Rethinking John Lennon’s Assassination
The FBI’s War on Rock Stars
By Salvador Astucia
Part V: Rock Stars & the New Left
Chapter 13: Jim Morrison
James Douglas "Jim" Morrison is one of rock music's legendary figures. Born December 8, 1943,* Morrison rose to stardom as lead vocalist and creative force behind the American rock band, The Doors, who released a string of hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Morrison fronted the band by radiating downhearted sexuality while delivering dark poetic lyrics from a sultry baritone voice. His vocals were supported by three top-notch instrumentalists—Robby Krieger, guitar; Ray Manzarek, keyboards; and John Densmore, drums—who created a new type of rock by combining elements of classical music, blues, and jazz improvisation. Their unique musical sound served as a backdrop for the charismatic Morrison’s provocative lyrics which together set the Doors apart from other rock bands of the era.
When the Doors hit the music scene in the summer of 1967 with their hit, Light My Fire, they quickly became one of the hottest bands in rock, rivaling the Beatles in popularity. The following is Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman’s description of the Doors initial popularity from the book, No One Here Gets Out Alive:
Morrison often performed physically ambitious feats on stage like walking a tightrope during a concert and intentionally toppling into the audience.2 His early death, on July 3, 1971, only heightened his standing as the ultimate rock performer, icon and anguished artist for later generations. Despite his bohemian image, Morrison was one of the truly, quantifiable geniuses of rock. Unlike many rock stars, Morrison was a college graduate. He published several books of poetry which are used by professors today as curricula in various colleges and universities throughout the United States.3 He and Doors’ organist Ray Manzarek graduated from the UCLA Film School in the summer of 1965.4 The Doors’ music notwithstanding, a large portion of the Doors’ success was because of the media’s fascination with Morrison’s intellect. "He made good copy," explained Danny Fields, promotion man for Elektra. "He was so smart. He gave such great interviews and such fabulous quotes. He just threw them out. And the writers got off writing about him. That was the true secret. He made the writers enjoy writing about him. So they didn’t laugh at him. They took him seriously."5 The following excerpts from No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, reveal Morrison’s often forgotten intellect:
Jim Morrison was probably one of the most militant voices in rock music during the 1960s. His militancy was probably a combination of the turbulent times combined with his poetic sensibilities which clashed with his father’s military career as a Naval Captain—later Admiral—who participated in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, an event which marked the beginning of large-scale US military involvement in Vietnam. As Captain/Admiral George Steven "Steve" Morrison rose to the upper echelon of the Navy, Jim got fed up with family life and more or less renounced his membership in the Morrison household. In 1964, at the age of 21, he spent his last Christmas with his family.7 Although he had two living parents, Steve and Clara, and two younger siblings, Anne and Andy, Jim’s original bio for Elektra records indicated he had no family and his parents were dead.8 His contempt for his father’s support of America’s war machine must have been quite profound.
In the lyrics to one of the Doors’ first songs, When the Music’s Over, Morrison declared "We want the world and we want it now!" Morrison showed his anti-war poetry in the song, Unknown Soldier: "…breakfast where the news is read; television children fed; unborn living, living, dead; bullet strikes the helmet's head, and it's all over for the unknown soldier." Some of Morrison’s most militant lyrics are in the song, Five to One: "…five to one, baby; one in five, no one here gets out alive; now you get yours, baby I'll get mine; gonna make it, baby if we try; the old get old and the young get stronger; may take a week and it may take longer; they got the guns but we got the numbers; gonna win, yeah we're takin' over."
Morrison created quite an uproar (some say a riot) at a Doors concert in Chicago—on May 10, 1968—by playing those three songs back-to-back plus Break on Through to the Other Side9: "You know the day destroys the night; night divides the day; tried to run, tried to hide; break on through to the other side…I found an island in your arms; country in your eyes; arms that chain us, eyes that lie; break on through to the other side." No song exemplified the Doors’ namesake more than Break on Through to the Other Side." Morrison often described the meaning of the Doors: "There’s the known. And there’s the unknown. And what separates the two is the door, and that’s what I wanna be."10 The inspiration for the band’s name was reportedly Aldous Huxley's book on mescaline, The Doors of Perception, which referred to a line in a poem by William Blake.11
Morrison’s militant lyrics and his ability to energize large crowds at Doors’ concerts during the height of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War got the attention of the FBI. In Hoover’s eyes, Morrison was certainly viewed as a political activist urging revolution, two attributes of the FBI’s "New Left." In fact, rock music researcher Alex Constantine claims the FBI had collected 89 pages on Morrison.12 The FBI’s investigation of Morrison was corroborated by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman in their book, No One Here Gets Out Alive. The following is an excerpt:
Morrison was friends with nerdy but intellectual Alan Wilson of Canned Heat. Fito de la Parra—drummer for Canned Heat—described the relationship between the two California bands and the friendship between Morrison and Wilson in his book, Living the Blues: Canned Heat’s Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival. The following is an excerpt:
As previously stated, the infamous "Manson murders" were apparently designed to discredit rock music in general and the Beatles and John Lennon specifically. The effort was apparently directed at Jim Morrison as well, who was acquainted with Jay Sebring, one of the murder victims found at Sharon Tate’s resident on August 9, 1969. The following is a description of Morrison’s professional relationship with hair-stylist Jay Sebring, as told by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman in their book, No One Here Gets Out Alive:
|Jim Morrison & Pamela Courson|
Two years later, Morrison bought his long-time girlfriend Pamela Courson a boutique in Los Angeles. An artist friend was hired from Topanga to design the shop.16 Jim also bought Pamela a cottage in Topanga.17 As you may recall, Topanga was the area where Charlie Manson’s satanic acquaintances lived. Gary Hinman lived in Topanga Canyon. Hinman’s mutilated body was found at his home on July 31, 1969. He was the first victim of the notorious "Manson murders." On September 3, 1970, the body of Morrison’s friend, Canned Heat guitarist Alan Wilson, was also found in a wooded area in Topanga Canyon near the home of Canned Heat’s lead vocalist, Bob Hite, whose home was in that area. (NOTE: At the time of Wilson’s death, he was been living with Hite, but often slept outdoors in a sleeping bag.)
Canned Heat drummer Fito de la Parra claimed that Hite boasted of "knowing Manson family members."18 It is quite possible—given the location of Hite’s home in Topanga Canyon—that Hite met members of the Manson family at the Spiral Staircase, the Satanic house in Topanga Canyon where Manson and his family members once spent a lot of time. It seems odd that Morrison was acquainted with one of the victims of the Manson murders, Jay Sebring, and his girlfriend’s boutique was being designed by someone who lived near the satanic cult which the Manson family visited in Topanga Canyon. Also, Jim Morrison’s birthday is December 8th, the same day John Lennon was killed. On December 9, 1970—the day after Morrison celebrated his 27th birthday—he sensed things were unraveling. As Jim sat on a couch, in the Doors’ business office, gazing at the LA Times, he saw where a grand jury had indicted Charlie Manson and four others for the slayings of Sharon Tate, Jim’s hair dresser friend Jay Sebring, and others. Jim put down the paper and said to others in the room, "I think I’m having a nervous breakdown."19
The Miami Concert
Jim got into hot water with the FBI and the courts after he gave a controversial performance at a Doors concert in Miami, Florida on March 1, 1969.20 It is commonly known that Jim attempted to expose himself during the Miami show, and was charged with a variety of crimes dealing with immorality. Jim was specifically accused of exposing his penis to the crowd, and was eventually convicted of "indecent exposure" (a misdemeanor), although it is generally accepted by rock historians that he did not expose himself as charged. It is true that Jim intended to take off his pants during the show, and he was somewhat intoxicated at the time, but there’s more to the story than a drunken singer merely trying to get naked in front of his fans. It may seem contrived, but Jim was making a political statement. He often got intoxicated in order to perform, so relating his intoxication to his attempt to disrobe is not necessarily as simple as it might seem. Before we proceed, let’s back up for a moment and examine the political and social climate of the time.
March 1969 was a tumultuous period during the late 1960s. Richard Nixon* had been inaugurated President of the United States just six weeks earlier, on January 20, 1969. Lyndon Johnson had left the White House leaving behind 540,000 American soldiers (mostly draftees) in South Vietnam. By mid-March seven men—dubbed the "Chicago Seven"—were indicted for leading anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, which turned violent, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago the previous summer. Many viewed the incident as a police riot. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated less than a year earlier—in April and June of 1968—which triggered race riots in scores of cities across America throughout the ensuing summer. The Beatles released the song, Revolution, written and sung by John Lennon, during the summer of 1968. Several other rock musicians began to openly call for revolution. Riots on college campus were routine occurrences. On November 29, 1968, John Lennon shocked the rock music world when he and his then-girlfriend Yoko Ono released an avant-garde album, Two Virgins, which showed the couple stark naked on the album cover. Shortly afterwards, they appeared semi-nude in a photo collage which accompanied the Beatles’ White Album. On March 20, 1969, John and Yoko were married in Gibraltar. On their honeymoon the couple staged a "bed-in" for peace in Amsterdam from March 25 through March 31.21 By the spring of 1969, the Vietnam War was driving America to the brink of revolution and Jim Morrison was following a spiritual calling to join the resistance through rock music, as John Lennon was already doing. The following is a description of Jim’s feelings about revolution, as described by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman in their book, No One Here Gets Out Alive:
Jim was searching for a better means of political expression than merely writing rock songs with politically or socially conscious lyrics and performing them at concerts. He was looking for something more, a new direction, but he wasn’t exactly sure what it was. He was probably impressed with John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s use of nudity as a form of political/social expression, but he was reportedly influenced by others as well. Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman claim Jim was inspired by the works of radical dramatic theorist, Antonin Artaud, whose disciples—Judith Malina and Julian Beck—led "The Living Theatre," an avant-garde theater group.23 In early 1969, The Living Theatre staged a revolutionary show called Paradise Now which culminated with a scene where the actors challenged authority by taking off their clothes. In February 1969, The Living Theatre performed Paradise Now on five nights at the University of Southern California (USC). Jim Morrison and several friends attended all five of the scheduled performances.24 The following is a description—per Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, from their book, No One Here Gets Out Alive—of the Living Theatre’s last performance of Paradise Now at USC, which occurred on February 28, 1969, the night before the Doors performed in Miami:
Jim was apparently quite inspired after seeing The Living Theater’s show. The next night, March 1, 1969, he attempted to incorporate elements of Paradise Now in the Doors concert in Miami. He planned to taunt the audience about not being allowed to take off his clothes, claiming it was a restriction on his personal freedom, just as the The Living Theatre had done the night before. He planned to work the crowd into a frenzy, then take off his pants, but he was wearing large boxer shorts. Unfortunately he hadn’t told anyone in his band or entourage of what he planned to do. Consequently, they got nervous when it appeared he was going to remove his pants on stage, so one of his handlers physically restrained him, thereby giving the impression that he had in fact intended to expose himself. After that, Jim proceeded to get wild with audience, encouraging them to dance and jump on the stage. It became potentially dangerous because the stage could have collapsed, but it didn’t and no one was hurt. According to Hopkins and Sugerman, even the cops enjoyed themselves. Jim’s attempt to expose his boxer shorts—which looked like he was going to be vulgar—was apparently an innocent miscommunication between himself, the band, and the group’s entourage. It was innocent enough, but it was used by the FBI to bring Jim down.26 The following is a summary of events that occurred AFTER the Miami concert.
At the beginning of the trial, around the evening of August 12, 1970,34 Jim sat in with Canned Heat for four songs at the Marco Polo Hotel in Miami.35 Canned Heat drummer, Fito de la Parra, described the gig in his book, Living the Blues: Canned Heat’s Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival. The following is an excerpt:
Twenty-two days later, on September 3, 1970, Alan Wilson was found dead in his sleeping bag in a wooded area in Topanga Canyon. Fifteen days after that, on September 18th, Jimi Hendrix was found dead in a London hotel. The next day, September 19th, Jim Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and drunkenness. Before going to court that morning, Jim read about Hendrix’s death in a Miami newspaper; he reportedly asked aloud, "Does anyone believe in omens?"37 Hopkins and Sugerman claim Jim went into a "desperate funk" when he heard that Janis Joplin was dead of an overdose a few weeks later. Hopkins and Sugerman claim Jim’s standard line to friends while out on the town was, "You’re drinking with Number Three."38 Given Jim’s personal friendship with Alan Wilson, and the close time span between Wilson’s death and the deaths of Hendrix and Joplin, it seems more likely that Morrison’s line was "You’re drinking with Number FOUR."
Jim Morrison was found dead in a Paris apartment on July 3, 1971. His death was ruled a heart attack;* he was age 27. Several facts surrounding his death point to foul play and conspiracy. One of the last places Morrison visited during his final days was Marseilles [France]. In my book, Opium Lords, I concluded that President Kennedy’s assassins were [French Corsicans] recruited in Marseilles, probably at the behest of the FBI, because the Bureau was created by a member of a famous Corsican family, the Bonapartes. In 1908, the Bureau was created by Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. The following is a description of the time Jim Morrison and longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson spent in Corsica, from the book No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman:
Corsica may have seemed idyllic to Pamela on a superficial level, but it is also an area known for heroin trafficking, organized crime, and hit men mercenaries who provide their services to intelligence services around the globe. This was not a safe place for a young rock star who energized large crowds to rebel against authority figures, who opposed the Vietnam War, who encouraged revolution, and who wrote militant lyrics like "we want the world and we want it now!" As previously stated, the roots of the FBI are in Corsica, via the Bonaparte family, and the FBI had targeted Jim Morrison as an agitator. If Morrison was in fact murdered, the loss of his driver’s license, passport, and wallet in Marseilles may not have been accidental. This information would facilitate the writing of a death certificate—prior to the actual death—and other official documents related to the unexpected death of a young American citizen who expired on foreign soil. Having stated that, the following are excerpts from No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, which describe the official version of Morrison’s death:
Co-authors Hopkins and Sugerman glossed over the timing anomaly, merely quoting from Siddons’ announcement: "The initial news of his death and funeral was kept quiet because those of us who knew him intimately and loved him as a person wanted to avoid all the notoriety and circuslike atmosphere that surrounded the deaths of such other rock personalities as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix."51 Hopkins and Sugerman were apparently satisfied with that explanation because they dropped the issue, but it is an important point, so I will pick up where they left off. If six days passed before Bill Siddons told the media that Morrison had died, this means Siddons made the announcement on July 9, 1971. If Siddons arrived in Paris on Tuesday, July 6, 1971, this means he waited three days before announcing to the world that Jim Morrison had died. What was Siddons doing during that three days? As previously stated, Siddons had Jim buried the next day, July 7 (Wednesday), so that explains one of the three days, but what about the other two? Siddons’ explanation of wanting to "avoid all the notoriety and circuslike atmosphere" gets him off the hook until the day of the funeral, but it does not explain the other two days? What happened between Wednesday, July 7, when Jim was buried, and Friday, July 9, when Siddons announced Jim’s death to the media? This does not add up at all. We have an American rock star hounded and harassed relentlessly by the FBI, suddenly he turns up dead in Paris at the age of 27, and his manager’s primary concern is getting the body buried, then waiting another two days to tell the world that his famous client is dead. Hopkins and Sugerman did not pursue the missing two days, but they focused on another point:
That was the extent of the information provided by Hopkins and Sugerman in 1980 when they first published No One Here Gets Out Alive. They also mentioned in passing that Pamela "died three years after Jim"53 in 1974. Fifteen years later, it 1995, their book was reissued with an Epilog—written by Jerry Hopkins—which, among other things, stated that Pamela "died of an overdose of heroin."54 Other than explain the legal entanglements she was involved in when she died, Hopkins offered no further details about Pamela’s death, not even the precise date, only the year. Nevertheless, Hopkins provided new information pertaining to Jim’s death. The following is an excerpt from the Epilog—written solely by Jerry Hopkins—in the 1994 edition of No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman:
In the same Epilog, Jerry Hopkins takes the following parting shots at both Pamela and Jim:
Hopkins’ remarks about Pamela have all the earmarks of what is known in the intelligence world as a "fallback position." When someone is bumped off by an intelligence agency, an official explanation surfaces along with one or more fallback positions. They’re all false, but they’re floated about as a diversion. While Hopkins overtly accepts the official heart attack scenario, he leaves the door open to blame Pamela for Morrison’s death. Notice how Hopkins wrote that "Danny [Sugerman] talked with Pamela and while he said she seemed wracked with guilt…she was radically inconsistent…" Hold on, who wrote the Epilog, Hopkins or Sugerman? Of course, it was Hopkins. But one has to wonder, if Sugerman actually talked to Pamela and observed that she seemed "wracked with guilt" and her stories were "radically inconsistent", why didn’t he (Sugerman) write the Epilog instead of Hopkins? Frankly, the Epilog doesn’t pass the smell test. Jerry Hopkins maligned Pamela Courson’s character, but Hopkins referenced Danny Sugerman as the source for the damning comments. By using this approach, neither Hopkins or Sugerman can be nailed for libel because Hopkins can always claim he merely quoted Sugerman and Sugerman can claim his words were taken out of context. It’s similar to tag-team wrestling.
What about the witch?
Hopkins and Sugerman have another gaffe in their biography of Jim Morrison. They completely dropped the ball regarding Morrison’s wife, Patricia Kennely, a practicing witch, or Wiccan. They describe the Wiccan marriage in Chapter 10 (which begins on page 293 of No One Here Gets Out Alive), but as the book continues, Patricia basically disappears and Jim moves to Paris with his regular girlfriend, Pamela Courson, who is not the least bit concerned that her long-term boyfriend chose to marry another woman instead of her. I realize Jim Morrison was a multi-woman man, but for the sake of proper writing, one would think Hopkins and Sugerman would explain how Morrison ditched the witch for the so-called junkie, Pamela. Maybe I have an innate bias against witches, but it would seem logical that since Hopkins and Sugerman chose to speculate that one of Morrison’s ladyfriends did him in, one would think that his wife—the witch—would be a prime suspect.
To be fair, Hopkins and Sugerman provided a lot of information about Patricia Kennely, the witch, but their timeline and dates are difficult to follow. Nevertheless, I shall attempt to piece together their version of events regarding Jim Morrison and his marriage to Patricia Kennely, a practicing witch. The following excerpts are from No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman:
Hopkins and Sugerman do not specify if the Wiccan marriage was legal or not. They never mention a marriage license, blood tests, or any of the legal things normally associated with getting married in the United States. The only blood mentioned was marking their signatures in blood on the Wiccan marriage documents. Somehow that doesn’t sound like it would go over very well at the local courthouse.
Kennely threatens Morrison with maternity suit during the Miami trial
According to Hopkins and Sugerman, Jim never lived with Patricia Kennely as husband and wife, but she claimed to have gotten pregnant with his child only a few months after their Wiccan wedding. Hopkins and Sugerman portray Morrison as the heavy, but they never explore the possibility that perhaps Kennely wasn’t really pregnant at all, or if she was, perhaps Jim was not the father. The couple had a sexual relationship, but their sexual encounters couldn’t have occurred with much frequency since they lived in separate cities. Married couples sometimes have to work at having sex on a regular basis in order to achieve pregnancy. Yet Kennely got pregnant with just a few sexual acts. Sure, it’s possible; but given her background (She’s a witch, remember? Not exactly Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.), it’s also possible she was part of a conspiracy to push Jim over the edge emotionally after he had already been drained by the Miami trial. Within this context, Jim comes across as a fairly secure man when threatened by his so-called wife. The following is an excerpt from No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman:
Hopkins and Sugerman provided quite a bit of additional dialogue between Jim and Patricia, but the bottom line is Patricia agreed to have an abortion and Jim promised to accompany her but he didn’t show up. Perhaps Jim acted like a rat, or perhaps he smelled a rat and decided to stay away. His eyes may have been opened when the Wiccan/witch threatened him with a paternity suit in the midst of what he viewed as a governmental effort to destroy him. The ensuing summer (1971), Jim gets together with his longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson and they move to Paris, where he dies and Hopkins and Sugerman subtly suggest that Courson may have had something to do with his death. Frankly, Hopkins and Sugerman do a terrible job of connecting the dots between Jim’s marriage to Patricia Kennely and his ongoing relationship with Pamela Courson. It’s believable that Pamela was willing to share Jim with other women, but it stretches credulity to think that she might quickly forgive him for marrying someone else. Hopkins and Sugerman don’t mention Jim’s marriage to Kennely other than describing the Wiccan wedding ceremony. In fact they later refer to Pamela as Jim’s common law wife. How can someone be the common law wife of a man who is already married to another woman? Excuse me, but that’s either poor writing or Disinformation 101. Something doesn’t add up.
Twenty paternity suits
Hopkins and Sugerman mention in passing that Morrison had "no less than twenty paternity suits" filed against him by December 1969; however they treat the suits lightly. Can you imagine one man having twenty paternity suits filed against him? The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description—from No One Here Gets Out Alive—of the growing pressures on Jim which included the stated paternity suits:
Notice how Hopkins and Sugerman interject the twenty law suits, then change the subject. They seem to be avoiding it for some reason. I doubt that they would include such an outrageous fact in their book if the twenty or so suits had not been filed. On the other hand, their avoidance of the issue is quite telling. Let’s analyze it logically. Morrison was a good-looking young male rock star constantly on the road. If he had sex with twenty different women while on the road, who would they be? Groupies, of course. He may have met a few under different circumstances, but most of them would be groupies. Next question: how many times would he have sex with a typical groupie? They were likely one night stands for the most part. Think about it. What are the chances of a man impregnating twenty different women with whom he had sex with each only one time? IMPOSSIBLE. Perhaps he had an ongoing relationship with a few of these women which resulted in repeat sexual encounters. But that would only be a handful.
Let’s focus on groupies for a moment. The average groupie is interested in what? Having a good time with her targeted rock star. Do you think a groupie is going to file a law suit against a famous rock star because she believes he impregnated her? Not likely. These are groupies, women who aggressively look for sex from a star, not a bunch of virgins interested in protecting their reputations. If twenty or so groupies filed law suits against Jim, someone probably put them up to it, possibly paid them to do it. Recall how earlier we referenced the Church Committee’s report on dealing with the New left. (See Chapter 11,) It stated that "[FBI] Agents were instructed to gather information on the New Left’s ‘immorality’ and the ‘scurrilous and depraved’ behavior, ‘habits, and living conditions’ of the members of the targeted groups."64 It appears that the FBI may have been doing a number on Morrison by encouraging twenty or more women, who genuinely had sex with him, to file bogus paternity suits. This would explain why Hopkins and Sugerman mentioned the suits in passing, then dropped all discussion of them.
Tom Baker and Leon Barnard
Patricia Kennely was not the only suspicious character in Morrison’s life. Close analysis of No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, reveals that at least two other people seemed to be with Morrison when trouble occurred. Their names were Tom Baker and Leon Barnard. Hopkins and Sugerman do not explain who Leon Barnard was, or what he did for a living, only that he worked at the Doors business office.65 I have learned from other sources, however, that Barnard was the Doors’ press agent. Tom Baker was a young actor acquainted with Jim Morrison in a very odd way. They had shared the same girlfriend, Pamela Courson. The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description of how Jim became friends with Tom Baker:
On November 11, 1969, about eight months after the infamous Miami concert (which occurred on March 1, 1969), Baker managed to get Jim and himself arrested by the FBI for drunk and disorderly conduct while flying on a commercial airliner. They were also charged with a more serious crime of "interfering with the flight of an aircraft" (a felony). The two men were traveling from Los Angeles en route to Phoenix to attend a Rolling Stones concert. They were accompanied by two other men, Leon Barnard and Frank Liscisandro.* The following is an excerpt from No One Here Gets Out Alive where Hopkins and Sugerman described how the FBI arrested Jim and Tom:
Basically the foursome behaved like teenage boys getting slightly rowdy and being fresh with a female flight attendant, but Tom Baker was the instigator, not Jim. At one point, Baker grabbed the flight attendant’s thigh. The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description of events on the plane that led to Jim and Tom’s arrest:
This has the earmarks of a sting operation where Tom Barker was probably used as an FBI informant to entrap Jim. It was Baker who interrupted Riva, the stewardess who was trying to give preflight instructions. It was Baker who led the four young men in a rendition of "Old man Riva." It was Baker who made the vulgar remark to Riva comparing the oxygen mask to his girlfriend’s diaphragm. It was Baker who dropped a bar of soap in Jim’s drink, causing yet another scene. It was Baker who reached for another stewardess’s thigh, probably the most serious offense. All Jim did on his own was throw some sandwiches at Leon. Everything else was instigated by Tom Baker.
Not long after the Phoenix incident, Tom Baker became verbally belligerent with Morrison at Barney’s Beanery Bar, in Los Angeles, while the two men were drinking with Frank Liscisandro and Babe Hill. The following is an excerpt from No One Here Gets Out Alive where Hopkins and Sugerman describe how the Baker tried to instigate a brawl with Morrison:
On March 25, 1970, the night before the Phoenix trial, Tom Baker and Leon Barnard both become belligerent with Jim. Baker was trying to get Jim drunk while Barnard shouted vulgarities at him. The following is an excerpt from No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, which describes how Baker and Barnard antagonized Jim on the night before the Phoenix trial:
Hopkins and Sugerman did not attempt to explain why the Doors’ press agent, Leon Barnard, shouted vulgarities at Jim Morrison for no apparent reason on the night before the trial in Phoenix. Hopkins and Sugerman ended the story by explaining how things were interrupted by a "pneumatic blond" who knocked on the door and asked to see Jim. Everyone else quickly "tiptoed out," leaving Jim alone with the woman, and that was the end of that. Hopkins and Sugerman wrote: "Jim was quickly all over her, running his mouth down her blouse." Now let’s back up a moment. A few sentences back, Hopkins and Sugerman wrote that "Jim remained distracted…His thoughts were on the impending Phoenix trial and the possible heavy sentences he faced…" Yet he apparently arranges to have a sexual encounter with a groupie on the night he met with his lawyer and manager to discuss the very case that had him so preoccupied. This defies logic. Who was the "pneumatic blond"? Hopkins and Sugerman made no attempt whatsoever to explain who she was or who invited her.
A few more questions need to be asked. First, why were drinks ordered from room service? Why would Jim’s attorney, Max Fink, allow such conduct? The others were young men in their twenties, but he was older, supposedly more responsible. Why would he allow his client to be drinking the night before he went to court, whether it was in a bar or in a hotel room? After all, alcohol consumption had contributed to Jim’s Phoenix arrest in the first place. Why would Mr. Fink not attempt to keep Jim and the others sober on the night before the trial? Second, why was the Doors’ press agent, Leon Barnard, shouting vulgarities at Jim? Once again, Barnard’s conduct—like Tom Baker’s—has all the earmarks of an FBI sting operation. Also, the fact that Max Fink apparently encouraged his clients to drinks the night before they went to trial suggests that he was also working with the FBI to bring Jim down. But being a licensed attorney, Fink could not go as far as Baker or Barnard in entrapping Jim, but Fink certainly allowed Jim to incriminate himself. Earlier, Baker got Jim arrested on trumped up charges after he (Baker) created a ruckus on a planed headed to Phoenix. Now Baker and Barnard were apparently trying to rattle Jim on the night prior to the trial for the Phoenix incident. Baker tries to get Jim drunk—and probably arrested again—while Barnard belittles him. When Frank Liscisandro comes to Jim’s defense, a sexy blond suddenly appears at the door and seduces Jim on the spot.
On March 26, 1970, Jim was convicted of two charges, and Tom—the instigator—got off scot-free. The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description—from No One Here Gets Out Alive—of the Phoenix trial:
This was a great turn of events for Jim, but he had endured quite a bit of abuse from his so-called friend Tom Baker the day after he (Jim) was convicted of "assaulting" the stewardesses, while Baker—the true perpetrator—had been acquitted. March 27, 1970, the day after Jim was convicted, Baker continued to get Jim in trouble with the law, but Jim began to see Baker as a troublemaker and confronted him. The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description—from No One Here Gets Out Alive—of how Morrison finally confronted Baker:
A couple of questions arise. First, who was this "friend" of Tom Baker’s who appeared from nowhere and threw himself at Jim while Jim was "wrestling" Baker to the door, trying to get him to leave the Doors’ business office? A few sentences back, Hopkins and Sugerman wrote that Jim and Babe had wrestled Tom back to the Doors’ office from the Palms bar after Tom had gotten drunk in the morning, tipped over a pool table at the Palms, causing the owner to call the sheriff. There was no mention of a "friend" helping Jim and Babe. And think about it, if Tom was so drunk that the police had been called, a genuine drinking buddy would probably put some distance between himself, Tom and the sheriff. If this so-called friend of Tom’s "appeared" when trouble erupted at the Doors’ office, this means the friend surreptitiously followed Jim, Babe, and Tom back to the Doors’ office, which suggests that the friend was a spy; perhaps an FBI agent, informant, or undercover cop. Whoever he was, it sounds like he got beaten up by Jim’s bodyguard, Tony Funches, assisted by Babe Hill.
This leads to a second question. Why did Babe Hill become upset with the deputies? They were on his side, right? Yet when the cops arrived, summoned by Jim to take away the troublemakers (Tom Baker and his unidentified friend), Babe Hill suddenly switched teams and began "bad-mouthing" the cops. It makes no sense that it would have happened that way, but if in fact that is the correct version of events, Hopkins and Sugerman should have provided an explanation to clarify why Babe Hill got mad at the cops. Just speculating, it is highly possible that the unidentified friend of Tom Baker’s was in fact an undercover cop—or an FBI agent—and the sheriff deputies recognized him, saw that he was being beaten up by Hill and Funches, and threatened to arrest Hill and Funches. Of course the deputies probably didn’t tell anyone that the guy being manhandled by Hill and Funches was a cop, but they probably jumped to the guy’s defense, which likely upset Hill. Why else would Hill be angry with the cops? Apparently they were angry with him but Hopkins and Sugerman omitted that part of the story. Within two weeks Babe Hill had some bad luck. The following is Hopkins and Sugerman’s description:
Was this a genuine accident, or was it reprisal for beating up an FBI agent or undercover cop?
Strange things began to happen to Jim after the Phoenix trial and the ensuing confrontation with Tom Baker. As previously stated, in June 1970, Jim married Patricia Kennely in a Wiccan wedding ceremony. On the day of the wedding, Jim’s temperature shot up to 1050F then dropped. Jim’s immune system was apparently fighting off pneumonia but he didn’t realize it at the time. A few days later Jim went to Paris with Leon Barnard. When Jim returned to the states, he realized he had pneumonia. Pamela Courson reportedly nursed him back to health at her apartment.76
On August 10, 1970, Jim’s Miami trial started.77 On September 3, 1970, Alan Wilson died. On September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died. On September 19, 1970, a jury convicted Jim of two misdemeanors—indecent exposure and drunkenness—but acquitted him of the felony charge, lewd and lascivious behavior and the other misdemeanor, open profanity.78 On October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin died. On October 30, 1970, Judge Murray Goodman sentenced Jim to six months hard labor at Dade County jail for the exposure conviction and sixty days of the same for the profanity charge. In addition, Jim was to be put on probation, after the jail term was completed, for two years and four months. Goodman also fined Jim $500.79
In June 1971, Jim ran into Tom Baker just before he (Jim) left for Paris. They reportedly acted like brothers. The following is Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman’s description of the reunion, from the book, No One Here Gets Out Alive:
On July 3, 1971, Jim died at his apartment in Paris, reportedly of a heart attack. Given Tom Baker’s treacherous behavior toward Jim, one has to wonder if Baker had anything to do with his death. Based on Hopkins and Sugerman’s description of Baker, I would suspect him of being involved in Jim’s death more than Pamela, who obviously loved him.
What really happened?
Based on my research and analysis of the Morrison case, I have developed a scenario of what probably happened to Jim Morrison in the early morning hours of July 3, 1971 in Paris. The following is a summary:
Findings of rock researcher Alex Constantine
Rock researcher Alex Constantine published an interesting book entitled The Covert War Against Rock (2000). The book has several flaws. For example, the cover is atrocious, a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald’s grimaced face the moment he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, but a hand clutching a microphone is superimposed on the picture. The cover gives the impression that Oswald is a singer in a rock band. Given the tragedy of President Kennedy’s assassination, and the tragedy that befell Oswald’s surviving family members, the satirical picture of Oswald is truly an appalling display. Even worse than its lack of sensitivity to a serious topic, it gives the impression that Constantine’s book is a satire, not a serious endeavor. A second flaw in Constantine’s book is his obsession with blaming everything on the CIA, the Mafia, fascists, and Nazis, rather than focusing on the crimes themselves. He often mentions the FBI but he creates the impression that the CIA and the FBI are one big happy band of killers. What he fails to realize is the two agencies are extremely adversarial.
In addition, Constantine’s endless discussions about the Mafia are pointless because they deflect from the driving force behind the war on rock stars. He gives the impression—as many researchers do—that carrying out political assassinations is an extremely complex process. Nothing could be further from the truth. It requires three things: (a) nerve, (b) professional assassins, and (c) complete control over the American news media in order to cover up the crime. Of the three requirements, C is the most difficult; and from my research, the FBI is the only intelligence agency capable of pulling it off. There is no evidence that the CIA or the Mafia has absolute control over the news media, but there is plenty of evidence that the FBI does. With such control, political assassination becomes a piece of cake. It’s done the same way it has been done since the beginning of time. No sophistication is needed; just nerve, professional assassins and the money to pay them, plus sufficient power to cover up the crime by pushing a cover story on the populace via the news media.
Having stated the criticisms of Constantine’s book, I wish to state that I am not criticizing Constantine personally. After all, he may have had little control over the book’s cover. And his editor or publisher may have insisted that he pepper comments about the CIA, Mafia, and Nazis throughout the book. It’s difficult to say why his book is so needlessly flawed, but nevertheless, it is. Having stated that, I wish to point out the constructive parts of his book. If one strips away Constantine’s hyperbole about the CIA, the Mafia, fascists, and Nazis, a lot of interesting information is revealed. The following is a summary of Alex Constantine’s research, as it relates to Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison—less the CIA/Mafia/Nazi spin—from the book, The Covert War Against Rock:
|1||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 188|
|2||ibid, p 131|
|3||ibid, p 382|
|4||ibid, p 53. Hopkins & Sugerman suggest Morrison graduated from UCLA with the following cryptic statement: "…but in June , when it came time for [Morrison] to collect his diploma, Jim was walking the Venice beach, smoking dope." Ray Manzarek corroborated Morrison’s academic achievement in a 1991 interview with Martin Pitts. When asked how he and Morrison met and formed their band, Manzarek responded as follows: "We graduated from the UCLA Film School in the summer of 1965." There’s obviously more to the story than that.|
|5||ibid, p 142|
|6||ibid, pp. 17-18|
|7||ibid, p 50|
|8||ibid, p 107 (Morrison’s bio for Elektra states he has no family and his parents are dead.)|
|9||ibid, pp. 183-184|
|10||ibid, p 58|
|11||Encyclopedia Britannica: Doors, the|
|12||Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, p 12|
|13||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 267|
|14||Fito de la Parra, Living the Blues: Canned Heat’s Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival; p 76|
|15||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, pp. 143-144|
|17||ibid, p 271|
|18||Fito de la Parra, Living the Blues: Canned Heat’s Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival; p 217|
|19||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 277|
|20||ibid, pp. 222-223 (Date of the Miami concert is given by first stating the date, Feb. 28, 1969, that Morrison attended a performance of Paradise Now, at the University of Southern California, by the Living Theater, then stating that the Miami concert occurred the next day.)|
|21||Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, pp. 705-706|
|22||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 220|
|23||ibid, p 220|
|24||ibid, pp. 221-222|
|25||ibid, pp. 222-223|
|26||ibid, pp. 227-235 (The Miami concert is described.)|
|27||ibid, pp. 235-236|
|28||ibid, p 238|
|30||ibid, p 241|
|31||ibid, p 299|
|32||ibid, pp. 313-314|
|33||ibid, p 317|
|34||ibid, p 299 (Note: Hopkins & Sugerman mention August 10, 1970, but don’t directly related it to the night Morrison sat in with Canned Heat. It becomes clear later that the Canned Heat session was August 10.)|
|35||ibid, p 303|
|36||Fito de la Parra, Living the Blues: Canned Heat’s Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival; p 140|
|37||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 313 (Note: It is presumed that Morrison was convicted the day AFTER Hendrix died because Hopkins & Sugerman wrote the following sentence: "Before court that morning, Jim read in a Miami newspaper that Jimi Hendrix had died in London. Again he wondered aloud, ‘Does anyone believe in omens?’" Hendrix died on September 18, 1970. Therefore the newspapers would have reported it on the following day, September 19, 1970.|
|38||ibid, p 314|
|39||ibid, p 360|
|40||ibid, p 365|
|41||Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, p 77|
|42||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 368|
|43||ibid, p 165|
|44||ibid, p 366|
|45||ibid, p 176 (This is where Hopkins & Sugerman indicate that Bill Siddons was the Doors’ manager.)|
|46||ibid, p 366|
|48||ibid, p 367|
|50||ibid, p 368|
|52||ibid, pp. 368-369|
|53||ibid, p 374|
|54||ibid, p 377|
|55||ibid, pp. 380-381|
|56||ibid, p 290|
|57||ibid, p 294|
|58||ibid, p 293|
|59||ibid, p 294|
|60||ibid, pp. 295-296|
|61||ibid, p 305|
|62||ibid, p 307|
|63||ibid, p 277|
|64||Church Committee’s report, Book II, Intelligence Activities and Rights of Americans, "Domestic Covert Action," pp. 88-89|
|65||Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, p 237 (Hopkins and Sugerman suggest that Leon Barnard works at the Doors’ office, but they do not specifically state what he does. They wrote: "When Jim entered the office and Leon Barnard asked, ‘How'd it go in Miami?’ Jim grinned and said right back, ‘You would have loved it, Leon.’…")|
|66||ibid, pp. 105-106|
|67||ibid, p 269|
|68||ibid, pp. 268-269|
|69||ibid, p 275|
|70||ibid, pp. 284-285|
|71||ibid, p 285|
|72||ibid, p 288|
|73||ibid, p 290|
|74||ibid, pp. 286-287|
|75||ibid, p 289|
|76||ibid, pp. 296-297|
|77||ibid, p 299|
|78||ibid, pp. 313-314|
|79||ibid, p 317|
|80||ibid, p 347|
|81||Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, p 79|
|82||ibid, pp. 77-78|
|84||ibid, p 12|
|85||ibid, p 61|
|86||ibid, pp. 61-62|
|87||ibid, p 62|
|88||ibid, p 64|
|89||ibid, p 65|
|90||ibid, p 70|
|91||ibid, pp. 24-25|
|92||ibid, pp. 54-55|
|93||ibid, p 37|
|94||Kristofer Engelhardt, The Beatles Undercover, p 51|
|95||Dennis Wilson, http://users.utu.fi/~lausto/dennis/dennis.html; Encyclopedia Britannica: Beach Boys, the|
|96||Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, pp 38-39. Cass Elliot’s death date is shown in the Encyclopedia Britannica: Mamas and the Papas, The.|
|97||Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, p 39|
|98||ibid, p 40|