Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors

Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors

by John Densmore

Here is the book that Rolling Stone called "the first Doors biography that feels like it was written for the right reasons, and it is easily the most informed account of the Doors' brief but brilliant life as a group".

  • Language: English
  • Category: Music
  • Rating: 3.95
  • Pages: 322
  • Publish Date: September 1st 1991 by Delta
  • Isbn10: 0385304471
  • Isbn13: 9780385304474

What People Think about "Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors"

Jim Morrison = douche. 3. We were so mistreated by that douche Jim Morrison. 6. The record company totally bastardized our music because they were so obsessed with making money. Nothing important has happened to music since Bob Marley.

Densmore swings between a letter he wrote in 1975 upon visiting Morrisons grave for the first time and his memories of his experiences in The Doors. With the clarity time provides, Densmore comes to some insightful conclusions about his experiences with The Doors and Jim Morrison. It is clear that Jim Morrison was an important person in Densmores life, and one that he still hasnt come to grips with. It has been suggested that Densmore wrote the book in response to Ray Manzareks Light My Fire where Manzarek said Jim Morrison wanted to get rid of Densmore.

Densmore seems like the kind of person who takes himself and his story way too seriously, even going so far as to manufacture all sorts of similarities between Jim Morrison and his brother Jim, when from what I could tell from Densmore's writing the only thing they really had in common was a first name. I think much of his mystical shaman persona was a tongue-in-cheek satire of the culture that surrounded him, and perhaps a way to get even with fans and friends who took away Morrison's humanity when they turned the man into a living god. When faced with the burden of godhood, who wouldn't be saying to themselves, "I wonder what I can get away with now?" Ultimately, Densmore's unflinching narrative gives Jim his due, and gives him his humanity back in the process.

I'm happy Densmore explored the darker side. So I'm really happy Densmore shared some interesting tidbits of the music making process and of the era for those of us who were bystanders.

I have read John Densmore's Riders on the Storm (1990) (in Polish translation) and in one of the passages he mentions how many people have personal stories related to Light My Fire: making love for the first time, first time smoking a joint, first record bought. The subtitle of Mr. Densmore's book is My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors; the author who was the drummer of the band, indeed focuses more on Morrison, the vocalist, than on the band as a whole. In a sort of Prologue John Densmore relates how he and Robby Krieger, the guitarist, visit Jim Morrison's grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery in 1975. The book follows Mr. Densmore's childhood and youth and then, almost chronologically, relates the history of Jim Morrison and The Doors. Mr. Densmore recounts how he and his bandmates, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek - not being able to reach Jim Morrison at that time - sold the permission to use Light My Fire in a Buick commercial.

In this letter, the author pours out his feelings about those days, questioning Morrison's motivation and expressing the things he never did while the lead singer was alive. John Densmore, Ray Manzarek (RIP) and Robby Krieger, although competent musicians and talented songwriters, have always stood in the shadow of Jim Morrison. We see the conflicting thoughts as he recalls the good old days of The Doors' sometimes dark music and riotous concerts but bemoans its use in dark, riotous and violent movies -- al a "Apocalypse Now". The young Densmore put down materialism yet owned a home and a Jag. We see how he and the remaining members of the band did not want to 'sell out' yet continue to produce books, collections and videos.

This, I think, sums of Densmore's book, and the reason he wrote it, being: "to defuse the myth of invincibility a little. I am not sure it was the best choice for the FIRST book to read on The Doors, but I have Breaking on Through queued next, and hopefully, if I can find a copy, No One Here Gets Out Alive.

Despite my thoughts of Jim as a free-loving, genius artist-poet of the '60s and that reputation being squashed down to a guy with some daddy issues, John Densmore's story of The Doors is entertaining and a page-turner.

He is best known as the drummer of the rock group The Doors from 1965 to 1973. John Densmore left the world of rock-and-roll in the 1980s, moving to the world of dance as he performed with Bess Snyder and Co., touring the United States for two years. The play Rounds, which he co-produced, won the NAACP award for theatre in 1987. Densmore wrote his best-selling autobiography, Riders On The Storm about his life and the time he spent with Morrison and The Doors, in the first chapter Densmore describes the solemn day in which he and the band finally visited Morrison's grave around three years after he had actually died; and as drummer and an influential member of The Doors, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.