Taking a break from the war in Viet Nam, I arrived in New York just as the anti-war movement surged across the nation. An assignment for LIFE found me heading for New Haven, Connecticut with a writer called Fred Powledge who was ‘in-sighting’ the current psychedelically edged music thorough the eyes of his teen daughter for the magazine.
On arrival we saw a squad of New Haven's finest sentries posted to prevent their daughters from groping the man in taut black. Pre-concert Jim was supposedly caught receiving oral sex in his dressing room, the police over reacted and maced Morrison back stage just before he went on. When he came out on stage he was charged with what the Vietnamese would call 'revolutionary zeal'.
The police surged on stage as the power was cut. Morrison had enough power left to parry the mike at Lt. Kelly’s face with a “say your thing man” before the whole hot moment was stunned briefly into ill-lit silence.
As the cops dragged the protesting performer off stage, a riot erupted. Five thousand erstwhile peaceful fans went ballistic.
I danced about with my camera shooting the punch out. An officer grabbed me and began beating me and told me to move on. I protested to the Lieutenant in charge. Instant arrest. I was shoved into a squad car back seat. An hour of cruising and collecting knife-flicking drunks, we arrived at the new Haven central tank in time to share central holding with the star himself. We presented a motley spectrum for the nights catch. It was only then that they wanted my cameras, shoelaces and all the other good stuff to prevent me from suiciding..
Jim Morrison was recently exonerated for his crime in New Haven. As for me, I am still a wanted man in Connecticut, having skipped the $350 bail LIFE deducted from my fees. Though the magazine ran the story with five pages of black and white photos, then promptly lost the negatives.
…… Tim Page …...