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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4 days ago

John Densmore

Listening to Ray play ... See MoreSee Less

Listening to Ray play

 

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Chemistry combined with talent and hard work. The Mojo of all the greats. LA Woman has been on my shuffle quite a bit lately. Brilliant album. Love the pic!

What a wonderful photo! As long as music exists, Ray lives. His music will never be "over". I can't believe it's been 5 years. Ray passed away only a few months before my mother did...2013 was such a piece of shit.

Peace be with you, Ray. You are remembered, 5 years already.

Long Live Jim & Ray, and Long Live The Doors. That's my Perception.

It would make my whole year if you like my comment Mister Densmore!

What a great photo.

What a brilliant player. Left handed accompaniment unsurpassed to this day.

The way he combined the keys and bass keys was phenomenal, all 4 guys just smokin at what they did.

Why are Jim, Robby, and John sleeping ?

Looks like their listening to playback after doing some recording. I don't think Ray is playing piano in this pic

There were no Doors without Jim, You or Robbie. But Ray gave "The" to Doors

Y'all are my most favorite artists in the world...your music has saved my life. THANK YOU.

Is That A Hammond!

Love ray

Good times back there.... 😒

Times of la woman. Come to brazil, Jhon. We love you.

Looks like he's about to nod off

Ray Manzarek= Doors

We love The Doors.

Five years today already?! We miss you, Ray Manzarek!

No one like Ray....ever.

De lujo

Never seen this pic before!

Mitici!!

The. Best. Band. EVER

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

This excellent musician says it all: 'It's what's inside that counts... that gives you strength & power'...jd ... See MoreSee Less

 

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The beauty of spirit and body working in harmony!

Yep, he nailed it!

Thank you! πŸƒπŸŒΊβ€οΈπŸ™

From one of my old favourite drummers . . . . . . to a new favourite drummer! Awesome . . . . literally!

This guys in the movie Julian donkey boy.

β™₯️⭐πŸ₯πŸŽΌπŸ‘

alive we rise.... πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€

Much Respect.

Some daily inspiration Nick Milo Ana Isabel Corral

Thanks john!!

Amazing! ❀

Very inspiring!

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

(Photo Credit: Rick Martin) ... See MoreSee Less

(Photo Credit: Rick Martin)

 

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John I love your drumming on all doors song but when ya played the end in Toronto may 67 wow way you pressed your elbow into skin of drum love that and your maestro playing on Texas radio , five to one , unknown soldier, to name just a few

John..Check out the Buddy Rich- Ed Shaughnessy drum off on the Johnny Carson show..Simply Brilliant..!

Cool pic John love your style I learn from you every day still

Yep... even when taking a break.... always sticks in the hands

Love πŸ₯ ers

Never seen this pic before!

Get what I want I'm gonna crawl on your floor!

Thank you John!!!

Foto incrΓ­vel um sΓ³ Universo.

You can tell just how focused Mr. John Densmore is. One of the best timekeepers. Respect.

Got the beat!

1985?

Johhhnnnyyy!!!

year? Where?

Good Great John Densmore!

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