Morrison’s Miami Trial: If All Else Fails You Can Petition The Lord With Prayer

Published in Rock Magazine
By Mike Gershman

***Note: not full article

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do
But there ain’t no cure for the summer-time blues.
-E. Cochran

There just are no summertime blues to compare with those felt here in Miami. We’re here—me, Jim, John, Ray, and Robbie, waiting—four Doors and a publicist—waiting for the big trial.
The Trial was supposed to start Monday, August 3rd, but was pushed back to the 10th. Then Judge Murray Goodman got into his calendar all screwed up and there was another delay.
Monday, 10 a.m.—We all go down to court with Max Fink, the Doors’ L.A. attorney, David Tardiff, his associate, and Robert Josefsberg, the Doors’ Miami attorney. The TV cameras, radio stations and reporters are the only tie to a former reality/illusion we can recognize. The interviewing and picture taking begin, while 100 feet away Murf the Surf is awaiting trial on yet another robbery charge. It is absolutely unreal.
Since Morrison landed Saturday night, there isn’t enough reality around here to make a humburger. We are staying at a hotel on Collins Avenue. So that you’ll know what the hotel is all about, there is an activity board down by the pool. The day we arrived the first item on the blackboard was “11:30 a.m.—Eyelash Seminar given by Miss Vickie.” The hotel is currently playing host to the National Rural Letter Carriers Association. It is a kick to see 23-year-old lady letter carriers from Marion, Ohio, and the like. None of them know the Doors from third base. I ask and get no response.
Saturday night we talked. Since doing the Doors’ publicity from the summer of ’67 to the beginning of ’69, I haven’t seen Morrison or talked to him. We spend a while catching up on old news. The Miami concert? He doesn’t remember much of it. His new privately-printed poetry book, “An American Prayer”? Says Jim, “Yeah, I’m really happy with it.”
A sample: “Do you know we are being led to slaughters by placid admirals and that fat slow generals are getting obscene on young blood?”
His movies? “ ‘Feast of Friends’ is a really good film, but the critics really shit all over it. There is a new one, a fiction film I did with Paul Ferrera we’re trying to enter in the New York Film Festival. We’re really happy with it. We did a benefit showing of it for the Synanon people in Santa Monica and they cheered like crazy at the end.”
Then we talked about hero’s and the lack of them in our world today. “While I was in Europe getting ready for the trial,” Morrison says, “I saw this documentary about a guy who entered an around the world boat race. About the second out he decided to just sit around and drink beer and send in these great phony reports that he was really getting it on. He was in competition with another guy and he figured this other guy would beat him anyway, so he just sat there with some beer, the Bible, and a book on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, radioing back false reports of where he was. Well the other guy he was racing against gets himself all fouled up and drops out of the race. So this English guy just cant face it. Here everybody is declaring him the winner and it’s gonna take him another three weeks at least just to catch up. He can’t face it, so he kills himself by jumping off his boat. A real tragedy.” (If you’re interested in the story; read “The Last Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst.”)
Sunday we sit around the pool. Then at night we decide to see Jai Lai, but that’s closed for summer. I sack out and Jim and his friend Bill Babe Hill go to the dog races, Hill coming back $50 richer and Morrison winning 20 bucks. That night, John, Ray and Robbie arrive with their ladies. We meet with Max Fink and discuss whether or not they should take the stand. At this point, they’ll probably testify. Then we discuss a free concert which I’ve been avoiding for a while. Now it looks like this will happen the weekend of the 21st, if all goes well.
Back to the courtroom. Nothing much is happening here Monday morning. The interviewing over, we’re just sitting around. Rumors leak out of the judge’s chambers that are just incredible. First the word is the jury will be selected right away. Then, because Goodman has scheduled another case that’s already been postponed three times, this larceny case takes precedence. There is grumbling and some paranoia, but it subsides quickly. Next a long wait.
I can’t take it. I go across the street to a hospital and buy some paperback books. Even the paperbacks are nowhere: lots of Nurse Nancy novels, “The Love Machine,” “The Godfather” etc. I finally pick out a mystery and “The Birth of God” by the defrocked Catholic priest, James Kavanaugh.
The night before, as it turns out, Morrison and I had been talking about God and religion. We started out from different bases but arrived at the same non-theistic result—there is no God so enjoy this life, it’s the only one you’re gonna get. On impulse, I gove Morrison the Kavanaugh book, in which he rapidly becomes absorbed. Two girls out of the thirty or so who are hanging around walk over. One says to Morrison, “You’re really into God, aren’t you?” Morrison, always polite, restrains himself and after a very, very significant pause, resignedly says, “Yeah.” The girl takes this at face value, and soon another false impression will circulate, that Morrison is a great believer in God, thus adding to the seemingly endless Morrison legend.
John runs over: “Did you hear that? They’re going to postpone this thing until November. What a drag.” __Everybody proceeds to freak out until five minutes later, when Bob Josefsberg corrects the misunderstanding. “We get started Wednesday at one o’clock. You can all go back and take the rest of today and tomorrow off.”
We return to Tranquility Base, such as it is, and the Doors go snorkeling. I can’t help thinking how glad I am that nobody’s here to take pictures of them or interview Morrison on the relation between snorkeling and God, why does