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

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!...jd ... See MoreSee Less

 

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From Porto , Portugal , a Great day ! And thank your for all you give us all ! Álvaro Costa

Happy Birthday from Derby. The midlands UK.

You're an absolute inspiration, John! Happy Birthday to you and thank you for the incredible art through the years!

Happy Birthday and thank you for your music!

Happy belated birthday John! !!! Class act.

Happy Birthday, JD! I met him in Atlanta. He was awesome.πŸ€™πŸ»

John my good man. A very happy and healthy belated birthday. Wishing you another 75. Peace

We share the same day! Happy Birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN ! I've been listening to the doors since I was a sophomore in high school and you guys are still my favorite band. THE DOORS FOREVER✌ ~John III

Thanks for sharing your special talent and now your birthday with us. Keep on keeping on Sir!

Happy Birthday All the Best from Switzerland!!

Thank you for all the great music and really cool books. I am starting the new one now. The last one was the best book I had ever read. I really appreciate your dedication to pure art with out being Compromised. Your statement about not needing to be fueled by alcohol/drugs & leather pants to create music was very important. It’s so easy for young kids to head down the wrong path and it’s important for successful artists to sent positive messages to the planet. I want to learn more about your political activism. I’m sure with the disaster we have going on now, you and I are on the same page.

Happy Birthday you legend and thank you for making my life better with your music. I've had a real good time x

Happy birthday sir! Thank you for all the great music you and the fellas created for the world. You guys changed our lives for ever.much love and respect! Doors fan for life!

Happy Happy Birthday, John!!! You’re such an amazing musician! Thank you for being part of the music that has been imprinted on my heart and soul! β€οΈπŸŽˆπŸŽπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚

Happy Birthday John a little belated hope it was a wonderful day

Mr. Densmore. Wish you a lot of more years with success. Best regards from Portugal, where you're music still hyping. Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!!! Keep rockin'!! 😎

Un Tequila a tú salud hermano "Happy Birthday" Jim is the next in December 8

Happy Birthday from me in Akwesasne 🧁

Happy birthday to the guy, my hero, the one who inspired me to grab a pair of drumsticks and play drums!!! Wish u the best John Densmore

Happy Bday from Pennsylvania.

Happy Birthday to you, the most lyrical of all drummers.

Happy Birthday from The Barefoot Bandit.. our band are huge fans.. you're a legend!

Happy birthday to the guy who gave me a great pair of drumsticks back in the day because you knew how much I loved playing. Still have them and cherish them. Don't know if you remember me , but I was always around in NY from the Village theater to the Fillmore to everywhere in NY City.

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4 days ago

John Densmore

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Happy Birthday John!!! Thanks for your music!!!!

Thanks for the music and your great observations that you generously share! Happy Birthday- Forever Young!

Feliz aniversário! Lhe desejo felizes acontecimentos em sua vida.

Happy Birthday teacher. I say a musical god ... It would be an honor to see my congratulationsπŸ₯

Happy Birthday John! A huge influence on me as a drummer!

Happy Birthday John! You and your band are most influential. Thank you for the great drumming and recordings over the years!

Happy Birthday from Maine!

Happy birthday, John! Enjoyed meeting you once at a book signing in Nashville! Hope you have a wonderful day...:)

Happy birthday John so glad my son and I got to meet you in Boulder Colorado for your book signing

HBD, JD! Wishing you many Healthy and Happy returns to this occasion. May this next trip around the sun for you be the best ever. Happy Birthday, Sir!

N1 Happy Birthday John... break on through to the other side!

Feliz cumpleaños artista!!! Que cumplas muchos muchos más querido Robby!!!

Hope this birthday is the very best one, John! πŸ’ͺ

Happy birthday John Densmore, One favourite bands The Doors.

Happy Birthday John. One of my very favourite drummers, unlike any other.πŸ’™

Happy Birthday john Thanks for all the great drum beats and fills!

Happy Birthday John! πŸ₯‚πŸ₯

The cousin of my cousin is my cousin. Happy Birthday! πŸ₯³

Happy Birthday tithe drummer of my favorite band!πŸ˜ƒπŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰πŸ’—

Happy birthday Mister Densmore. Thank you very much for your music, and for the DOORS.

Many happy returns of the day John thank you for the Music xxx

Happy Birthday,John! Make it a good one!

Same day as Alain Bashung great and famous french singer !

Thank you John and that unique style you have all the best groups that I remember so well when I was a teenager .

Have a nice and Happy Birthday John πŸŽ‚πŸŽΆ

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

Doug Lubahn 12/19/1947 - 11/20/2019

Bass players & drummers are brothers... I loved playing with Doug Lubahn. John Densmore
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Doug Lubahn 12/19/1947 - 11/20/2019

Bass players & drummers are brothers... I loved playing with Doug Lubahn.  John Densmore

 

Comment on Facebook

I love Doug’s bass line on Wishful Sinful. And the Clear Light album is great too. RIP Brother βœŒοΈπŸ’œ

Raeanne Rubenstine shared the most Beautiful of pictures of Pam Courson how Beautiful is this sweet Angel Tops and Jim,they all will see each other Again in Heaven i believeπŸ’•πŸŒŸπŸŽš

Sorry to hear of the passing on of your musical brother, John.

Sad to know Doug Lubahn a contributor to some of The Doors greatest albums. RIP

I'm sorry John. It's tough to lose friends. I've lost quite a few and I remember the best times so they are always with me.

Rest in Eternal Peace.. I am sorry for your loss..

So sad...πŸ’œ

Graham Smith

Stellar studio musician. RIP

❀️

Sorry John

Jon Lauterer Seth Ryan

Muy sierto john densmore

Descansa en paz.

Sad news, RIP Doug.

Grande bass player

Hare Krsna

I'm sorry to hear this. I loved as well his work with Clear Light (a wonderful and forgotten band from the late 60s).

His work on the album Strange Days was good, I thought.πŸ˜€

My condolences to Doug’s family and to you John on the loss off your friend.

My condolences on your loss. Keep the memories alive and smile when you remember him.

Thank you John. Doug always considered those to be magical days.

So very sorry for your loss. Love & prayers for all that loved him πŸ™πŸ˜’

You’re lost little girl ... love that bass line

My condolences to all. Sorry John

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