TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Doors’ Jim Morrison will get a posthumous pardon Thursday for an indecent exposure conviction in Florida that resulted when the late singer pulled what a bandmate called “a mind trip on the audience, and they totally fell for it.”
Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday got a commitment for the second of two votes needed from other members of the state’s Board of Executive Clemency to approve the pardon. (more…)
I guess it’s kind of cool to do this, but why now? His mother and father are dead. He died in 1971. Well, happy 67th Mr. Mojo. Also, for a good listen of the reconfigured Doors, as in the latter portion of their career, when they shifted from art-rock pop songs to white boy- chugging blues and R&B, check out the new Live In Vancouver release. It features Albert King on a few tracks, giving the band a two guitar approach that was only seen on the L.A. Woman album.
Well folks, Charlie Crist may be pardoning Jim Morrison after all. I know it would’ve made this man happy.
The charismatic but unpredictable lead singer of American rock band The Doors could be about to receive a posthumous pardon almost 40 years after being convicted of exposing himself on stage.
Jim Morrison had been performing with the band at a typically raucous concert at Miami’s Key Auditorium on March 1, 1969 when the incident took place. Reportedly drunk and slurring obscenities at the crowd, he was accused of unzipping his pants and simulating a sex act, a charge he denied.
Despite being acquitted of lascivious behavior and drunkenness, Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and open profanity and sentenced to six months in jail. He was still appealing the verdict in 1971 when he died in Paris at the age of 27. (Continue reading…)
In late 1970, Jim Morrison was tidying up some of poetry with plans to go into the recording studio on his 27th birthday (12/8) and record a spoken word/poetry album. Jim set forth in completing some of the groundwork for the upcoming, remaining in complete creative control of this project. Jim sent a letter dated 10/9/70 to a young Doors fan whose art Jim admired, named T.E. Breitenbach that read,
Dear Mr. Breitenbach,
Thank you for your interest. Maybe we can do something.
Try doing a triptych. The left panel depicting a radiant moon-lit beach and an endless stream of young na ked couples running silently along the water’s edge. On the beach, a tiny infant grins at the universe and around its crib stand several ancient, old people.
The center — a modern city or metropolis of the future at noon, insane with activity.
The last panel — a view through a car windshield at night on a long straight desert highway.
If you come up with something related to these themes within the next four or five months I’m sure I can use it.
Once the artwork had been completed (seen above), Breitenbach submitted his artwork to the Doors’ office in Los Angeles. He was told that Jim Morrison had moved to France for some time. Needless to say, Jim never made it back and the poetry album was put on hold until 1978 when it was released as An American Prayer with background sounds and music credited to the remaining Doors. Breitenbach’s art was never used, but I supposed he got a nifty story out of it.
If you’re unaware, Jimbo & Co. Inc. are releasing a new movie based on the iconic front man of the 60′s rock band. Organist and band mouthpiece, Ray Manzarek has called the new documentary the anti-Ollie Stone Doors movie. Old Ray wasn’t too thrilled about Oliver’s take on Mr. Mojo and his comrades. Check out the trailer here:
Here’s the band pre-super stardom and before receiving the spoils of mainstream success performing “The End” for Canadian television in ’67. Jim’s wearing his customary black “leathers” here that he would eventually don when the band performed on their infamous Ed Sullivan performance. There’s an oft repeated rumor that Elvis Presley watched The Doors on Sullivan’s performance and would emulate his attire in his career changing ’68 comeback performance shortly after.
James Douglas Morrison was sentenced to 6 months in prison when he was found guilty of indecent exposure, stemming from The Doors’ March 1, 1969 show in Miami. Morrison moved to Paris, where he died 8 months later before serving time.
The Doors were forced to perform as a trio after Jim Morrison collapsed on stage as he danced on stage with Jefferson Airplane, with whom the band shared a double bill in Amsterdam. Ray Manzarek was forced to handle the vocals.
While in Miami for his obscenity trial ini 1970, Jim Morrison attended an Elvis Presley concert. Morrison was greatly impressed with Elvis’ bassist, Jerry Scheff. The Doors never had an offical bassist and asked Scheff to play bass on their excellent, L.A. Woman. After these sessions, Scheff was asked to become a member of The Doors. It wasn’t meant to be, as L.A. Woman served as the band’s swan song and Morrison died in Paris in July of ’71. Scheff continued as Presley’s bassist until “The King” bowed out on 8/16/77.
I found this pretty interesting. This is a first hand account of what transpired at Jim Morrison’s obscenity/indecency trial in Miami in 1969. The witness is then 20-year old aspiring photographer, Davd LeVine, formerly of Miami, FL. I have read numerous times in various books of accounts of the trial, btu nothing like this. Check it out, it’s pretty funny:
It was 1969 and I was a twenty year old photographer interested in doing special effects; the market of choice for the times was rock. Doing rock photography meant you could be as expressive and creative as the musicians themselves. There was only one problem – all of the “action” was in L.A. and New York and I was stuck in Miami.
At the Door’s concert I was ushered right in. I remember I was at the foot of the stage, the lighting was terrible (another thing that has changed). Being a lover of available lighting, I almost never use a flash; I feel the shots are always more real that way. The Doors started to play and boy were they bad, off tune and all. The band started to get rowdy and the crowd soon followed,charging the stage and almost crushing me. Mayhem ensued and that concert went down in rock history. I remember thinking that if I had paid $7.50 for a ticket I would have been really pissed off. (more…)
This is truly one of my favorite late period Doors songs. It has always sounding like skid row blooze with an extra helping of melancholy. Jim Morrison had always wanted to master the blues harp, but never could get the feel for the damn thing. You’ll hear him in early Doors shows wailing away, but all that effort produces awful, out of tune bleats. At the conclusion of this 4th song from L.A. Woman, Jim mimics a Little Walter harmonica line with his voice and just nails it. It’s almost as good as the real thing, which leads me to the video we’re featuring here of YouTube user “Charliemusslewhite” layin’ it down with a an excellent rendition of this almost 40 year old song.
If you’ve read any of the many books on the “lizardy” one, you’ll probably recognize the name. It’s sometimes hard to separate the myth from reality in some of those books (and movies), especially No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugarman or Light My Fire by Ray Manzarek (movies: The Doors by Oliver Stone). Morrison wrote “The End” for Mary Werbelow, his pre-Doors, pre-California high school girlfriend. What we have here courtesy of the St. Pete Times is a realistic and seemingly plausible account of Jim Morrison and his pre-Pamela Courson muse. I read this years ago, but found it very interesting.
St. Pete Times:
Mary Werbelow is polite but firm: She doesn’t do interviews. Ever.
Jim Morrison was her first love, before he got famous with the Doors. Friends from Clearwater say that for three years in the early 1960s, Jim and Mary were inseparable. He mourns their breakup in the Doors’ ballad The End.
For nearly 40 years, all manner of people have tracked Mary down and asked for her story, including Oliver Stone, when he was making his movie starring Val Kilmer as Jim. Others waved money. Always she said thank you, no.
“I have spoken to no one.”
She can’t see what good could come of it; some things are just meant to be kept private. Besides, journalists always get it wrong. They focus on Jim Morrison as drunk, drug abuser, wild man. They don’t know his sensitivity and intellect, his charm and humor. (more…)
Here’s a recently found college film on Morrison from the era:
Rock demon/angel Jim Morrison arrived in Paris to concentrate on writing and showing his recently completed independent film HWY. Unfortunately there was little interest in his “pet” film project and Morrison ultimately succumbed to his alcoholism/drug addictions. He died in Paris four months later on July 3, 1971. The cause of his death has never been officially confirmed, although many speculate the singer died of heroin overdose at his Paris apartment.
Here’s a cool shot of two Morrisons with their respective bands, Them and The Doors. This shot was taken in the summer of ’66 at The Whiskey A-G0-Go in L.A. The Doors joined Them for an encore of Them’s classic “Gloria”. At this point, The Doors were the house band at The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, making $200 a week. Them was the hot band out of Belfast and on the rise. Van’s stage presence had quite the impact on the elder Morrison, Jim, as explained by John Densmore in his autobiography, Riders On The Storm.
“Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake’s stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks.” On the final night, the two Morrisons and the two bands jammed together on “Gloria”.
Keyboardist for The Doors and eternal worshipper of the throne of St. James, Raymond Daniel Manzarek turns 70(!) today. An excellent and tasteful keyboard player, Manzarek has also been guilty of feeding the “Morrison Is Alive” myth, “Jim was Dionysus”, etc., etc., amongst other statements of pompousity in regards to The Doors. This has served the band well, as they remain a rite of passage for every rock loving teenager during their formative years and continue to sell 1 million+ albums a year. Unfortunately he and guitarist Robbie Krieger disagree with drummer John Densmore over the use of the band’s name. The remaining three could hardly stand to be in the same room with one another during the recent Sundance showing of When You’re Strange, the Oliver Stone-less documentary that’s set to be narrated by Johnny Depp. Here’s the trailer for said movie:
As first tipped here in May, the Doors documentary “When You’re Strange” will premiere Jan. 17 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Written and directed by Tom DiCillo, “Strange” utilizes a wealth of previously unseen footage to chart the band’s beginnings at UCLA’s film school through to frontman Jim Morrison’s mysterious death in 1971.
Describing the movie to Billboard earlier this year, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek said it was “the anti-Oliver Stone,” in reference to the 1991 film “The Doors.” “This will be the true story of the Doors.”
Rhino will release a soundtrack to “When You’re Strange” next summer.
Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Indifferent to him? Whatever the case, there’s no denying his impact on rock music and the lead singer role. Morrison’s long suffering Naval father passed away recently (read here about it), leaving the Morrison estate in the hands of Jim’s brother and sister and Morrison’s “cosmic mate’s” (Pamela Courson, d.1974) parents. Jim would’ve been 66 today, although he only made it to 27, dying in Paris in ’71 and there will be a celebration at one of his L.A. haunts, Barney’s Beanery. Apparently Morrison was banished from the establishment after urinating on the bar. A plaque will be placed in honor of the occassion by Dave Houston (owner of Barney’s Beanery) at the destination of Mr. Mojo’s dribble. If you can’t make it to Barney’s tonight, perhaps you can celebrate by watching one of our carefully chosen videos below.
Performing “The Soft Parade” on PBS’ Critique in 1969:
Performing John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake” in 1971:
Performing “5 to 1″ at London’s The Roundhouse in ’68:
Also, if you’re hunting more vintage Doors stuff, check out the new Live At The Matrix recordings that capture a hungry Sunset Boulevard prowling band on the rise.
An old John Lee Hooker song, The Doors played this song early in their career together and then pulled it out, dusted it off and recorded it for their last album, L.A. Woman. This song showcases Mr. Mojo Risin’ at his bluesy best with snakey guitar wails from Robby Krieger and tasteful, swaggering drumming provided by John Densmore. This was recorded and broadcast for Australian television in 1971, not long before Morrison’s shocking and untimely death in Paris. While much of The Doors’ catalogue is overplayed on classic rock stations around the globe every day, this is one of their tracks that always sounds fresh to me. Hooker himself stated that he dug The Doors’ interpretation of his song. Have a listen:
“The End” by The Doors was orignally written as a farewell song between Jim and his first love, Mary Werbelow. The song, with Robbie Krieger’s raga guitar morphed into a song with psychedelic imagery and a dramatic Oedipus Rex section. Here are the L.A. boys with a 1967 performance in Toronto:
Old Jimbo Morrison’s death benefits card issued by AFTRA (American Federation for Television and Radoi Artists) will be auctioned off by Cameo Auctioneers. The card has Jim’s signature across the bottom of it and was stamped DECEASED in 1971 after Morrison’s death in Paris.
It is expected to fetch roughly $10,000.
Recorded during The Doors’ European tour in 1968.
How I knew that FSU was the right college for me:
- It has a great communications school that could help me launch a career in public relations;
- I was awarded scholarships to FSU, which would make it relatively inexpensive;
- Campus is right next to the state capitol, which would afford me the opportunity to make some great connections; or,
- Jim Morrison went there, and if it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me.
Check out 20-year-old Jim in this FSU recruitment film, in which he plays a clean-cut square who is denied enrollment.
I love the irony. Maybe I’m a bit cynical after years in public relations (and having to create such promotional videos), but Jim – a government-defying rebellious face of counter culture – participates in the propaganda-filled video when he asks, “How come my parents, the state and the university didn’t look ahead?”. Way to blatantly side with the state school and the government, Jim, in their vie for additional tax dollars.