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Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and The Doors
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Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and The Doors

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,806 ratings  ·  117 reviews
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".
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published August 1st 1990 by Delacorte Pr
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael
Hi, I'm John Densmore, and I was drummer for the Doors! I know, I know. Thank you. Thank you. You may be seated.

Anyway, you should read my book. It is full of amazing insight, such as:

1. Jim Morrison = douche.
2. My genitals are really itchy.
3. We were so mistreated by that douche Jim Morrison.
4. But he was kind of a mystic shaman prophet douche.
5. And he made us rich.
6. The record company totally bastardized our music because they were so obsessed with making money. They didn't realize what
...more
Jim Cherry
John Densmore wanted to be in The Beatles, he got Jim Morrison instead. As you read Riders On The Storm you get the idea that Densmore didn’t enjoy the trip he was on, and didn’t take full advantages of the opportunities life presented him. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a highly readable insiders look at The Doors from one of the principal actors.

I once read that drummers are the one chaotic element in a band, you would have thought John Densmore and Jim Morrison would have recognized that in eac
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Michael
All who know me know I am music. The Doors really just never opened for me. I like all their radio hits, more especially Riders on the Storm. I listened to that song repeatedly as my buddy Tom and I played Snooker in the special services pool hall on the Navy base in 1969. I was "in-training" there for almost two years learning electronics so I was then enabled to be a radar technician.

This book was okay. I gave it that third star because I thought the bits when he was writing a letter to Morris
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Kashmir White
I never liked Densmore - until I read this book. Now I see his side of the story! It can't have been easy living with Jim, much as we all love him. Anyway I believe this book would be most enjoyed by Doors addicts who have read other biographies and are ready for the next level. Lots of cool insights and little known facts. Highly recommended.
Julie Barrett
Riders on the Storm, My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors by John Densmore
I recall hearing one of the songs waiting in traffic in NY on our way back from NJ and they were playing the longer version and you could really get into hearing the lyrics and what the song was really about.
Took me by surprise what it was about-so strong and open in the 60's.
Some really beautiful lyrics and some raunchy ones, never understood why all the drugs, guess he didn't like the world he was living in. Great un
...more
Jean
I've read a lot of books about The Doors, and am amazed at their popularity after all these years. John seems to have the most realistic attitude towards Jim Morrison. He was a very intelligent, sensitive guy, but had so many demons, and couldn't conquer them. Of course, the guys were young and afraid to confront him, and there weren't so many groups for addicted people in those days.

Ray Manzarek idolized Jim, and in his story, is always the Apollo to Jim's Dionysus. Too bad Jim paid such a heav
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Troy
John Densmore is a musician involved in multiple projects. He has also been involved in the theater. But like it or not, he will be forever remembered by millions of people as the drummer for The Doors, a rock band that had a 72-month run from 1965 to 1971. In this book, he recounts those days.

"Riders on the Storm" is a combination of his first person recollection of the events and a letter to Jim Morrison, the charismatic artistic leader of the Doors, who died in Paris in 1971 from drug/alcohol
...more
Justin
Densmore comes off as a tight-ass, and its easy to see why he and his Wild Animal bandmate wouldn't get along. When Densmore isn't whining about Jim's (understandably) obnoxious behavior, he's lionizing him with New Age fervor. 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 ...more
Jennifer
Going into this book, I thought Jim Morrison was a poet, a lover, and a Revolutionary. Though this is only John Densmore's side of the story (the drummer of The Doors), the book focuses on Jim's extrincities, madness, possesiveness, jealousy, and narcissistic rage. In fact, come to find out, many of The Doors' lyrics were written by fellow bandmates. Jim was just the front man; the good-looking, rocker they needed to be taken seriously.

Despite my thoughts of Jim as a free-loving, genius artist-
...more
Becky
I heard John Densmore on the radio discussing his new book, The Doors Unhinged, and I realized I'd never read this one so I picked it up. It was an odd coincidence that Ray Manzarek died just after I finished it. I was a huge Doors fan in the 80's and only started listening to them again a couple of years ago after a long break. Last summer I reread No One Here Gets Out Alive, and I thought Riders on the Storm might give me further insight into the band. It did not. This book desperately needs s ...more
R.Friend
I'd been meaning to read John Densmore's account of his life with The Doors for the longest time. Having just recently returned from Paris and having visited Jim Morrison's grave at Pere-Lachaise, I decided to finally read it.

I found it to be an incredibly engrossing story. Densmore does have his grievances, but his credibility shines through; and frankly, I think he's earned the right to tell the story any way he pleases. And all in all, he does a pretty great job.

It's amazing to read the expe
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Miranda (M.E.) Brumbaugh
When I was 15 I bought this book at a church garage sale as my first, of too many, rebellious act during my teenage years. I discovered The Doors music which opened the doors to many other rock and roll bands, influential musicians and authors that were a result of the psychedelic era, i.e., Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, as well as the Beat generation writers. To say that the influence was strictly due to the wild life of Morrison is not a fair call, but reading his story did change my life, wh ...more
Jacob Burdette
The book “Riders on the Storm” was a thrilling look at what it’s like to be in a rock and roll band in the 60’s! Author John Densmore gives a unique prospect on what it is like to be in a band “from the drum stool.” Densmore played drums for the famous rock band The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He is also a well-known film maker and avid writer. John Densmore even refused a 15 million dollar offer from Cadillac to use one of his songs in a car commercial because of his views on environmental conserv ...more
Pete daPixie
Enjoyed this one. John's childhood and intro to the 'skins', and then his details of how the band formed, worked and found their fame. A good view of Jim too.
Bodies scattered across the highway.
Paul Lyons
Heartfelt and very insightful autobiography by Doors drummer John Densmore. A must-read for any Doors fan, yet would also be of interest to those who are curious about the 60's...the culture that emerged from it, and the casualties left along the way.

The core of Densmore's book is coping with loss, and trauma. The author makes great pains to discuss his personal life...of his two troubled marriages, of his mentally unstable brother...yet its his relationship and mixed feelings about his old band
...more
Sheri
Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors is an insider's perspective of living through the sixties as a member of an iconic band and knowing Jim Morrison well. Densmore paints Morrison as both a poetic genius who possessed extraordinary charm, and also a flawed man, very sick in the throes of a substance abuse problem and possibly serious and untreated mental health issues.
I've been a fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors for many years and somehow missed Riders when it was publ
...more
Dixie Diamond
I thought this was interesting, sort of liked it, but didn't enjoy the writing.

Comparatively superficial complaint: Densmore is an uninspired, imprecise, and ineffective writer. This book would have been vastly improved had it even had the same content, but been written by somebody with any range of vocabulary, and any ability to convey feeling, at all. His conversational device doesn't really work, and trying to write out his drum patterns is just weird.

It's a whiny book. The whiny foreshadowi
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Kelsey
(Spoiler added, although most of this you have probably known if you were a true Doors fan)

I was raised a Doors fan, so naturally I was drawn to Riders on the Storm. John Densmore does something no other author or historian can accomplish. He writes a truthful account of the band's progression and Jim Morrison's deterioration. He was there from the beginning as the band's drummer, after all.
(view spoiler)
...more
sara
i have to say that luckily the infamous Doors lyrics cant be credited to John Densmore, because he is a terrible writer. obviously, its an interesting story and a time period that evokes curiosity, but he doesn't do it justice. he is unable to bring any of it to life with the vivacity that one would expect. especially because its his story and he lived it. i give him an E for effort, but i really had a hard time finishing this book, without throwing it down cringing.

According to him, he was an
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Deadlift
John Densmore tells a tale of few but relevant facts but very emotionally charged with the bizarre and visceral experience of being in one of the greatest bands in history with what he repeatedly calls an insane person, a madman, and psychopath who would cast a shadow over their tremendous catalogue the surviving band mates would never get over nor let down. He is perhaps the more unrepentant of the band members to express his mixed feelings of Jim Morrison and a desire to move on from his untim ...more
Steve
Having read this back to back with the Stephen Davis biography of Jim Morrison, it was interesting to get another perspective on the story of the Doors, this time from the band's drummer John Densmore. Since I read the Davis book first, I was curious to know why no one seemed to reach out to Morrison to intercede as he spiraled downward, but I recognize now with the completion of the Densmore's book, that the reality of the situation was that his bandmates were only in the early 20's themselves, ...more
Linda
This biography of Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, by the drummer reads more like his memoir of growing up in the 60's with band members as siblings. The "letter" to Morrison interspersed throughout seemed a bit gimmicky and Densmore seems to bemoan his fate at not being in a flower-child band a bit much but the genius of the band members and Morrison does come through and speaks to why their music has remained viable in succeeding decades. A favorite quote from this book occurs about the ...more
Jeff
Feb 02, 2015 Jeff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is a fan of The Doors and biographies in general.
Recommended to Jeff by: The voices in my head.
1st Read: (October 9 - 14, 1992)

Up to this point in my Doors reading material, this is the second book I've read about The Doors and Jim Morrison. I found John's book to be brutally honest and a compelling read. He never held back on what he was feeling in the love/hate relationship he had with Jim. Such a cliche but I guess you had to be there to know what he, Robby and Ray had went through. A page turner for sure. It didn't take long for me to digest this one and wanting more of it. Robby' K
...more
Matt
I read this book when I was younger.

I love the doors music, and really don't find Densmore to be a terrible writer by any means. Quite suprised actually that he could write as well as he does.

I find all the introspective thoughts on the symbolic nature of the doors themselves, and their music's effect on the rest of us.

Being a drummer, it is good to hear a band's story from on top of the throne.

I feel he offers poetic notions towards the monumental career the Doors had and you can tell the
...more
Nmcnulty
A well written, personal account of his years with the Doors and survivor's guilt after Morrison's death. Densmore has a strong, distinctive voice, and kudos to him (or his editor) for right-sizing the book. Intensely enjoyable and accessible for lovers of the Doors music.
Myrna
Más que ver desde adentro el mundo de The Doors sin pretensiones, este libro autobiográfico de John Densmore es un viaje a través de la pérdida de su inocencia, su despertar hacia la apreciación de la música que fuera su boleto de viaje psicodélico.
Con este libro se viaja por los tiempos de excesos y qué más intensidad que haberlos vivido junto al Rey Lagarto; tan atormentado como genial, tan genio como loco..aunque al fin y al cabo para mí es lo mismo.
¿Que John Densmore siempre quiso ser un B
...more
Grant
Quite good. Loved the Doors back in the 70s, but am pleased that at least one ex-member was able to relate their story in an unsentimental, relatively objective way particularly so as to show that while Morrison was a real poet steeped in the traditions with his roots in Blake, Artaud, Rimbaud , Nietzsche and various other 19th century poets and philosophers tortured white middle class boys like to immerse themselves in. he was also a thoroughgoing pig, a junkie, abusive to women, bent on his ow ...more
Katrin
John, the drummer of the doors, tells us his side of the story of the rise and demise of the Doors, of the vision they once shared and how that was shattered because of Jim's selfdestructive nature. I loved the book for a many reasons. Because of the story of the Doors, the descriptions of Jim, but also and maybe even more because of the views on California of the 60's, the revolution, the flower power generation, the war in Vietnam and all the controverse of that time. I really loved the insigh ...more
Maria
I enjoyed this book as an insight into the world of The Doors, but I have to say that Densmore comes across as a little jealous of Jim and I felt as if he wanted the Doors to be HIS band. He was a bit put out because he was the drummer and wasn't at the forefront like Jim. He seems to have a love/hate relationship with Morrison and that comes across strongly throughout this book. The story is being told from his point of view and sometimes, it irritated me as he complained about certain things. ...more
Mikelkpoet
Excellent. John Densmore is as good a writer as he is a drummer. I totally dug this book and its honesty.
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John Paul Densmore (born December 1, 1944) is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the drummer of the rock group The Doors from 1965 to 1973.

Born in Los Angeles, Densmore attended Santa Monica City College and Cal. State-Northridge. In 1965, he joined The Doors and remained a member until the band's dissolution in 1973. According to Densmore's own book, he quit the band on one
...more
More about John Densmore...
The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes on Trial

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