19 Jan What do conductor Gustavo Dudamel and rocker John Densmore have in common? Plenty
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You need a break, right?
I know I do. We’re cooped up and locked down, and when we turn on the TV news, it’s politics and the pandemic all the time, nonstop.
So here’s something a little different, and I offer it up as a short vacation from your cares and woes. It’s about two stars from different constellations who met here in Los Angeles, crossroads of artistic invention, and struck up a bond.
John Densmore, who grew up in L.A. and played drums for the Doors, has a new book out called “The Seekers.” It’s a collection of stories and musings about Densmore’s musical heroes, people who sought and found truth and reason in art, and also found what the drummer calls “the thread that tugs on our humanity.”
Densmore writes about his own experiences and those of other musicians he’s known, including Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, John Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, and one of my favorite local artists — jazz, blues and soul singer Barbara Morrison — among others.
Two of my favorite chapters are on Densmore’s mother, Mary Margaret Walsh, “who loved music so much” she let him set up his drums in the living room, and Robert Armour, the Daniel Webster Junior High music teacher who persuaded Densmore, a pianist at the time, to play drums in the school band.
And then, in Chapter 21, we get the maestro.
Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.