Picture shows Jimi Hendrix at home, portrait by Richard Keith Wolff
JIMI HENDRIX interviewed by HUGH CURRY at Jimi's flat, 23 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, England, 7th January 1969. The Interview is for the programme "Through The Eyes Of Tomorrow" CBC TV. Below a transcript of the TV interview with, Jimi Hendrix: JH and Hugh Curry: HC. 'Tape cuts' represents where a question has been omitted - edited out, or a section of the original interview has been edited out.
Jimi Hendrix: All I ever can remember is like getting out of the army, then trying to get something together and then I was playing in different groups all over, around the States and Canada, playing behind people most of the time though.
JH: Well, when I was with ‘The Isley Brothers' they used to make me, do my thing then.
Hugh Curry: Yes
JH: Because it made them more bucks, or something, I don’t know..
JH: Anyway, with them but I used to like to do it then. But most groups I was with they didn’t let me do my own thing, like feedback ‘In The Midnight Hours’ or something like that!
JH: I wasn’t thinking about nothing but the idea of going to England, that’s all I was thinking about it, because I like to travel, one place bore’s me too long, and so I have to, try to see if I can get something together by moving somewhere else. The idea of England just was the idea of England itself, I said, Wow I’d never been there before.
JH: And then we had a jam session, at one club in England, and that’s how Mitch, Noel and I got together. Noel comes down expecting to play guitar, he was trying for ‘The Animals’. So, I dug his hairstyle, so, ah-hah, I asked him to play bass!
HC: Back in the days…
JH: ‘Ask’ !
HC: Of Wilson Pickett, Little Richard and things like that. Maybe it’s painful to go back that far for you!
JH: No not at all man, that’s part of life.
HC: Do you find that you were you doing any writing then yourself?
JH: Yes, I was writing.
HC: Any lyrics?
JH: Most of “Are You Experienced” came from there. Most of it did from the basic ideas of that, but what was quoted then with four years!
HC: Then that was a tired and frustrating time then?
JH: Well yes deep down inside it was, I was trying to feel myself then.
JH: You can hear the changes from “Are You Experienced” loud and brash and frustrated and rebellious, and so forth. Then trying to with “Axis” to maybe cool everything down a little bit, like bring some beautiful stories together and maybe say certain things here and there!
HC: ‘Castles Made Of Sand’ is a favourite !
JH: Yes, for instance and then ‘If Six Was Nine’
JH: When we recorded our last LP “Electric Ladyland” well, we were touring at the same time which is hard to do, because that means you’re having to concentrate on two things, you have to do a good show tonight and then plus tomorrow morning at six o’clock you have to go into the studios. And so it was really hard. So I got down half the things that I really wanted to get down, during that period. But I just wish that we were not touring so much in that “Electric Lady”. We produced it ourselves.
HC: Say from the opening of ‘Rainy Day’ right through to the end of, ‘Voodoo Chile Returns’ do you think there’s a definite progression, as far as your each individual is concerned?
JH: I’m thinking so, yes. I think so, but quite naturally I‘m going to think so. Yes, that whole LP means so much. It wasn’t just slopped together, every little thing that you hear on there means something. It’s not a little game that we’re playing trying to blow the public’s mind, or so forth. It’s a thing that we really, really mean, it’s part of us, another part of us.
JH: So then ‘Electric Lady’ comes along and we really got about half of what we wanted to say then.
HC: What did you really want to say?
JH: Oh, man. It would have taken about two more LP’s…
JH: It would have been a four LP thing.
HC: But what was the basis?
JH : Oh, I can’t say it.
HC: Not the concept, but…
JH: you know…
JH: I can’t say it right now because…
JH: Like, I’m-I’m thinking about, just… hey
HC: It’s an unfair question !
HC: It really is !
JH: Well the thing is nowadays anybody can protest, anybody can write beautiful songs and all that. But sometimes if you have a talent, or people are noticing you enough, then you should really try to do as much as you possibly can with it. Like what we are going to do now, is chop down the words, try to make it really tight and what we’re saying is, not protesting but giving the answers, or some kind of solution, instead of going towards the negative scene!
HC: Nobody has done it yet. Everybody knocks, but nobody, kind of, comes up with a, something a little more constructive.
JH: Yes right, so that is what I’m working on now.
HC: Another scene!
JH: I am working on that scene and so the next two LP’s, it’ll be like, towards that scene. Giving some sort of solution for people to grasp.
HC: Your music seems to be in a class by itself as far as where it is at musically. And now as it seems that everybody else is doing it, are you planning on getting into something different, because they’re chasing you?
JH: Let’s see. All I can just do is what comes natural to me. Well, like I do not mind. It’s a good feeling sometimes, when people are like, they’ve based their group on, maybe your group, or something like that. But then quite naturally, if they feel that they want to get their own sound together, well that is the best part they have. Because they eventually get your own sound together, just like what we were doing. We call our music ‘Electric Church Music'.
HC: Electric Church Music!
JH: Yes because it is like a religion to us.
HC: Should have called the album that, instead of “Electric Ladyland”. Same thing !
JH: Yeah, well, uh, some ladies are like church to us too, which is another scene, oops, excuse me, I’m sorry there!
JH: Watch your lady.
HC: As far as the different concert audiences that you’re playing to, do they react differently to the Jimi Hendrix Experience?
JH: I don’t know man, they’re just freaking out when we play.
JH: But they listen though.
JH: That is a groovy thing, when the audience is quiet while you’re playing. That is really great, that means they’re listening. Looks like around Canada is listening.
JH: Uh there’s a few little piggies in the back row, you know squealing here and there, going snort, but I don’t know them. I don’t think about those things. I think about, their feeling that is there. It makes a who’-it’s like all the spirits, like, collect for a hour and a half, or so. That’s what it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t call for talking or yelling then, does it !
JH: I don’t care, man.
JH: I don’t care anymore what they say, anymore
JH: It’s up to them then. If they want to mess up their evening by looking at one thing.
JH: Because all that is included man. When I feel like playing with my teeth, I do it because I feel like it,
JH: All that is complete. When I’m on stage I’m complete, natural, more so than talking to a group of people or something
JH: It’s up to the people who buy it, they can figure it out, they’re not all that dumb. That’s what they buy records for, so they can hear things and they can hear the truth or lies on record,
HC: Yes, but what about someone like Katz and Kasenetz with their ‘1910 Fruitgum Company’?
JH: Well, they’re going.
HC: They took a nice thirty-two bar song.
JH: They’re gonna fade away soon though!
HC: …and they just…
JH: …If all the groups… Yeah
HC: …you know they just…
JH: If all the groups…
HC: …prostitute it
JH: That make it, you know, all the groups that make a few monies, here and there. Only if they should get together, get their own thing together, their own label and all that, pretty soon those things would dwindle out, and pretty soon the public would be so smart as to where they won’t buy those things, they’ll do nothing but laugh at them. That’s the way it’s all at, it takes time, everything takes time, but if everybody is honest with themselves, well, there you go, it all works out.
JH: I was talking to some little kids, the people that they call teeny-boppers. I was talking to them and I found out. I said “What was your favourite groups, what’s some of your favourite groups, do you know anything about music?”. They said “Yeah, we like ‘The Cream’, we like you, all’s group,” I said oh [theatrical coughs] excuse me [talks in a funny voice] “Oh yeah, great, thank you very much.”
HC: Ha-ha-ha, beautiful.
JH: If I said “Wow!” their minds are different, so they don’t wanna hear about this manufactured, ah ‘tin-foil’ music, you know, they wanna know about.
HC: Then well, who do you think’s buying all these records that these groups are coming out with?
JH: Well, right now, there’s nothing else for them to buy, and quite naturally, it has more publicity than most of the best records, so they have to buy something, so they buy those things.
HC: Do you think underground radio is changing this?
JH: Oh yes, definitely, underground radio is getting together so nicely, I just hope it just keeps on, like with the stereo and so forth, so that makes everybody make a little better records, and stereo singles, and so forth. That means music itself is being presented to the public in a better way.
HC: Now that Noel’s producing his own group, does this hint at his splitting from ‘The Experience’ or what?
JH: Not necessarily, the group itself will probably be together, for a while. But, do not forget each individual person wants to do his own thing too!
JH: That doesn’t mean you have to break up the group
Hugh Curry: Right
Jimi Hendrix: So then he is doing his own thing in the meantime and I’d like to do my own thing in the meantime, so would Mitch.
post script: by the stills photographer Richard Keith Wolff
This is not the complete interview that took place, but the sections of it that were cut into the CBC televised version THROUGH THE EYES OF TOMORROW.
For example a couple of points that Jimi Hendrix made, that did not make it into the televised interview, that I recall include:
At one point Jimi Hendrix's talks, perhaps light heartily it is difficult to say, about the different tonal quality when he plays his guitar with his teeth. However Hugh Curry says "come of it" in disbelief. However Jimi does not pick up on that.
At one point Jimi Hendrix talking about the before his famous period when he was playing as a minor member in the back ground in the big touring groups in America about his feeling of being held back or frustration and so exploded with ideas when the chance came when he formed Jimi Hendrix Experience. It is almost as if he did not want the interview to dwell on this earlier time.
An expression Jimi used that stuck in my mind he said his mother used to say “It will all come out in the wash” though can not remember what he was referring to with that saying.
Location: 23 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, England
Photographer: Richard Keith Wolff