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Authors: Jimi Hendrix

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BOOK: Starting At Zero

I think pop groups have a right to their own private life. People should judge them by what they do onstage, as singers and musicians. Their private life is their own business, and people
shouldn’t know too much about that. You can’t expect artists to be goody-goodies all the time. In any case, kids aren’t as dumb and easily influenced as some people think. They
have a lot of common sense. Any kid that does something bad because a certain pop idol did it would probably have done it anyway.


Most of these notes are in preference to a hopeful contact with England via phone ... The date of February 10th meet must be canceled because of exhausting but very important business
over here ... If 24th Albert Hall England goes through confirmed we should, as you said, either abandon or really rethink the idea of the three individual groups idea for 24th and stress in
England phone call that if by all means possible we should have previous day of concert (AH England) for ultimate private rehearsal in preparations for recording. Maybe afternoon, evening,
whatever available …

Tables: trash everything out of Generation that we do not need. This done as soon as possible.

At least let it be mentioned, interview with
Rolling Stone
will not be over telephone but in person... Preferably tape interview. Matter of fact, please ask me about things like
interviews in immediate future and please keep in mind that tape interviews are a must if it’s a major or important article. We have an offer from
Village Other
(weekly newspaper,
very good) about interview. Please have them call if possible to set a date before I leave or call them

Recording: Albert Hall February 18th & 24th? Please try to find out definitely about who will engineer recordings. Very important As Soon As Possible. Please tell Mercury Records to
stop hassling over names and payment agreements as far as Buddy Miles Express album goes. Please tell them both the group, the Emmy and myself are quite happy with the idea.

I would like to see personal accounts on expenses (as close as possible) to the present. Also on personal rough net figures. I know they should be able to take at least 5 or 10 minutes
today and reply over the phone or by messenger service in an envelope an estimate of what is happening … For replacing time and acts on the bill 24th please look into booking Jethro Tull,
Noel Redding’s outfit (if not only for 20 minutes). A very definite word from Noel about that. We would like to try recording the Albert Hall on the 24th as well as the 18th. 24th
possible: Jethro Tull, Cat Mother or Buddy Miles Express or “Face” (check with Speakeasy’s Roy Flynn).

Later this evening I would like to check out moneys we may have coming in or lined up like posters, publishing royalties, record royalties, writer’s, etc.

Oh yes, almost forgot: please make it clear to Mercury (contracts included or whatever legal means) that in due time the Buddy Miles Express new LP will be one of the biggest for Mercury
and we are all (the group and myself) working very hard on it and it would seem to be honestly fair for my name alone to appear as producer and receive normal producer’s fee. If there are
hang-ups on Ann Tanzy’s (sp.?) side of the fence as far as whose name goes where, she may very well be represented on the LP as supervisor. I know a name on an LP jacket sounds like a
small tut, rather an ego thing, but one of my ambitions is to be a good producer and extend. Therefore that’s one of the main themes in the idea of the name being there. I plan to finish
to the bone the whole LP as long as the necessary papers and attitudes on both sides (Mercury and us) are together. If I could work with Buddy and group without being entirely hung up over this
fact – over those fat starving sick hicks, about them wanting something for nothing – and to keep Ann in her proper place. I could most certainly write songs with Buddy … and
that side is where I’m inching toward … percentage from writer’s royalties for sure.

Jimi Hendrix


I feel so relaxed now at concerts. Our music is in a very solid state – not technically, just in the sense that we can feel around the music and get into things better. The communication
is lovely. If I’m out of tune I just stop and get in tune. That’s the way I like it to be. It’s not a Flash Gordon show, everything all neat and rehearsed.

I don’t read music, and it’s hard for me to remember any riffs because I’m constantly trying to create other things. That’s why I make a lot of mistakes. These days
everybody seems to be busy showing what polished performers they are, and that means nothing. People are getting so much wiser. They don’t want to hear about this manufactured, tinfoil music.
They want to hear the best in the field. I was talking to some little kids, the people they call teenyboppers, and I said, “What are your favorite groups?” They said, “We like the
Cweam, we like y’alls group.” Beautiful. You know, their minds are different.


COUPLE OF YEARS AGO all I wanted out of life was to be heard. Now I’m trying to figure out the wisest way to be heard. I don’t want
to be a clown anymore. I don’t want to be a rock and roll star. I’m just a musician. That is why we play more now and move around less. We don’t break things up too much anymore.
We haven’t burned any guitars lately.

Those little things were just added on, like frosting, but the crowd started to want them more than the music. The more the press would play it up, the more the audience would want it, the more
we’d shy away from it. Do you see where all that fits? You can’t prostitute your own thing.
You can’t do that.

Half of the things I did because I just felt like it at the time. I’d say, “Maybe I should smash a guitar or something tonight,” and they’d say, “Yeah,
that’ll be cool.” So I worked up enough anger so I could do it. It was fun! Maybe everybody should have a room where they can get rid of all their inhibitions. My room was a stage. But
you can only freak out when you feel like it. I used to feel like it a lot, but not anymore. You’d have a heart attack if you were doing it every night like I was. I’d be dead by this

I feel very guilty when people say I’m the greatest guitarist around. What’s good or bad doesn’t matter to me.
It’s how you feel about what you’re doing that
matters. If only people would take a more true view and think in terms of feeling. Your name doesn’t mean a damn. It’s your talent and feeling that matter. I just toss off those people
who are doing it for their own egotistic scene instead of trying to show off another side of music.

We’d like to turn everyone on to all we know. You can always sing about love and different situations of love, but now we’re trying to give solutions to all the protests and the
arguments that they’re having in the world today. Every time we come into town everybody always looks towards us for some kind of answer to what’s happening to them, which is a good
feeling, but it’s very hard. Therefore I have to live the life, I have to witness all these bad scenes and all these good scenes, so then I can say what I found out. Anybody can protest, but
not too many people can offer a decent answer. So we’re going to try and do that.

Have you missed London?

It’s great to be in London again. This is the place I feel most comfortable, and I feel the English are my friends. The English girls are just too much. I was out
walking yesterday and it must have been about five degrees below zero, but they were still walking around in their little miniskirts. Yes, we missed London.

How do you like living in Handel’s home?

I didn’t even know this was his pad, man, until after I got in.

There’s a cherub with a broken arm on the ceiling ...

That’s the groovy thing about him. He can fly with a broken arm.

Do you have feelings for classical music?

Oh yeah, it’s beautiful, it’s very beautiful. I like Handel and Bach. It’s like a homework type of thing. You can’t hear it with friends all the
time. You have to hear some things by yourself. See, different music is supposed to be used in different ways. I believe the best time to listen to classical music is any time when
it’s very quiet or your mind is very relaxed. When you feel like daydreaming, maybe …

Do you like classical rock?

To each his own. In another life the people who are trying to do it may have been Beethoven or one of those cats. But this is a rock and roll era, so the people get into
rock. Every era has its own music.

What about jazz?

If I go to somebody else’s place and hear somebody else’s records, then I’d listen to jazz. But if I’m at home I’d never put on a jazz
disc. I consider jazz to be a lot of horns and one of those top-speed bass lines. If it’s axes, I like to listen to it. But to play it – I don’t think that way. I like
free-form jazz, like Charlie Mingus and this other cat who plays all the horns, Roland Kirk. The groovy stuff instead of the old-time hits, like when they get up and play
How High The
for hours and hours. But I don’t happen to know much about jazz. I know that most of those cats are playing nothing but blues though – I know that much!

Didn’t you play with Roland Kirk recently?

I had a jam with him at Ronnie Scott’s, and I really got off. It was great. I was so scared! It’s really funny. I mean, Roland, that cat gets all those
sounds. I might just hit one note and it might be interfering, but we got along great I thought. He told me I should have turned it up or something. We have different moods, and I think
some are on the same level that Roland Kirk is doing. If people read this they’ll say, “That guy must be joking,” but I really think we are doing the same things. I really
want to cut an album with Roland Kirk. He’s the most beautiful human being alive that plays jazz. He hasn’t really even started yet. When you hear him you can hear so much of
the future. You can hear some of the things he’s going to go into. I mean, not necessarily by notes, but you can hear it by feelings. Running through a field, an everlasting field of
beautiful things, man.

How do you see the future of pop music?

I don’t know. I’m not a critic, you know. And I don’t like the word “pop.” All it means to me is Pilgrimage of Peace.

How would you like your music to be described then?

We are trying to play real music. We don’t play blues, although some people seem to think we do. Rather we play a mix of blues, jazz, rock and roll and a lot of
noise. We call our music Electric Church Music because it’s like a religion to us. I don’t like the name “church” because it sounds too funky, too sweaty – you
think of a person praying between his legs on the ground – but until we find something better we’ll have to use that.

An Italian critic recently called you the Paganini of the guitar.

Paganini? Who’s that? Oh, the greatest violin artist of all time. That makes me extremely happy.

Does success make you happy?

All the things I thought were important before I had a hit record are just as important now. Trying to understand people and respect their feelings, regardless of your
position or theirs. The beautiful things are still the same, the sunset and the dew on the grass. No material wealth changes the way I think about these things. If you’re looking for
real happiness, you go back to the happiest days you had as a child. Remember when playing in the rain was fun?

Has success changed you?

It depends on what you think is success. Success, to me, is doing your utmost, achieving the ultimate. Well, I have not done that. I don’t consider myself even
started yet. I always try to get better and better, but as long as I’m playing I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I’m satisfied. I think I shall always be
looking for success.

You have received the highest critical acclaim.

That’s part of the establishment’s game. They’re trying to blow us all up and give us awards so that they can just dust us away. But we’re not
here to collect awards. We’re here to turn people on to the right way because there are some really strange scenes coming through.

Are you going to play more concerts in England?

We plan to have the Albert Hall our last job for a while. I wish we could play more places around the country because I dig England, and when we play here it is a big
thing for us. But the problem is we are doing more recording now, and we have to do an American tour in April and May.

Is there any truth in the rumors about you retiring?

You know, when you’re young, most people have a little burning thing, but then you get your law degree and go into your little cellophane cage. You can do the
family thing. I’ve wanted to do that at times. I’ve wanted to go into the hills sometimes, but I stayed. Some people are meant to stay and carry messages.


HERE’S OTHER MOVES I HAVE TO MAKE NOW, a little more towards a spiritual level, through music. We concentrate mostly on sound. It’s a
very hard and harsh and primitive sound, not necessarily good or bad or stoned. You get the feeling that you’re going to get something out of it if you let your mind flow with it. It’s
more than music. It’s like church, like a foundation for the lost or potentially lost.

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