Thursday, September 16, 2010
I first saw Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. He performed with his trio The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This was held in June 1967 at the Monterey Fair Grounds in Monterey, California. It was and is quite an important musical event. I was almost in the front row of the audience with Jimi performed and found him quite entertaining and had the feeling that he would certainly be successful. A few weeks later, on July 1st Country Joe and The Fish performed with Jimi and The Experience and a few other groups at the Earl Warren Show-grounds, in Santa Barbara, California.
I have always been plagued with hay fever and at this gig the promoter had put flowers all over the hall. I grew up in Southern California and that was where my allergy symptoms were the worst. I began to sneeze. It did not help to have fans come up with flowers and shove them in my face. This was the time of hippy flower power so it made sense for the promoter to do this but it was terrible for me. I remember going up to Jimi in the dressing room to talk with him and not being able to do much of anything except say hi and sneeze. I was sneezing about ten times a minute. I took some allergy medicine and don’t remember any more of the event.
It was not long after that the Jimi died. It was September 18, 1970 in London. I had just seen him perform at Woodstock. I came early to Woodstock to see as many acts as I could and was there in front of the stage when he performed as the last act of the festival. I remember watching him and thinking that I did not like his new group or what he was playing. But when he performed the Star Spangled Banner I was astounded. I thought that he was the finest electric guitar player I had ever heard and that he was a genius. I thought he was like a great jazz player, much more that any rock player I had ever heard. And then a month later he was dead.
Years and years later I did a little tour solo in Italy. The promoter and guide was Ezio Guaitamacchi a very well known writer and performer and editor of a music magazine. He took me to a man known as Red Ronnie’s house for an interview. At lunch Red Ronnie told me that he had bid on Jimi Hendrix guitar on auction and bought it and then sold it. He also told me some wild story about photos of Jimi Hendrix he had some how got and he brought them out to the table. They were pictures of Jimi naked in bed looking very stoned with two naked women. He had about a dozen of them. I asked him what he was going to do with them. He said he was waiting for Jimi to tell him. Then we left his house and I never saw Red Ronnie again.