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8/13/2019 Hendrix Booklet
8/13/2019 Hendrix Booklet
Of all the great SixtieSita iconsBeck, Clapton, Pae,TownshendJimi Hendix is by fa themost enimatic. His caee as a ocksta lasted a scant fo yeas, ct shotpemately by his death in 1970 atae 27. In his time, he was notoioslyeticent in font of inteiewes mico-phonesthe kin of the tippy nonseqit. Pt it down to a consciosnessadically alteed by psychedelic ds,the cation of a black man in a whitewold o the natal inclination of a
hihly accomplished msician to say itall thoh his msic: Hendix liked toleae people essin.
The passin yeas hae only seedto obsce the eal Jimi een f-the. Seeal eneations of eision-istsfom well-meanin ock histoiansto self-sein oppotnistshaehad thei way with his life stoy andmsical leacy. The histoical pocesshas ineitably edced Hendix tosomethin of a caicate. Like mchthat belons to ocks ich and anchyhistoy, poo Jimis been Disney-fied.A complex atist has been edced to a
dmbed-down, one-dimensional imae.The hihly maketable Jimi icon (biold Afo and pside-down Stat) hastaken its place alonside the Mailynicon (skit whooshin skywad) and
Elis icon (pompado and snee) onthe wall mal of the esatz malt shopcalled commecialized nostalia.
To Disney-fy an atist is to diocehim fom his histoical context. In the
case of a msician, this meanssepaatin his msic fom themeanins, emotional pespec-ties and citical implicationsit held fo its oiinal adience,so as to make it emaketableto sbseqent listenes. Andin Hendixs case, pesent-day
listenes ae often bobbindeot heads to msic that wascompletely nknown to Jimisoiinal adience. Din hislifetime, Hendix eleased onlythee stdio albms and one liedisc. (He was at wok on a fothstdio ecod at the time of hisdeath.) Bt thee hae been hn-deds pon hndeds of posth-mos, nofficial and downihtilleal eleases beain his name,likeness andpesmablysomeof his ita playin.
Thats qite a bit of mateial to
none ofus realized
was goingto whipthe carpetout fromunder usin such
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wade thouh, and quite fankly, someof it is cap. While eisionist icono-aphes hae attempted to cast Hen-dix as some kind of wizad, deity oclaioyant spaceman, he did play bumnotes and uninspied diel at times,
just like any othe uitaist. So the fiststep in findin the eal Jimi Hendixis leanin to distinuish the music hespecifically ceated fo album eleasefom all the mainalia thats out thee.
To cultiate a eal undestandin andappeciation of Hendix, its essentialto iew him in the context of his times.In sound, style and spiit, Hendix wasquintessentially a uita playe of the
Sixties, a time when ock music wasundeoin what many conside itseatest ceatie bust.
The celebraTedpsycholoistJacques Lacan thouht that we allundeo a pimodial identity cisis inealy life when ou paents confe a
name on us. What to make, then, of thechild chistened Johnny Allen Hendixon Decembe 7, 1942, and enamedJames Mashall Hendix some fouyeas late? Pehaps this was what lay at
the oot of the eticence, playful ebaleasieness and seeminly fluid senseof identity possessed by the man whowent on to find fame as Jimi Hendix.
Contay to what some would haeyou beliee, Jimi didnt come fom outespace. He came fom Seattle. gow-in up thee, James Mashall Hendixquickly discoeed an affinity fo theuita. Bein left-handed, he took tostinin conentional uitas upside
down and playin them that way. Amonhis stonest ealy uita influenceswee bluesmen like Muddy Wates, B.B.Kin, Elmoe James and Buddy guy.His esemblance to the latte is uncannyat times. And guy emembes beinappoached by Hendix at a club dateone eenin duin the Sixties.
Jimi said, Can I tape what youeplayin? guy ecalls. And I saidyeah. Somebody had a potable tapeecode on em and Hendix otdown on his knees and just stayedthee at the cone of the stae. SoJimi ae bith to somethin thatoiinally came fom Buddy guy. And
I know if Jimi was hee, hed be thefist one to tell you that.
Hendix stated playin semipo-fessionally while still in hih school.Afte a yea in the Amy Aibone Dii-sionhe was honoably dischaedafte bein injued on his 26th paa-chute jumpthe uitaist embaked ona jouneyman caee as an r&B side-man on what was then known as theChitlin Cicuitsmall, pedominantlyAfo-Ameican clubs thouhout theSouth. He chaned names once aain.As Jimmy James, he backed such r&Bnotables as Sam Cooke, Solomon Buke,
Hank Ballad, B.B. Kin, Jackie Wilson,Wilson Pickett and Ike & Tina Tune.Hendix would late emembe thispeiod as a time of poety, stule andconstant ipoffs. But it was also a te-mendous musical educationone thatextended to the ecodin studio, wheeHendix cut some mino sides with anumbe of atists, includin r&B eatsthe Isley Bothes (then just at the statof thei caee) and Little richad (thenon a downslide fom his mid-Fiftiesbust of loy as one of ock and ollsboldest oiinatos). Completists mihtwant to collect these ecodins, buttheye petty much just anonymous
session wok.By 1966, Hendix had landed in
New Yok Citys ae-old bohemianneihbohood, geenwich villae,whee folk music and ock wee inte-sectin in a bi way. He was fontin hisown oup, Jimmy James and the BlueFlames. By this point, his act had beunto include stae ticks like playin theuita behind his head, a moe hedappopiated fom bluesman T-BoneWalke. But duin that same peiodHendix also ecoded and pefomedwith aspiin soul sine Cutis Kniht,a situation that would late lead him
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into leal and contactal hassles ofmajo popotions. Like name chanes,litiation was a constant in Jimis life.Afte Hendix hit it bi in 1967, someof the Ctis Kniht ecodins weeissed nde the titles Get That Feel-ingandFlashing. By that point, thesealbms had become somethin of anembaassment to Hendix, whodaleady chaned his style consideably.
IT was Ingeenwich villae thatHendix was discoeed by fomeAnimals bassist Chas Chandle, whoddecided to ty his hand at atist man-aement. In Septembe 1966, Chandleelocated Hendix to London. Le-end has it that the itaist decidedto echisten himself Jimi Hendixdin the plane ide oe, iinthe eeyday name Jimmy an exoticnew spellin. Shotly afte aiin inLondon, Chandle and Hendix beanaditionin sidemen fo a new op
to be centeed aond Hendixs ocaland ita wok. They opted fo thepowe-tio linep that was then beinpoplaized by Eic Claptons newband, Ceam. Bitish dmme MitchMitchella etean of geoie Fameand his Ble Flameswas ecitedinto Hendixs band. The bass slot wasawaded to anothe Enlishman, ses-sion itaist Noel reddin. The newop qickly set abot takin Swin-in London by stom.
In late 1966, San Fanciscos Haiht-Ashby scene was still a few monthsaway fom beakin ot woldwide.
Fo the time bein, London was thendispted capital of the pop clteniese. rock msicians, isal atists,fashion desines and models patiedall day and all of the niht with Bitishaistocats and anstes. It was in thishihly chaed, intensely ceatie atmo-sphee that the Jimi Hendix Expei-ence exploded. They adopted SwininLondons feewheelin attitde. And itslookbillowin shits with elaboateffles and boldly coloed fock coats inthe electic dandy style poplaizedby Bian Jones of the rollin Stones.
The Hendix Expeience alsoadopted the sond of Swinin Lon-
donthe hihly amplified, feedback-denched ita style that was thenbein pioneeed by Clapton, the WhosPete Townshend and then-YadbidsJeff Beck and Jimmy Pae. Townshendhad been incopoatin feedback intothe Whos msic since 1964, and haddeeloped an assetiely iolent fomof pefomin on the ita that cl-minated in smashin the instmentto shads at the end of each set. It wasTownshend who had woked closelywith London msic shop popietoJim Mashall in deelopin the fist100-watt Mashall amp head and speak-
e cabinet stack. Hed played a similaole deelopin the Hiwatt amp withDae Hill. And se enoh, shotlyafte aiin in London, Jimi Hendixpaid a call on Pete Townshend.
The fist time I met Jimi, theWho wee ecodin at IBC [studios],Townshend ecalls. Chas Chandle
boht him in to meet me, and Jimiwas coeed fom head to foot in dst.He looked like hed jst come ot ofwhat we call a skip in Londonwheeyo pt bildes bbish. He was ey,ey scffy and his militay jacket hadobiosly seen bette days. His skin wasbad. He was ey pale. He was imme-diately neos and shy and coldntspeak. He didnt speak. I jst pt myhand ot and said, Ie head a lotabot yo. Case hed been sined too label. [The Experience were signed to
the Whos Track Records in the U.K.] AndChas said, Jimi wants to know whatkind of i to by. And I said, Well, yocatch me at a stane time, case Im
jst shiftin fom Mashall to SondCity [which later became Hiwatt] and atthe moment Im sin both. Chas said,Well, thats what well do, too.
A cople of days late, Townshendcontines, the Who and the Jimi Hen-dix Expeience appeaed toethe atthe Saille Theate, which was ownedby the Beatles manae, Bian Epstein.I think it was the fist ock concet toplay thee. Jimi opened fo s. And he
had exactly the same i as methesample [prototype] amplifies in thesame kind of aanement. And I act-ally felt like Id ien too mch away.
One of the most ill-infomed andbiqitos platitdes said abot Hen-dix is that he was ahead of his time.In fact, few msicians wee ee moe
completely of thei time than JimiHendix. And that doesnt detact inthe least fom his accomplishments.
Mozat boowed libeally fomHayden and J.C. Bach; he wokedcompletely in the msical idioms ofhis day, bt that doesnt make himany less a enis. In fact, the moeyo lean abot the composes andmsic of Mozats time, the moe yoappeciate what was ttely niqeabot him.
And so it is with Jimi Hendix.In fact, one eason why he seems theqintessential ock icon to many fansis that his wok incopoated nealy allthe majo stylistic elements that wentinto the makin of ock msic dinthe classic Fifties and Sixties peiod.
Hendix had fist-hand inolement inr&B, bles, folk and postBitish Ina-sion Enlish ock. His eas took it all in.And while he appopiated plenty fomhis contempoaies, he also bohthis own aestinly oiinal tonal andmelodic sensibility to what hed leanedfom these inflences.
When he hit London, Hendix waseen playin the same kind of ita thatPete Townshend was sin at the time,a Fende Stat. Bt by eesin thestins on a conentional iht-handedStat, Hendix alteed the physics ofthe instment. The heaie-ae low
stins wee now inteactin with pick-p pole pieces intended as tansdcesfo the hih stinsand ice esa.This impated niqe sstain chaac-teistics that Hendix incopoated intohis oeall appoach. His playin stylewas less chodal than Townshends,moe eliant on sinle-note iffs. Bt theiffs he played tended to hae the sin-in cadences of ocal lines, as opposedto, say, the blesy bsts of Claptonsita solos fom the same peiod. Inthis ead, Hendix is actally closeto Beck than Clapton o Townshend, towhom he is moe feqently compaed.And while Hendix is eneally thoht
of as the kin of heaily distoted, lodita, he also employed clean tonesof stikin sbtlety and beaty. In theecodin stdio, he wold become oneof the fist eat achitects of itaaanements, masteflly oedbbinwatey textes coloed by wah-wahand othe effects to occpy pecise slotsin the sonic spectm.
Onstae, Hendixs act was clealyindebted to Townshend, bt he bohta whole new dimension to that as wellin a wod, sex. With his pelis thst-in and his tone oin like some non-stop cnnilins machine, Hendixs
jimi gavebirth to
thatoriginallycame frombuddy guy.buddy guy
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eey stae este was moe explicitthan meely sestie. At one moment,his ita was a phalls. Next momentit was his loe, whom he eaelybestode. Back when he was playin theChitlin Cicit, Hendix had obioslypaid close attention while backin sex-chaed pefomes like Little richadand Tina Tne.
No wonde all the Enlish itaistsfelt theatened. Beck emembes seein
Hendix sit in with Eic Clapton dina i at Londons reent Polytechnic:Eic was p thee doin his stff infont of all the ilies, and alon comesJimi, who sits in and psets the wholeapple cat, playin with his teeth, behindhis head, doin almost cics ticks withthe ita. Een if it was capwhichit wasntit ot to the pess. Peoplewanted that. They wee jst staed fotheate and otae. I fied, All iht,thats it fo me. None of s ealized thatsomeone was oin to come alon andwhip the capet ot fom nde s inqite sch a adical way.
Eeyone in Londons ock panthe-
onfom the Beatles and Stones down-wadpaid cot to Hendix at thoseealy shows. They wee spised tofind a qiet, almost painflly shy pesonat the heat of all the hoopla.
He wold nee aise his oiceaboe a whispe, says Beck. It was allin his facial expessions and his hands:nbelieable comedy and pofondstatements jst by the aisin of an eye-bow. The y was on a bi-time oll.Hed come fom bein a low-keyed side-man fo Little richad. Can yo imainethe poety and god knows what else?And sddenly he was econized and
whisked all oe Enland in the wakeof the Beatles and Stones, who weestill actie then. All of a sdden, hes oneey adio and eey Tv show, tninot nbelieable sinles and pissin alloe eeybody. He mst hae felt likeJack the Lad. And he was!
In The mIdsTof this meteoic ise,the Jimi Hendix Expeience beanecodin the sinles and othe tacksthat wold make p thei debtalbm,Are You Experienced. The
fist of these was Hey Joe, a Billyrobets composition that had aleadybeen coeed by the Byds, the Leaesand the Standells. These esions weefaily well known to seios ock fansat the time, althoh Hendix pefeeda less familia ecodin of the sonby Tim rose. Hey Joe was pat ofthe standad aae band epetoieof the day, as wee seeal othe sonspefomed lie by the ealy Expeience,incldin Wild Thin, which hadbeen a hit fo the Tos, and gloia,which had been taken to the top of thechats by van Moisons band Them,
and by Ameican one-hit wondes theShadows of Kniht. Like many aaebands of the day, the Hendix Expei-ence een took on Bob Dylans epic hitsinle Like a rollin Stone.
As always, thoh, Hendix bohthis own sensibilities to these coes.Takin Tim roses ce, he pefomedHey Joe at a slowe tempo than mostothe bands, weain in a acefl i-ta/bass nison line and lints of six-
stin spakle. Wok on that tack act-ally bean while the Expeience weestill hntin fo a ecod deal. It was thefist of Hendixs many collaboationswith his lontime eninee and een-tal co-podce, Eddie Kame.
When we wee ecodin this, wehad no money, Kame says of HeyJoe. Chas at one point sold his bass opt it in hock o somethin to et somemoney to ecod. They tied this tack a
few times. I hae a hilaios ottake ofthis. Its the fist time Jimi actally sanit. He was eadin the wods and cs-in and lahin.
Wokin din downtime atseeal London stdios, incldin DeLane Lea, CBS, Pye and reent Sond,the Hendix Expeience also ctStone Fee, the B-side to Hey Joe,and completed oh tacks fo theisecond sinle, Pple Haze/51stAnniesay. (Pple Haze wold
become the lead tack fo theAre YouExperiencedalbm.)
On secin a ecod deal, the opmoed oe to Olympic Stdios, wheeKame was a staff eninee. Olympicwas then the hottest new stdio in Bit-ains capital and wold soon becomehome to the rollin Stones, Taffic andothe membes of what was then thepop aistocacy, not least amon whomwee the Jimi Hendix Expeience.
Once we ot into Olympic, Jimieally ot a chance to stetch ot, saysKame. The sonds became deepe.
When it was fist eleased in May1967,Are You Experiencedwas hailedas one of the most impotant debtsof the yea. The Expeience seemed toaie simltaneosly with psychedelia.By this time, the San Fancisco hippiescene had boken ot woldwide. InAmeica, teenaes and collee-ae kidswee owin thei hai lon, affectin a
loose, moe colofl way of dess-in and enain seiosly withEasten spiitality, adical politics,pacifism, fee loe and what wee
eaded as mind-expandin dssch as maijana and a sbstanceat the time elatiely new to theAmeican pblic called LSD.
Are You Experiencedwasembaced as an ideal sondtackto all these actiities. Yollnee hea sf msic aain, Jimisslowed-down oice pononces onthe albms bi instmental tack,Thid Stone fom the Sna pb-lic seice annoncement that ockmsic had left its teenae entetain-ment phase and had embaked on anew ea of eate emotional depth
and seios msicality. The albmscoe at feated a solaized photoof Jimi, Noel and Mitch decked otin thei best Swinin London fineyand iewed thoh a fisheye lens,which at the time was a stock epe-sentation of one isal phenomenonpeclia to the LSD expeience.Fo those who didnt et the point,the slihtly cheesy back-coe copyadised that the albm wold ptlistenes heads into some noel posi-tions, and that Yo hea with neweas afte bein Expeienced. PpleHaze was eeted as a hymn to lyseictanscendence and became the name
fo one hihly popla aiety of acid.The albms tack, with its tippy sped-p tape effects, seemed to descibe thetansfomational effects of doppinacid. It was all a little moe heay-hand-ed than the Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely
Hearts Club Band, eleased that sameyea and also eaded as a bi LSDalbm, bt nobody seemed to mind.
In fact, that was jst the point. TheExpeience came on heaie than SanFancisco bands like the JeffesonAiplane, gatefl Dead and Qicksil-e Messene Seice, heaie thanfolk ockes like the Byds and Bffalo
for us. andhe hadexactly
the samerig as me.
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Spinfield. Heaie than anyone, infact. Which ae them a kind of instantaccessibility that those othe bandsdidnt qite possess. This was tepoto-metal. And the Expeience, alonwith Ceam, wee at its anad.
Othe bi tacks fomAre YouExperienced, incldin Fie and TheWind Cies May, show that Hendixwas still ey close to his r&B oots.A he pat of Hendixs appeal at
the time stemmed fom the fact thathe was aably the fist black msi-cian to pesent himself in a completelywhite ock context. The Ameican Ciilrihts moement of the mid Sixtieswas eneally appladed by the fee-thinkin, white, middle-class hippieyoths who fomed Hendixs fistadience. Bt thee was a lon way too in tems of the aces actally comintoethe. Most white kids still listenedto r&B sons in coe esions by whitepefomes. Emboldened by collect-in Stones, Animals o Yon rascalsecods, a few adentos Cacasianscossed the colo line into eal r&B.
Bt it eally was a diffeent clte.The shiny sits and tiht hon aane-ments faoed by many r&B atists jstseemed old-fashioned to a lot of whitehippie kids. Hendix, howee, blewaway all these bondaies.
A few yeas ealie, the Pal Btte-field Bles Band had made thei makas the fist acially inteated blesop, bt they wee a elatiely nde-ond phenomenon compaed to theJimi Hendix Expeience. And theyweent abot sex. Thees no deny-in that Hendixs ealy pesona andstae shows tapped deeply into white
cltes fascination with and fea ofthe black mans stoied sexal pow-ess. Pple Haze is pnctated withocal oohs and aahs that sond liketheyd been lifted fom a low-bdetpon sondtack. Anothe Expeiencedclassic, Foxey Lady, spots Hendixsimmotal matin call, Hee I comebaby, Im comin to itcha! Fomtodays post-feminist pespectie, itsonds like a line fom a bad bodiceippe omance noel, bt in the 1967pop maket, it woked like a cham.Hendix became a majo sex symbolfo a new ea of feedom when mixed-ace coples wee statinalbeit jst
baelyto ain social acceptance. Thestandad joke at the time was that ilsented backstae at a Jimi Hendixconcet in hopes of a sexal enconte,while the boys wanted to meet Jimi andask him what kind of ita eqipmenthe sed so they cold et ils too.
Maybe they weent focsin onthe iht eqipment, howee. Soon apai of opies/soeni collectoscalled the Plaste Castes wold beinamassin molded impessions of ockstas eecto, in some cases, semi-flaccidmembes. The Plaste Casteshandiwok made it clea that ita
playin wasnt the only aea whee Jimileft his competition in the dst.
So hee was Hendixa qiet, en-tle y who jst happened to be hnlike a cat hose. No wonde he neelacked fo ilfiends. Bt Jimi coldalso se qietness as a fom of passieaession, as Pete Townshend leaned
backstae at the Monteey Pop Festialin Jne 1967. This was the fist bi ath-ein of the hippie conteclte, fea-tin msical atists as diese as Otisreddin, rai Shanka and Janis Joplin.It also maked Hendixs timphantetn to the States.
Jimi was on acid, Townshendecalls. And he stood on a chai. I wastyin to et him to talk to me abotthe fact that I didnt want the Whoto follow him onto the stae. I wassayin, Fo fcks sake, Jimi, its badenoh yoe onna fck p my life,Im not onna hae yo steal my act.
Thats the only thin Ie ot. Yoea eat enis. The adience willappeciate that. Bt what do I do? Iwea a union Jack jacket and smashmy ita. So ie me beak. Let s oon fist. Bt he was jst playin theita and inoin me. I thoht hewas kind of teasin me. Bt Bian Jonestold me late that he was jst fckincompletely whacked on acid. So JohnPhillips [festival promoter, and singerwith the Mamas and the Papas] flippeda coin and it came down in my fao.I said, rihtwee oin on fist.Bt I wasnt any at Jimi. I loed him
ey, ey mch. Afte Monteey, I otto know him a little in L.A. And sd-denlymaybe it was a diffeent bnchof ds he was sinbt he was ey,ey affectionate and fiendly to me.
before 1967 wasoe, the JimiHendix Expeience wee back at
Olympic Stdios in Londondisci-plined by moe than 180 lie showsand elated by the sccess ofAre You
Experienced. By Decembe of that sameyea, they had emeed with what isaably the most polished em in theHendix catalo:Axis: Bold as Love.The coe atoeos in its oiinal12-inch atefold elease fomatenshines Jimi, Noel and Mitch amonthe many-amed deities of the Hindpantheon. The seene mood and sooth-in colos of the atwok eflect notonly hippie cltes fascination withHind mysticism bt also the kaleido-scopic mastey of the msic waitin
within the sleee.Jimi Hendix blossomed as a son-
wite onAxis, caftin sadonic littleinettes (Wait until Tomoow,Castles Made of Sand) and conjinp fantasy wolds of shimmein ima-ey and pismatic ita textes (Boldas Loe, One rainy Wish).Axisfindsthe Expeience in top fom. Chas Chan-dle and Eddie Kame wee owinmoe confident in thei podction andenineein oles.
Chas Chandle was definitely inchae of podction, Kame ecalls.Withot Chas help, I dont think
Jimi cold hae done what he did.I think Chas was an nsn heo inthe whole caee of Jimi Hendix. Heeally helped Jimi deelop. He was theman with the patience and fotitde tohelp him with his sonwitin, to iehim books on science fiction to fie hisimaination, and to sit with him dayafte day in his apatment and let himbe ceatie. Chas had a ision of what itwold take to pt Jimi on top, becaseChas came fom this backond of thethee-minte pop son with the Ani-mals. In a way, that esticted Jimi. BtI think it was a ood kind of estic-tion. Becase it foced Jimi to think,
Okay, if my ideas ae ot heesix-feetwideI hae to make them thee-feetwide: athe all that infomation andcompact it into a little thee- o fo-minte piece. That podced someamazin eslts.
By this point, Hendix was well intohis collaboation with pioneein itaeffects desine roe Maye. KamecitesAxis Spanish Castle Maic asone of the fist sons to employ MayesOctaia pedal, the pimodial octaediide, on ita:
roe was ey mch a pat ofwhat we wee doin, whethe it was on
i dontthink jimicould havedone what
he did.eddie kramer
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a daily basis o whethehe came in once aweek, Kame notes.He always had somekind of new box thatJimi was expeiment-in with. roe woldalways be in thee withhis soldein ion, tyinto ie Jimi somethindiffeent, with a bit moe
of an ede. He was onlytoo willin to expei-ment. All the wah-wahpedals wee hihly hot-odded. The octae do-ble, wah-wah, fzztheywee all ey mch cs-tom-made fo Jimi.
Bt pehapsAxissinle biest adioinnoation was its bashse of steeo tape flan-in. Thats the effect thatmakes the ita solo codato Bold as Loe sondlike its ascendin into the
statosphee, binin theoiinal albm elease toan appopiately hallcino-enic conclsion.
lIke all perfecTmoments, the seenity of
Axispoed shot-lied.relations within theExpeience wee ow-in stainedpaticlalybetween Hendix and Noel
reddin, who was beinninto feel ndecompensatedfinancially fo his wok in theband. In Janay 1968, whilethe band was on to behind
Axis, a heated ament bokeot between Hendix and red-din. Jimi spent the niht in a Swedish
jail afte weckin the hotel oom wheethe altecation had taken place.
All the toin and ampant dse wee statin to take thei toll.unde these stained cicmstances,wok bean on the Jimi Hendix Expe-iences thid and final albm, the epicdoble-LPElectric Ladyland. It took a
yea to make, which by Sixties standadsseemed an neasonably lon amontof time. Jst to hede its bets, theops ecod label pt ot Smash Hits,a epackain of tacks fom the fistalbm, combined with the non-albmB-sides fom the fist fo sinles.
Meanwhile, sessions fo what woldbecomeElectric Ladylandmoed fomOlympic in London acoss the Atlanticto New Yok, whee the poject settledin at the newly opened recod Plant,the fist in a new beed of hip, ock-oiented ecodin facilities. In thepocess, Chas Chandle walked ot on
the poject and esined as Hendixsmanae, fstated at how mch timeit was takin to complete the albm.
Jimi was back in his home contyand he wanted to stetch ot, saysKame. He had the sccess of thefist two albms behind him; he loedto jam and paty and be ceatie. Bt Ithink the hanes-on became a pob-lem. They became a poblem fo Chas.
And cetainly fo me. Sessions wold betoh becase Jimi coldnt say no tohis bddies. He inited eeybody intothe stdio. Hed hae inited the steetsweepe and the cleanin lady and theecod company pesident if he cold.
On a few tacks, Hendix beanmoin away fom the coe Expei-ence linep and instmentation, add-in conas, sax, flte and oan to thealbms sonic palette. While Hendixwas eneos to a falthe once aea Posche to a casal fiendhe wasalso demandin in the stdio. Kameemembes him losin patience with
itaist Dae Mason, then a mem-be of the sccessfl ock opTaffic, din the tackin sessionfo Hendixs coe of Bob DylansAll Alon the Watchtowe:
Jimi had shown the chodpoession to Dae, and Dae jstcoldnt et the damn thin iht.And Jimi was yellin at Dae, Whyae yo scewin p, man? Jimiot ey pset, I emembe. On
most of the sessions Id done withhim, mistakes had been ey aeoccences.
Taffics leade, Stee Win-wood (fomely with the SpenceDais gop and late to play withEic Clapton in Blind Faith befoeoin on to a stella solo caee),played oan on the lie-in-the-stdio voodoo Chile, as didJeffeson Aiplane bassist JackCassidy. Accodin to Kame,Hendix an into those playes atStee Pals Scene clb one nihtand boht them back to therecod Plant. (Jazz ita eat
Lay Coyell was thee, too, btdeclined to play on the session.)
It was a ood example ofwhat I called planned jam-min, says Kame. Thewhole thin wasnt as casal asyo miht think. Jimi diectedeeythin, sayin, Hee, playthis. Do that. It was all wokedot in his mind. He fond someeat playes, and they ose tothe occasion.
Electric Ladylandis oneof the eat ock doblealbmsa wok that shows all
of Hendixs aied msicalstenths. Thee ae concise,well-cafted sons in themanne ofAxis(CosstownTaffic, reddins Little
Miss Stane, Hose Bnin Down)and tiht r&B nmbes like the EalKin coe Come On and Hae YoEe Been (To Electic Ladyland). Btthee ae also loose, moe jam-basedtacks (rainy Day, Deam Away,voodoo Chile) and wondos, oth-ewoldly sondscapes, sch as thefeate-lenth site that closes sidethee: 1983 (A Meman I Shold Tnto Be)/Moon Tn the Tidesgently
gently Away. Many of the tacks fea-ted pioneein expeiments in steeopannin and 3-D adio imain thateatly enhance the albms oeallmood of coss-ene expeimentalism.
The oiinal albm aphicseflected the albms dynamic of popcohesieness ess fee-fom open-endedness. On the font thee was ashot of the Expeience in thei oldSwinin London ealia. The backcoe was a ainy closep of Hendixin concet, his face bathed in oaneand ed hes fom the stae lihtin,his eyes closed and lips pated as if in
i told jimi,its bad
enoughyouregonna fuckup my life.
im notgonna haveyou stealmy act.
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mid-oasm. The atefold inne sleeeinclded an abstact pose piece byJimi, Lette to the room Fll of Mi-os, witten in the fee-associationstyle his heo Bob Dylan had sed onseeal of his albm sleees.
In all,Electric Ladylandis a loioslast hah fo the Expeience, whoboke p shotly afte its elease.
GYPSYSby The endof 1969, all the eat Six-ties ock ops had eithe bokenp o chaned diection. The Beatles,Ceam, Bi Bothe and the HoldinCompany (Janis Joplins band), the
Yadbids and Bffalo Spinfield hadall called it qits. Dylan and the Bydshad one conty. The Stones had qithosin aond with psychedelia andone back to thei blesy oots. TheWho had one opeatic. The Kinks hadtned to the Bitish msic hall tadi-tion. The Doos wee monkeyin withsaxophones. The Jeffeson Aiplane
had one political.The mood of yoth clte had
shifted damatically. The hip-pie thin was oe. Dina rollin Stones concet atAltamont Speedway in Cali-fonia, an adience membehad been stabbed to deathby a membe of the HellsAnels, who had been hiedas secity ads. Despitepotest maches and eloqentotcy aainst u.S. militayinolement in vietnam, thewa daed on. The anti-
wa and Ciil rihts moe-ments wee tnin militant.In the midst of all this,
Jimi Hendix was tyin tofoe a new msical identity.As hed done din the
Electric Ladylandsessions,he sed jammin as a ehiclefo exploin new msicaldiections. In 1969, the JeffBeck gop played a two-week esidency at the SteePal Scene clb in New
Yok. Hendix wold oftenjmp onstae fo an extend-ed encoe jam. Jeff Beck
coldnt help bt noticeHendixs eney-depletinlifestyle at the time:
He did bn the candle [at bothends]. I coldnt keep p. We went otone niht, afte wed finished p at theScene. Wed aleady played two hosof ain ock and oll, with him com-in on fo the encoe. Then we went tothe New Yok Basseie to hae some-thin to eat. And somewhee else aftethat. At 4 A.M. he said, Lets o backto the hotel. I thoht, Thank god;hell fall asleep and Ill o off home.Bt instead, hed stat playin msic
and wed o ot somewhee else at fieoclock. This kind of thin was jst aneeyday occence with him. Id behistoy fo two days aftewads, andhed still be at it.
Hendix had ben jammin withhis old amy bddy Billy Cox. Thetwo had played toethe in seealbands din those des-payin daysbefoe Hendix hit it bi in London.Mitch Mitchell had also ben to han
ot with Jimi once aain. With Coxand Mitchell, Hendix pt toethe aband called Electic Sky Chch (alsosometimes billed as gypsys, Sns andrainbows), which also inclded hythmitaist Lay Lee and pecssionistsJma Lewis and Jey velez. He playedseeal dates with this linep, incldinthe Woodstock Festial in May 1969.Bt, mch like its name, this collectionof playes nee eally jelled. Its nocoincidence that Jimis sinate nm-be fom Woodstock became his nac-companied solo ita pefomance ofThe Sta-Spanled Banne.
Jimi was happy to econnect with
Cox and Mitchell, bt the past wasalso comin back to hant him in less
aeeable foms. Lealhassles stemmin backto the old Ctis Knihtdays had eaed p onceaain. They poed to bethe catalyst fo Hendixsshot-lied Band of gyp-sys, consistin of Jimi,Billy Cox and fome Elec-tic Fla dmme BddyMiles, whod also played onElectic Ladyland.
The deal with the
Band of gypsys wasthat Jimi had a contac-tal poblem to ectify, andBddy and I stepped in tohelp him ot, Billy Coxtold Guitar Worlds AndyAledot in 1999. Jimi said,Man, theye onna se mefo fie million dollas, osomethin like that. I said,Why dont yo ie him analbm? [the proceeds fromwhich would be awarded tosettle the lawsuit]. A copleof days late Jimi said,Yoe iht. Lets ie him
an albm. Mitch was Jimisfist choice fo a dmme.Bt Mitch was in Enland.Bddy was eadily aailable.
Entepene Bill gaham bookedthe Band of gypsys into the FillmoeEast to play fo showstwo each onNew Yeas Ee and New Yeas Dayof 196970. These tacks wee dlyecoded, then edited and mixed at afnky New Yok stdio called JysSond. Today,Band of Gypsysis hailedas a classic lie albm, paticlalyby connoisses of extended itaimpoisation. Bt in its time, it was
not so niesally acclaimed. Cominafte the caeflly cafted Expeiencestdio albms, it seemed a disap-pointment to many Hendix fans. Thealbms oh-eded qality, patic-laly on the standot tack Machinegn, did eflect the militant mood ofthe times, bt the Band of gypsys weesimply not as ood a lie band as theExpeience in thei pime. While Bd-dy Miles cold lay down a fat ooe,
he lacked Mitchells finesse. To manywho had followed Hendixs caeesince 1967,Band of Gypsys seemed athowaway: a hastily assembled liealbm. Which, of cose, is exactlywhat it was. Thee ae indications thatHendix himself felt this way.
I dont know that it was somethinJimi liked 100 pecent, says EddieKame. I think he was disappointed insome of the excessie [vocal] wablinof Bddy Miles. Thee was a temen-dos amont of editin done on it.Thee was a he amont of jamminand stff that didnt qite fit on theecod. The editin was a little ntidy
at points. Bt hain said that, I thinkits a wondefl example of Jimi beinable to play with a easonable amontof feedom.
The next Band of gypsys appea-ance poed to be thei last. Theop had only otten to the secondnmbe of thei Janay 28 set at New
Yoks Madison Sqae gaden whenHendix abptly annonced, Imsoy, we jst cant et it toethe, andwalked offstae.
lIke hendrIxsealiest yeas of life,his final days wee faht with conf-sion oe identity. The dawn of the Se-enties tned ot to be a ticky time fohim. Citics and hipstes wee statinto say hed lost it. Meanwhile, he wasstatin to beak thoh to a new adi-ence, bt thee was a poblem thee,too. While the hippie deam was deadas a doonail, the Woodstock film doc-mentay had finally spead the ospel oflon hai, psychedelic ds and had,impoisational ock msic to the less-ban eaches of middle Ameica and tomoe conseatie sectos of the yoth
poplation. So thee was a new bnchof kids clamoin fo Hendix. Theywee eneally a little yone and lesstned in than the oiinal Hendixadience, so they wee essentially play-in catch-p on the msical deelop-ments of the late Sixties. Which meansthey still expected Hendix to do thewild man of Boneo ita-hmpinact that had wowed London fo yeasealie. Hendix was ndestandablyweay of all this and eae to moe onto a pefomance style that was moeabot msic than theaticality.
At the same time, he was nde
jimi wasfrustratedbeforehe diedbecause
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pesse fom militantops sch as the BlackPanthes, whod labeledhim a taito to the caseof black libeation, a sell-ot to the white wold.The dissoltion of theBand of gypsysHen-dixs only all-black opsince his Chitlin Cicitdayscetainly didnt help
him on that font. It wasthe beinnin of the ae ofpolitical coectness. Hen-dix had been moe com-fotable din the moefeewheelin Sixties, whenhe cold pse his msi-cal mse nencmbeed bypolitical aendas.
Jimi was fstatedbefoe he died becase,I think, the pblic didntndestand him, saysKame. He was so con-fsed as to which way to o.
In the midst of all this t-
moil, Hendix was pshinhimself had. He was tyinto et toethe a new bandand albm, and bild his ownecodin stdio. The lattewas an especially ambitiosndetakin fo that timepeiod: a few ock stas likePal McCatney, Mick Ja-e and Pete Townshend hadhome stdios, bt Hendix wasplannin somethin fa moeelaboate. While constctionwas ndeway at Electic LadyStdiosHendixs state-of-
the-at deam factoy in theheat of geenwich villaetheitaist was had at wok onhis new albm ptown at the recodPlant. An oedb session fo the lat-te-day Hendix classic room Fll ofMios left a lastin impession onCalos Santana. Then a yon itaistwhose sta was jst isin in the wake ofWoodstock, Calos had been inited tohan with Jimi in the stdio.
They wee continin with whatthey had been ecodin the nihtbefoe, Santana ecalls. It was take 25o some idiclos nmbe. And it wasroom Fll of Mios. The amplifies
wee facin the contol oom lass andJimi was facin the amps with his backto the lass, case he didnt like any-body to see him playin. They olled thetape and Jimi ot on it. The fist 10 o12 bas wee like, Wow, this is billiant.Bt then he jst stated oin beyondthe tacklike Sn ra, Sceamin JayHawkins and Sonny Shaock all olledinto one. What he was playin hadnothin to do with the tack anymoe.I cold see the eninee and podcelook at one anothe like, Yeah, betteo in thee and et him. So two oad-ies o in the stdio. They each abbed
dixs own psycholoical andphysical condition was poo aswell. He was thin, and patchesof pemate ay had statedto appea in his hai. By seealeyewitness acconts, he was otof it on ds a lot of the time.Thee wee iolent incidents inhotel ooms. When a show inDenmak went badly, Hendixtold his adience, Ie been
dead fo yeas. He was booedin gemany.
Back in London, Hendixfaed bette at an infomal
jam with ex-Animals sineEic Bdon and his band Waat ronnie Scotts jazz clb.It was to be his last pblicappeaance. Two days late,Jimi Hendix was dead, ha-in choked to death on hisown omit some hos afteinestin a combination ofsleepin pills and ed wine.
The ecodins thatHendix had been wok-
in on jst befoe hisdeath hae come ot inseeal foms oe theyeas. Adiences at thetime fist head 10 of theseecodins on Cry of Love,eleased in Mach 1971.Some of the sons hadbeen mixed when Hen-dix was alie. Othes hadbeen completed afte hisdeath by Eddie Kameand Mitch Mitchell. Oethe followin thee yeas,moe of the final Hendix
stdio tacks emeedonRainbow Bridge(which inclded the sccessfl adioson Dolly Dae), War Heroesand
Loose Ends. rock fans at the time weekeenly awae that these wee pieces ofnfinished wok by an atist who hadbeen opin fo a new diection. Allthis was well epoted in the ock pessin the ealy Seenties. No attempt wasmade to delde the pblicnot dinthis peiod, anyway.
gien Hendixs lneable psycho-loical state din his final days, hisexpeimental wokin methods and hiseneal tendency to play lifes hand close
to the chest, one can only speclate as tohow these ecodins miht hae fit intothe albm that Jimi nee ot to com-plete. Today, latte-day Hendix compo-sitions like Izabella and Ezy rydeae analyzed in tones of hshed ee-ence in the paes of ita maazines. Atthe time of thei elease, howee, thesesons wee nowhee nea as well knowno loed as Hendix faoites like PpleHaze o All Alon the Watchtowe.
Jimi wold hae been lad to seethat his last woks hae come to be soeatly appeciated. Thats one pettysafe conjecte.
Hendix by one of his ams and plledhim away fom the ita and amp. Andit was like one of those moies wheethe pesons eyes ae bloodshot and hesfoamin at the moth. It hit me like itwold hit yo if yo wee in the oomwhen somebody was hain an epilep-tic attack. Ie head of doolin whenyo play a solo, bt nee oin intocomplete, possessed spasms.
By May 1970, Hendix had moedhis sessions into Electic Lady, wokinin Stdio A while constction of stdio
B was bein completed. He ot to makemsic in the stdio hed laboed so hadto bild fo only thee months, fomMay to Ast 1970. Tacks he wokedon din that peiod inclde DollyDae, Niht Bid Flyin, StaihtAhead, Asto Man and the afoemen-tioned room Fll of Mios. The offi-cial openin paty fo Electic Lady washeld on Ast 26. That niht, Hendixflew to London befoe embakin onsome Eopean dates.
Sad to say, thins did not o well inEope. Billy Cox had a bad acid tip,which left him behain eatically. Hen-
dead foryears,hendrixtold hisaudience.
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