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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ANNOUNCING!

Read about Johns new upcoming book HERE: https://ew.com/books/john-densmore-shepard-fairey-book-cover/

Pre-order Johns new book HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Seekers-Meetings-Remarkable-Musicians-Artists/dp/0306846233/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=John+Densmore+seeker&qid=1597162980&sr=8-1

Comment on Facebook ANNOUNCING! Read ...

i love what you say about music being the direct connection to spirit . . that is why music will save the world!! we need it! come back to Streetlight in Santa Cruz this fall for another book signing John.. .Santa Cruz loves you!!

His books are great! So happy there's another one! โœŒ

I read one of John's early one's when he was with The Doors. Absolutely loved it!! I'm no drummer, but after reading John's book I was able to listen to and pick out the stuff he'd described. Awesome book, and maybe it's time for another.๐Ÿ˜

Great Densmore!!! wonderful surprise!

The Doors- Three years from the first album to Jim's passing. That's it. An incredible ride.๐Ÿ˜Ž

Very exciting! Hope to host you during your book tour!

John You are a Remarkable musician too ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ

Finally! Congratulations, Mr Densmore.

Look forward to this ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

definite "add" to my collection....can hardly wait

Beautiful cover by Shepard Fairey. I suppose it is wishful thinking to hope for a book signing at Subliminal Projects by November... ๐Ÿ’š

" We need to strengthen such inner values as contentment, patience and tolerance, as well as compassion for others. Keeping in mind that it is expressions of affection rather than money and power that attract real friends, compassion is the key to ensuring our own well-being. " ~ Dalai Lama ๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฟ Congratulations John! Blessings from Spain ๐Ÿ™

I look forward to reading this, John.

Ti voglio bene fratello... vi ho voluto bene dalla prima nota che ho ascoltato delle vostre straordinarie canzoni .

Are you touring with it? We met at your last book signing.

Hello! Will we have possibly a signed edition???

Ojalá haya una versión en español para México!

Thank to ur avace

The Doors: Best American Rock Band EVER!

Is that George Harrison?

Where is Robbie???

Does he know doors songs were usex in commercials in 1980 or so

Great

Close but no cigar! The ultimate psychodelic band is IRON BUTTERFLY!

I'm sorry but you resented Jim and probably still do so I will not be reading

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1 month ago

John Densmore

Black lives have always mattered to me. I've built my musical foundation being inspired by black musicians, poets, writers. So it feels good to be "bookended" by these two extremely talented artists. I hope you enjoy, john densmore ... See MoreSee Less

Video image

Comment on Facebook Excerpts from a Zoom...

I enjoyed seeing/hearing this live at the time, John.

John, thank you. Thank you because so many Americans are oblivious to the many, deep cultural contributions of African Americans and other people of color. Country music, country & western and Western swing borrowed a lot from blues, gospel, jump jazz and music from Mexico.

PRO TIP: never go out of your way to "prove" you aren't a racist to anyone. Bonus tip: find out what a group like "Black Lives Matter" is about before chiming in with them. They are wicked & hide behind a thought-stopping, feel good moniker.

Thank you John ๐Ÿ™

Ir a los orígenes de la inspiración más grande. Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll.. y THE Doors es todo lo mejor. La Leyenda continúa.!๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽฌ๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿ“–โ˜ฏ๏ธโ˜ฎ๏ธ๐Ÿท๐Ÿฅƒ๐Ÿ˜ท

#nolivesmatter

Sos grande john, un grande entre los grandes. Ídolo total..ojala te pudiera conocer..abrazo desde Argentina..

Yeah loads of black musician influences myself , difference is a didnt start mentioning in the last few months

I clicked liked before I even went to listen. But I will now and for what I allready heard: Billy Holiday...I'm happy to continue. ♥๏ธ

Babies lives matter. That's the BLM I'm for

Love ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

I’ve never been much of a reader. I think it’s partly part of a visual issue. I’ve always been a huge Rush fan and loved Neil Peart and his books, but it was always a chore to get through them. I picked up JD’s “Riders on the Storm” and I couldn’t put it down. I knocked it through in less than two weeks. Granted, The Doors got a hold of me at a very young age. I bought LA Woman right as Jim passed. But like all kids Light My Fire ๐Ÿ”ฅ pulled me in fast. But I loved music and real song crafting. The Crystal Ship for some reason became my go to. The Doors had something really unique. I really liked that they had such a unique sound. Every year as I get older, I get more blown away by their work. I’ve always been attracted to the Neil Peart, Simon Phillips and prog type drummers. I think the John Denmore’s Floyd Sneed’s and Ron Bushy’s had a profound education in real percussion for me as a kid. Tommy Aldridge from Black Oak really caught my attention on to a Neil Peart prog type. I did start going back to my roots as a listener and Really got a grip on JD. He’s a lot less fire works and a lot more subliminal. Listening carefully, the skilled rudimentary talent was so prevalent and he took great care to the song. The 60’s and 70’s was the greatest era of rock music. The Doors were fearless in individuality and song crafting. The production, sound recording and skill was outstanding. Nobody sounded like the Doors. I remember reading that Jim loved the crooners and listening with that knowledge it was in plain sight. The chorus of “Touch Me” is pure crooner melody. That song still is so good. It’s one of the songs you want to listen to more than once every time you hear it. Not to touch the earth is probably my favorite Doors song. JD is by far my favorite writer. He’s got way of keeping me looking forward to turning the page and keep reading way too late on a school night. His political activism is also right in line with mine and appreciate a voice of sanity in this insanity. โ˜ฎ๏ธโ˜ฎ๏ธโ˜ฎ๏ธ

John, hope to see you again at The Great Mother in Maine next year with your new book!

Wow. Jim loved ALL lives. So now you just love one certain type?

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ TRUMP 2020 ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ because BLM supports Trump. Right?

๐Ÿ’œ

There's no Jim???

Best drummer! Peace Frog great shuffle

Very cool

All lives matter.

I was in a thread here with some guy - Dave Elson. An obvious crazed trump supporter. He's blocked me but I'm sure my comments to him are visible. He made a final comment to me before blocking me. I'd appreciate it if any of you still see it - if it's abusive - please report it to Facebook as I am not able to. Thank you.

Reading you now.

I hope you aren't confusing your influences with the incorporated marxist organization that doesn't give a shit about black lives.

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1 month ago

John Densmore

"And we're on our way
No we can't turn back, babe
Yeah, we're on our way
And we can't turn back
Because it's too late
Too late, too late..."

(Lyrics from "I Looked At You" / Photo Credit: Henry Diltz)
... See MoreSee Less

And were on our way
No we cant turn back, babe
Yeah, were on our way
And we cant turn back
Because its too late
Too late, too late...

(Lyrics from I Looked At You / Photo Credit: Henry Diltz)

Comment on Facebook "And we're on our ...

excellent song there was also queen of the highway๐Ÿ–ค

The future's uncertain, but the end is always near

Great Song John, Take it as it Comes.

The song that doesn’t get any love but should is Take it as it comes because you want your love to last and you’ve been moving much too fast

The face in the mirror won't drop! Wonderful shot!

I used to listen to that song every night on my way to work when I worked third shift. ๐Ÿ˜

love that song..jim with the joy of new beginnings

Great little ditty off a legendary album

Great song and great pic!

Hello, I Love You is my all-time favorite song by The Doors! Your introductory drum riff is amazing!!! ;O)

good song and good job on drums John!๐Ÿ˜Ž

What a really inspiring picture ! Thank you.

Rock on John! Long live The Doors!

our alchemy and your understanding has always resulted in interesting and never banal things. Always out of line. How I'd like to talk to John, not just about the Doors but about life in general or just about beers or simple things.

“I looked at you, you looked at me” ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™

One of my most favorites

I love this song with Take it as it comes

And were on our way!

That one is a great rocker! Thanks for the appropriate photo! You are awesome!

Bravo John!

you have fans, John!

This would have made a great album cover

One of my favorite framings of the road.

The Doors is immortal.

Diltz is a master photographer,great pic.

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