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Riders on the Storm | The Nation

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Riders on the Storm

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Whoa! Here comes another one: "Dear John Densmore, this letter is an offer of up to one million dollars for your celebrity endorsement of our product. We have the best weight loss, diet and exercise program, far better than anything on the market. The problem is the celebrity must be overweight. Then the celebrity must use our product for four weeks, which will take off up to 20 pounds of their excess body fat. If your endorsement works in the focus group tests, you will immediately get $10,000.00 up front and more money will start rolling in every month after that--up to a million dollars or more." Wow! Let's see...I've weighed 130 pounds for thirty-five years--since my 20s...I'll have to gain quite a bit...sort of like a De Niro thing...he gained fifty pounds for Raging Bull--and won an Oscar! I'm an artist, too, like him...

About the Author

John Densmore
John Densmore is a member of The Doors and author of the bestselling Riders on the Storm (Bantam).

We used to build our cities and towns around churches. Now banks are at the centers of our densely populated areas. I know, it's the 1990s.... No, John, it's the new millennium, you dinosaur. Rock dinosaur, that is. My hair isn't as long as it used to be. I don't smoke much weed anymore, and I even have a small bald spot. The dollar is almighty, and ads are kool, as cool as the coolest rock videos.

Why did Jim have to say we were "erotic politicians"? If I had been the drummer for the Grassroots, it probably wouldn't have cut me to the core when I heard John Lennon's "Revolution" selling tennis shoes...and Nikes, to boot! That song was the soundtrack to part of my youth, when the streets were filled with passionate citizens expressing their First Amendment right to free speech. Hey...the streets are filled again! Or were, before 9/11. And they're protesting what I'm trying to wax on and on about here. Corporate greed! Maybe I should stick to music. I guess that's why I hit the streets with Bonnie Raitt during the 1996 Democratic National Convention. We serenaded the troops. Bob Hope did it during World War II, only our troops are those dressed in baggy Bermuda shorts, sporting dreadlocks. Some have the shaved Army look, but they're always ready to fight against the Orwellian nightmare. A woman activist friend of mine said that with the networking of the Net, what's bubbling under this brave new world will make the '60s unrest look like peanuts. I don't want "Anarchy, Now," a worn-out hippie phrase, but I would like to see a middle class again in this country.

Europe seems saner right now. They are more green than us. They're paranoid about our genetically altered food and they're trying to make NATO a little more independent in case we get too zealous in our policing of the globe. When The Doors made their first jaunt from the colonies to perform in the mother country back in '67, the record companies seemed a little saner, too. The retailers in England could order only what they thought they could sell; no returns to the manufacturers. That eliminated the tremendous hype that this country still produces, creating a buzz of "double platinum" sales, and then having half of the CDs returned. Today, there is a time limit of three to six months for the rackjobbers to get those duds back to the company.

Our band used to be on a small folk label. Judy Collins, Love and the Butterfield Blues Band were our Elektra labelmates. We could call up the president, Jac Holzman, and have a chat...and this was before we made it. Well, Jac sold out for $10 million back in '70, and we were now owned by a corporation. Actually, today just five corps own almost the entire record business, where numbers are the bottom line. At least we aren't on the one owned by Seagram's! Wait a minute...maybe we'd get free booze...probably not. Advances are always recoupable, booze probably is too.

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