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And when you're ready to launch, use the offer code WTF to save 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain. Also, if you're looking for a fitting book for twenty twenty, look no further than Everything Is Fucked.


A book about Hope now in paperback. It's from the best selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Mark Manson, who will tell you this is a book about hope. It's a counterintuitive guide to finding hope and a messed up world. You can order the number one New York Times best seller, Everything is fucked at Mark Manson dot net ETF, Everything is fucked.


That stands for. Mark Manson, dot net slash EAF. All right, I'm going to talk to a door, lock the gate.


All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? Nix what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast. Welcome to it. How you holding up? Forecast for today, clouds of virus raining down on most of the United States.


Jesus, fuck. My God, man, what a nation of dumb shits, tremendous, let it rip, let it burn, it's literally in your you're soaking in it.


What a nation of dumb shits and looking know.


Plenty of smart people are dumb shits. I don't know what it is. Things get slack. Things are inconvenienced. Plague fatigue is a real thing. We just want it to be done.


People get sloppy and then people get sick and people die.


And you know, I'm not. And I'm guilty of it. I'm not coming from some higher plane here. Today on the show, I talked to John Densmore. He was a door, he was the drummer for The Doors. He's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, written a couple of books about his time in the door. He's got a new book out called The Seekers', which is about the artists who inspired him. He's also taken a stand against commercialism and has prevented the Doors music from being used to sell products.


We'll talk about that a bit.


I know the remaining doors, not thrilled about that, but but noted, you don't you don't hear that much anymore.


Yeah, people have integrated, adapted, assimilated into commercialism and somehow justifying it, is there any selling out any more if you do it in a cool way?


I mean, that's been the way it's sat for a while now. We're in this new shift. It's like not so much about doing whatever it takes to to to make a buck or sell a product as long as you keep your shit together and look cool doing it now, it's literally about, you know, managing your brand, managing your own product, getting out there. Yeah, right. Selling you and then having the people come to you so you can sell their shit.


Hey, man, will you sip on this while you talk to your fans? Hey man, will you wear this while you talk to your fans? Hey man, could you sing this tune while you talk to your fans? Look at this. Could you rub this on your face while people are enjoying you talking? Could you eat four of these at the same time you rub this shit on your face while people are talking? Make it a show.


Make it a show called I'm Eating Four Things and rubbing shit on my face for a half hour. Brought to you by the shit on the face. People. Yeah, man, there's no selling out anymore. What is going on, the movie that I'm in, Stardust, the David Bowie film I did with Johnny Flynn, is getting, you know, I would say mixed reviews, but my mother hasn't watched it, apparently because she set out to watch it the other night.


And she goes, I don't think I watched the right one. I don't think I will.


What do you mean was I think like I didn't see what was it at the beginning when they were a bunch of British, you know, 70s people dressed like that.


And she's like, no, it did seem to be like another time, like a primitive time, like 100 years ago or something like, what are you talking about? I don't know. I watch for 10 or 15 minutes and I didn't see you in it.


What are you watching? Stardust. Is there another stardust? I guess there is.


There is another stardust, apparently. And my mother watched a nice portion of it before she realized it wasn't about David. But it's some sort of weird fantasy movie from like 10, 15 years ago. I don't even know what it's about, but it took her 10, 15 minutes before she's like, this doesn't seem right and she's got our marbles, my mother, but she waited it out. Maybe this was some artful approach to the to the David Bowie story that starts off 100 years ago.


They were going way back. OK, God, I think I got her on the right track. Hey, folks, it's nice to have dreams these days, right? They're not easy to come by. So when you've got a good one, don't waste it. That's why you need to turn your dream into a reality with Squarespace. Squarespace remains the best way for you to launch your passion project. Whether you're looking to start a new business, showcase your work, published content, sell products, whatever it is you want to do.


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I don't understand. I watched the movie. You're not in it. It was like from it was like the old days.


I don't know what I don't get. What is that. Am I watching the wrong movie. Yes. Yes. I wish my dad a happy birthday. I left him a message, I didn't talk to him. He's 82. Think he's OK. My biggest problem right now. Aside from fearing covid. I've decided, as I will, given that my primary relationship at this point in time is a black cat named Buster Kitten fucking Buster. So I've done this with all my cats at different points, like he's acting weird.


He's acting tweaky. I thought it was the full moon. Maybe he's a mouse in the house. Maybe there's a rat in the basement. Who the fuck knows with a cat. But I know he's acting weird, so I start focusing in hyper focusing on him. Buster, what's up buster? What's up? Are you OK, Buster? What are you doing there? Why are you sitting there? Where are you going? Buster, what's going on?


That's not your regular place. Is that your new place? Do you not feel well? Why are you sitting like that? What's happening buster. And, you know, the cat's going to feel that I mean, me just saying that to you guys made me a little stressed. And I don't know how I forget, I've been dealing with cats for almost 20 years of my own, I've been through a few.


I've taken a lot of them, like I yeah, I took out fuck it, man. It's like you don't know what cats it's like, you know, one day that that's their place. That's your place. I like that you're going to you're going to sit up there on the couch. That's your place buster. That's your place. How can you not in that place anymore. Is this your new place? Are you going to be on this side of the couch now or the other chair?


Why are you going? Oh, you're going to ruin that piece of furniture and then you just stop after a few months and move on to another piece of furniture where we're, oh, you're going to stay upstairs now. What? You're going to sleep on the table? What's going on? Is this your new toy? Is this where you're going to stay? They switch it up. Are you shitting on this rug now? Why is that? Why did that happen for a month?


You don't fucking know. You don't know what's going on with them or how they make decisions.


But they change. They do weird shit. They're fucking cats. I don't know why.


Forget that, but I'm like, I got to take them to the vet. I think he's breathing funny. Something wrong with him. I got to take him in. I've been to the vet since I left with an empty crate. Well, monkey, since they sent a monkey off. So I took took Buster in to see Modesto over at. Gateway, I've been going to Gateway Animal Hospital. In Atwater here in L.A. for like 20 years, 18 at least.


Used to take Boomer, their Lafond a monkey for their entire lives, I've taken Feroze there that I trapped to get fixed. I've taken a stray there to be put down. But Doc Modesto's the best. So I took Buster in because you guys, I don't know if you know you know, Buster almost died when he was like two. He ate something stupid and I'm not even sure what, but he went into full renal failure.


He went fucking down and I had to, like, get him to an emergency. Values under observation for days, fluids, ultrasounds. He survived it and got perfect kidney function at the end of it. But I hadn't checked out in two years. So there's a little bit of denial. That's how you know why people are selfish and stupid. We all do the denial, the trip. No one wants fucking bad news and no one wants to be inconvenienced.


I understand. But it doesn't mean you're avoiding fucking reality. That's what it means. So the initial tests are OK. The test he took, yes, I brought him in. His teeth are dirty, he's a little chubby, but the ultrasound does reveal he's probably working with one big kidney and the smaller one might not be working at all. Might have a bum kidney in there and one big good one, but a dog, Modesto's like a man, just like people.


These cats can live for a long time one. He's been on the kidney food for a long time. Keep him on that. I'm even ready.


I'm ready to snap into subacute foods if I have to. I could give him subcu for it's just just for fun. I got the shit over here. I've run a cat hospice before and if you know anything about me, you know you know this cat business. There's cats around. And depending on how long you been listening, you've heard me talk about a lot different cats. But now, because it's just me and Buster, we're working it out, just me and one cat, which is a little different, but we're making it happen.


He's getting used to my attention when I'm not going crazy and I'm learning what he likes.


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It seems I don't know, he's acting like there's something out there. He's acting like there's another animal either in the house or near the house. Something's going on.


Not a smell in going on a lot of like I know there's something right around here, right around here, something's going on, man, and I'm going to sleep upstairs now. But aren't you a downstairs cat?


Nope. There's word that now this is what's happening, deal with it, fucker, I'm obviously projecting a lot. So look, you guys. John Densmore is a drummer. He was a door. His new book is called The Seekers Meetings with remarkable musicians and other artists. You can get it wherever you get books.


He writes about my interview with Garry Shandling in the book actually is an example of people searching for truth and transcendence through their art.


And we talk about that a bit. This is me talking to the drummer of The Doors. John Densmore. So, John, how are you feeling, buddy? I've got something I want to say. What what the fuck, Mark? Exactly what the fuck? I got no answer for you. I got no answer for you, John.


Can we get Agent Orange to step down so I can sign some books?


Yeah. Yeah, we're I don't know if we're ever going to get him out of that fucking White House. Someone's going to have to go in and get him.


Boy, does he suck all the air out of a room or what?


Out of the world. But like, when you think back on your life, I mean, you know, during the late 60s, I mean, what was the feeling around, you know, the chaos that that Nixon was creating? Was it was it you were a younger man, but did you feel it as menacing or was it better or worse?


It's the same, although, you know, every night was horrendous napalming. And and so maybe that was worse, but. I don't know, my hatred of Donald is amazing, I mean, Bush, you know. Yeah, but I said to a friend of mine the other day, well, thank God Donald hasn't started the war. And my friend said he did the Civil War. Oh, right. Right.


So maybe Trump is the Vietnam War, which was a catalyst, difficult as it was. And, you know, as horrendous as all of this is now, we did stop that war. The people stopped that war. And so I'm hoping, praying that we're just finally maybe going around the corner a little bit towards light and there'll be some light for 10 years.


I hope I hope so, too. And where are you that you are now, Waitstill? Yeah, I'm in Santa Monica where I was born, and my mom was born here in 1984. But we're not native now. Chumash Indians are the native first people where your words.


Your people from Ireland. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.


But you've been in Los Angeles for the whole time. You've seen the whole, you know, rise and fall and rise and fall again of of Los Angeles.


I mean, I can't like I can't even imagine when I see pictures of Los Angeles from the 60s and 70s, it just looked fucking nuts.


I just got into town about an hour ago. Yeah. Yeah. Look and see which way the wind blows. Yeah. Yeah, that was good. Yeah. But where were you in New York.


No, I grew up in Albuquerque. You know, I was you know, I'm younger, I'm fifty seven and I was born in Jersey but most of a I mostly grew up in Albuquerque. Yeah. I got a weird question. It's not really a trivia question, but it's just like I recounted a story. That I read in an oral history of punk rock that Iggy Pop told in how the Doors inspired him to to sort of be who he is.


And it was based on a show that you guys did. It must have been Ann Arbor, Detroit, where Iggy went to see you guys. And Jim did the entire show, like singing the songs like Mickey Mouse or in a weird voice. And he wouldn't stop it. And the audience was getting furious and they were fucking like, just mad as hell and he would not stop doing it.


And Iggy thought it was the most amazing thing you'd ever see.


Well, I'm glad to hear that. But I'm sorry, Mark. My brain cells are not clicking that one. So.


So is that crazy? To wear something like that wouldn't stand out.


Well, that the whole show may be a few minutes.


Maybe maybe his memories off a little bit.


Maybe a little poetic license. Sure.


So let's talk about this. Like the drive to to find truth and end the sort of idea of what art is supposed to do seems to be something that, you know, you've always been obsessed with.


Did you notice I quoted you? Yeah, I saw that Shandling interview. Yeah. Yeah.


But when you were like, I like, you know, the way you start is that you grew up in a creative house to a certain degree. Huh.


Yeah. You know, and OK, I got this idea I would do a tip of the hat to various musical icons. Right. Who inspired me. And so I wrote a few chapters and then I thought, oh, you know, my mom, she encouraged piano and drums. So I'll write a chapter on her then. And I and I said, oh, let's be autobiographical stickered at the beginning of the book. Then it hit me a few weeks ago.


Oh, wait a minute. In the chapter on Elvin Jones, Coltrane's drummer, I talk about how to drummers and everyone that the first drum beat you ever heard was your mother's heartbeat in the womb. Uh huh, no.


Yeah, well, of course, she's the first chapter I was in her womb.


Yeah. Yeah.


And what I found sort of compelling was this idea that, you know, that she she had some hardship in her life and some loss early on.


Oh, yeah. And that, you know, created creativity that the sort of she was driven to paint and draw to sort of manage the grief.


Oh, man, that's good. I don't know if I implied that, but that helps me. Yeah. That's why she painted till ninety four. She channeled it and that's what the book is sort of about. You know, whether you're a professional musician or playing your piano in the closet, nobody hears it. You're still getting in the zone that sort of feeds you and heals you.


Well, when did you know for yourself?


I mean, like when you were a kid and you were you were because you also do a chapter with with a teacher of yours, Fred Katz, right? Yeah.


And but but when you were a kid, I mean, did you want to be an artist or did you want to just be a rock and roller? Because, you know, the girls liked it.


No, I. I fell in love with music at eight years old playing the piano. And then I played the all the bands in school and all that, but I never thought I would make a living at it. It's such a crapshoot, right? Yeah. Yeah. That's why I went I went to college. I majored in accounting, you know, money accounting. Sure. And then I got D Oh OK. Maybe I should major in something my like.


Yeah. Yeah. Music but I dropped out.


Right. And then what happened.


I got in this band and prayed that it would pay the rent ten years and I'm seventy six and a week and I'm still talking about this fucking band.


Well you know it happens with the guys that survive, you know what I mean. You yeah. You make that much of a cultural impact. You're sort of, I guess it's sort of an albatross but but you know, there's got to be some pride in it still, right?


Oh, totally. I mean, you know, in my let's see, first book, I have three self-centered memoirs.


Yeah, well, that's the nature of the form. I argue with Ray because he's like kind of selling the doors like Willy Loman a little too much. And he's giving me shit saying, John, well, it's better to be in the doors than not. Yeah, of course. Of course. Right. I have. Of the doors permanently etched on my forehead and I'm very proud. But, you know, I also get divorced and have to go to the bathroom.


Yeah, so you have a life. So like when you guys started, I mean, when did you find, I guess, in looking at the book and having not read your other books, when did you sort of know that you were going to you know, that what you were doing was not mainstream, it was not necessarily designed to make hits, but you know that you were on the path of an artist and not just a rock band.


When did you start seeing it as art? Was it something that happened in the doors with when you guys started taking more creative risks?


Well, I mean, you know, we we always wanted to become as popular as possible. Possible. But I guess in Jim's lyrics were these this this searching of you know, that I know I was young. I didn't understand at all, really, but it turned me on. And I'm thinking about you talking to Gary and about truth is in the silence and the void and an addiction. You know, Gary goes on to say it's addiction if you can't sit quietly.


Pretty interesting stuff.


Oh, addiction to distraction. Well, I mean, but, you know, how did you guys how did you survive? It seems that, you know, given the way you were surrounded with that, somehow, you know, watching Jim, you know, kind of self-destruct that somehow or another the other three of you did. All right. You know, it didn't seem like you guys went down the same path much.


Well, that was a teaching. Jim was always going too far. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I for years would get asked the question if Jim was around the day, would he be clean and sober? And and I always said he was a kamikaze drunk. And then a few years ago. Wait, wait, hold it. I know a lot of really cool people claughton Eminem. Yeah, of course he would.


It's a different time, right? Yeah. Yeah. But he was an example and I definitely was more cautious. Certainly dabbled. Yeah.


But you didn't you didn't want to die, you know. Yeah. And you only good. In order to know that you can break on through the other side. There's some party that's trying to get there and you don't know what that's going to require. So we assume that he's on the other side now.


Yeah. Yeah, but but like, it seems like this book you kind of move through. When did you first meet, you know, Elvin Jones? Was he an influence on you when you were younger?


Well, yeah. I, as a teenager, stumbled into Shelley's manhole in Hollywood. Well, I was a jazz maniac. Like the chapter on Ray, our initiation was sharing the jazz mentors we love. And so I was telling Ray, I saw Coltrane many times. We're in L.A.. Yeah. With Elvin and. Oh, I just I didn't know I was seeing something that was really iconic, but I knew there was magic. I just knew it.


When how old were you when you were going to see them. Eighteen or something. We're down in downtown.


Where was that. Where were they playing the Coltrane.


Hollywood. Oh yeah. I went to Tijuana and got my fake ID that said I was twenty one and and the the door guy said no that's fake. But you can come in.


Yeah. It just fed me. I couldn't believe this drumming.


It was so primal. Yeah.


And a conversation with Coltrane. Right. And I kind of got the idea to have a conversation with Jim, you know.


So but so. Yeah but but but so from early on you were kind of like your brain was able to lock in to that kind of journey, you know, takes a certain type of mind to lock in to Coltrane and jazz in general. But you were sort of you were a freak for it early on.


Yeah, I guess I'm a seeker. I was I've been blessed with. I mean, all these chapters I saw, I was in Jamaica before reggae came to the States. Yeah. And so I got in there, you know, I saw Coltrane before he became giant.


Do you remember when Coltrane kind of started, like, going? Were you able to stay with him throughout the whole journey when he started getting really out there? You still douget?


Oh, yeah, most definitely. Because he I knew his journey from bebop to cool jazz with Miles. Yeah. To his own quartet, and then his own quartet went further out. So I was I'd go anywhere with him because. Yeah.


And you got to talk to Elvin Jones.


Yeah, I, I then saw him and Royce Hall and then I went up to the stage because you know, it's not like Rock Hudson, the Berlin Wall. You just go out there and and I just listen to.


Motherfucker, answer it so you tell him to call you back. Hey, I'm doing an interview by I don't know who that was.


So I go on stage and Elvin is taking the nails that he hammered on the floor of Royce Hall to keep his bass drum from sliding.


I will talk about strong. Yeah. And I'm I'm afraid to talk to him. Yeah. Years later, after Coltrane died, I see him in another club and I bring in my first book, Riders on the Storm, real nervous that, you know, jazz is a higher art form. And he'd be condescending. Yeah. And he'd never heard of the doors. Come on. And and I said then in here I wrote that you gave me my hands and he was so gracious.


And and then by the end of his life that he was in town, I'd bring his Kerry's drums to the car. Oh, really?


You go see him wherever he was and help him out. Yeah. It's a harder life, isn't it, Jack? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So you guys were kind of friends until he passed HAINA. Yeah.


Minter's that's what I'm writing about, you know. Sure I get it.


But I mean these guys, you know, it's interesting that, you know, at the time that the doors around there was sort of a crashing of, you know, there was a period there in the 70s, you know, late 60s where the generations were kind of mixing, you know, and you had the old timer rock and roll guys and you guys were the new wave, but you were kind. Sometimes you would do shows together or be around, right?


Yeah. You know, when did you meet Jerry Lee Lewis?


Well, that was later. Yeah, that was interesting. We got big enough, so we thought we had the power to dictate the second act. So we were playing the Hollywood Bowl and we said and this is before Johnny Cash had a TV show, we said, well, Johnny Cash, I walk the line and they said, we're not hiring a felon.


Really, that's OK. And we couldn't do it. But then we played the form and we got Jerry Lee Lewis. And, you know, we were pleased to tip the hat to the early 50s rockers when the Doors played the forum.


You guys, he you know, he was opening act.


He opened and he had been playing country music. And we warned him, you know, play some of your hits. Yeah. And, you know, the audience was going to doors. Yeah. He he, you know, cantankerous. He he got up on the piano at the end and he said, For those of you like me, God love you for the rest of you. Had a heart attack.


Did play the hits, though. Did he play them. He played them.


You played with its feet. He slammed the piano. Yeah. Yeah.


And did you think was he was he nice to you guys?


He was. I mean, you know, they showed up without any instruments, which was rather odd. Can we borrow your drums here?


Really? And Robbie says, well, I got a lot of guitars. What kind do you want? Jerry Lee says, any old rocker defend a guitar.


Oh, OK, man, that's old school.


Yeah. And he's still around, too, man.


He is. You know, he's eighty six or so like Willie. Willie Nelson is my closing chapter and he's eighty six or seven. Yeah. These guys are teachers for me to how to do this thing you know.


Sure. And what was your like. I have a weird, I had a weird encounter with Lou Reed but it was just a fan encounter where, you know, I had I went to get a record signed at a record store in Boston and he was signing records. And I just really wanted to ask him, like, the right question.


I knew I only had a second, you know, and I was cantankerous. Well, yeah, but I didn't I just was like, you know, I get up there, I'm like, hey, Lou, what gauge pick do you use? You know, like, that was my big question.


And he said, Media man, you got to use a medium. And I you know, I used a medium for a few years, but but it's just yeah, he was cantankerous, but he was definitely definitive. Why did you choose to put him in? You really do have a lot of respect for his journey as well.


Oh, yeah. At first I didn't get the Velvet Underground. I know them at the whisky. And, you know, I was a West Coast, not a beach boy maniac. But, you know, they were dark.


He was singing. Yeah. But then I realized, oh, wow, there's some power here and what they're up to it and musicianship is, you know, sort of secondary. Yeah. And then he tuned his guitar, that ostrich sound, and hit the guitar like a percussion instrument. Oh, this is different.


This hey, there's some art to really. Really. I met him just after he got back from Czechoslovakia, where Breslov Harvill had him come over for an interview because he inspired hovels when he was in jail. Yeah, and and Lou was really, you know, high from that because I got high just hearing the story, you know. Yeah. Yeah, sure.


But it's interesting that you've been in L.A. for so long, but you didn't mention, you know, the Zappa scene, did you not know Frank?


Yeah, we knew Frank. We used to go over to his house for jam sessions. Oh, really?


Yeah. Over in Laurel Canyon. On the West Wilson. On Wilson. Yep, yep, yep, yep.


What was it like over there at that house? Oh, cool.


Yeah, we played the blues. We play you know, we talk with Frank about he was into avant garde stuff which we knew about.


So you guys would sit around and he'd play like a strange Italian art composers and stuff and do exactly what he mainly watched everybody jam and take notes.


Oh, really? Huh. I mean, mental. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


But you guys, it seems to me that, you know, that whatever the sound of the doors was, I was talking about it this morning to somebody because I knew I had to talk to you is that, you know, people are like, well, the door seemed like there was a simplicity to it. And I'm like, yeah, but like, you can't.


The thing about the doors and what you guys did is that if you if you can hear one note of a song and know exactly who it is, you know that that band is an authentic, real, you know, kind of groundbreaking, you know, bunch of people like you.


You know, there I think the simplicity of it was sort of disarming that like, you know, given Jim's darkness and his showmanship played against the kind of almost jovial rhythm of some of the tunes, it kind of had this interesting balance.


Well, I never heard that comment simplicity. But what I think is what made us you know, when you like Lou Reed, you mean you need to get enough technique to get across your uniqueness, whatever the hell it is. Sure. You know, classical musicians are the most technical of all time. Right. And they get a little stiff sometimes. Right. Although Gustavo Dudamel, who I write about. Yeah, he he's totally aware of Salsa and Led Zeppelin.


And of course, that's why it's so fluid. Right. You know, I go backstage after him and he says to me, Juan. Gustav Mahler is heavy metal. Yes, I could feel it and he, you know.


Yeah, so when you're open to being fed by all this, you find your uniqueness. You just need enough technique. Maybe that's the simplicity part to get your thing across and you can get stuck if you get too much technique.


Right. You get you become sort of this kind of a new tailor, a guy that can play really well. But the feeling is not there. You're right.


Over time. I mean, let me show you all my shit. Right. And when you listen to Willie Nelson take a solo, there is space.


What a great guitar player.


It's phrasing, which is what Garry Shandling is talking about, which is what Ramdas is talking about. The of the quieter you become, the more you hear there's truth in that space.


Yeah. Is that like what was it, what was you sort of riff a little bit about Gurdjieff. Is that how you pronounce his name.


Yeah, that's. Well you know, there was this kind of iconic underground book meetings with remarkable men.


I tried to get into him, but I didn't I didn't succeed. Yeah, it's difficult.


And then there was a cult film made by Peter Brook. Terence Stamp was the star that was really eccentric. But interesting in that all these men were searching were musicians trying to play so well, they catch God's ear. And I thought, oh, that's it.


Meetings with remarkable musicians, is that right? And each chapter will be about people who fed me.


So, yeah. And it's like they're not all musicians, though. I mean, you know, I don't know what you know, what your relationship with with with with with the poet Robert Bly, but he seemed to have a profound effect on you. What was that about?


Well, I say remarkable musicians, Koryn and other. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure.


Well, yeah, he had a big effect on me and I played drums while he read, you know, I think poetry. Well, I think writing is looking for music in between sentences, in a way phrasing, again, space and poetry is like the skeleton of language. It's really intense to try and get it so concise, you know, and what kind of time do you spend with that guy?


Because he sort of led a movement for a little while there. Yeah, I know. I was once again, same deal I was in early. We were had these men's groups and we were, you know, trying to break the mold of drinking beer, watching sports. We were we were doing what women have done forever, talk to each other about feelings. And I remember Robert saying, you know, this ever becomes a movement. We're in trouble.


Woe is me. But, yeah, you know, I mean, he was just we're just.


We weren't. Dissing women, we were just trying to share our shit like that's done at AA meetings or whatever.


Yeah, and it was a really great thing and it got so big. But I would say that it inspired the Million Man March and some good stuff.


So it helped you personally. Yeah. Did you what were your role models like as a kid, you know, what was your old man like?


Oh, he was behind the newspaper. Oh, really? That guy. Yeah. And my mom yak yak yak all the time. Yeah. And you know, twice a year my dad had put the paper down and say, Peggy, shut up and then back to the old man.


But they were, you know, together 40 years and dedicated and. I tried to do that route real hard. It wasn't my cards. Yeah, and like when you look back, like in terms of the work you've done, you know, start like let's just start with the door.


So, like, in the doors, where do you think was your sort of peak moment where you you almost got God's ear? Because, I mean, I was into that. I love the fuckin first live album and, you know.


Wow. Yeah. Well, that thing, like, you know, to me, like, you know, I listen to the studio records, but the one, you know, with one in five and you know, and I think the end is on there as well, right. Yeah. I mean that record is sort of like that. That was it. That fucking rock hard for me. And it felt like you kind of got out there on that one, huh?


Well, we were still, you know, like people say, what's the most exciting concert? Well, you know, the giant Madison Square Garden was mass adulation, and that was cool. What that is more exciting is the road up, right? It's sort of like. Wow. We're going to make a fucking living at this, OK? Yeah, and that's kind of on that live record. We're still just. Wow. Yeah, yeah.


But you're drumming like here since you didn't really have a base to work, have to play off of. I mean, you had raised a foot, but like the rhythm section was you. So like who are you taking your cues from, Jim.


I know from myself but I mean did you follow him like when you do in the end and he's kind of riffing and going off and do whatever the fuck he's doing. I mean, you were you must have been in some symbiotic trip with that.


Yeah, that's very true. On the end, I'm having that conversation with him like I saw Coltrane have with Elvin. Yeah, but I'm a bass player, a separate bass player and a drummer. They work to keep the groove. So it was just me and Ray's left hand. And so when he would get excited playing a solo, he'd speed up like a little spike.


But without a bass, there was more space, more room for me to improvise, you know, keep my job is my job. Yeah. To to play off everybody and push him and Wright Dynamics. It's the whole deal. Yeah. For me, I'm not the fastest drummer, but once again, if you play pianissimo and fortissimo and everything in between, then you're getting a whole range of human emotions. Right. And that's, that's where it is.


So yeah. So that's the trick. Get it again. Put it all into the thing.


It's kind of all don't do it all at one level. All that's why metal's kind of tough for me. I need some silence after that, you know. Yeah. Like the up and down, right.


Yeah. And you talk to you also talk to Ravi Shankar, which is why to me, like, you know, it's like I mean, I have the same type of ability to like not everybody can listen to jazz, not everybody can listen to Raga, you know, and like, I love it. I love listening to Shankar or any of the dudes you do the long form Indian stuff. To me, it's like I can listen to that all day and I find it completely compelling.


Would you take away from that guy Trance? Yeah, it's trance music. Yeah.


Yeah, it's interesting how OK, the Fab Four and the Fab Doors. Yeah. Were simultaneous, simultaneously experimenting with then legal LSD and there's no Internet here and then somehow we get on to Maharishi. Well I guess we were thinking, well this is informative but shattering on our nervous system. Yoga is a common route. So we get into that and and we get into that leads to Ravi Shankar and all of that. Yeah, it's the same. You know, we had no communication with England much, but they were sitar music was seeping into their right stuff.


Like us. Yeah, it's the union. Archetypal undercurrents.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. The collective unconscious. It was just at that time there was an integration. That's interesting. So it was sort of a movement from LSD to Maharishi. And then all of a sudden sitar music is everywhere. That that was the universal thread. Yeah.


I think in that chapter I, I say that it got so popular that they started using sitar music for cornflakes and Ravi tried to stop them, but he couldn't. So Entourage of God Bitrate became the soundtrack of sex.


Well, you know, yeah. Somehow or another.


And so did you know like I remember I think Michael Bloomfield in his, you know, desperation and late stage addiction, was actually playing for some porn soundtrack.


Oh, shit. Well, you know, junkies will do anything all day.


I guess so, man. You must've seen a lot of that happen throughout the year.


Oh, I mean, I don't know if if he was a junkie, but I mean addiction. Yeah. Yeah, he was. Yeah, he was. It was pretty. I think he just and that's that's just hearsay. But yeah. Did heroin did you feel the impact like when did heroin really start destroying the rock scene in L.A.?


Here's the deal. Yeah. We're experimenting with then legal psychedelics and pot.


Yeah. And you know, if it weren't street scientists exploring our minds. Right. And cocaine comes along right. Even Jim thought, wait a minute, what is that. That's like heroin. It's not some heavy shit. Right. And then that becomes cool. And, you know, we dabble. I'm already hyper, so I don't. It doesn't do it for me or I go the other way, right? And then the culture goes on to heroin.


Oh my God, it's just like, no, really. Oh, God. And that's when people start out how alcohol took them out. Pretty much the old school. The legal drug. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What was what was Janice like when you hung out with her?


Oh, Janice was really great in the beginning. Really innocent. And then, you know, it's a sad road for Janice because she couldn't you know, she had mass adulation and then went home alone and wasn't centered enough to get pretty lonely and, uh, took the spirit in the bottle, you know.


Yeah. Yeah. Or in the needle. Yeah. I'm just sad.


She was something, you know, Jim and Janice were a couple of those people who have a dick creativity and and survival in one package. Addiction and creativity in one bag. Yeah. You know. Right. Some people don't write Picasso lived to 90. Right. You know, it's just as time goes on, more and more grateful for what Jim and Janice gave us. And it was really hard being around them.


I can imagine. It's sometimes it's hard for me to listen to them.


Yeah, right. Thanks a lot, Mark. And what about you?


Tell me about all those people who some comedic mentors for you.


I think for me, like, you know, it became as time went on and I started to understand myself more about vulnerability, really, that, you know, there was something about like, you know, Richard Pryor, you know, when he was able to like, you know, there was a rawness to his truth. So how do you get under the joke, you know, into something that, you know, actually speaks to the human condition in a way that's vulnerable and raw?


That's what I think. Yeah. I'd be so fed by, you know, Lenny Bruce and Richard and. Sure. And whatever. They're just trying to get at the very roots of it all.


Yeah. And I think Lenny Lenny was sort of like heady and, you know, but but also a great observer of human foibles and systemic foibles.


But, you know, but, Richard, there was some sort of real kind of Richard was fragile, man, and, you know, and he couldn't hide it. So he you know, he wore his heart on his sleeve.


So, you know, and he brought that and he brought himself to to to what he was doing in a way that I don't know that anyone's ever really done it before.


I mean, anger's easy and being a clown is easy. But, you know, really kind of being vulnerable in humor is tricky.


You mean talking about lighting yourself on fire? Yeah, man. Right. Come on, Richard.


Like, let yourself go.


Yeah, man. I mean, yeah, that took some balls, huh? To be a public, you know, to make that kind of horrendous mistake and, you know, that horrible accident in the midst of all that darkness and addiction and then get an hour and a half out of it. Good for him, man.


In your career, though, it seemed like after the doors, you kind of went on some different journey.


I mean, I like there is a certain amount of humility and an ego, looseness and real creative passion to sort of pursue dance. I mean, what was that about?


Well, I became a drummer for a dance company, OK, but what I realized. Well, you know, it's not the goal of the giant concert, it's the road there. Yeah, and so I've been doing poetry and drumming and drumming in clubs and stuff for years off and on. And man, if I have a good night and I feel that connection with the audience, I'm as high as Madison Square Garden. Yeah. You know, there's some there's it's sort of like if it's a 40 piece orchestra or a duet, that's one person on stage and the audience, you know, Madison Square Garden or a club, that's the other person.


And the two of you are going to dance tonight. Yeah. And mystery and magic is how's it going to go right as they get to be a salsa waltz. Right? I mean, metaphorically. Yeah. Yeah. And that's that's what I'm missing so much now with the pandemic.


Just seeing live music and the connection, it's it's really a big part of your life.


Well, you know, I. I became a writer 10, 20 years ago, and so I'm used to this sort of monk like thing, so I'm all right with it. Yeah, but I do miss the social. Yeah.


Human beings. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Our tribe. Yeah. When did you when did you first how old where was Ramadoss in his life when you when you had experience with him.


Well I was playing with his buddy Krishna. Does the two of them went to India in the 60s. Yeah. It gave the guru LSD and the guru said, what else you got?


And they were like, This is our guy. Yeah. I was playing percussion with Krishna Das and. And Ronda's came and I got to meet him, and then I got invited to his house. This is after he had the stroke, of course. Yeah. So I had dinner with him. And man, I got to say, the love vibe was palpable. Yeah, corny. But man. Oh, man. Wow. Yeah. Oh, to be dealt the card of a stroke where you're.


Like. Gary Snyder, the spaces. Yeah, right, but he translated, that is OK, the listener is getting more in that silence than even if I was blah, blah, blah, you know, interesting.


That's a wow.


So he had a real love vibe and he was in a wheelchair and there wasn't pretty well, that was sort of him like I mean, you know, that his sort of process around, you know, you know, sort of moving towards death and mortality and kind of making a sort of accepting mortality as his trip.


Right. So so I guess, you know, when you have a stroke, like I just talked to Michael J.


Fox the other day because he's got a he's got a book out.


And it seems to me that the people that accept and, you know, build a relationship with their sickness or with their their their liabilities, the people that befriend it and accept that this is going to be their partner from here on out for one way or another, are the people that are able to sort of stay in a light when it comes to life?


You know, and that's a teaching for us, right. You know, we're you know, maybe our our road is not as dramatic, but we got a yield. This aging makes you yield. Yeah, and it's hard sometimes.


But as George Harrison wrote, some, you know, he knew he had cancer. Some days are quite sublime.


Yeah. So. Yeah, and that's right.


And that's in the midst of all this chaos in horror that we're dealing with now when I'm out here sitting on my porch, this is the life right here right now. You know, everything that's outside of me and everything I know that's going on that's horrible is not here right now.


I'm having I'm having a nice day and no disrespect, you know, and hopefully you and I don't get the virus. Yes, but. The earth, our footprint on the earth is lighter, and that's it, that's something to think about.


Oh, you mean with everything stalled? Yeah.


Oh, I thought I thought about that. Yeah. We're giving the earth the rest as well, taking the hit. But I mean, I guess maybe we had it coming.


What? I talked to Patti Smith a couple of weeks ago and she's lovely. You have you had a nice time with her?


Oh, she's the best, right? I mean, you know, she jumpstarted the whole punk thing. Yeah. Then she crosses over and writes the National Book Award book. Oh, my God. She's great, right? Yeah. Wow. What a Renaissance woman, you know, and humble.


And she's a real deal. And she said, I listen to a little of the interview that she's part of that lineage, that beautiful thread's beatnik beatnik Burls and. All right, I'll speak to her. It's sort of like. The the hippies are on the shoulders of the Beatles, right? The punks are on the shoulders of the hippies, the grunge is on the shoulders of the punks. And so it goes, yeah, we're all learning from each other.


And, you know, let's talk a little bit about, like in terms of like how you felt about how the Doors music was going to be used or allowed to use.


What was your source of of angst about that?


Well, Mark, it goes like this. We are solicited to do. Come on, baby, light my fire. Oh, wow. Yeah, OK, and we're kind of considering it. Jim's out of town and he comes back and says, good idea, good idea. And I got, you know, for a commercial. I'll go on television and I'll smash the car with a sledgehammer.


Yeah, OK.


That's a no. Yeah. And so I'm thinking, wow, he didn't write that song. He wrote one line, Our Love Become a funeral pyre. Of course, Morrison esque, right? Yeah. Who wrote that song? Robby wrote that song. Right, Robby. And so Jim cares about the whole catalog of everything we're doing here. So how can I break on through to a new deodorant? Right. Right. Or love me two times because I just took my anger, right?


Yeah, yeah.


Yeah. But yeah. So, you know, I've been Mr. Medo got a lot of shit for it and now people have come around more so.


So he's basically protecting the legacy and honoring what you thought Jimmy's vision was and what you thought the creative vision of the band was, and you stuck by it because you didn't want to fucking sell it out to the point of suing my bandmates.


Oh, my God. Yeah, that was so painful. I couldn't believe I did it.


But because it was what they were just seeing an easy payday. Right on some level. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I mean, they must have been doing OK. It's not like the doors. Yeah, well, that that's what my question was. OK, well, I know it's hard. It was kind of like a Chapell. What did he turn down? 50, 60 million. All right. So we got up to 15 million for break on through to a Cadillac.


Right. Gas guzzling, you know. Yeah. I mean, mind you, after managers are splitting it all up and only be a few million each, but still. Yeah, I started to rain, Robby. OK, we all have a nice house and kind of a couple of groovy cars. What are you going to buy.


What do you need. Yeah. There was that space. Yeah, the truth came in, there was no answer, and I was like, so yeah, I'm going to veto, right?


And let me say that to Mark important. This was way back and things got so hard if a new band wanted to do a commercial to pay the rent. I get that.


I'm sure now. Yeah, but then again, if you get a toe, hold on success, maybe re-examine that decision and don't do it anymore.


But in our case, well, it was like, you know, the guy, you know, it would be on the grave of Jim Morrison and these were iconic songs. It's one thing, you know, if you need to make ends meet and you do a commercial with a tune that, you know, maybe no one's even heard before, you want to sell a jingle, you know, but it's different where they're like this song represented something. It was a big shift in thinking.


Like even with like like some for some people, it kind of like they used Iggy Pop search and destroy, I think, for a Nike commercial. And I talked to the dude, a music manager. He said that the guy who used that song for that or got permission to use it didn't even know who Iggy was. He saw the title. He saw the title on a list of songs and then checked it out. But but oddly, you know, for Iggy, you know, it kind of like it kind of reinvigorated his career and he probably needed the bread because he doesn't have.


Yeah. You know what?


But when when Nike backed up Colin Kaepernick, I, I'm not a I don't wear sports gear. Yeah.


But I went to Nike and bought a T-shirt, you know, that's what he said.


And I quote in my second book, The Unhinged. Yeah. The other point of view. Yeah. I say, oh, you know, people were in Vietnam getting fed by our songs or fell in love the first time they got high. We can't change the soundtrack to their life. And Pete Townsend says, I don't give a fuck. If you fell in love with Shirley to my song, it's my song. I'll do it. I was right, man.


Right. And here you are. Yeah. Yeah. It's like William Burroughs said to Patti Smith, you got to keep your name clean, you know what I mean?


But now, did you guys did did everybody end on a good note, like when Ray passed? Were you OK?


And we were strained. And I, I sent them the last chapter of the second book with a note saying, listen, this is going to be a hard pill to swallow. I want to make sure you got to this chapter. I say in here, how could I not love you guys? We we created magic in a garage and. Then when I heard Ray was getting really sick, I called him and thank God he picked the phone up.


Nobody does that. Yeah, yeah. And we talked about his cancer and none of the legal shit which was over. I won, but it felt good to hear his voice, you know. Yeah, I bet it was a closure. And I feel Jim and him even deeper now.


Yeah. Yeah. You can talk to him. Sure. But yeah, of course.


You think about Jim regularly.


I have dreams about him occasionally. Oh yeah. I remember he told us this dream he had.


We're playing a big concert and he goes back to the hotel room and he's walking down the hall and he hears a bunch of voices in his room. Yeah. And he looks at the key and that's the right room. And he opens the door and there's a whole bunch of people in there partying. And they look at him like, who the fuck are you? And that was the dream.


So pretty interesting.


What do you dream about him? Oh, I dreamt that he was back. Yeah, he was clean and sober, he was in a like an Armani suit. Wow. He wanted and he wanted to play.


It was like, hey, he's ready to go. Yeah, yeah.


I guess, like, when you have the time you guys had, you know, for the amount of time you had it, I guess it's hard. Like those memories must be pretty amazing. I mean, I'm not saying that, you know, you don't have a life after that, which you obviously do. But you the bond you create with guys that like you said, you make magic that lasts forever.


You must be really something. Well, I've had several marriages, Mark.


This one has gone on my whole life. Yeah. I think I was on Charlie Rose. Remember him. Yeah, he like this line. I said being in a band is polygamy without sex, right.


Yeah. Yeah. You guys are in it. Yeah. And how do you talk to Robbie? Occasionally, yeah, how's he doing right after the legal hassle, we finally played some music together at the at the county museum and it felt really sweet immediately. It was like we were back, really, you guys.


It's so distinct. It's so wild that you could just pick up after so many years and you lock right into it. Right? Yeah.


Because you it's so in your blood. That's you know what's amazing to me.


Remember those songs and I mean, Gustavo Dudamel conducts without a manuscript. Yeah. Beethoven, all those symphonies are just in his friggin head. You do that.


It's crazy. Yeah, well, I not like I just like I had a moment where I was watching that. Above us only Sky, which was a documentary about, you know, John Lennon in the making of imagine that. You know, the family had all this footage.


He had been around forever because I talked to you. I talked to John Lennon about it.


And he said, yeah, he knew that footage because they had it. You know, they they oversaw that the putting together that documentary. But there's a moment where, you know, John's out at that mansion and they're recording imagine. And he has George come out to play on a few songs. Right. And there's just a moment that they capture on camera where John's on the piano and George is sitting there holding a guitar. And John just looks at George and and looks at him with that face like, you know, we understand each other on a level that, you know, no one else can even understand.


And George immediately got it without anything being said and knew exactly what to do. And I was like, holy shit, that's amazing.


Well, I mean, you know, if you worked together a long time. It's kind of like a private club, right? But, you know, with with much gratitude for all the fans, and I also think that a lot of people don't realize how many dates you guys fucking did. I mean, it's like you got these records where you guys were on the road a lot, right?


Yeah. That went for six years straight. We were at it.


I mean, that so many shows, so much place is so I mean, like I always forget that, like people like Hendrix and you guys, it's like we hear the records, we hear the live record or two.


But you guys did hundreds of dates, hundreds of dates.


So it becomes intuitive, right? You just you go in that space.


Yeah. Yeah, that's it. And then all of a sudden you're in it. It must be just a leading most of the time.


But you want to make it fresh too. Yeah. Yeah. Like in comedy, you know, just the phrasing of a joke. Yeah. Yeah. Or it flops and then something happens that is hysterical.


Right. We a little room will space improvisation.


Yeah. There's jazz and that's that, that's the best chapter on race called improvisation. So it's all connected.


And it's like and that's, those are sometimes the best moments is that when you know that you know that few minutes you got out of it where it's like, oh my God, you know, I'm getting older.


I don't have as much technique drumming wise, but I think I've learned that if you put the right cymbal crash in the right spot. Yeah, it's as powerful as these big flurries I did in my 20s. Oh, yeah. You know, same in comedy, I'm sure. That's right. You know.


Yeah, it's adjusting. It's evolving. Your timing. There's something more satisfying to that then, you know, than just the flurry. I mean, if you can like if you can nail it with one beat, you like, whoa, you know what I mean.


Yield yielding. Yeah. Man yielding. Where'd you get that word?


I got that from a cover of a Pearl Jam album called Yield. Oh yeah. And the bass player took the photograph of a yield sign right now. That's pretty hip.


Yeah. You like those guys. Oh, Eddie sang with us when we are inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. Yeah, I love that guy. Great singer, huh? Oh, my God. Those pipes from that little guy.


Crazy and. Well, hey, man is good talking to you. And I love the book and I wish you the best of success with it. And you seem healthy. So you'll be around a while. Yeah.


Really great connection.


Yeah, it was fun. Take care of yourself.


Same with you. OK buddy I. That was John Densmore, old groovy guy, still groovy, still doing the thing, still being that guy from the old days. The book is called The Seekers Meetings with remarkable musicians and other artists. Get it wherever you get books. And don't forget, if you want to do more for your cat, give them delectables linkable cat treats the best tasting wet treat the cats seriously can't get enough of. They come in a variety of textures and flavors and your cat will lick the bowl clean every time.


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