Let’s be real, I could talk about The Doors all day long, but it’s not everyday I get the chance to talk about my favorite band with one of its founders. Locked inside the softness of my voice was a great deal of respect and appreciation as I spoke with one of my greatest musical heroes of all time, John Densmore.
The Doors mean so much to me, and there was no way I could continue this conversation without telling Densmore that fact. I quickly spat out my deep admiration and jumped right into discussing his new book: “The Seekers: Meetings With Remarkable Musicians (and Other Artists)” — available now in hardcover, e-book, and audio formats.
I absolutely love reading stories about my favorite artists, and “The Seekers” is a perfect, easy to read bundle of behind-the-scenes treats. Since I was able to talk with Densmore so close to Ray Manzarek’s birthday, I wanted to start off hearing about the connection they shared:
“Ray was just so gifted that he could be two musicians in one brain. When we first met, we talked a lot about jazz musicians we admired, and then we played a couple of their tunes, and I realized that we felt music the same, which is really important. We’re kind of like the foundation for Jim to lay his lyrics on top of.”
In 2016, I travelled to see John Densmore and Robby Krieger perform together in the Celebration for Ray Manzarek tribute concert in Los Angeles.
“That was such a great night. It was filmed and I think this year it’s going to come out, it’s going to be called Break on Through: A Tribute to Ray Manzarek.”
Densmore shares his interactions with many amazing artists, performers, and writers in “Seekers” — including Patti Smith, the Dalai Lama, Lou Reed, Bob Marley, and the famous Minnesota based poet Robert Bly. Even with that plethora of talent to inquire about, my Doors crazed soul desired nothing more than to hear John Densmore talk about Jim Morrison:
“When I first met him, he was so shy he didn’t even look at anybody. When we started playing clubs, he wouldn’t face the audience. He would just look at us for security. Then finally he turned around, and become The Lizard King.”
Wondering if the two ever exchanged funny faces at each other on stage, I was pleased to hear they had shared many amusing moments together:
“This was the time of flower power, and sometimes fans threw flowers up on stage. On time he grabbed a bouquet, and we’re in the middle of an instrumental session, and he came around and stuck the flowers under my drum sticks so I was beating on them and crushing them. I couldn’t stop or the song would end. Drummers are kind of like the conductors of the orchestra.”
Even though Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison have passed on, it’s clear that Densmore’s connection is stronger than ever with his dear friends:
“There’s nothing wrong with thinking about folks who broke on though to the other side. They’re kind of like guardian angels.”
I can’t put into words how special it was to talk with John Densmore. I feel humbled that I was able to directly thank him for all his music has done for me. The Doors helped me find myself, and I am grateful to feel so deeply connected to their artistry on a personal level. John nailed it when he told me:
“Somehow music is such a direct hit into the heart.”