When Jimi arrived in London in 1966 everybody was stunned. As a little boy in 1958, he used to use his beat-up guitar to imitate TV cartoon sound effects. Later on that some boy was hired by Little Richard, The Isley Brothers, and others. He then flew to London in late 1966 when Chas Chandler encouraged him to travel to London to pursue something great in music.
Within a short span of time, Hendrix surprises many top-tier bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Eric Clapton. Hendrix could encapsulate everyone with his playing. Then, his debut album in 1967 ‘Are You Experience’ shook the world. With the psychedelic genre, the voicing of his guitar gave him fame, fortune, and everything.
He was known all over the world in the late 60s. Hendrix was the hottest talent. Back then, Jimi’s performances were wild and chaotic. Hendrix would also occasionally set fire to his guitar. However, he was not that way in real life. Despite everything that happened on stage, Hendrix was a reserved man.
The Kinks guitarist Dave Davies in his interview with Louder Sound said, “In real life, Jimi Hendrix was nothing like the wild guy that he portrayed on stage. He was a quiet, introverted guy like Ray [Davies] was. He was explosive on stage but very softly spoken off it. I’d see him from time to time at the Scotch of St James or at parties. We used to exchange the odd word to each other, but it was never like we were close.”
Jimi Hendrix’s contradicting way of life was a mess. On stage, he was someone who was not himself. This double life of his was a big tangle. He was quieter and more introverted. Mick Jagger also had things to say about his life. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1995, he revealed part of his own theory.
Jagger recalled that Jimi Hendrix was “exciting, sexy, [and] interesting”. While he also did mention that he was not a fan of his vocal capabilities, he admired his guitar-playing skill. He remembered, “He was a really sweet guy, a bit confused. It’s the same old story: Jimi Hendrix played all over the place with all these bands. He’d been a background guitar player for donkey’s years.”
“And suddenly he gets what he wants, then has to play ‘Purple Haze’ every night,” Mick continued. “He goes, ‘Uh, I don’t want to play ‘Purple Haze’ every night. I don’t want to burn the guitar.’ And then, when everyone went off the deep end, he had to go off the deep end. He became a heroin addict.”
Hendrix’s struggle with drugs and alcohol was a big problem. But the reason behind it was to help him with the pressure of rock n’ roll performances. On September 17th, 1970 he spent time with his friends in London. Then he headed home with his then-girlfriend Monika Dannemann. According to Dannemann, the pair enjoyed the rest of the night and drank more red wine before Hendrix took some sleeping pills.
The next day, Monika found Hendrix covered in his own vomit. And that was when he was found dead from asphyxiation. The autopsy revealed that he had taken nine sleeping tablets.
Again, Keith remembered Jimi from his interview with San Diego Union-Tribune. It was 40 years later his death. Jimi said, “Jimi Hendrix, bless his heart — how I wish he was still around — almost inadvertently ruined guitar, because he was the only cat who could do it like that. Everybody else just screwed it up and thought wailing away (on the guitar) is the answer. But it ain’t; you’ve got to be a Jimi to do that; you’ve got to be one of the special cats.”