The world is pretty aware of Jimi Hendrix’s musical abilities, especially his guitar techniques however, he was also a notorious drug addict. He got into a lot of trouble because of his alcohol and drugs problem. In 1969, he was convicted of Canadian drug charges after being found with heroin and hashish and was released on $10,000 bail. Furthermore, it was also his addiction that took his life.
However, there was also a time when someone as big and popular as Hendrix was kidnapped by two Italian mafia wannabes, and certainly, it was also because of Hendrix’s addiction. This is the story of Hendrix when he was kidnapped and held hostage for two days straight. Furthermore, the interesting and funny thing is that he did not even know that he was kidnapped.
So how did he get kidnapped in the first place? we will share the full detail or story further in the article. But before that, we need to know about two people first, Hendrix’s manager Chas Chandler and his friend Jon Roberts [former mafia member]. Roberts and Hendrix were not great friends.
The reason why Jimi Hendrix got kidnapped
After Hendrix reached the heights of stardom, his addiction got worse than it was as he started trying various drugs. According to several sources, Hendrix used to take drugs like LSD, weed, heroin, and more. Moreover, we are well known for his alcohol problem as well.
Jon Roberts wrote in his biography that Jimi Hendrix was once kidnapped and here’s how. Since Hendrix was a rockstar, there were plenty of people who would get him his stuff, however, in 1969 there was a time when Hendrix did not find anyone to get him drugs so he decided to get it himself.
One night Hendrix went to a club Salvation that Roberts owned to find himself drugs, and that’s when he met two Italian guys who came to Hendrix and called themselves drug dealers. Apparently, they took Hendrix with them after promising to get him some stuff. However, Hendrix was unaware of their sly motive. They took him out of the city and held him for two days.
Roberts wrote that the two Italians called Jimi’s manager and asked for something however, as a former mafia member it did not take Roberts long to find out about those two guys. They later got Jimi back from those guys and Roberts even mentioned in his book that after around a week they went and beat those guys.
He wrote, “I got involved in Jimi’s so-called kidnapping after he was grabbed by some guys out of Salvation. Two Italian kids at our club — not Maﬁa but wiseguy wannabes — saw Jimi in there looking for dope and decided, ‘Hey, that’s Jimi Hendrix. Let’s grab him and see what we can get.”
“It took me and (my Mafia partner) Andy (Benfante) two or three phone calls to get the names of the kids who were holding Jimi. We reached out to these kids and made it clear, ‘You let Jimi go, or you are dead. Do not harm a hair of his Afro.’ They let Jimi go, The whole thing lasted maybe two days. Jimi was so stoned, he probably didn’t even know he was ever kidnapped. Andy and I waited a week or so and went after these kids. We gave them a beating they would never forget.”
Well, it really was fortunate that they did not harm Jimi and since Roberts’ father was a member of La Cosa Nostra, he had a connection with several people and it became way easier for them to get Jimi back. This story was also covered by Rolling Stone magazine back in 2011.
Furthermore, as serious as this case was, knowing it now is kind of funny because as Roberts wrote in his memoir Jimi was so stoned that he probably did not even realize that he was kidnapped by those two Italians. Moreover, although Roberts and others could rescue Hendrix from those kidnappers, they could not stop Hendrix from taking drugs which eventually led to his death.