Friday, September 22, 2023

12 things that led up to Jimi Hendrix's death

Jimi and Monika Danneman
Jimi Hendrix died September 18, 1970, the morning after a party held by Who manager Kit Lambert. But, as Carmen Geddes lays out in "Are You Experienced? The Death of Jimi Hendrix," a short essay from The Mammoth Book of Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll, he began dying a little bit back at the start of 1967's Summer of Love. Here are the steps that led to that fateful morning.

  1. Hendrix was booked at the Monterey International Pop Festival in California as a way to highlight him to audiences in the U.S., where he was still mostly unknown even though he was from Seattle. He would go on to steal the show with his famed guitar burning, quite a feat considering the level of talent involved, including Simon and Garfunkel, The Grateful Dead, The Mamas and Papas, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding. But because of his astounding show, he (for better and worse), quickly became a very-in demand live performer.
  2. When he was booked to play shows with The Monkees, he was brought to the attention of the right-wing group The Daughters of the American Revolution. They did not like him and were successful in getting rid of that double bill.
  3. This resulted in Hendrix heading back to Europe, where he would often play two shows a night. Fatigue, acid, and alcohol caused him to lose it, getting arrested for destroying a Gothenburg, Sweden hotel room.
  4. Back in the U.S. at the start of 1968, Hendrix got a new manger named Mike Jeffrey, who was able to get The Experience between $50,000 and $100,000 per gig. This became a psychological burden to Hendrix, who worried that the kids would think he was selling out. At one point in February, he disappeared for two days.
  5. Now into 1969 and still carrying on as perilously usual, Hendrix announced, unexpectedly to anyone, including his band, at Mile Hile Stadium in Denver that it would be the last show for The Experience.
  6. He was busted for heroin in Toronto.
  7. He became convinced his manager, Jeffrey, was ripping him off.
  8. He was kidnapped by supposed mobsters and held in a remote hideout for two days. Hendrix was convinced Jeffrey orchestrated the whole thing.
  9. Hendrix began performing as a member of A Band of Gypsies. At the Isle of Wight Festival in England, bassist Billy Cox was given a drink spiked with acid, which he had never had before and nearly had a nervous breakdown.
  10. Jimi met Danish skating instructor Monika Danneman while touring in Germany and the two hid away in a British hotel room. She claimed Hendrix had asked her to marry him and have babies, but most people say there is no way Jimi would have done that with someone he barely knew.
  11. The story gets very fuzzy the morning Hendrix died. Danneman claims she came back from getting him cigarettes to find him unresponsive in bed. She then realized she was missing about nine of her sleeping pills. She also claims the ambulance personnel told her they would all be laughing about this by the afternoon, but the ambulance employees said that was never the case and Jimi was dead on arrival at the hospital.
  12. Those same ambulance workers claim they arrived to find Jimi already dead and horrifically covered in black and brown vomit.
Hendrix and manager Mike Jeffrey
Years later, in 1995, Danneman published her version of what happened with Jimi, and in the process called another Jimi ex-girlfriend a liar. That girlfriend sued Danneman, who was then found in contempt of court. Two days later, Danneman was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in her Mercedes. Earlier, in 1973, former manager Mike Jeffrey died in a plane crash on the way to find out what would happen to Hendrix's British music royalties.

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