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 habituรฉ 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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Outstanding. I Just love these Beautiful Pictures. Thank You for sharing๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’ž

Love looking at these pictures! Thank you for sharing โค

Thank you for sharing the pictures of Jim Morrison. I love doors

Thank you John the pictures are awesome.

I love it when you post these pictures thank you so much

Thank you John...for everything! โค

Great Picture !!! Thank you John !!!!!

Great picture. Thanks for posting.

Great photo!โคโค

I love love love old photos!!! "Isn't it amazing"

Thank you so much John!!! We love you!!!

Thanks John! Love the pics, keep them coming!

One of the most artistic drummer I've ever known, love his style๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ŠThanks John!

Awesome picture.. Jim Morrison!!

I hope you enjoyed working with Alexandra Richman Soltow as much as I enjoyed The Butts Band. Those two albums you guys made are the pride of my album collection. ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ‘ They are priceless to me......โ˜ฎ

Babies.... such a great pic

Thanks John

Poignant image taken during an era we all miss very much. Warmly, SD

Thanks for sharing photo, never seen before

Thank you for sharing your memories of your musical brother Jim with us Doors fans John...

Real rockstars.

I love Doors pics I haven’t seen before ๐Ÿ™

The very first rock star!

Still in their infancy with still with their awesomely fresh and raw sound. 1967 was the best year.

La Crescenta Valley High School, May 26th 1967. Photo in excellent quality.

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6 days ago

John Densmore

The VooDoo Man has crossed the tracks, but has left a satchel of gris-gris (his songs) to cure all y'alls ills...jd

(RIP Dr. John - Photo credit: AP Photo/Joe Giblin)
... See MoreSee Less

The VooDoo Man has crossed the tracks, but has left a satchel of gris-gris (his songs) to cure all yalls ills...jd

(RIP Dr. John - Photo credit: AP Photo/Joe Giblin)

 

Comment on Facebook

Very sad new !!! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Alvaro Costa

Rest in peace

Gone, but he left his musical medicine till we meet again!

Rip to one of the most important icon of rock

'such a night, sweet confusion under the moonlight'

I don’t know what all the fuss is about but what do I know, I play Edgard Varèse for fun.

In 1974 I stood him up on a blind date...and ever since have felt that I a) missed out, and b) dodged a bullet! A character among a whole city of characters...

He will be missed โ˜ฎ

Voodoo Man adieu ๐Ÿ˜”

Loosing way to many music icons recently! ๐Ÿ˜ข

RIP

RIP

gris, gris.

Wrong place at right time

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1 week ago

John Densmore

Photo Credit: Ferb Edwards ... See MoreSee Less

Photo Credit: Ferb Edwards

 

Comment on Facebook

Amazing words John. Thank you.

Beautiful words brother.

Great words. Thanks John.

Beautiful words

Thanks for your books... ๐Ÿ‘

Thanks for everything, John.

Be positive old man. Warmly, SD

Priceless.

I Love this verse! Looking like my next tattoo

Inspired music and words over such a short period which will last beyond you all

The blue bus is calling us.....

Best of the Best band ever existedโœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘

The perfect road for Riders On The Storm.

I’m so glad you took that road, John.

Love me 2 x baby โ™ก

Nice statement John! I regularly watch my collection of Doors dvds and would be keen to watch some unseen footage. What’s the chances of you putting some stuff on a USB or DVD and posting it to Australia? Regards Andrew

It certainly is a thin raft.

Damn John, I thought you guys took your own road. Or is the road a metaphor for the Snake?

Yes, thanks John Densmore.

Thin raft ๐ŸŒŠ

Truth

๐ŸŽถRiders on the storm๐ŸŽถ

โค๏ธ

๐Ÿค™๐Ÿผ

Speaks to the myth, tell us please, about the real person Jim was.

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