Drummer says Jim Morrison never exposed himself

Thu Dec 2, 2010 8:50pm EST
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By Shirley Halperin

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - On December 9, the Florida Clemency Board, on the urging of outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist and in its last meeting of the year, will consider pardoning Doors frontman Jim Morrison.

Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure after a 1969 concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. The singer died two years later; he would have turned 67 on Wednesday, December 8.

Fans of the band have long campaigned for a reversal or full-out dismissal of the charge, claiming Morrison never revealed any actual body parts.

To get to the bottom of the matter, The Hollywood Reporter turned to Doors drummer John Densmore for his take on the night in question, and also discussed "When You're Strange," the Doors documentary narrated by Johnny Depp, which scored a Best Long Form Video Grammy nomination on Wednesday night.

THR: Let's start with the night of March 1, 1969.

John Densmore: Can I just make a statement? He didn't do it! I was there; if Jim had revealed the golden shaft, I would have known. There were hundreds of photographs taken and tons of cops and no evidence. Yeah, Jim was a drunk and a sensational, crazy guy, but he also was a great artist and I want him to be remembered for the art as well as the craziness. At the time, things were pretty political with the Vietnam War -- the whole country was polarized, not unlike today -- and he went to see Julian Beck and Judith Molina of The Living Theater and was inspired because they wore minimal clothes and were going up the aisles saying, "No passports, no pieces." It was pretty wild stuff. Jim tried to inject it in to the Miami concert, and he was inebriated, so it wasn't so successful. Musically, it was terrible, but politically, it was intriguing. So that was his motive and then it became this sensational, "get the hippie band that represents the counter culture!"

THR: The request for clemency got a lot of media attention last month, why do you think there's so much passion for this issue?

Densmore: Why is there such passion for any sort of gossipy, provocative sensual stuff? It sells! I'm not in Florida, so I don't know policies. I'm sure he's pleased at the ground swell -- everybody knows his name now. But in reading his statements, I get a genuine feeling that after seeing all the documentaries and reading everything about this, he, like me, thinks Jim didn't do it! It would be nice to straighten that out. Jim was charged with the wrong thing -- he was drunk and disorderly but he didn't whip it out.   Continued...

<p>A fan holds an album by the seventies rock group The Doors and a candle near the tomb of late singer Jim Morrison during a ceremony marking what would have been Morrison's 60th birthday at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, December 8, 2003. REUTERS/John Schults</p>