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Jim Morrison bandmates demand apology, not pardon

by Dara Kam | December 22nd, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet’s pardon of the late iconic rocker Jim Morrison nearly 40 years after his death wasn’t enough, his Doors bandmates are saying.

In fact, it was unnecessary, The Doors’ remaining members Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger contend, because Morrison never did what he was accused of.

“Four decades after the fact, with Jim an icon for multiple generations – and those who railed against him now a laughingstock – Florida has seen fit to issue a pardon,” the band members and the Morrison family wrote in a press release. “We don’t feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything.”

What they want instead is an apology.

“If the State of Florida and the City of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison’s arrest and prosecution forty years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate – and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record,” they wrote.

Morrison was convicted after police reported he taunted a crowd March 1969, at the now-defunct Dinner Key auditorium in Miami with verbal sexual come-ons and simulated oral sex, then pulled down his pants and exposing himself to thousands of fans. He was convicted in 1970 of public profanity and indecent exposure and sentenced to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

He died in a Paris bathtub in 1971 while his appeal was pending.

Read the entire press release after the jump.

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 22, 2010 — In the wake of Florida’s decision to issue a pardon to Jim Morrison of the Doors more than 40 years after his alleged obscene acts on a Miami stage, his bandmates Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger issued this statement:

In 1969 the Doors played an infamous concert in Miami, Florida. Accounts vary as to what actually happened on stage that night.

Whatever took place that night ended with The Doors sharing beers and laughter in the dressing room with the Miami police, who acted as security at the venue that evening. No arrests were made. The next day we flew off to Jamaica for a few days’ vacation before our planned 20-city tour of America.

That tour never materialized. Four days later, warrants were issued in Miami for the arrest of Morrison on trumped-up charges of indecency, public obscenity, and general rock-and-roll revelry. Every city The Doors were booked into canceled their engagement.

A circus of fire-and-brimstone “decency” rallies, grand jury investigations and apocalyptic editorials followed – not to mention allegations ranging from the unsubstantiated (he exposed himself) to the fantastic (the Doors were “inciting a riot” but also “hypnotizing” the crowd).

In August, Jim Morrison went on trial in Miami. He was acquitted on all but two misdemeanor charges and sentenced to six months’ hard labor in Raiford Penitentiary. He was appealing this conviction when he died in Paris on July 3, 1971. Four decades after the fact, with Jim an icon for multiple generations – and those who railed against him now a laughingstock – Florida has seen fit to issue a pardon.

We don’t feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything.

His performance in Miami that night was certainly provocative, and entirely in the insurrectionary spirit of The Doors’ music and message. The charges against him were largely an opportunity for grandstanding by ambitious politicians – not to mention an affront to free speech and a massive waste of time and taxpayer dollars. As Ann Woolner of the Albany Times-Union wrote recently, “Morrison’s case bore all the signs of a political prosecution, a rebuke from the cultural right to punish a symbol of Dionysian rebellion.”

If the State of Florida and the City of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison’s arrest and prosecution forty years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate – and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record. And how about a promise to stop letting culture-war hysteria trump our First Amendment rights? Freedom of Speech must be held sacred, especially in these reactionary times.


The Doors
The Morrison Family

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12 Responses to “Jim Morrison bandmates demand apology, not pardon”

  1. tuffsheet Says:

    Tell the family to stick it! He got his freedom of speech when he overdosed!

  2. back then Says:

    most of you are to young to remember how those of us in the counter culture were treated by the police. Entrapment, beatings and harassment were everyday events. The Constitution be damned. That’s what happened to Jim.

  3. l Says:

    apology or pardon, is a joke. he showed his private area on stage back in the 60′s which i think even today in our liberal crazy society, is still against the law.
    famous or not,
    we also remember how our military soldiers were treated in that day,

  4. GT Says:

    Here’s your apology.!

  5. MT Says:

    The Doors still don’t GET it, they are just as stupid as that pagan witch pretending to be his wife! They keep saying Morrison didn’t do anything wrong, but hello?!?!? He was convicted in court? duh???? Do you people know what PARDON means and why we have them?

  6. kiddo Says:

    I can’t believe the Doors said this. If this statement is for real, they just blew the brains out of the scores of their fans who lobbied for this!

  7. gypsysoul Says:

    Expunging a person’s record is a LEGAL process, as both the remaining members of The Doors and JM’s family well know, and they have had 40+ yrs to initiate it…if it was so important to them as they now suddenly claim. Seeking a pardon might not have been the best remedy for the injustice perpetrated by the FL courts long ago…but it WAS the only remedy possible for was is a small group of fans….fans who unselfishly gave many yrs’ worth of effort to accomplish this much. The Doors, AND the family, have been well aware of this effort (14 yrs in the making!) and at no point did a thing to help bump it up to seeking an expunging. It shows incredible arrogance and total disregard for these fans’ efforts, for them to “diss” their accomplishment in this fashion….So, remaining members of The Doors…JM’s family….talk is cheap: are YOU now going to pick up the mantle, and start the expunging process???? If not, I suggest you give both the fans and Gov Crist (who went out on a limb for this cause) a huge and well deserved apology. Shame on you!!!!

  8. Glad he's almost gone Says:

    This is what you get when Charlie Crist wants publicity.

    Glad to see Crist leave. BTW, how much business did Charlie bring to FL when he fled the State to visit Europe taking a photographer and 9 boydguards (who stuck the taxpayers with a $600 dry cleaning bill). Did Charlie EVER show how many jobs were generated, how may businesses came over?

    Adieu, Charlie, adieu. Only out for himself.

  9. Hanibal Chew Says:

    Bend Over Everyone RICK SCOTT is cuming to town.

  10. anna Says:

    Really? We don’t have anything better to do than to regress to the past? Who is really benefiting from this waste of time/energy and money? Please put your efforts into things and people who are actually living.

  11. slimedog Says:

    @anna, you’re showing basic ignorance of the process. The day of the clemency meeting, there were 80 living cases on the docket and 1 deceased case, which was Morrison. The first two living cases took almost an hour, including a sweeping civil right pardon issued by the board. Morrison’s case was #40 on the docket and took less than 20 minutes to resolve. Your staement about taking care of the living sans Morrison doesn’t hold water.

  12. Frank Says:

    1) The Doors sucked;
    2) Jim Morrison was a bloated, drug addled blowhard with exactly ZERO to say;
    3) The “members of the ‘counterculture’” from that era are responsible for every ill affecting America today;

    CONCLUSION: Screw The Doors, The Hippies and The Sixties. We could have done without the lot of them.

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