Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison are two of the biggest icons of the counterculture, and there remain some parallels to be drawn between them, not to mention their inclusion in the infamous ’27 Club’. However, it turns out that the two occasions in which the pair actually met were utterly disastrous, and their characters could not be more contrasting.
The two first crossed paths at a late-night jam session at the New York club, The Scene, between March 6th and March 7th 1968. Per an account in The Doors Interactive Chronological History, in terms of legends, it wasn’t just Hendrix and Morrison who were in attendance at the club, the era’s premium vocalist and other, Janis Joplin, was also present.
The story goes that the crowd turned up to watch Hendrix jam with a group of musicians that included Randy Hobbs, Bobby Peterson and Randy Zehringer, who all played in The McCoys. At some point during the jam, when the band were playing a bluesier number, Morrison, who was “slurring, very stoned” according to an audience member Michael J Weber, climbed on stage and began shouting noises down the mic such as “oh-wow-wooooh”, whilst holding onto the mic stand for support because he was so intoxicated.
Either on purpose or because he fell over, Morrison allegedly slumped to his knees and started to perform a mock blow job on Hendrix, which Weber confirms by saying that he was being “very lewd and crude”. Morrison has his arms wrapped around Hendrix’s legs and screamed things such as “I wanna suck your cock!”, but the uber-cool ‘Purple Haze’ mastermind remained unphased, and pressed on with the jam regardless.
Janis Joplin, meanwhile, was well known for her hatred of The Doors frontman and would often call him an “asshole” when his name was mentioned. Infuriated by what she regarded as shameless scene-stealing, Joplin reportedly stepped on stage with a bottle of Southern Comfort in one hand and her drink in the other.
In an interview with Louder Sound, Danny Fields, an Elektra publicist who was in attendance that night, remembered what happened next: “Janis stepped in and hit Jim over the head with the bottle, then she poured her drink over him. The three of them started grabbing and rolling all over the floor in a writhing heap of hysteria. I swear there was, like, fur flying, like a cloud of dust around them, as if they were in a dry river bed. They were in a tangle of broken glass, dust and guitars. A lot of dust and feathers and leathers and satins went flying around.”
Fields added: “Naturally, it ended up in all three of them being carried out. Morrison was the most seriously hurt. They all had minders and roadies, and there were guys from the club whose job was to help keep order.” Interestingly, Hendrix was recording the entire jam on his trusty reel-to-reel tape recorder, Nagra, and on some bootlegs, you can listen to the recordings under the name of ‘Morrison’s Lament’.
This wasn’t the last time Hendrix and Morrison met each other, however. Nearly a month later, on April 2nd in Montreal, Canada at the Paul Suavé Arena, Morrison found himself interrupting a Hendrix performance once again.
In Harry Shapiro’s biography, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy, the incident is remembered by soul legend Geno Washington. The crowd were going wild for the guitar hero, and amongst it all, Morrison tried to get on stage again, seemingly forgetting what happened in New York. Washington recalled: “The place was fuckin’ packed, the people are going ape shit, Jim Morrison is drinking his drink and staggers up to the front of the stage, ‘Hey Jimi! Jimi! Let me come up and sing, man, and we’ll do this shit together.’ So Jimi goes, ‘That’s okay, fella, I can handle it myself.’ And he said, ‘Do you know who I am? I’m Jim Morrison of the Doors.’ ‘Yeah,’ said Jimi, ‘I know who you are—and I’m Jimi Hendrix.'”
Listen to ‘Morrison’s Lament’ below.