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The SPECifics: John Densmore on His Past, Current Trajectory

John Densmore,, The Doors, john densmore interview, john densmore at zia records

John Densmore, drummer of the legendary rock band The Doors, is appearing at the Zia Records on Thunderbird Road on Sunday, Aug. 17 to sign copies of his newest book, “The Doors: Unhinged.” The memoir details his recent struggles with former bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger to preserve the artistic integrity of the band, both in the use of its name, and its music for commercial purposes. Densmore then uses his experiences to further extrapolate, and take a look at how greed is slowly infecting society and hindering meaningful progress.

The Spec had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Densmore, in anticipation of his book signing. Read our interview below to find out about his experience, current trajectory, and more… 

The Spec: Do you have a specific album that was your favorite?
John Densmore: Two of them, Strange Days and LA Woman. Strange Days because we were more relaxed in the studio, and it was really fun to create all the wires and tubes as the kind of “fifth door.” LA Woman because we had gone through trying to make a soft-rated Sergeant Pepper, and we got back to our basic garage blues thing. We made it really quick, and it was a lot of fun.

TS: Similarly, was there an album that was specifically trying that you don’t remember fondly?
JD: Ahh, good question. Waiting for the Sun. Jim [Morrison] was just too loaded most of the time, bringing friends down who were also loaded, whom we almost had to throw out of the studio. That’s when I threw my sticks down and said, “I quit.” And I came back the next day! How could I give up, you know, this music that we were making? So, I just had to endure having a crazy guy in the band.

TS: The landscape of music is one that is constantly changing and evolving, and it seems you have showed that you embrace this change, rather than fearing it. Are there any specific musicians or bands that you look at today, and think, “They are doing something tremendous for the world of music?”
JD: Oh man, I wish I had my finger on the pulse of music today, but I don’t. I’m kind of in the books now, and I know about authors. So I’m not really the one to say. I know there is some good stuff out there, at least I hope so, but I don’t really know.

TS: Were there any musicians that you regret not getting the chance to work with?
JD: Um, well maybe I still will. All of them, I don’t know.

TS: You said you are more in tune with the world of writing nowadays, is there a specific genre that you look towards publishing in the future, such as fiction or poetry?
JD: Well I hope that I have exhausted the memoir genre, because I have already done two. How arrogant is that? I wrote a novel that needed work, and then I decided to convert it into a script. I’m still playing around with that, I mean it’s a big pipe dream to get a movie made, but I’ve got a story I think is important, and I’m going to keep trying.

TS: In your book, you examine the human tendency towards greed, which you dubbed the greed gene, and its role in almost destroying the artistic integrity of The Doors, both recently, and back in the sixties with Buick. Do you think in a time and place in America where this greed is becoming synonymous with the concept of the American Dream that America is slowly losing its ability to contribute to the artistic world in a meaningful manner?
JD: Well, maybe we need a politician in office like Jim Morrison. When we said how about “Come on Buick light my fire,” because we got an offer for a lot of money, he said “Great idea, and I’ll smash the car on television with a sledgehammer.” Ooh, so that’s a no. So maybe we need some truth-tellers, to smash the lies with a sledgehammer, you know, cut through the BS. Call greed what it is.

TS: Well other than this issue of greed, are there any other issues today that you feel strongly about, that you want to work towards fixing, or making people aware of?
JD: Wow, that’s a big question. Well I mean, the environment is the bottom line. Yeah, we still have a lot of racial problems, certainly religious issues, and etc. “My religion is better than yours, so let’s have a war!” What’s that line, from that punk group Fear, “Lets have a war, jack up the Dow Jones.” If the planet gets more polluted, then does it matter if we figured out all the racial tension, with no place to live?

TS: Is there anything else big that you are working towards for the end of 2014, and moving into 2015?
JD: I really hope in 2015, spring or summer, that Robby and I get to play a tribute for Ray, and make it a tribute for cancer, and celebrate all those songs we wrote together. The hard thing is getting all these great musicians together in one city, one night, but we will do it somewhere. And maybe if it’s at the Whiskey A Go Go, where we started, then we will film it so everybody can see it. Or it will be a giant concert. I’m not sure yet.

TS: Do you have an idea of whom you would want to include?
JD: Sure, but if I say who they are and they read about it, before they have said yes or no, that might inhibit their decision.

More information on Densmore’s upcoming signing event at Zia Thunderbird can be found online here.


  1. John Densmore gimme back my sperm, my passport, my driver’s licence, my money, and all you stole from me you old pedophile fag from 60’s

  2. dear zia records james Morrison did not want the doors involved w/ his poems and his personal film called hwy , such as also densmore did in 78 for an american player album and in 2010 for when you are strange film..without talking that as co-owner- of -doors music company- he allowed a lot of products are sold out such as skateboard and converse sneaker and he know morrison did not want the doors sold out for any commercial aspect.

    we need some truth-tellers?

    check out my facebook page called the doors unhinged..the real one…try to remeber him these two things

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