Jimi’s Hendrix final interview in England – September 11th 1970 – Jimi talks about the change in his appearance and delivery of his music; his performance at the Isle of Wight Festival and whether he will form another big group. He also talks about psychedelic music and LSD.
Summary:Jimi talks about the change in his appearance and delivery of his music; his performance at the Isle of Wight Festival and whether he will form another big group. He also talks about about psychedelic music and LSD.
Interviewer:Take one and a half. Everybody subsequent to the Isle of Wight Festival and prior to has been talking about the new, subdued, mature Jimi Hendrix and I wonder if you could tell us why this is and maybe where it started from.
Jimi: Well it was a period that I stopped talking so much because I was going through certain things here and there and oh, I don’t know really. I guess there was something else to talk about or something, whatever. It was like I just got very quiet for a while you know just do the gigs and just stay down. And try to stay away and all that, you know? It’s probably one of those things. Because I was changing, I felt like I was changing and getting into like heavy music and was getting unbearable with literary pieces you know and I always want to expand in all of this but I think I’ll go back to 3 pieces again now and get another bass player and I’ll probably be loud again.
Interviewer: But it does appear, doesn’t it? I mean but the days of the baubles and bangles and the freaky hairstyles all disappeared. Are you not worried in a sense that maybe your quieter approach now may lose a little of the mystique that there was with Jimi Hendrix which attracted people, to begin with?
Jimi: Yeah, but see everybody goes through those stages; the first time around and you wear all these different things you know. Like I see some of the groups; it’s like mountain and cactus or whatever, they’re getting into the thing so you see some of the new pictures now, now their hair is getting longer, they’re wearing more jewellery and strangling themselves with all these beads and jewellery and stuff. But I don’t know I just do that because it’s like I felt like I was being too loud or something because my nature just changes.
Interviewer: You were quoted in one paper as saying, in fact, that you never wanted to be a visual theme.
Jimi: Well I don’t want it to be basically just only hyped up on all the visual thing. I wanted the people to like listen too. I don’t know if they were or not but after a while, I started getting aware too much of what was going down. That started to bring me down a little bit so I just start cutting my hair and rings disappearing one by one.
Interviewer: Are you, in fact, saying that that kind of freak thing was really a kind of publicity hunt to Jimi Hendrix?
Jimi: No, no. All it is let me do what I want to do when I can see?. Like one time I said maybe bring the guitar tonight I really feel you know? Or maybe I should smash a guitar or something like that and they said ‘yeah, yeah’. I said you really do think I should? He said yeah, that’d be cool. I say okay. So I just work up enough anger as a way I could do it. But I didn’t think too much of the hype seen and all that because you’re wearing all these different things but it was fun. And I still do but I don’t see many other people doing it so it gives me a dumb or a stupid tendency to like hold back from my own desires and so forth for some unknown reason, I don’t know.
Interviewer: The anger maybe is dispersed in it?
Jimi: Oh yeah, that’s always happening now but I didn’t know it was anger till they tell me that it was, you know like with destruction and all that. But I believe everybody should have like a room where they get rid of all their releases, where they can do their releases at. So my room was a stage.
Interviewer: Now what is gonna happen now? I mean, you, apparently, from the Isle of Wight Festival you were quoted as saying prior to the isle of white that if it really happened big for you you’d carry on for a while. Were you satisfied with the results of the Isle of Wight?
Jimi: Well to some except there in a time it so confused that I didn’t get a chance to really base any of my future on that one gig you know, except when I play ‘God Bless the Queen’. If you know what I mean but I don’t know. I couldn’t base my whole thing on what I’m gonna do after that you know by just that one job there. I was probably happy just to play there you know and I was wondering if they was gonna dig us then quite naturally I’d go on and try to get it together.
Interviewer: Now Billy Cox’s split.
Interviewer: So whatever happens you’ve got to find a new bass player is that correct?
Jimi: Yeah, I guess so. Oh, I said damn made wait a minute.
Interviewer: So do you intend to form another small unit or are you hoping to something bigger together?
Jimi: I really don’t know I think I’ll get another small one together I guess. It’s really hard to decide you know. I’d like to have both if I could like it’s one for touring and then sometimes I can do another tour with a big one you know, whatever.
Interviewer: Now again you were quoted in one paper as saying that you wanted to do less personal appearances.
Jimi: Yeah. right. I think it would count more if you did less, you know, personal appearances. But trying to get a tour of England together now but that’s definitely gonna call for another bass player, you know.
Interviewer: Do you personally feel that the excitement has gone out of things?
Jimi: No, I was feeling like that before because I was thinking too fast, you know. It seems like you know a person has a tendency to get bored because he always wants to try to do all these accomplishments you know; like starting an idea so that never quite finishing and out. But some people should be let to start ideas and another one should carry them out. But I don’t know, it’s really hard to say right now. It’s whatever happens. We could do tours with the small group again you know, other than a bass player. I’d probably get very wild though and wrapped up in the other scene again you know like with the hair and so forth or the visuals probably. But it’s really hard to know what people want around here sometimes. Probably I’m just gonna do what I feel but like right now I can’t feel anything right now because there are a few things that just happened you know. I just have to lay back and think about it all.
Interviewer: Do you feel any kind of compulsion to prove yourself as ‘King Guitar’ which is the kind of label that people would slap on you?
Jimi: I don’t know I was just loud that’s the only difference. No, I don’t try to fight that, I don’t try to really let that bother me because they say lots of things about people that if they let it bother them the wouldn’t even be around today you know. King Guitar now well, that’s a bit heavy.
Interviewer: I mean you’ve already expressed appreciation one paper “Pink Floyd’. What are the things that you admire about Pink Floyd and the things they’re doing?
Jimi: Well they’re doing a different type of music. They’re doing more of like a space type of thing – I mean interspace it seems like you know. You know, technically they’re getting into electronics and all this.
Jimi: Yeah they do like a space type of thing, like an interspace type of thing and you know sometimes you need to lay back by yourself and appreciate them you. That’s the type of music they’re into so that’s good. But like I think I’d want to make mine a little more easier you know like with a solid beat dropping, more beat.
Interviewer: You seem torn between the idea of getting together a big band in which you can step back and a smaller unit a kind of rock and roll thing where you can project your own musical thing. Is that a real problem for you?
Jimi: I don’t know I’m thinking about the rock and roll thing so much. It’s just well everybody goes that. They’re thinking they might lose friends so they might want to get back together, something similar to that only with probably even a better beat and you know, more music.
Interviewer: Would it be practical for you to get maybe an organist and a vocalist and step back as a Guitarist?
Jimi: Well that’s exactly what I want to do actually. That’s what to do, all I do is probably get two Guitarist, counting myself, an organist and singer you know and drums quite naturally bass. If I can get something like that would be out of sight.
Interviewer: I remember talking to Alvin Lee of 10 years after some weeks ago and he said of you that you’ve never really been truly appreciated or analyzed as a Songwriter. Do you feel that maybe your image got in the way of that to an extent? I mean do you feel like that you’ve never really been truly criticized as a Songwriter?
Jimi: Well it probably is a good thing because I’m still trying to get that together, you know. All I write is just what I feel that’s all and you know I don’t really round it off too good, I just keep it almost naked almost you know. Probably the words are so bland, blank and everything that they probably didn’t want to get into that and like when we go to play you flip it around and flash it around and everything they’re not gonna see nothing than what their eyes see you know. Forget about their ears. So like why I was trying to do too many things at the same time which is my nature. But I was enjoying it and I still do enjoy it. I mean by just thinking about it you know. I just hate to be in one corner, I hate to be put as only a guitar player or either only as a Songwriter or only as a tap dancer or something like this. I like to go around.
Interviewer: Is it important for you to achieve recognition as a Songwriter?
Jimi: I don’t know really. I guess it would be if I wanted to stay back and predominantly write songs when I can’t go onstage anymore.
Interviewer: You were quoted in one paper saying you didn’t really care what you did as long as you turned people on, right? Now, what do you want to turn people on to apart from your music? Is there any moral or political intent in the kind of things you want to write?
Jimi: I like for them to get easier in the mind a bit because there’s too many heavy songs out nowadays. Music is getting you know, or at least it has been getting too heavy like you know, almost to the state of unbearable. I have this saying ‘Weh things get too heavy just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man.” But then again.
Interviewer: So where are your inspirations for songs coming present time and where do you turn to for your directions in terms of writing?
Jimi: From my recent experiences. What I try to do is look at the totality of that given the other half. First of all, you have the one half and the second half, you know the solution or whatever it might be which is the second. First of all you have the experience and you have the use of it all and I was trying to go through a lot of changes and write about the nice parts about him you know? But right now it’d taken a while.
Interviewer: Do you feel at all concerned that I mean you have been quoted as saying in the past that music
Jimi: Should be classic?
Interviewer: No that the next wheel as it were, the next circle of music but we’re now at an end of something and the next stage of popular music will change the world. Do you really believe that or do you believe that music is a reflection if the world?
Jimi: Yeah besides the reflection, well the reflection of the world is like blues that’s where that part of the music is at. Then you’ve got this other kind of music that’s trying to come around, it’s not sunshine music necessarily but it’s like a more easier type of thing with less words and more meaning to it and you don’t have to be singing about love all the time in order to give love to the people. You don’t have to keep flashing those words love all the time. But I don’t know, I mean it has us feeling all nice and enthusiastic when I said that. Right now I can’t take back on that because that’s a nice thought. I think that there’s no reason why it couldn’t. It was organized
Interviewer: Do you want to personally? I mean do you want to change the world?
Jimi: Oh I’d like to have a part of it. Well, I like to take part in it, change in reality probably. Not the way I know it necessarily but the way that it will get a longa little better as old and young don’t clash so much together.
Interviewer: What are the things that you would like to see changed?
Jimi: Oh I don’t know, more colour in the streets probably. I mean I really don’t know. Whatever happens, it should have a chance to be like do they open. If there’s a new idea, a new invention or a new gas or a new whatever you know, or a new idea of thinking. It should be brought at least in the open you know and we respect this as we and do and probably a decent change or a help for the human race or whatever. Instead of carrying these same old burdens around with you and you have to be a freak in order to be different. And even freaks they’re very prejudiced. You have to have your hair long and talk in a certain way in order to be with them. In order to be the other view, you have to have your hair short and wear ties. So we’re trying to make a third world happen you know what I mean?
Interviewer: I mean it does seem that people like Sebastian for example, want to try and change the world doesn’t it. That their intention is to make the world a better place.
Jimi: Oh yeah
Interviewer: Do you feel that same kind of need?
Jimi: Yeah but all that has to come from with inside though you know I guess. I guess the person would have to change himself in order to be a living example what he’s singing about or something you know. In order to change the world, I guess you’d have to really get his head together, first of all, to say anything to the world to change it.
Interviewer: I think certain people think of your music essentially as angry music, as raging against the established principles.
Jimi: Oh it’s not raging against it if it was up to me they wouldn’t be able to sustain an establishment you know. Well, see it’s set of the blues that’s all I’m singing about. None of it is today’s blues.
Interviewer: Do you have any politics in fact yourself?
Jimi: Not really, I was getting ready to get into all of that but I mean you everybody goes through that stages too. You know it all comes out in the music sometimes. We had this one some called ‘Straight Ahead’ and it says ‘power to the people, freedom of the soul, pass it on to the young and old and we don’t care if your hair is short or long communication’s coming on strong’ and all those kinds of stuff you know.
Interviewer: Have you had any problems with the black panther movement in the States?
Jimi: Any problems? No, it’s just the idea of you know it’s a lot of political things happening out there that I really had to get away from because then I’d find myself in too much of a box situation you know. If I had anything to say I’d have a say to everybody instead of just the one little thing. I mean not little thing but one
Interviewer: Have they ever demanded of you that you play a concert for the Panthers?
Jimi: Well actually they ask us, which I was happy for them to ask us, I was honoured in all this you know but we never did do it yet, we haven’t done it yet. Mike Jefferies he’s taking care of that side of it. So I don’t know if we’ll ever.
Interviewer: When you look back on things like Hey Joe now I mean how do you feel about those musically?
Jimi: Well I think they’re alright I guess you know. I don’t have nothing to regret at all in the past except that I might have unintentionally might have heard somebody else’s on it and plus in music, I think they are al nice. I don’t look at them down that’s for sure, I just look at them as changes.
Interviewer: I mean it has been said of you that you invented psychedelic music.
Jimi: A mad scientist, of course.
Interviewer: What do you feel about that? I mean do you feel that’s fair, I mean was your music originally or early music written for psychedelic?
Jimi: I have to tell the truth. I already experienced, one time I was fearful of that recently and I kind of like I don’t know it seemed like I was a bit high or something. You know when I heard it was like a ‘so damn what was going on in my head when I said all those things you know. I don’t consider that a new invention of psychedelics just asking a lot of questions.
Interviewer:But I mean things like Purple Haze, for example, they tend to have a rather psychedelic dreamlike quality about them. Did they?
Jimi: What was said, it was said with a heartbeat what was happening you know. It says damn wait a minute, I feel you know, excuse me while I do this for a 2nd. You know you feel yourself going in different strange areas in all this, like most curious people do and I just happen to put it on, Purple Haze. It was actually as long, long thing. I told you that before I didn’t die?
Interviewer: You don’t think of yourself as a psychedelic right?
Jimi: Well I think it’s more that than anything else. I’m trying to get more sub into other things. But the way I write things I just write them with the clash between reality and fantasy mostly. You have to use fantasy in order to show different sides of reality. That’s how they can bend of the world, the reality is nothing but each individual’s own way of thinking and then an establishment grabs the piece of that you know in the church of England and so forth, right down the line.
Interviewer: I was going to say how much is this setting they can from the Jimi Hendrix experience that was or Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell I mean?
Jimi: Of Psychedelics you mean?
Interviewer: Yeah, albums and tracks to come and what’s gonna happen next as an album from you?
Jimi: Well, I think we’re going to have this thing called “Horizon.” Between here and Horizon or something pertaining to that you know and that goes into certain things like ‘Room Full of Mirrors.” That’s more of a mental disadvantage that a person might be thinking this is said about ‘Broken Glass’, it used to be all in my brain and so forth. And then we had other ones called well I told you about that. Oh, we have this other one called “Astroman”. It’s says something about, talking about living and peace of mind, what “Astroman” will leaving pieces and so forth and so on and values enough to an uprising. But all these psychedelic I don’t even know what the word means really. What is it? Is it like what you say one thing and mean another? You mean something like that? Or you can get about 3 different meanings out of one thing you mean is that what they said?
Interviewer: Well, I think psychedelic to most people has connotations with LSD.
Jimi: Oh, you mean strictly LSD? You mean by that type of consciousness?
Interviewer: Yeah with ‘Dream.’
Jimi: Oh, all right. Oh yeah, you have to give them a little bit of the dream one so they can hear it over again because they might be in a different mood. Well, dreams come from different moods so it’s a bit moody, you know.
Interviewer: One of the other things that you said quite recently is that your next move music would be influenced like by people like Wagner.
Jimi: Oh yeah, I did that.
Jimi: Well, I think the way things are going right now materially desk and at the time, but like spiritually and in the head know it’s always there on it gets better and better all the time. One of these days I just finally released all that like the way things been going lately. I think it’s going to take a lot more time. We had this one little literal type of thing, this kind nice but then it breaks down to a very simple pattern of asking these one question like where you’re coming from or where you’re going to and this little girl answers you know. But it’s not really into really big mass movement music that I want to do you know.
Interviewer: Do you want to get involved in symphonies and some orchestras and that kind of thing?
Jimi: Yeah, I’ve had to get involved in my own kind of way because I always want to respect my own judgments and different things you know. So if I respect my own time in getting those, when I finally do get into it to the whole world is going to know about it.
Interviewer: I mean, that’s a really along the lines of mixed-media.
Jimi: Yeah, right. This is more universal than this pertains to this one thing, isn’t it?
Interviewer: But the drawback people have said about mixed-media is that the people who you’re mixing your media with tended not to be able to relate to you. I mean although you go halfway to them with your music. They won’t go halfway to you. No, that is the classical musician.
Jimi: Oh, I see what you mean. Well, I don’t plan to make that statement. I plan if I had the proper timing it would be just like with every step – is the mixture of the past and the future you know what I mean?
Jimi: That’s where our music is anyway, I mean technically. But you know what I mean I don’t plan just to go out there with 90 piece orchestra and play two and a half hours off classical music. I don’t plan that at all. I plan for both those things to be used; rock and classic. Without even knowing that it’s a rock and classic, with being a whole nother thing.
Interviewer: You’ve talked quite a bit about audiovisual importance too, about the importance of having a film with your music. Now, are you thinking in terms of the days when we can fit a cassette into the side of our television and playing music and a film to together?
Jimi: Yeah, first and thinking about days when finding people will be able to, a lot of you are making more money than they ever have nowadays. So if they want to make it there flat they always find themselves open with an extra room. So this whole room could be a total audiovisual environment type of thing. I can go in there and you just lay back and the whole thing just blossoms out with this colour and sound type of scene you know. Well, it’s like in the structure room when you go or it’s just like a tea room where you one have tea. You can go in here and this would like jingle your nerves or something you know. Oh, that goes with a cassette yeah, it goes in with the cassette. You put in your favourite star and all of a sudden the visual scene comes on. And plus on stage, if I ever did any more stage thing with this new band, I mean this new thing it would definitely have to be audiovisual and then plus probably it wouldn’t be about 5000 people at performance. Because we’d have to get this geodesic dome and like have the whole thing just lay it out. It would probably take a week, you know when you come in town on a train or something. It will be travelled by train and then you take about a day or 2 or about 3 days to set the whole thing up and then you give a performance in the next 3 days or something. Of just a handfuls of people coming in you know and I think that’ll be done because then everybody get more effect from it instead of putting a big block screen behind you.
Interviewer: Now what about the subject of festivals now? Do you think the Isle of Wight is as some people have said the last of the big festivals?
Jimi: I don’t know why they’re always trying to kill the festivals really. I mean unless they’re going to keep putting them on like they always are. The Isle of Wight was great, you know people milling about digging each other, especially being the Isle of Wight with us. I mean a mixture of different countries you know, and the only static you’re going to get from the festivals is not from the people themselves, but from the other people that can’t understand the idea mixing so many different people together, all in the name of music, peace and love. And so because this completely different than the World War II set up you know and the World War II all these countries were completely against each other almost, completely opposite. Now we’re getting them all together through the idea of music.
Interviewer:But it does appear isn’t it that’s a very militant faction is now a politically motivated faction that’s got involved in these festivals like the French Maoists.
Jimi: With any new civilization you try to you know, that you might find yourself involved in or you might see growing but then in civilization, they have their own officers and valet in Governments and all that so it’s not all that political, not really. You just take the best from all politics, all religions or all countries, you just do the best with that. In the meantime, we’re supposed to be gathering pastures right now you know.
Interviewer: I mean these people that turned up at the Isle of Wight festival and demanded that the music be free and that the festival be free.
Jimi: Oh yeah well they learnt that from the papers. They learned all of that from the papers. How come they don’t do that with Mona Ray? They didn’t do all that mess with Mona Rae. See, festivals shouldn’t worry about getting so many people it’s abif ego trip now. 500, 000 people came oh wow that’s great. With the 500, 000 that’s way larger than the average city for instance in England and every city in the world always has a gang, a street gang or the so-called outcast you know. So you’re gonna get that with 500, 000 people; that’s a city right there. So you’re gonna have to have gate crashes, you know you’re gonna have the other side of everything. Well, it’s up to the people if they really want to keep it going they’ll keep it going. If they don’t then they’ll appreciate the music itself. But see you can’t mill about when you’re at a Rock N Roll theatre, you know. We used to have gigs in the theatre. You can’t really mingle too much, you just have to sit there and just have
Interviewer: But don’t you feel in a sense when the thing becomes that huge the music has become incidental anyway when this 500, 000 would see.
Jimi: I can understand that part it’s not only the music but the artists and their names draws the people there. But the whole idea is for people to dig themselves instead of and just mingle around meeting different other people. That’s why they should give more to the festival, they should have not only music but theater and you know selling things and circuses and so forth.
Interviewer: A freak show.
Jimi: Yeah, definitely, definitely feed them and embark slurp, slurp.
Interviewer: Now what about the prices of admission concerts because I see that you previously expressed concern about the charges that kids were being taken for to see your concerts in the States, but at the same time, most of your concerts in the States I thought was self-promoted and I would’ve thought that you could control the prices yourself.
Jimmy: Not really, not really because not the way the people who’ve lay it down whose soever to start promoting it, so promotion only with my name only. That’s all I have to do with that mostly. Because they explained that they have to sell the tickets at a certain amount in order to make a certain cover or something you know. Though all they explained to me is you know, something else I don’t understand really.
Interviewer: But I mean, surely you could turn around and say all right well if you’re going to charge $6 or whatever it is to get in to see Jimi Hendrix I won’t play.
Jimi: Yeah, I can do all that too but see there’s contracts now that you sign sometimes and commitments you make. Regardless of how much they charge, regardless of how much they charge sometimes you don’t even get a chance to look into all of that. All you can do it is express your opinions about it and hope the next time it would be better you know. I think that’s why they’re arranging a tour in England, that’s why they’re taking so long to do that is because they get the prices at least that are compromising you know, between us and the promoters some of it is so hard.
Interviewer: I mean, what would you say would be a reasonable fee for you to do a concert before shall we say 10,000 people for example?
Jimi: How much would I get paid or how much would a ticket costs me?
Interviewer: Well how much would you consider to be a reasonable fee for you and your band if it was a 3 piece band?
Jimi: For 10,000 people? It’s pretty hard to say that but I can say how much maybe the people should pay to get in maybe.
Interviewer: Well how much would you?
Jimi: Say about a dollar and a half, I guess.
Interviewer: Which in terms of English money would mean what?
Jimi: A dollar and a half is
Interviewer: That’s 7 and 6?
Jimi: Yeah I think so 6 and 6. How much they pay around here? How much they pay about here when they go to concerts?
Interviewer: Well, I think it just depends on where you’re sitting you know I mean that’s the other thing.
Jimi: I don’t know, well what’s the highest that we go? Do they ever get to 12?
Interviewer: You can go to 2 pounds or 3 pounds.
Jimi: Oh well that’s silly. No, as long as they keep it under 10. I think they shouldn’t go any higher than 10 shillings because after all it is music and they have to pay twice as much or 3 times as much to buy the LP.
Interviewer: Well what you think about the concept of free music, I mean free concerts?
Jimi: Oh I can dig that, I can really dig that.
Interviewer: But can you play there?
Jimi: We should be able to, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. We should only collect enough as to where we can pay the expenses from the last town to the next town, you know, do one of them kind of things because we have time, you know there’s no big rush. But see sometimes the music people; I mean that’s the other end of the business, they put into these big rush things as a way you don’t even get a chance to even reply to all that but there’s no reason why we can’t be free concerts here. But we would blow a lot of money if we had to pay for everything, like the theater. If we can get enough money as a way we could have the people altogether pay for the theater and our fare in our hotel then you know, I mean just expenses that’s all they would have to pay. So to the takers would really drop down the price. So it would actually be free, it would be a donation like.
Interviewer: Do you feel personally that you’ve got enough money now to live comfortably without necessarily making more money as a sort of professional entertainer?
Jimi: I don’t think so, not the way I’d like to live because I want to get up in the morning and just roll over my bed into an indoor swimming pool and I’d swim to the breakfast table, you know come up for air, and get maybe a drink of orange juice just like that, then just flop over from the chair into the swimming pool and swim into the bathroom and you know go and shave and whatever.
Interviewer: You don’t want to live just comfortably you want to live luxuriously.
Jimi:No, is that luxurious? I was thinking about a tent maybe, overhanging a mountain stream.