Littlehampton’s Terry Ellis is editor – and co-author with Wales-based Rod Harrod – of a new book which aims to set the Jimi Hendrix record straight.
Jimi Hendrix – 50 Years On: The Truth (Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll - I Was There) has just come out in paperback and on Kindle, self-published through Amazon.
The volume is the first of what Terry anticipates will be eight in all, to be published within the next two years, with the second probably coming out in February.
“It is not just a biography,” Terry says. “When Rod and I used to have conversations, we would always be saying ‘They’ve got that wrong again!’ You would be looking at these supposed facts about Hendrix, and they would not be the true facts. The most obvious thing is people saying that Jimi Hendrix played his first gig (in this country) on the night he landed. We know he didn’t. We were both around at the time. And there are lots of other things like that that get repeated and accepted as the truth and you keep seeing. Rod sat down and decided to put some truths down that I could corroborate. Both of us were involved in management and in his case in club promotion. We didn’t get involved in heavy drugs or serious drinking. We needed to be able to operate properly for what we were doing. We needed a clear mind.
“Jimi came to this country with Chas Chandler in 1966. We had known Chas and Eric Burdon and a few of The Animals as friends in the clubs in those days. The club scene was completely different back then. We would go to Top of the Pops and then after Top of the Pops we would go out.
“Jimi came over with Chas who had found him in New York. Chas was leaving The Animals at that time, and he wanted some artists that he could manage and promote. He found Jimi Hendrix and he brought him over here.”
Terry met him: “He was just absolutely wild, just absolutely like he was from another planet. I had never seen anyone like him. He was hippiedom personified, the most bohemian person I had ever met, just totally over the top. But he was also a soft person. He was also quiet and very communicative, just against his image.”
And of course he died young: “There was this thing called the 27 Club, and a lot of these musicians died at the age of 27. They would get to that age and start to die on us. There was like a gestation period from when they first started of maybe five or six years of enjoying themselves and then it would go stale or the drugs would get heavy, and that would be that.”
Now Terry is intending to piece it all together: “This is not quite a biography. There are many, many biographies of Jimi Hendrix. If you just look on Google, there are at least two dozen, but, as I said, if you look at lots of the books, there are so many things that they are getting wrong. We are just trying now to set it straight about what happened and how it happened because we were there at the time. It is not just Jimi Hendrix we are talking about, but also about Chas Chandler and all the people that were around at that time.”
Terry sets out to dispel the lies, cover-ups, reinventions, assumptions and simple re-writes.
“Was Jimi murdered by a manager, the CIA, mafia, Black Panthers or Ku Klux Klan? Was it an accident or suicide? Discover untold facts from someone who can say of the time: I was there.”