Music News

Doors drummer John Densmore discusses new book, 'The Seekers,' and how his late band mates inspired him

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Cover: Shepard Fairey/Hachette Books

Doors drummer John Densmore‘s new memoir, The Seekers: Meetings with Remarkable Musicians (and Other Artists), gets released today.

The book features reflections and stories about various creative people Densmore has encountered over the years, including music legends like his late Doors band mates Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, Lou Reed and others.

Densmore tells ABC Audio that the inspiration behind his memoir was a book written by the Armenian-Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, Meetings with Remarkable Men.

“[I]t was about men trying to play their instruments to attract God’s ear,” John explains. “And I thought, ‘Oh, wow, what a cool [concept]…I could steal that…[A]nd each chapter can be various musicians who fed me.”

With regard to profiling Morrison and Manzarek, Densmore declares, “Jim was the kamikaze genius, and Ray had this ability to be two musicians in one. You know, I write about how he and I went to a music store and discovered this piano bass, and he decided, ‘Well, we don’t need a bass player.'”

He adds about Manzarek, “[W]hat a genius. One half of his body is that organ player. The other half is the bass player.”

The Seekers also features chapters focusing on lesser-known musicians and non-musicians who influenced Densmore, including his mother, his high-school music teacher, the Dalai Lama and famed mythology scholar Joseph Campbell. John says he hopes people who read about these “seekers” will be inspired to explore their own creativity.

As he notes, “[I]f you play the piano in your closet and no one hears it or you paint or you write poetry, whatever it is…you are kind of getting into the same zone as these great artists. And it’s a healing kind of space.”

By Matt Friedlander
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