Why Jim Morrison Got Arrested Onstage in New Haven

by Sterling Whitaker
New Haven Police Dept.
New Haven Police Dept.

Jim Morrison was one of the most mythologized and romanticized figures in rock history. A deep-seated anti-authoritarian streak repeatedly landed him in trouble, eventually earning the Doors frontman the dubious distinction of being the first-ever rock star to be arrested onstage – as far as we know.

The group had gathered for a performance on Dec. 9, 1967, in New Haven, Conn., where Morrison was "making out" with a female fan in the shower in the backstage area of the New Haven Arena, according to the late Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. A local police officer who was providing security for the band – apparently not recognizing the singer – told them to vacate the area, and Morrison reportedly replied, "Eat it." The officer brandished a can of Mace and warned, "Last chance." Morrison shot back, "Last chance to eat it" – earning himself a face full of Mace for his defiance.


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