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

John performing a poem by Wendell Berry at the screening of the documentary GIFT this past Saturday (10-12-19).

Laemmle Monica Film Center
#giftdoc

GIFT
The generous & gifted John Densmore (The Doors), performing a poem by Wendell Berry (Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front) before GIFT screening at Laemmle Monica Film Center.

John fought against the commodification of The Doors' music after Jim Morrison died, & wrote about it -The Gift, & the greed gene - in his book The Doors Unhinged. Such a pleasure to share the stage with him -amazing night.
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Ressurection CANCELED THE 1ST TIME FOR A 2ND ESTABLISHment IN THE SACRAMENT OF A CALIFORNIA BEAR, IN AN ORION CONSTELLATION SMILE AT ONCE TO CARRY IT OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON SEE THE SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDER A FISHY VEIN PATTERN A MOLE ON THE SIDE OF A PEIRCED SOUL THAT BLEEDS INTO LIFE BY A 2 TIME PRESENT, MRRRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY BIRTHDAY LET US NOT FORGET EARTHDAY!

Loved it John.thanks.

Thanks John ...

Excelente John densmore

Eloquently read John Densmore..Thank you...(From across the pond.)

The older I get, the more I enjoy and appreciate poetry, and I thoroughly enjoyed this recital and performance from a master of such things. Thank you, John Densmore.

John Denmore Classic Superb musician.

Wow John !! That was really something !! Thank you πŸ™πŸΌ

Navi Pooni You're the first Brother that came to mind when I heard this. It's powerful. And provides major thought-provoking. Mr. Densmore is the drummer from The Doors. I spent time with him in Raleigh. He held my daughter and spent time with us. Here is an example of elder wisdom. I hope you like it as much as i did.

Absolutely love this πŸ’ž

wow....deeeep! very cool πŸ™‚

Right on ! Good stuff !!! ❀️

John Densmore- LEGENDARY DRUMMER AND MUSICIAN

very cool

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

A drumming force of nature, Ginger Baker has broke on through. Emblematic of his influence, I put 2 bars of his reverse-beat in "Hello, I Love You." john densmore

#GingerBaker
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A drumming force of nature, Ginger Baker has broke on through.  Emblematic of his influence, I put 2 bars of his reverse-beat in Hello, I Love You.  john densmore

#GingerBaker

 

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Thank you from all of us here at the family page xx

Ginger Baker was an amazing drummer. Cream was so short lived but wrote some amazing songs. GB was no bs and respected the art to be individual. He lived in my city for a while to have his polo grounds and I always wished I could have met him. He had a cool use of triplets in fills. Cream was a very cool trio, Jack Bruce was a great bass player and I Thought they grooved together well in the basement area of the song. There were so many incredible 60s and 70s drummers and he was one of the greats. Badge is one of my favorite songs and GB’s Army was cool as well.

Sad news indeed! One of my most profound influences in my my early years of drumming and percussion.....Mr. Baker really got me motivated both in the Rock and jazz formats and have always remained ....Rest in Peace sir...You will be greatly missed.....I can never look at a ‘’TOAD’ without hearing your incredible solo.Thanx for all you have done for us fellow drummers.You will always be in our thoughts and playing.

Sad news.. excellent jazz drummer, unconventional style, so much talent.., very cool tidbit about hello, I love you

John and Ginger, two of my drumming heroes!

Great drummer, now to making music with Bruce again and maybe Jim and Ray will add their influences for some heavenly sounds!

Thank you for your admiration.It comfort me

Cranked up 'Toad' when I heard the news. Ginger will live on in our ears and hearts. RIP.

So sad. Rip a great drummer.

Many drummers from the sixties bands are the great ones. Many many memorable drum lines. Most of Ginger Baker's certainly are.

So very sorry. I was a drummer here in LA & had hoped to go professional. Unfortunately, things didn't work out but I idolized him so much. I came close to meeting Ginger at Tommy Flanagan's house in Laurel Cyn in 1968 but missed him. So hard to imagine the world w/o him. Even harder becz' I have COPD as well. πŸ˜”

The Doors were a power trio, almost because Jim only sang. Takes a great drummer to make that work. Mitch Mitchell is another great one.

So sad about this tremendous loss for music. Condolences to his friends and family. R.I.P Mr. Baker

R.I.P. from your italian true fan

I followed him for a very long time.

RIP to a true legend.

Thanks john

One of the absolute greatest. Condolences to the family.

Loved CREAM HE WAS A GREAT HELP TO THE GUYS WITH THE BEAT WE HEARD -Ginger’s Ideas πŸ’‘ not Jack Bruce’s

I hear it in "Sunshine Of Your Love".

He was very talented

I'm sure The Doors did a lot of shows with Cream! Those were great times!!

R.I.P. Ginger Baker

Great shame will be sorely missed

Thank you xx

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