Researched By Bill Henderson

Despite everything written about Jimi Hendrix since
his death, vital questions remain unanswered.
The Coroner's "Open Verdict" could stand as a final
comment on his life. In the light of facts
unearthed since 1970 we present a detailed
reconstruction of his last eighteen months,
and his last hours.

THE JIMI Hendrix Experience, put together by Chas Chandler in 1966, was moribund only two years later. The Experience had gone up like a rocket, trailing clouds of glory, sensationalism and instant success. By 1968 it had burned itself out. A handful of brilliant singles, two crackerjack albums - the first an explosive flash, the second a slow burn - and gigs of ferocious visual and aural pyrotechnics were its legacy.
But Hendrix wanted to be something more than the super hippy stud guitar hero of his media image. He felt constrained by the limitations of the three piece - and personality problems with Noel Redding didn't help. During their tour of Sweden in January '68 Hendrix had been incarcerated overnight after wrecking a hotel room, following a row with Redding. (The subsequent fine cost him the proceeds from the tour.) And neither did his difficulties with Mike Jeffrey, Chandler's partner, who wanted the success formula to continue.
The third album, the double 'Electric Ladyland,' recorded during 68, may have been for Hendrix a step in the right direction with extended 'unconventional' tracks and a bunch of guest musicians contributing. But for Mike Jeffrey it was bad news on at least two counts: it was a double, with therefore a lower "sales profile" (the controversial nudes cover didn't help either) and musically it was a (large) step away from "Purple Haze" and "Are You Experienced?" It was also very uneconomically recorded - over an extended period with much loose jamming and "wasted" studio time.
But it wasn't only the money-minded Jeffrey who was unhappy with the way Hendrix was going. Chas Chandler was concerned about Hendrix's behaviour, which was becoming somewhat unpredictable. In addition, he was eased out (or quit) as producer during the recording of 'Electric Ladyland')and in frustration sold out his 50% interest in Hendrix to Jeffrey.
In November '68 the Experience broke up. They played two farewell gigs at the Albert Hall in February '69. Chapter One was ended. The only remaining chapter was to be the epilogue.
A timetable of the last two years of Hendrix' life makes horrifying reading. A catalogue of wrong moves, false starts, accidents, misfortunes, contradictions, unanswered questions and downright disasters, accelerating and intertwining more and more tightly as they approached the final week, that pose many questions about the reasons for and events behind Hendrix' death.
IN FEBRUARY '69, Hendrix left for the States. Jeffrey brought Chas back in again to look after things while he was in America. Hendrix phoned Chas up and asked him to come back as his manager. Chas refused.
In New York, Hendrix was recording at the Record Plant with Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass, doing a double album which was intended to be his final statement as a 'pop star.' He desperately wanted to move on from the rut he found himself in. Alan Douglas, a friend of his, and who was producing John McLaughlin's 'Devotion' album in the same building, was asked by Hendrix to be his Foducer. Douglas entered into a verbal agreement with Jeffrey and for the moment everything was fine. Hendrix jammed with McLaughlin and organist Larry Young (also on 'Devotion,' who had been with McLaughlin in Lifetime) and other rock notables.

Then in May at Toronto International Airport arriving for a gig, Hendrix was busted for possession of heroin. He was released on bail of $10,000 but the case was to hang over him till December.
During the Summer and Autumn, Hendrix was mainly living at a house in Liberty in upstate New York with an 'electric family' of musicians including Mitch Mitchell, conga player Juma Lewis and avant-garde pianist Michael Ephron. Naturally, none of this was desirable to his commerce consciousness management and Hendrix had to escape to Algeria and Morocco on holiday a couple of times to avoid the presssure.
By June, he was playing again with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell, back with the reassurance of familiar faces. In July they played Newport and in August, Woodstock. ("You can leave if you want to. We're just jamming that's all." said an obviously not overhappy Hendrix.) Also in August was a disastrous gig in Denver which was broken up by tear gas lobbing riot police.
In December, Hendrix' old manager, Ed Chalpin won his suit against him. Hendrix had signed with Chaplin when he was in Curtis Knight's band and thus had renewed on this contract when he left for Britain with Chandler. Merely for having Hendrix' name on a piece of paper, Chaplin was given the US rights to one album ('Band Of Gypsys' which came out on Capitol in America); a percentage or Hendrix' earnings, past and present; and $ 1 million upfront.
Also in December, on a happier note, Hendrix was acquitted of the Canadian drugs charge. The defence had been that he did not know about the heroin which had been put in his bag on his departure by a girl who said it would be good for the cold from which he was suffering and that he hadn't opened the package.
John Swenson in the American magazine Crawdaddy however quotes an anonymous New York musician who says that Hendrix was afraid that the drug was a plant and that the bust was arranged by Jeffrey to keep him dependent on Jeffrey at a time when he was obviously slipping our of his domination. There is however, a strong counter-claim, again anonymous, that the dope was neither a plant nor an unfortunate present. (Although the coroner found no needle marks whatsoever on Hendrix' body, it is accepted that Hendrix did snort heroin. Chris Welch in his biography 'Hendrix' quotes PR man Robin Turner on this.)
On New Year's Eve the all-black Band of Gypsys (Hendrix, Miles and Cox) debuted at Fillmore East, described by Bill Graham as some of the most amazing music he'd ever heard but regarded typically less enthusiastically by Hendrix. (This gig was recorded for the 'Band Of Gypsys' album that Chalpin got).
At the end of January 1970, Band of Gypsys played their second concert at a Peace Rally in Madison Square Garden in Front of 19,000 people. During the second number Hendrix stopped, announced "I'm sorry but we just can't get it together" and walked off. End of Band of Gypsys.
In May the reformation of Experience was announced. At the end of May Hendrix played a concert at Berkeley Community Theatre - with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell. No Experience reunion.
Through '69 and early '70, Hendrix was mainly in the studio and also working towards his own 'dream' studio, Electric Lady, where he could make his own music in his own environment. But again there were the inevitable difficulties.
Hendrix found, to his amazement, that he didn't have enough money to finance the studio himself and that he had to borrow from Warner Bros. (his US record company). Biographer Curtis Knight quotes Hendrix: "I know I have been spending a lot of money lately but I have also been making a lot of money and I was shocked to learn what my financial situation is. I had a lot of faith in the people that were handling my affairs - I trusted them. But there are definitely going to be some changes made...I am going to get in touch with my lawyer in America and straighten everything out. The vultures have lived off me long enough."
In June, Hendrix was in Hawaii for the 'Rainbow Bridge' film, although the soundtrack was recorded at Electric Lady at the beginning of.July.
At the end of July he played his last gig in the States, in Seattle, his home town. Another catastrophe, with Hendrix reduced to shouting "Fuck you! Fuck you!" at the audience.
On August 25 there was the opening party for Electric Lady with everyone getting totally ripped. The next morning, not having slept, Hendrix flew out for Britain and the Isle of Wight Festival. At 3 a.m. on the cold, damp morning of 27 he came on to play his last British performance.
It was followed almost immediately by a European tour and by preliminary meetings to settle the Chalpin / Jeffrey contract dispute in Britain.
The tour got to Holland where the last date on September 14 in Rotterdam was cancelled. Billy Cox had had a nervous breakdown and was flown back to the States. Hendrix returned to London.
On Tuesday 15, Curtis Knight reports a wild party lasting all day in which Hendrix was a participant. Knight quotes Lorraine James, a 21 year old shop assistant who saw Hendrix that day: "He was on the coin box in the building for hours, trying to contact people. One minute he was on top of the world and the next minute he was moaning about his backers and his financial affairs."
The evening of Wednesday 16 seems to have been a busy one for Hendrix. He showed up at Ronnie Scott's club to jam rather badly with Eric Burdon and War. He also phoned Chas Chandler to ask him to be his manager again. And also talked with Alan Douglas "all night" trying to persuade him to become his manager. Douglas finally agreed and left for the States the next morning. Douglas also says that for the previous week Hendrix was "running around talking to people and doing that thing." Chandler has said that for four weeks previous to his death Hendrix had asked "a dozen people to produce for him" too.

"I'm not really sure about his
death . . .I don't know if it was
an accident or suicide or murder."

The next day, Thursday 17, Hendrix cal1ed New York and set up appointments for Douglas to see his attorney. He also called Chas about the design for his new album cover - and he was due to leave for New York himself to pick up the album tapes. There was a meeting scheduled too with Chalpin but Hendrix didn't turn up.
That much perhaps is fairly certain, though the closer we appoach to his death the less definite things become. The last few hours become somewhat confused and contradictory. firstly, Noel Redding is quoted in Chris Welch's book that he thinks Hendrix dropped some acid sometime during the evening. No one else mentions it and Redding doesn't say why he thinks so.

Alan Douglas

It's necessary now to introduce three of the women in Hendrix' life: Jeannette Jacobs, Devon Wilson (who introduced Hendrix to Alan Douglas) and Monika Danneman.
Jeannette Jacobs says in Chris Welch's book that "just before he died" Monika showed her a ring she had been given by Hendrix, saying that she and he were getting married. "I fell for it unfortunately," says Jacobs, "and left the country. Jimi said, "please wait." But having heard this from the girl right in front of me, I didn't have a leg to stand on. The night before he died somebody told him I had gone away. In the morning he was found dead. I just think it had to happen." Apart from the fact that Hendrix wasn't exactly "found dead," that's straightforward enough on its own terms. Make of it what you will.
The Wilson / Danneman situation is more confusing. Accoring to one account, Hendrix went to see Devon Wilson before he went back with / to Monika at the Samarkand Hotel. But John Swenson in Crawdaddy quotes from Danneman's unpublished book where she says that Monika drove Hendrix to Devon's where he only stayed a few minutes.
At any rate, according to the standard Danneman account he was with her in the hotel by 8.30 p.m. where she made him a meal, during which they drank some white wine. Hendrix washed his hair and had a bath then they sat and talked and listened to music.
At 1.30 a.m., Hendrix called Chas Chandler's office and left a message "I need help bad, man." (Danneman doesn't mention this - and Knight says it happened the night of the party two days previously.)
At 1.45 a.m. Hendrix told her he had to go to some people's flat. "They were not his friends and he did not like them but he wanted to show them he could cope. He told me he did not want me to go with him so I dropped him off there and picked him up an hour later, just after three." Hendrix apparently smoked some grass there. When they returned home, Monika made him a tunafish sandwich.
And now another divergence. According to her book, at 6 a.m. Hendrix complains that something is wrong - that Devon had "slipped him an OD." But apparently totally unconcerned, he takes a handful of sleeping tablets, urges her not to commit suicide and talks until she falls asleep.
The other account makes no mention of this. At 6.45 a.m., she takes a sleeping tablet and they talk until she falls asleep around 7.00.
Sometime after that Hendrix apparently takes nine Vesperax sleeping pills. (The normal dose is a half and Hendrix apparently normally took two).
Sometime soon after 10.00 a.m. Chas calls Hendrix having listened to his answering service as soon as he came in. "Call me a bit later, man," says Hendrix.
At 10.20 a.m. Monika wakes. Hendrix is asleep and she goes out for cigarettes. When she returns at approximately 10.30 Hendrix is still asleep but he has been sick. She calls Eric Burdon who advises her to call an ambulance. After some thought in case Hendrix is perfectly all right and will wake up annoyed in hospital, she phones for an ambulance at, say, 11.00.
The ambulance arrives about 11.20. The ambulancemen instead of laying him down, sit him up with his head unsupported.
At 11.45 a.m., Jimi Hendrix is found to be dead on arrival at St. Mary Abbot's Hospital, having choked on his own vomit.


ON SEPTEMBER 21, Eric Burdon appears on BBC-TV talking of a 'suicide note,' that "Jimi made his exit when he wanted to" and that "he used a drug to phase himself out of this life and go someplace else."
On 23 the inquest at Westminster is adjourned by Coroner Dr Gavin Thurston awaiting the pathologist's report.
On 25, Hendrix was due to have completed preliminary meetings with the brilliant jazz arranger and orchestra leader Gil Evans for them to record Hendrix with an orchestra.
On 28 the pathologist Prof. Donald Teale reports that death was due to "inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication." An open verdict is declared. In his summing up, the coroner says: "The question why Hendrix took so many sleeping pills cannot be safely answered."
Hendrix' body was flown back to Seattle where it was buried on October 1.


THE QUESTION of the pills is far from being the only one that cannot be safely answered about the end of Jimi Hendrix' life.
The seemingly inexorable gathering momentum of the last few days is awful enough in itself - and those events pose many questions that will never be answered.
Why did supposedly competent ambulancemen act contrary to any training they could have had and handle Hendrix in the worst possible way? Who were the people he went to see that night? Just dealers - or someone else? ("He wanted to show them he could cop": does that refer to dope - or what?) Although the 'OD' story seems fanciful, coupled with the Redding quote, Hendrix would seem to have ingested something that night apart from wine, grass, a tunafish sandwich and nine Vesperax.
The whole of the Redding quote appears in Chris Welch's book: "I'm not really sure about his death. I think the night before he dropped some acid. I don't know if it was an accident or suicide or murder. I was in the States and I heard that Bill Cox freaked. He was convinced somebody was trying to kill him."
Was Cox suffering from paranoia following his nervous breakdown? Or was someone trying to kill him? Did someone try to kill Jimi Hendrix?
Or was it really just a tragic accident? That, as Germaine Greer suggested, Hendrix just wanted to go to sleep for a long time, for a couple of days, so that no one coud reach him, so that he wouldn't have any problems to worry about.
To understand the full nature of these problems we must go back even before Chandler saw and met Hendrix in New York in 1966.

Jimi's Arrest

Jeffrey was involved with Chandler in the first place as manager of the Animals. A holding company, Yameta, was set up in the Bahamas by Jeffrey, Chandler, Eric Burdon and one Leon Dicker to keep their earnings out of the British taxman's hands. But Rolling Stone in a feature about Hendrix' funeral reports that Burdon accused Jeffrey of cheating him out of his money in those Animal days. Jeffrey replied that Yameta had been unable to account for the missing money and that he had lost out as well. He offered to sue Yameta jointly with Burdon but Burdon went ahead and sued Jeffrey in a New York court.
Moving forward to the early days of Experience, we can find several instances of personal and financial mismanagement by Jeffrey. Chandler had had to bring Jeffrey in as a financial partner because he, Chas, had very little money indeed, hocking his guitars one by one to provide the upfront cash needed to launch Hendrix. They had half shares in Hendrix so that, according to Noel Redding, Hendrix got 50% of the earnings Mitch and he got 12.5% each, and Chandler and Jeffrey got 12.5% each.
But Chandler complains in Welch's book that when he brought Hendrix to London, Jeffrey was nowhere to be found until following April. Again in Welch's book, Noel Redding says that when, in the Spring of '67, the Experience were getting £1,000 a night he was on £15 a week. He had to resign three times before it went up to £200.
And it wasn't just Redding. When in New York on his way to Monterey, Hendrix met up again with Curtis Knight and Chalpin. Hendrix had to borrow money from Chalpin because he didn't have any cash - and when he asked Jeffrey it was refused. Curtis Knight reports that Hendrix didn't know how much he had in the bank or even which bank his money was in. (Having lent him the money, Chalpin then informed Hendrix that he would be suing him about his broken contract.)
After the total success of the Experience at Monterey, all that Jeffrey was concerned about was that they'd broken a 150 dollar mikestand.
Then there was the Monkees tour fiasco. Jeffrey set up a tour with the Monkees which he thought was a great deal. The Monkees were happening at that time and that was all that mattered to Jeffrey - the complete mismatch didn't enter his head. When he told Chandler on the phone, Chas hung up.
Chandler apparently manged to pull the Experience out of the tour with a concocted story about the Daughters of the American Revolution shocked and enraged by 'wild man' Hendrix. When he told Jeffrey, it was Jeffrey's turn to be angry and he disappeared again - to Majorca for seven months.
But at least Hendrix seemed aware of what was going on - perhaps as a result of the Chalpin / Knight embarrassment. A letter was sent to Warner Bros. in August '68 signed by Hendrix, Redding and Mitchell stating that no money was to be paid to Yameta. Apparently it was not obeyed.
Jumping forward to the Band of Gypsys. Again in Rolling Stone there is a report of accusations by Buddy Miles that Jeffrey was cheating him - with the implication that Hendrix was being ripped off too. Jeffrey however produced papers to 'disprove' this. Jeffrey said that the Hendrix earnings went straight to a New York accountant. He again produced papers to prove that he didn't get any money until the accountant paid him the standard manager's fee out of Hendrix's earnings. But referring back to Noel Redding, neither 12.5% nor the 25% he was now getting with Chandler's share can be described as "standard manager's fee."
Then there were the musical differences. Jeffrey was obviously unhappy with the way Hendrix' music was going. Although he had agreed to have Alan Douglas acting as producer initially he soon had second thoughts.
Says Douglas: "Michael became afraid of me, became afraid of Buddy Miles. Me and Buddy were pulling Jimi into another direction. Michael got scared that we were pulling him away from him‹which was happening... so that Michael made problems for Jimi all the time."
"Every time that we started up something that he wanted to do Michael would superimpose his own shit on it. Like, if we were going to do a date and record certain kind of tunes, Michael found a gig that Jimi had to do that day or Mitch Mitchell was in town and he would pull Mitch into the studio. And Jimi loved Mitch so much he would cancel everything else so that he wouldn't hurt Mitch's feelings."
Though to be fair to Jeffrey, Chandler didn't approve of Miles' drumming either. And it's pretty obvious that the freer style of Mitchell was much better suited to Hendrix that the straightahead pounding of Miles.
But there was no doubt more to it than that. Douglas again: "The problem with me and Jeffrey is that like everybody used to come to me and ask me to do things which I didn't really have any official capacity to do. And then Jimi wanted to do it and Mike would get in the middle and it would get very confused and Jimi would run away from it all."
And Douglas suggests not only musical differences but sheer mismanagement. "Jimi had a lot of respect for Chas and he loved him and he would probably have been very happy for Chas to come back into the scene at any time. 'Cause I think Chas really knew his music and understood where Jimi was at and probably would have evolved with him, if he'd stayed. But Mike, not knowing any of these things, only knew the success formula and regardless of whatever else Jimi wanted to do, Mike would keep pulling him back or pushing him back into it...And the way the gigs were routed! I mean, one nighters - he would do Ontario one night, Miami the next night, California the next night. He used to waste him on a tour - and never make too much money because the expenses were ridiculous."
But to return to the Buddy Miles situation. Nothing in the Hendrix story is ever that simple or even straightforwardly complicated. It's suggested that Miles was eased out by Jeffrey to split Band of Gypsys so that the success formula of the Experience could be brought back. And the Experience were definitely all together for an interview in New York in February '70. But was it strictly Jeffrey's doing? Had not the Band of Gypsys - or Buddy Miles at least - proved to be incompatible at the abortive Peace Rally gig in January?

Jimi Onstage

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Redding appears in Welch's book with another confusing quote: "I remember going to see him at Madison Square Garden when he was playing with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Somebody gave him a tab of acid just before the show. He was completely freaked. And he freaked the audience and made a bad name for himself. That was around August or September 1970." Which in fact was an impossible date for Miles, Cox and Hendrix to have been playing together. Was Redding's memory faulty? And so can we imply was it only the acid that had ruined that gig?
Whatever, Hendrix says it all in that February '70 Experience interview with Cuitar Player: "It was just something where the head changes, just going through the changes. You know sometimes there's a lot of things that add up in your head about this and that. And they hit you at a very peculiar time, which happened to be at that peace rally - and here I am fighting the biggest war I've ever fought in my life - inside, y'know" (My italics.)
An internal and external war about the way his music was going to go. In one of his last interviews, published in the Melody Maker the day before he died, Hendrix talks of having two bands: an Experience / Gypsys style group and a larger conglomerate: "a big band that I can conduct and write for. And with the music we will paint pictures of earth and space, so that the listener can be taken somewhere.'' The Gil Evans project was presumably a step towards this.
But he definitely knew he had to change: "I've turned full circle. I'm right back where I started. I've given this era of music everything but I still sound the same. My music's the same and I can't think of anything new to add to it in its present state.

When the last American tour finished, I just wanted to go away and forget everything. I just wanted to record and see if I could write something. Then I started thinking. Thinking about the future. Thinking that this era of music sparked off by the Beatles, had to come to an end. Something new has to come and Jimi Hendrix will be there." Perhaps the ultimate tragedy is that he isn't.

It's patently obvious that Hendrix did not trust Jeffrey on any aspect - in spite of Jeffrey's glib statements after his death: ''People outside the circle mistook this for discontent but it wasn't because Jimi was intelligent and bright enough. If he wanted to split, he would have split. As far as being artistically frustrated, Jimi had an incredible genius about him and the common thing with most artists of that calibre is that they are constantly artistically frustrated." (Rolling Stone)
And Hendrix had next to no reason to trust Jeffrey. There is, for example, the fantastic story of the Hendrix "kidnapping" that Curtis Knight relates.
Hendrix wanted to release a double album (presumably the one that he was working on with Douglas) but his management said that ''there wasn't enough public demand" and that they would release a single album. Says Hendrix: "Before I realised what had happened I found myself forcibly abducted by four men. I was blindfolded and gagged and shoved rudely into the back of a car. I couldn't understand what the fuck was going on as I lay there sweating with some one's knee in my back.
I was taken to some deserted building and made to believe that they really intended to hurt me. They never did tell me why they abducted me. The whole thing seemed very mysterious because after a while I realised that if they really had intended to hurt me they would have already done it by this time.
"And the whole thing seemed even more mysterious when I was rescued by three men supposedly sent by the management. They really effected a story book rescue."

So Hendrix knew what he wanted, needed, had to do if he was to stay himself. But it wasn't as simple as that. Unfortunately for him his personality was such that he was unsure of himself - he was indecisive and hated any aggravation.

Alan Douglas: "Jimi was afraid of confrontations with people. He didn't want arguments. He just used to walk away from it all and almost agree to everything. He really was a nice person, and he was very shy."
And: "One of the reasons why he never left Jeffrey is because he felt the need for somebody, regardless of who it was, just the fact that there was somebody there."

He needed someone to look after the hassles but it also needed to be someone he knew. He had a need for familiar faces, thus his repeated attempts to get Chandler back and the resilience of the Mitchell / Redding / Cox axis. PR man Robin Turner is again quoted in the Welch biography: "He didn't trust Jeffrey but better the devil you know..."

Enter Alan Douglas, musically in sympathy with Hendrix, a friend and familiar face and someone he could trust, not apparently a devil. So on the Wednesday night, says Douglas, Hendrix asked him to be his manager again. Douglas had always refused before not being into management, but Hendrix "wasn't concerned about managers. He was concerned about somebody coming in to say, yes I'll handle it. So I said yes." And he left the next day to meet Hendrix' attorney in New York.
On the question of asking Chas the same thing on the same night: "He always loved Chas, you gotta remember that. He signed with Chas Chandler; he inherited Mike Jeffrey. He always had a really good warm feeling for Chas. Chas really helped on that first album and he really felt alone after Chas left so I don't doubt very much at all that he talked to Chas about those things. Chas probably said no; that's why he asked me that night, or something."
So things finally seemed to be coming together.
Douglas: ''I mean, he wasn't fucked up or depressed or anything like that. I had some of the best times of my life with him in the last couple of months when he was alive 'cause he knew it was evolving. He knew that it was going to be over soon. And he could have done it a lot easier but he was avoiding the confrontations with everybody and all that mess that he knew he was going to get into. But it got so bad that he finally left completely - he stopped recording at his own studio, he wouldn't talk to Jeffrey anymore. Jeffrey didn't see him for the last month before he died.
And it was straightened out. See, he had asked me a few times to go and straighten the business out. And every time I did it he didn't make his own presence available and left. And I got messed up with it and I told him, hey, don't put me in this position anymore. So the last time that happened, I said, hey, you take care of your business then I can go on and do it.
"Because it was really a very simple situation: like, everybody put the contracts on the table and have a good attorney sit down and straighten everybody out. It could have taken three hours at one meeting.
"I always told him to leave the management thing alone, to let them have their twenty per cent; it didn't matter. He was making so much money. It was tax money anyway so let them have their percentage and when their contracts were all over he was free of it. All we wanted to be able to do was to work without involvement with those people. So it was all working out - and maybe it was supposed to go down this way, I don't know."
And Monika Danneman agreed that he was happy: "Business problems were not worrying him because he knew what he wanted to do.'' (Rolling Stone October 29 1970).
But Eric Burdon added a less optimistic note, speaking about the night of the War jam: "We knew things weren't all that good with him but we did our best to let him know that we were there to help him."

Jimi's Funeral

And Chas Chandler, quoted in Chris Welch's book, adds another less sanguine statement: "somehow I wasn't surprised. I don't believe for one minute that he killed himself. That was out of the question. But something had to happen and there was no way of stopping it. You just get a feeling sometimes. It was as if the last couple of years had prepared us for it. It was like a message I had been waiting for."
And Joe Boyd, who made the 'Hendrix' film, also had reservations about Hendrix' move to Douglas from Jeffrey: "From what I know of Jimi's pattern throughout the rest of his life I don't think he was capable of doing this - he hated confrontations so much. Then again, I think he'd gone too far with Alan Douglas."
And there are others who have little sympathy for Douglas. Nevertheless, Jeffrey stands out as being the easiest to typecast as the villain of the piece. But again, it's never that simple.
Take this statement for example: "He was an up, one of the highest people I've ever known and he was getting more and more spiritual. To my mind, his music was the music of the new religion.
His stage image halted him though, and that was frustrating for him. That old ghost from the past - the humping the guitar, the 'Foxy Lady' stuff. Because that wasn't the true Jimi Hendrix, that ballsy, raunchy image. And as he was becoming more spiritual, he wanted more to fling that image off and just play his music." (Taken from the Rolling Stone report on the funeral)
Who said that? Alan Douglas? Chas Chandler? Monika Danneman? In fact, Mike Jeffrey.
Or was that rationalisation after the event, mealy-mouthed bullshit? Certainly, the unsympathetic - and downright shoddy - programming of the postumous albums that Jeffrey compiled ('Cry of Love', 'Rainbow Bridge', 'Hendrix In The West' and 'War Heroes') amply demonstrates Jeffrey's lack of awareness of where Hendrix was at.
But even Alan Douglas, who should have little enough sympathy with Jeffrey, had this to say about him: "Let me tell you something that's very strange. Despite it all I liked what Jeffrey could have been if he'd let himself be. That's a strange way to say it...I did not like what he was but what he could have been...I mean, Jeffrey tried to be a spiritual man. But he didn't know what it was, he couldn't understand."
There are still even darker theories that Jeffrey was merely a tool, a mouthpiece for the real villains behind. But that is total conjecture.
Despite it all, Jeffrey seems to have been a rather weak-willed person, dishonest perhaps, unscrupulous even, but not a truly evil man.
John Swenson in his Crawdaddy article spoke to Mike Goldstein, Hendrix' PR, a man admittedly much more sympathetic to Jeffrey than Douglas. He says: "Michael liked to think of himself as a villain but he was too kind to ever be a villain - that was only an image. Jimi's disenchantment with Jeffrey, if there ever was any, and I don't believe there was, was his disenchantment with himself. Jeffrey's only problem with Jimi was his inability to tell him what to do next."
Whoever you want to believe, Jeffrey will remain a mystery. On 5 March 1973, he was killed - in an aeroplane crash over France. The fact that he was returning from Spain to Britain to finalise details of the estate might lead one into paranoid theorising about whether the crash was in fact an accident. But as far as anyone can be sure about any accident, this one almost certainly was.
At the time Jeffrey was flying back from Palma to London aboard a scheduled Iberia DC-9, there was a civil air traffic control strike in France. The military ATC, working from different control centres, was called in as a contingency replacement. Because of the different nature of military aviation control however, this necessitated rigorous planning limited traffic on each sector and strict compliance with regulations.
The DC-9 however was assigned to the same flight over Nantes as a Spantax Coronado, which "created a source of conflict "...
And because of imprecise navigation, lack of complete radar coverage and imperfect radio communications, the two planes collided.
The Coronado was damaged but remained airworthy; no one was injured. The DC-9 crashed, killing all 61 passengers and seven crew.
After Jeffrey's death, the estate in total reverted to Hendrix' family.


ALAN DOUGLAS reappears in the Hendrix story last year with the release of the 'Crash Landing' album. Douglas had been called in by Warner Bros. executive Don Schmitzerle to assess and catalogue the 900 hours of Hendrix tapes placed in a warehouse by the Hendrix estate. Warners had rejected the final compilation, done after Jeffrey's death, "Loose Ends" (which Polydor issued here) and Schmitzerle felt there must be something better in those tapes.
As it happens, there was. Douglas came up with "Crash Landing"; a second album 'Midnight Lightning' is due out this month; and there is still one (or two) albums of (roughly speaking) 'jazzrock' of Hendrix playing with Larry Young and McLaughlin.
Douglas has also persuaded Warners to withdraw the posthumous albums in the states (with the possible exception of 'Cry Of Love' which was more or less complete) so that the dross can be taken out and the remaining tracks remixed properly. They will be reissued as a single album, "Smash Hits Volume Two".
This album, along with 'Cry Of Love', 'Crash Landing' and 'Midnight Lightning' will make up the best of the material that Hendrix was working on at the Record Plant with Douglas. The double album plus.
Among the tracks were 'Room Full Of Mirrors' (which appeared on 'Rainbow Bridge' with an 'upsidedown' mix), 'Izabella' ('War Heroes), 'Stepping Stone' ('War Heroes'), 'Dolly Dagger' ('Rainbow Bridge'), 'Belly Button Window' (Cry Of Love') and 'Look Over Yonder' ('Rainbow Bridge'). Douglas scrubbed Cox and Miles (and occasionally Mitchell - from later Electric Lady sessions) on some (most) tracks on 'Crash Landing' and 'Midnight Lightning' and dubbed on studio musicians when the Hendrix rhythm track, lead line and vocal were there with the band perhaps not gelling perfectly. Perhaps a dubious practice, depending on your ethics. But it works.

'Crash Landing' is commercial / Band of Gypsys-style; 'Midnight Lightning' is looser and bluesier and the Young / McLaughlin tapes are an indication of the direction in which Hendrix was heading. As was the projected album with Gil Evans, 'Voodoo Child Plays The Blues',and the fairly definite talk of his playing with Roland Kirk.

Douglas: "At least what we've got is something suggesting where he would have gone; if not the extent of what would have happened but at least a feeling of what he was into at the time."
After all the Douglas albums are released, that will be the end of Jimi Hendrix music of any value at all.
There is at least one piece of music which still exists, but it will probably never appear. Called 'Black Gold', it was an autobiographical fantasy suite. It will never reappear because it was stolen along with everything else from Hendrix' New York apartment when he died.
Douglas: "There was so much bullshit going on in that office with Jeffrey. Jeffrey had contacts with all the people that worked around him. He wasn't honouring the contracts so when Jimi died, everyone who could have from that scene burst into his apartment and stole everything.
"I mean, there was a stack of yellow pads of paper - about 25 of them - with tunes, things that he used to write every day. Those are gone.
"And the whole 'Black Gold' suite of ten tunes was incredible. Black Gold was himself, about a musician on the road and so on.
"It was such an incredible piece I insisted that he stay home and finish it and clean it up before we went into the studio with it. I worked on it with him in his bedroom. We had a beautiful little cassette machine. And I remember the last time we did it - he put all the tunes down, put a rhythm track down, overdubbed a little lead line and vocal.
"It was perfect. Like, forty minutes of incredible music - and his best. Definitely the best thing he'd ever written and played. And it was very clean - we had an engineer up there who gave us a beautiful clean cassette sound.
"So I was desperately looking for that 'cause I knew I could have taken that one but it got ripped off. I don't know where it is. What they were gonna do was rip off all the stuff and then blackmail Jeffrey to get the money out of him. So there's a couple of kids in New Jersey that got some stuff and the two people that worked in the office they got a bunch of stuff and then Jeffrey brought a lot of stuff up to his house in Woodstock. It got ripped off out of there.
"But 'Black Gold' was the last thing he did. I heard it one time and it was finished. We actually edited it there and everything, so we had every tune down and the transitions between each tune and everything. It's gone with him some where He's singing 'Black Gold' up there somewhere. And strangely enough it had an ending just like that.
"Black Gold melts at the end, he melts...he disappears on stage..."