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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1 week ago

John Densmore

TUNE IN! Michael Kurtz (founder of Record Store Day) will be interviewing John tomorrow (Monday - Jan 18th) at 6PM EST (3PM PST). They will be discussing John's new book "The Seekers: Meetings With Remarkable Musicians and Other Artists". The program will also feature music from Ravi Shankar, Ray Manzarek, Patti Smith, and The Doors. You can catch it live here: www.kglt.net/index.php/programming/streaming-audio

#theseekers
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TUNE IN!  Michael Kurtz (founder of Record Store Day) will be interviewing John tomorrow (Monday - Jan 18th) at 6PM EST (3PM PST).  They will be discussing Johns new book The Seekers: Meetings With Remarkable Musicians and Other Artists.  The program will also feature music from Ravi Shankar, Ray Manzarek, Patti Smith, and The Doors.  You can catch it live here: http://www.kglt.net/index.php/programming/streaming-audio

#theseekers

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Light my fire was used in tv commercials for a radio station and 2 record chains in los angeles 1980 Not buick

John’s precision drumming is awesome in The Doors

๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’–

Two great pals!

Nice!

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2 weeks ago

John Densmore

John's new book THE SEEKERS now available as an audiobook.
CLICK HERE: found.ee/TheSeekersAudio
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Just read my signed copy cover to cover. What a gift - thank you John for putting those thoughts to paper. And for opening my eyes to Coltrane!

Gotta get my copy asap! How can i get mine signed?

Does John narrate the audio book? Also is there an audio book version of Riders On The Storm with John Narrating?

โœŒโœŒ

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

How do I get it John?

Got my copy, reading it right now !

Immortan Joe

Got mine ...

Jim nel cuore

I ordered a signed copy of your book and I'm sooo looking forward to reading it!

Nice!

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