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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Happy belated birthday (Jan 17,1948) to legendary DJ Jim Ladd. ... See MoreSee Less

Happy belated birthday (Jan 17,1948) to legendary DJ Jim Ladd.

David Smith, Andrew Rozman and 397 others like this

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Álvaro Gomes da SilvaThis is the one whom gave to the world this sad news: "This is Jim Ladd from KLOS radio. We interrupt this programmed broadcast to bring you a special bulletin. Rock music fans all over the world are in mourning today. Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, was found dead in his Paris apartment this morning. French authorities contribute the cause of death to a heart attack. Morrison was twenty-seven years old. Goodbye, Jim. We’ll miss you." HELL, WE MISS THEM PLAYING TOGETHER...

3 days ago   ·  5

1 Reply

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Joe Chibbarono one loves the doors more then Ladd! happy bday

2 days ago   ·  2
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Mayara ReisHi John. Do you want to come to brazil to meet your fans? My dream would be to be able to give you a big hug and tell you how much I admire you. I love you so much!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Paul FlinnerHappy Belated Jim. Miss your shows. The Best. One of a Kind.

3 days ago   ·  1
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Vince BileckiHappy birthday John. Jim Ladd hello also love your show on Deep Tracks.

3 days ago   ·  1
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David Simmonsdidnt realize jim ladd was so big...especially standing next to pirate john

3 days ago   ·  1
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Roxan PelletierJohn looks happy I like that :)

3 days ago
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Jessi Katie WallerAwsome

3 days ago   ·  1
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Gayle WilmouthBeautiful photo.

3 days ago   ·  1
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Frankfurt perspective 1968 and 2018. (Photo Credit: Barbie Mugabe) ... See MoreSee Less

Frankfurt perspective 1968 and 2018. (Photo Credit: Barbie Mugabe)

Victor Valdez, Kerry Lee Koeppen and 1964 others like this

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Pitman RMWell, they planted a tree after all those years!

2 days ago   ·  1
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Sun WukongI was listening the other day , “ celebration of the lizard 🦎 “ that is a masterpiece none of you guys didn’t stop playing , you and Robbie should try a cover

3 days ago   ·  4

1 Reply

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Eddie MurrayNow this is awesome!

3 days ago   ·  2
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Gaetano de GregorioGuarda... guarda come il manzarek lo assiste sempre da dietro...

2 days ago   ·  1
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Fabio Pede👍

2 days ago   ·  1
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Tom MaloneTop pic around September 14th 68 the doors had played the roundhouse theatre at chalkfarm near Camden town on 5th and 6th September hope to visit there on 50th anniversary of night they play there.

3 days ago
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Dale JamesLooks WAY better with The Doors playing in it!!

3 days ago   ·  2
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Gaetano de GregorioLove me To time.... yeah yeah yeah

2 days ago   ·  2
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Walter HomburgKlara-Pauline Gattung I think I'm gonna visit this, this year :p It's one hour away from where you live, right?

2 days ago   ·  1

2 Replies

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Antonio CupelliniHello, I love you .. Won't you tell me your name? Hello, I love you... Let me jump in your game .. Hello, I love you 💓

2 days ago   ·  1
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Scott FergusonThe Doors ROCK. Cool as f**K!

3 days ago   ·  2
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Marlene HallWay cool

3 days ago   ·  3
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Steffi KoslarMy hometown <3

10 hours ago
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Luis TudelaRommerplazt in Frankfurt, beautiful place !!

3 days ago
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Jamie Moore

3 days ago   ·  1
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Andrew William WrightThe buildings in the background look off.

3 days ago   ·  1
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Judee CosentinoYou are awesome then and now, John!!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Katy MurphyAwesomeness. I love it John!!!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Ken AbbottBreak on through Jim.

3 days ago   ·  1
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Gayle WilmouthThis is awesome

3 days ago
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Stéphane MonteiroHello i love you......

3 days ago   ·  1
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David DiMatteoHow cool is this!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Jai Sri Krishna ChaitanyaJohhnnyyyy!!!!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Gustavo Perezme gusta la imagen de 1968 ...

2 days ago
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Paul MorrisonVery cool!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Doors Day 2018
Unveiling Morrison Street/Densmore Ave. (Photos Credit: Scott Mitchell)
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Regina Canto, Jose Carlos Gutierrez and 1022 others like this

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Yula WildWhere is It?

1 week ago

3 Replies

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Tim DeGrootKrieger Blvd and Manzarek Ave is only one acid trip away.

1 week ago   ·  4
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Ely PMman that gives me goosebumps and a knot in my throat....

1 week ago   ·  5
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Haydn ReissGo there at midnight and make a deal with the musical devil.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Pete BowmanThey better bolt them signs down. I can see those walking away real fast!

1 week ago   ·  3
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Suzanne PrideLight My 🔥

1 week ago   ·  1
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Gary Craddockoh man!...that's a great tribute but i think they are gunna get stolen!

1 week ago   ·  2
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Edmar BasilioParabéns, justa homenagem a membros da maior banda de todos os tempos, The Doors!

1 week ago
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Brian GrodzkiAt the cross road at the edge of town.

1 week ago
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Jimco DinaLol he hated morrison

1 week ago   ·  1
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Jrod Gilbertcan't wait to see it in3 weeks!! #theDOORSrule

1 week ago   ·  1
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Thomas MarinoWhere is this?

1 week ago   ·  1
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Byron ClothierWhere is this at!

1 week ago
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Dave Tullochfree parking for you now?

1 week ago   ·  1
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Timothy LeaIs it pub crawlable?

1 week ago   ·  1
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Chelsea RawlingsPretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat ....

1 week ago   ·  1
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Greg LeeAwesome..and Congrats..❤🤘🤘😎

1 week ago   ·  1
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Rob WilliamsonVery cool.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Paul MorrisonLOVE it!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Saro DjembeLegend !!!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Diego Jimenez SalazarNose que pensaría Jim, igual se orinaba en el poste

1 week ago
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Mario GarciaLove it!!!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Keith KundalinaHmm. Ok?

1 week ago
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Frank OttMeruit,Meruit daß find Ich ja nur noch Klasse!

1 week ago
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Jim Douglas MorrisonK bonito k le ayan puesto asi me encanta

7 days ago
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