John Densmore

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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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7 days ago

John Densmore

Tickets are on sale now for the Homeward Bound Concert! Join John and Robby in supporting the homeless community, and be a part of an unforgettable night!

Tickets HERE:

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Tickets are on sale now for the Homeward Bound Concert! Join John and Robby in supporting the homeless community, and be a part of an unforgettable night!

Tickets HERE:



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Jim is homeless

Vengan a guadalajara México john densmore

I wish we could be there! Any shows in March?

Please come to the UK! <3

Thank you! Please come to Tucson, John.

Splendidi....❀❀ john end Roby. Dall ultima volta a rocce rosse Arbatax son passati circa 15 anni penso il piu bel concerto della mia vita !!!!!πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ’πŸ’fateci o rendete nn per me. Un altro omaggio. A i numerosi fans che vi adorano in questa splendida isola...chi era al concerto potra confermare

Good for you and Robbie.

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3 weeks ago

John Densmore

Will Rogers Exhibit - Ft. Worth, TX (9-3-67) ... See MoreSee Less

Will Rogers Exhibit - Ft. Worth, TX (9-3-67)


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..un ragazzino..grande John !

Josue Lozano Martinez

Excelente foto john densmore

Sometimes I wish had been around in the 60's. Great photo of you John Densmore.

Awesome pic. Thank You!!

Excellent pic... diggin those chops β™‘

I have a very cool pic taken by George Shuba of you with Jim in the foreground I’m guessing from around the same time.

Looks like a Gretsch although it’s hard to tell as the hoops look like slingerland. Cool photo!

Correct date and place: Will Rogers exhibit, Fort Worth TX, September 3rd 1967. Drums: Gretsch, used on the first two albums and on some songs of WftS.

Those are some badass chops...!

I was 3 months old! Born too late!

Thanks for sharing John, these pics are great.... a little bit of history and a nice distraction from everyone thing else that’s going on.

John I love it.

Is that a BLack diamond pearl Slingerland ??

Looks like a shared kit - not yours.

I was a year and half old

Epic picture

Anyone knows what drum model it is?

If people looked at the stars each night, they'd live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day. ~Rhonda Byrne

The Doors!!!

Need a harp player

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