Today is Doors drummer John Densmore’s 69th birthday. In the past we’ve taken a traditional look at Densmore’s life, going over the chronological events of his life, but of all the members of The Doors Densmore has been the most publicly politically active. Let’s take a moment to look at that part of John Densmore, the activist.
Through the tenure of The Doors Examiner we’ve captured John Densmore in snapshots of his political activism and awareness from an obituary for Valclav Havel, supporting Occupy L.A., raising money for musical programs in schools (a cause bandmate Robby Krieger has also used his fame and name to raise money for), raising money to protect wild horses. We’ve also taken a brief look at Densmore’s early activism from his July 2001 arrest in a Chicago suburb with Bonnie Raitt. Along with ex-wife Leslie Neale, he produced the documentary Juvies, and lent his name to protect land rights of the Havasupai tribe from Arizona. By far this past year may have been his most politically active year. Last month, Densmore appeared at the Planet Peace People conference in Costa Rica. The release of his book The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison’s Legacy on Trial has kept Densmore in the public eye and reopened the issue of selling creative works of art to commercial interests in the public debate.
The Doors Unhinged may be more memoir than manifesto, but it is a memoir of his campaign to keep The Doors commercial-free in an era that equates financial success with success, selling your artistic work to the highest bidder, letting them attach their message to the music, and claiming you’re a brand. Densmore is one of the few voices of the 60’s generation, which put forth as a value to never sell out to the man. Densmore, who while may not be as ideologically pure as some may like, Densmore puts his name on the line, still hits the barricades, and makes a case for his causes. Thank you John and Happy Birthday!
Originally published December 1, 2013.