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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3 days ago

John Densmore

TODAY (4-19-21)! Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will feature John in their Hall Of Fame Series Interview. John will be discussing his new book "The Seekers: Meetings With Remarkable Musicians (and other artists)" as well as celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the release of "L.A. Woman!" Catch it at 7:00PM EST (4PM PST). found.ee/JDRRHOF

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John sits in with Keith Secola and the Wild Band of Indians at GrassRoots archive.org/details/KeithSecolaAndHisWildBandOfIndians2004-07-23.matrix.flac16

Rock on John one of the greatest drummers of all time in rock and roll amazing

Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger continued to write and record John? Not so much. He IS a fan of socialism though....πŸ€” Listed last on every single album still!

John Densmore & Bruce Dern, separated at birth ?

Wishing you a happy life

JD, we should play again live

Can’t,you just shut up,and just play the Drums ..Jim Morrison.?

It''s also the Release Date of April 19, 1971!! L.A.Woman!! I still have the Original Vinyl LP!!

I’ve never been much of a reader as I think I get fatigued with some form of a eye issue. That changed when I first read John Densmore’s “Riders on the Storm”. Knocked it through in two weeks. That’s a reading record for me. Same thing with “The Seekers”. JD has a way of writing where it’s is smooth but no dull moments. I just completed two 5.1 surround sound mixes of Touch Me and Riders on The Storm. Unbelievable musical landscapes by the Doors. I found almost all the separate tracks for those two songs. I’ve been a huge Doors fan since I was 7 and now over 5 decades later I’m at the highest level of Doors appreciation. The Doors really should issues 5.1 surround sounds mixes of their music. There is a lot to be learned by a surround sound mix of this outstanding music. Each part by each member is so good. I’ve always loved JD’s drumming but, working on those mixes and listening to the separated drum tracks really upped my JD appreciation.

Where about can I buy that book from please and thank you

Muy bien

The guy who doesn't have time for his fans but wants our money.

Led Florencio, olha que maneiro.

Mint i played there in 2001

Thanks John

LA Woman classic.. Great. Holds up after 50 years. How many albums can say that!πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ’₯πŸŽ€πŸ’žπŸ’‹πŸŒΉ

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5 days ago

John Densmore

My Dear Fans, There has been an increase in letters asking for autographs, which I talked about a few years ago. I will say it again: I really appreciate you guys, but like Ringo, I just don't have time to sign any, unless it's an official signing. Between helping run The Doors and writing books, I need the rest of the time to be with my family. Thanks again for all the support, john d. ... See MoreSee Less

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You owe the world nothing, you've given humankind such amazing gifts - you've certainly more than earned some time for rest and relaxation. Thank you for helping to create the soundtrack of my life...and your books are pretty damn awesome as well.

John, Ringo or any other rock and roll icon owe us nothing. At any time of the day or night, you can play their music and enjoy what they gave to the world. The Doors get me through my workout every day!

Just do your thing thank you for explaining but I understand writer's cramp is never fun and it is hard I'm sure to find time.

Thank you for everything you gave us, John! Have a great time with your family! ✌🏻

Funny story John. I’d never ever asked anyone for an autograph at all in my adult life. When I was a kid I got the Yankees Bobby Mercers autograph. About 6 years ago Robbie Krieger played a gig and I love the Doors so much I waited on a line. I shook Robbie’s hand and told him how much the music meant to me. He grunted at me with a disgusted, disinterested look on his face and looked away so the next chump could get the autograph. That’s the first and last time I’ll ever ask anyone for an autograph.

Thank you John for the great music of The Doors and maintaining the legacy with your books.

John and you are so generous with sharing all you do. From online streams to your awesome Seekers book. The Doors legacy is in very adept hands with you and Robby. You always are generous when your books come out and with poetry readings and all your right on activism. I'm one of the lucky ones, you talked with my son and I and signed your book for us. Best of the best- we will be playing The Doors forever- thank you!

I certainly understand. You signed a book at a book signing and I really appreciate it. It was a pleasure to meet you...😊

I know John. He's nearly a member of my family and loved by us all. Maybe some of you that are complaining about this should try to keep his schedule at an age where most folks are winding their lives down. It's not easy, so be understanding if you can. Peace. P.S., I don't have his autograph either πŸ˜‰

Always thought there was more than a fair bit of family values awaitening the four members of The DOORS!

I have never really understood the autograph thing, and would have assumed that if you wrote to a Door or a Beetle you would just get a printed or a secretarial facsimile anyway so impressed that John has been doing them. Then there are those people who get things signed to make profit or ask a famous person when they are "off duty" or with family which must be very annoying however grateful you are to your fans. Thanks for the Music John i don't need your signature but still might grin and stare weirdly if i ever got to see you in public πŸ˜‚

We love you, John!!! Would love to meet you one day and get an autograph. Thats the only way to properly get an autograph, I believe. Meeting a legend and getting a signed photo in person, there is nothing like it.

Thank you John for all that you’ve done. The only thing I’d ask if I ever got a chance to meet you, would be a handshake! Keep up the great work you’ve been doing my friend!

Saw Kareem at LAX one night and 20 plus people surrounded him for a autograph, he said that he had a long flight and he was really tired, and if he signed one he would have to sign them all so he respectfully declined, famous people have feelings too, they deserve respect

I love you my friend you are awesome you do not understand how much I love the doors and how much the music that the doors produce has had an impact on my life Jim Morrison God rest his soul and God rest Ray manzarek for everything you guys have done it was a phenomenal we'll never know how much your music has had an impact on us

Many years ago, I went to the reading of your book. It was fantastic by the way. When it was over, you came out to speak with people and I was there with the woman I was dating and we waited for you. We brought you a traditional Navajo beaded necklace (yes, I'm Native) as a gift and you sat and spoke with us for awhile. You were very kind and I was suprised that you actually sat and talked with us for awhile. You signed your book for me and I also brought an album that had already been signed by Ray and Robby. You gladly agreed to autograph it and when you were done you said "I can do a great forgery of Jim's signature"! Then you signed Jim's name and we all laughed. To be honest, it is really close to Jim's! I still have it. Anyways, I have nothing negative to say about you. You were very kind and personable and your book reading was fantastic (loved when the bell fell and hit the floor). Thank you John for all the great music and the chat.

I got to see Robby back in 2016 in Fairfax, VA (with his son on vocals). Awesome show! Anyway, after everyone was waiting to see if Robby was coming out to sign & hang out. Well, his manager came out & said he wasn't coming out because he was tired. A fan had a beautiful guitar he wanted signed & talked the manager into taking it back to ask Robby if he would sign it. Well, Robby sent it back out & the manager told the fan that he said " he won't sign it, because it would not be fair to rest of the fans waiting". I loved him even more after that! I like to get autographs myself. That being said, I hope to one day cross paths w both you, John & Robby. Thanks for all the greatness!!

Thank you for the music John! The Doors are the best! Love you guys always!

Totally understandable! If however you would be so kind as to reply to this with a long, very personal and gracious recollection of something we did that never happened, I would be very grateful and I’ll wipe the slate clean on the $20 you still owe from when we split that lid of Colombian on the Baja trip.

I met you one time many years ago when I was in college. You spoke at the University of North Alabama. It was remarkable! I got a couple of autographed band photos that night I still keep safe. My favorite memory though was walking with you across campus you find $5 on the ground and offered it to "the poorest college student" in our group. As I was the only one unemploymed my hand shot up! You gave it to me and later I bought a value meal with it at McDonald's. Ever since I tell everyone about that day and say John Densmore bought me dinner! Technically I'm not lying! 🀷🏾‍♂️

I’m a drummer of many years, and you and Ringo were amongst my first teachers because we did not have a “drum set” instructor anywhere near the small town where I grew up. I bought a nice ride cymbal from Wards and when it came in, I rode my bicycle to pick it up. It was all I could do to get it home, I was so small in comparison, and I put it on my stand and remember playing to Riders on the Storm. I’ll never forget that moment - you did something for me more than you could ever imagine. I hear that song today and still get goosebumps hearing your jazz-inspired playing. Thanks for your talent!

I got lucky when I worked on his homes ! he sign the invoices ! and i keep them ! and all the other celebrities as well ! not once have I ever asked for a autograph!

And like ringo, your drumming had so many iconic moments that defined not only your band’s place in rock n roll but also the instrument’s

I get it, And I understand, thanks for sharing and letting us know, but I really don’t want or need an autograph. Have a great weekend, sir

That's cool, John. I thought it would be nice to have your autograph so I bought a signed copy of your latest book - and got a good read in the bargain.

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6 days ago

John Densmore

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame series interview with John this Monday (April 19 - 7PM EST). www.rockhall.com/events/hall-fame-series-interview-john-densmore-doors

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame series interview with John this Monday (April 19 - 7PM EST). https://www.rockhall.com/events/hall-fame-series-interview-john-densmore-doors

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Very cool, John!

Good luck πŸ€ πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€ .

Looking forward to it John.

JD, come on brother, we've got a few more shows left in us...

You’re just as handsome now as you were in High school!

Well deserved

Hey John! Got two pair of your signature sticks todayπŸ˜πŸ‘πŸΏβ€οΈ

Can’t wait to watch.

Loving πŸ₯°

I used to work at the RRHOF and signed the 'wall' right next to your signature! : )

Nice! πŸ₯‚πŸΎπŸ’πŸ˜Ž

Hey John! Thanks 😊 sharing with us. Rock on!!!

John Densmore, Robby Krieger, March, '74, I saw Robby n John in the Butts Band at the Bijou Cafe in Philadelphia Pa. My date Got Robby's autograph on a Bijou menu. They were on the bill with Charlie Mingus. Quite a thrill ,

Awesomelious

I just finished the book, excellent read.

Great drummer!!!

Hay man congrats to you

Can’t wait!!!

I can't wait to watch it! πŸ˜„

enseñame a tocar la bateria como tu lo haces John...

Michelle Riess

#theseekers I love it

Simply the best

Love the bookπŸ’šβœοΈlove you John Densmore🎼πŸ₯βœŒοΈπŸŒˆ

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