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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1 week ago
John Densmore

VMP AMA ... See MoreSee Less

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Robby soo happy listening to you talking fondly about Greta Van Fleet ......Doors is my absolutely all time favorite band ..and my new favorite band GVF.

John Densmore you are a criminally underrated drummer. Jazz/Swing/Latin/Rock/Prog, blues, its all there. Plus a superb sense of timing, dynamics and musical fills. I salute you πŸ‘Œ

Thank you πŸ™... please keep the reunions going ... can’t wait to hear y’all and Bob jamming ! The doors means so much.

You guys are still the coolest, man! βœŒοΈπŸ’›

You guys are THE BEST! Big hug from Brazil!

Really great segment better than nay documentaries to date. Thanks guys!!! Love The Doors!!

Love these national treasures!

Love this and thank you.. any time I can catch you guys talking ... I hang on any and every story and word... again thank you.. keep it rolling boys!

Robbie ma come cazzo fai ad essere ancora vivo dopo tutto quello che ti sei fatto?? πŸ€ͺ respect

Estou satisfeita em rever Rooby, saudável e na ativa junto a John. SUCESSO!!!

Jim's place in Paris is totally abandoned, do something, he deserves more than that!

Thanks for the music.

OMG!!!😍😍😍 This was great! Straight from the horse’s mouth!! ❀️❀️❀️ The DOORS forever. BEST BAND EVER!!!!!

We simply love u John!!

Densmore always comes across facetious and like he's deriding Morrison and his time with the band

πŸ’šπŸ’―legends .

Classic tunes by The doors

Lo que daría yo por conocerlos, simplemente con tocarles ya para mí sería lo más

Classic ..... πŸ™‚

❀❀❀

πŸ‘ŒπŸ’―πŸ‘ŒπŸ’₯πŸ‘Œ

ROCK ON John !!!

They remember? Bet they had to read through a biography and go "haha oh yeah man that happened". LOVE the Doors

πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

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2 weeks ago
John Densmore

With my elbow squeezing the snare head, I make the drum talk!...jd ... See MoreSee Less

With my elbow squeezing the snare head, I make the drum talk!...jd

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John, what was that spoken word thing you did about 40 years ago? I remember a frog outfit...but the rest is blurry for me.

We love your conversation Sir! This sounds like a Doors Lyric: With my elbow squeezing the snare head, I make the drum talk! With my hand grasping the snake head, I make the devil walk! With the rhythm calling ancestors forth, I make divine earth quake! I’ll be dancing on your gravestone, after drinking at your wake! Coz I’m the keeper of the beat and who chases evil down! I’ll pound you into submission, and run you out of town. With my elbow squeezing the snare head, I make the drum talk! With a JD and a smile friends, with Giants I will walk.

The music in between the spaces makes your gut spill truth

John you've always been the biggest inspiration for me on drums since I started playing

I'm currently reading Riders on the Storm. I've been a big fan since 1980, my favorite album is Waiting for the Sun. πŸ₯

I love you mr dens more you are an inspiration

You show that drum whose boss!

You are the story of the music🎼🎢🎡....πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ’ͺ... Magic atmosphere from The Doors.... ❀️

Used to do that when I was younger, maybe I should bring it back to my bag of tricks. Lol

That's what she said!

I can hear that beat in me head now ❀❀❀.

The timekeeper surely knows what to do! Great John!

never seen that kit! What is it?!

You do it like no other!

Your drumming got me interested in jazz at a young age. Thank you for that. The Doors will forever be my favorite band.

Brother you did more than that. Drums in shamanism is the most important aspect of the sacred ritual you guys created in every song lyric. In every guitar rift and every stroke of the ivory. You guy's are the doors of perception to the infinite...

Your elbow mutes in the end are magical

Get stuck in John ,, your an absolute leagand πŸ€β˜˜οΈπŸ€β˜˜οΈβœŒοΈ

"I ain't fartin on no snare drum"

Interviewed. Him great guy

John,when u wake up in the morning do say to yourself"did that really happen or did I dream that?"

Yes sir you do

No puedo escuchar al master

Far Out!!!

You’re a hell of a percussionist...

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