The Doors respond to Florida's pardon of Jim Morrison: 'We don't feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything'
The surviving members of the Doors and members of singer Jim Morrison's family are saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to Florida officials for their recent pardon of Morrison for his actions during a 1969 concert in Miami for which he was convicted of indecent exposure.
Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist arranged for the pardon early this month from the state's Office of Executive Clemency, but Wednesday, band members Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore said in a statement, "We don't feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything."
"Accounts vary as to what actually happened on stage that night," the statement continued. "His performance in Miami that night was certainly provocative, and entirely in the insurrectionary spirit of The Doors' music and message.
"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," according to the statement. "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)," the band's statement said. "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."
The statement noted that Morrison died in Paris in 1971 in the midst of his appeal of the conviction on two misdemeanor charges for which he had been sentenced to six months' hard labor in Raiford Penitentiary.
"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.
"If the State of Florida and the City of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison's arrest and prosecution 40 years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate -- and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record," the statement said. "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."
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Jim Morrison. Credit: Paul Ferrara