An Essay by John Densmore (of The Doors)

Source: LA Times

THE GREAT jazz drummer Elvin Jones carried on a constant musical conversation with John Coltrane. It inspired me to have that kind of dialogue with Jim Morrison. Not that I was in Elvin’s league, but his courage gave me the “huevos” to stop the steady rhythm on the Doors’ “When the Music’s Over,” and just jab at my kit during Jim’s rap about “What have they done to the Earth, what have they done to our fair sister, rip her and bit her, stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn, and dragged her down.”

As a teenager, I saw Elvin play many times at these “sacred gin joints” (jazz clubs) in Los Angeles. I was too young to make the Central Avenue scene, but I knew it was much more than a major thoroughfare.

On an off night from the Orbit, a Santa Monica bar gig I got with my very lame fake ID from Tijuana, I stumbled into the Renaissance Club on the Sunset Strip, where Lenny Bruce had performed. It was my first time in a jazz club, and I was ushered to a table in the back behind a pole. I was one of very few white people in the place, and the Renaissance Club was intimidatingly cool. It had an attitude. I hadn’t cultivated one yet.

Read the Full Essay …

Here’s a cool video of John Densmore on the Dennis Miller Show from 1992.


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