How John Densmore Believes “Psychopath” Jim Morrison May Have Stayed Alive

by Thomas Leatham
(Credit: Alamy)
(Credit: Alamy)

The Doors inter-band relationships appeared strained at the best of times. In Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic of the band, we saw that drummer John Densmore arguably had the most conflicting friendship of its members with their singer Jim Morrison. Whilst the film is an excessive portrait of what took play in the late 1960s, its claims contain elements of truth.

The fact is that Densmore, compared to his other bandmates, was something of an outsider. He was not a literary nor artistic person in the same way that the UCLA-attending Morrison and Ray Manzarek had been. In fact, he has been reflective of how such types could be more prone to the dangers of excess, particularly Morrison.

“Some people wanted to keep shovelling coal in the engine, and I was like: ‘Wait a minute. So what if we have one less album? Maybe he’ll live?’” Densmore said. “I wasn’t mature enough to say that at the time. I wasn’t trying to enable him. It was another era. I used to answer the question: ‘If Jim was around today, would he be clean and sober?’ with a ‘no’. Kamikaze drunk. Now I’ve changed my mind. Of course, he would be sober. Why wouldn’t he be? He was smart.”


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