Audio from Jimi Hendrix’s Final Interview Surfaces
The words “previously unreleased” and “Jimi Hendrix” have been abused so often that they provoke a reflexive eyeroll from a lot of classic rock fans, but here’s one case where they might actually be worth getting excited about.
Hendrix’s final interview, conducted by journalist Keith Altham a week before Hendrix’s death on Sept. 18, 1970, was recently broadcast in full for the first time. Altham debuted the recordings on the Classic Rock Magazine Show, telling host Nicky Horne that he met the superstar guitarist through his manager, Chas Chandler. “The night Hendrix arrived in London I went down and Jimi was playing with a few musicians — not singing, just jamming. Chas said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘He’s brilliant, but he’ll go right over the heads of the kids; he’s a jazz guitarist, he’s not a teenage idol.’ Chas said, ‘He will be if I’ve got anything to do with it.’ Gradually, as he invented the Jimi we saw on stage, I began to see what he was talking about.”
Altham was a true believer by the time he sat down with Hendrix in 1970, and their discussion touched on everything from his thoughts about reducing his touring schedule (“It would count for more if we did less”) to his plans for his band in the wake of bassist Billy Cox’s departure. “I think I’ll get a small one together,” Hendrix mused, adding, “It’s really hard to decide. I’d like to have both, if I could. I’d get two guitarists — one being myself — an organist, a singer, drums and bass. That would be out of sight.”
Unsurprisingly, Hendrix remained as creatively restless as ever, and listening to him speak, it’s hard not to wonder all over again what might have come of his thirst for artistic motion. “I’d hate to be in one corner, put only as a guitar player, only as a songwriter, only as a tap-dancer or something like that,” he told Altham. “I like to move around.”