ago
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John SenglerVery Good!

7 days ago
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