50 Years Ago Tonight Jim Morrison’s Infamous Moment Puts Connecticut In The Rock History Books
It was a perfect storm and Jim Morrison rode that storm all the way to rock and roll infamy.
Fifty years ago tonight (December 9th, 1967) the legendary Doors front man became the first rock star ever to be arrested mid performance and it happened right here in Connecticut. What is as interesting as the arrest itself is the series of events that led up to it.
It started the night before in Troy, New York on Morrison's birthday. The Doors show that night was nowhere close to the standards set by the band and the standards expected by fans. For starters Morrison missed a plane to the gig and ended up taking a limo instead. When Morrison and the band finally got on stage the audience was lethargic at best leaving Morrison frustrated. He decided to poke his fans hoping for some kind of reaction. After all, who was better at getting a reaction than The Lizard King himself Jim Morrison? No luck. At one point he said, “If this is Troy then I’m with the Greeks”. That comment fell flat as did the rest of the show. In fact, after The Doors’ set there were no calls for an encore.
A bummed out Morrison decided he didn't want to be with his band mates on a plane; he'd rather sulk in his own company and insisted on being driven to the next gig in a limo. An attempt to ease his pain with a plush ride and a few drinks along the way to the next gig I suppose.
December 9th arrived. It was time to put the Troy, New York gig behind and Morrison figured he'd make up for it that night in New Haven and what better way for a rock and roll front man to get in the right mood than to fool around with a pretty girl? Morrison found a cute coed from Connecticut State University and decided to take her and his dirty mind to the showers for some good clean fun. Unfortunately for Morrison his bad luck trailed him right into those showers as a police officer assigned to security detail found Morrison and the girl fooling around. Not knowing who Jim Morrison was, the officer ordered him and his lady friend out of the showers.
Now we get to the best part of the story. We know rock stars are not good with authority but Jim Morrison was one who took this approach to a whole 'nother level. Instead of following the officers' orders Morrison decided to grab his crotch and told the cop to “eat it!” The cop followed by pulling out a can of mace from his belt and told Morrison he had one more chance. Morrison shot back, “last chance to eat it!” Out came the mace sending Morrison stumbling out into the dressing room screaming with his eyes burning.
Morrison flushed his eyes out and recovered but the officer wasn't done yet; he wanted Morrison to go to jail. Thankfully Doors manager Bill Siddons stepped in and cooled things down between Morrison and the officer. All was forgotten right? Wrong.
With the memory of the recent events stinging as badly as the mace Morrison addressed the "situation" to the New Haven Arena audience during the show. “I want to tell you about something that happened just two minutes ago right here in New Haven… this is New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America?” The crowd cheered but were unaware of what Morrison was about to tell them. He then detailed the previous events and yelled “the whole f----ng world hates me!”
Well, maybe not the whole world but definitely the New Haven cops. Seconds later the lights went on and Lieutenant Kelly of the New Haven Police was on stage telling Morrison he was under arrest for disturbing the peace. What followed remains one of the funniest moments in rock history as Morrison gave an incredulous look as if he had no idea why he was being yanked off stage. Truly priceless.
On the way to the police station Morrison was roughed up, and the cops beat him for “resisting arrest" and the night went down in both rock and roll and Connecticut history. Or is it rock and roll and Connecticut infamy? I would say both.
Morrison addressed that "infamous" night in the classic Doors track "Peace Frog":