Jimi Hendrix Hosts a Jam Session Where Jim Morrison Sings Drunkenly; Jimi Records the Moment for Posterity (1968)

Two psych rock super­stars at the height of their fame, both noto­ri­ous for epic drug and alco­hol con­sump­tion, and nei­ther par­tic­u­lar­ly suit­ed to the other’s sen­si­bil­i­ty, Jim Mor­ri­son and Jim­my Hen­drix might have been an odd­ly con­so­nant musi­cal pair­ing, or not. Mor­ri­son, the ego­ma­ni­ac, looked inward, min­ing his dark fan­tasies for mate­r­i­al. Hen­drix, the intro­vert, ven­tured into the reach­es of out­er space in his expan­sive imag­i­na­tion.

What might come of a musi­cal meet­ing? We know only what tran­spired one night at Man­hat­tan’s Scene Club in 1968, and let’s just say it didn’t go par­tic­u­lar­ly well. It seems unfair to lob crit­i­cism at a boot­legged, one-off, impro­vised per­for­mance. But that hasn’t stopped crit­ics from doing so. The record­ing has appeared under sev­er­al names, includ­ing Sky High, Bleed­ing Heart, Morrison/Hendrix/Winter (under the assump­tion John­ny Win­ter played on it), and as the very res­o­nant­ly titled Woke up this morn­ing and found myself dead.

Even­tu­al­ly, some anony­mous dis­trib­uter set­tled on Morrison’s Lament, “an apt title,” Ron Kretsch writes at Dan­ger­ous Minds, “if by ‘lament’ one means ‘drunk­en, form­less dis­charge of inane pro­fan­i­ties.” Mor­ri­son, it seems, invit­ed him­self onstage, and Hen­drix, who made the tape him­self, seems not to mind the intru­sion. At one point, you can hear him tell the Doors’ singer to “use the record­ing mic.” Some bootlegs cred­it Mor­ri­son for the har­mon­i­ca play­ing, while oth­ers cred­it Lester Cham­bers.

Hen­drix starts with his go-to blues jam, “Red House.” He’s backed—depending on which lin­er notes you read—by either Band of Gyp­sys’ drum­mer Bud­dy Miles or McCoy’s drum­mer Randy Zehringer. Rick Der­ringer may have played rhythm gui­tar. John­ny Win­ter report­ed­ly denied hav­ing been there, but the Scene Club was owned by his man­ag­er, Steve Paul. “Jimi was a fre­quent vis­i­tor here,” writes Hen­drix biog­ra­ph­er Tony Brown in the notes for a 1980 copy of the ses­sion. “He loved he atmos­phere and also loved to jam and as he always had a tape machine on hand, that night was cap­tured for­ev­er.”

That’s a very mixed bless­ing. “Some of the tracks kin­da kick ass,” writes Kretsch, includ­ing the effort­less­ly bril­liant “Red House” Hen­drix and band play in the first six min­utes or so at the top. Then Mor­ri­son steps onstage and begins to howl—sounding like a ran­dom ine­bri­at­ed audi­ence mem­ber who’s lost all inhi­bi­tion, instead of the eeri­ly cool singer of “Rid­ers on the Storm.” Maybe there’s good rea­son to hear Mor­ri­son bel­low­ing “save me, woman!” as a seri­ous cry for help.

But there’s lit­tle rea­son to take this per­for­mance seri­ous­ly. If that still leaves you wondering—what might have result­ed from a sober, well-rehearsed ses­sion between these two?—you’ll have to make-do with the mashup above, which con­vinc­ing­ly com­bines Morrison’s “Rid­ers on the Storm” vocals with Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” play­ing. Lis­ten at least until the solo at around 1:20 to hear Ray Man­zarek’s organ trick­le in. Now that would have been a great col­lab­o­ra­tion. If you every come across any boot­legged Man­zarek and Hen­drix jams, send them our way.…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jimi Hen­drix Arrives in Lon­don in 1966, Asks to Get Onstage with Cream, and Blows Eric Clap­ton Away: “You Nev­er Told Me He Was That F‑ing Good”

Hear the Last Time the Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence Ever Played Togeth­er: The Riotous Den­ver Pop Fes­ti­val of 1969

The Doors’ Ray Man­zarek Walks You Through the Writ­ing of the Band’s Icon­ic Song, “Rid­ers on the Storm”

Jimi Hen­drix Plays the Bea­t­les: “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Day Trip­per,” and “Tomor­row Nev­er Knows”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness.

by | Permalink | Comments (3) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (3)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Alison says:

    Mor­ri­son, counter to the nar­ra­tive set by Oliv­er Stone and Hopkins/Sugarman, was not an ego­ma­ni­ac, but an intro­vert like Hen­drix. Trag­i­cal­ly, he did have a seri­ous depen­den­cy on alco­hol, prob­a­bly, in part, to over­come this nat­ur­al ten­den­cy in him­self. This episode, which you felt the need to dredge up, is ter­ri­bly sad. There is noth­ing edi­fy­ing in recount­ing one of Mor­rison’s low­est pub­lic moments. Mor­ri­son was trou­bled and self-destruc­tive and has paid for this by hav­ing his rep­u­ta­tion raked over the coals relent­less­ly for more than 50 years by peo­ple cre­at­ing a car­i­ca­ture of his life and using it to sell sto­ries. I find it dis­heart­en­ing to see this once again in Open Cul­ture as I think of this as a place of seri­ous intel­lec­tu­al inquiry and resource­ful­ness, not a place for mock­ing the dead.

  • Juan F. Carpio says:

    Great defense of our dark poet, our vision­ary, our trou­bled late beat­nik. Thanks.

  • Bryant says:

    I agree a 100% with you✌.thanks for the Defense

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.