The Doors' John Densmore Regrets Not Standing Up To "Madman" Jim Morrison

The former drummer of the band The Doors

The former drummer of the band The Doors

The Doors' drummer John Densmore has been forthright over the years about his complicated relationship with his band's iconic late-front man Jim Morrison.

Densmore maintains that Morrison's legend of being a "Dionysian madman," "psychopath" and "lunatic" is completely accurate. He notes that like many people in the singer's life, he at once both loved and feared Morrison, and he could never be sure where he stood with Morrison at any given time.

Though alcoholism and drug addiction plagued Morrison and ultimately led to his death at age 27, Densmore tells The Guardian in a new interview that he now believes Morrison would have eventually turned his life around had he stayed alive.

"I wasn't trying to enable him. It was another era," Densmore said. "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."

One thing about Morrison that Densmore has never been able to reconcile is the singer's treatment of women.

The drummer once wrote about Morrison's "aggressiveness toward life and women," recalling one occasion when he found Morrison menacing a woman with a knife while using his other hand to hold her arm behind her back.

Densmore never addressed the troubling things he saw because if Morrison went down, so would the rest of the band.

"I was really young," he told The Guardian. "I couldn't figure out whether they were lovers, friends or enemies. I just felt like I needed to get out of there."

He clarified that one anecdote from his book that made it into Oliver Stone's (in)famous 1991 Doors biopic — when Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson performs oral sex on Morrison while he's recording — is "sexist" and greatly exaggerated.

The drummer says it took him "years to forgive Jim" for the whirlwind career they shared. While Densmore once resented the fact that Morrison's face took up so much real estate on the cover of the band's debut album, he now concedes it probably wouldn't have sold as well if it were anyone else's face.

Photo: Getty Images

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