|Jimi In Denmark 1970|
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|From The Univibes Jimi In Denmark CD Booklet
When it became known that Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, and Billy Cox would do a small concert tour through Northern Europe during the Fall of 1970, Bendix Music tried to outsmart Scandinavian Booking Agency by booking Jimi & Co. for Denmark. In July, Jerry Ritz of Bendix announced in a press release that his company would promote the band in Arhus and Copenhagen, on 2 and 3 September 1970, respectively, for which Bendix Music would pay Hendrix 160,000 Crowns [plus 25% for travelling expenses]. However, on 17 August Ekstra Bladet wrote in an article with the headline "Hendrix comes" that "SBA agency has now taken over the arrangements after Bendix Music would not pay the stars' expenses. Bendix Music cancelled the [concerts] the day before yesterday due to some financial controversies. This means that previously sold tickets are valid, even though they have 'BendixMusic'printed on them. The dispute concerned the share of travelling expenses. Besides a fee of 160,000 Crowns, Hendrix's management wanted 50% of those expenses paid... Hendrix comes with about five tons of equipment when he plays..."
Reporter Sveri Wezelenburg delved a little deeper into the problems and reported in the BT issue of 19 August: "Erik Thomsen's [Bendix Music] stated reason for having cancelled the Jimi Hendrix concerts in Arhus and Copenhagen doesn't gel with Hendrix's agency. "This is pure fiction," says Dick Katz from Harold Davison Limited. Thomsen claimed that the British agency suddenly wanted an extra fee of 40,000 [Crowns]. 'We got a signed contract from Bendix Music on 2 July," says Katz, "and the entire Hendrix fee was put in a blocked account in London, as usual. Fourteen days ago we got a new contractfrom Bendix Music with a considerably smaller amount, which of course we couldn't accept, so we cancelled the cooperation with Bendix Music immediately.' If it wasn't for SBA taking over, Danish audiences would have missed the concerts..."
Danish reporter Jorn Rossing Jensen couldn't wait to meet Jimi and travelled to Gothenburg, Sweden,on 1 September where he interviewed him backstage at "Liseberg's' for Aarhuus Stiftstidende (2 September1970): "Jimi Hendrix - what does he want? I want to play my guitar; all the other things I'll write in a book. When will it be published? Some time after my death, he replies. Last Monday he was in Stockholm; Tuesday in Gothenburg. Tonight he will be on stage at the "Vejlby-Risskov Hallen." For the first time in a long time, Jimi Hendrix is on tour [in Europe]. I'm tired of lying down but I feel mentally hollowed. TheStockholm critics found the show there boring. They must be the only ones. The audience was good; we noticed reactions. If something works, you'll reel it. And we did.
"Jim! Hendrix says he isn't into politics but still he sent a big cheque to the Martin Luther King Memorial Fund - They needed the money. Maybe there were others who needed it too? Tell me, do you want me to give it to the Ku-Klux-Kian? The Rolling Stones want revolution, they sing about "Street Fighting Man,' now's the time to change a sick society. But is Jimi Hendrix on the front line?
No, I'm not. At one point you have to choose: Revolution or Frank Sinatra. For me it was Frank Sinatra... I want to show people a lot of things - with t-h-i-s (Jimi Hendrix takes his guitar and plays for a couple of minutes). I want to turn people on. Yes, I have said that I am an electric religion - because it's all about religion, not Christianity. It was the Christians who started most or the wars in this world. I can see a universal religion, containing all beliefs, containing the essence of them all. In that universal religion children can grow up and feel free, where they will not be programmed like they are today. I have been looking for a place, far away from this mechanical world where cities and hotel rooms run into each other. I have found it inside myself. Now I want to spread it. My music needs love and understanding. Through music you get more religion than through anything else...
'Is it true that The Daughters of the American Revolution accused you of being obscene? Me, obscene? Should I be obscene? (looks at himself in a mirror). You confuse me with Jim Morrison! Jimi Hendrix is due to go on stage. I hope you got what you wanted he says. Yes, I hope you will too. I will, after the show. Groupies? Ha! Only persons who are jealous call them groupies. To me they are nice girls. And they will be there for sure...'
The next day, 2 September, the Danish press were up early to report for duty at 'Kastrup Lufthavn," the airport of Copenhagen. The Danish Queen and King were there to welcome the President of Iceland, the Rolling Stones were leaving for Finland, and Jimi Hendrix was due to arrive at 10.30 by plane from Gothenburg. But as Torben Poulsen observed for Aktuelt (3 September), 'The plane from Gothenburg arrived according to plan but there was no Mr. Hendrix. Probably the electric guitar king overslept himself...'
Jimi had indeed missed the morning flight and instead took the 1 o'clock plane from Gothenburg, via Copenhagen, to Tirstrup Airport in Arhus. When Jimi arrived people noticed that he didn't look very well - he was trembling and sweating a lot. After Jimi had checked in at "Hotel Atlantic' he was feeling tired and took some Mandrax sleeping pills probably hoping to catch up on some sleep, but instead he got stoned and ended up talking to the press...
Near the end of the previous month, on 28 August, Jimi had met Kirsten Nefer at the "Londonderry Hotel' in London, when Karen Davis (who had lived in the same apartment block as Jimi in New YorkCity) introduced her to him. Kirsten was a Danish model living in London at that time. Both Karen and Kirsten met up with Jimi backstage at the Isle of Wight Festival on 30 August. After his performancethere, Jimi gave the two girls some money so that they could meet him in what he thought would be Copenhagen in early September.
When Kirsten and Karen arrived in Copenhagen on 2 September, Kirsten called Knud Thorbiornsen of SBA, who told her that Jimi was in Arhus. Kirsten and Karen then flew to Arhus and went straight up to Jimi's hotel. Kirsten: "Out of the lift comes Mitch, who says, 'Dear me, I think you better go up as there's something wrong up there, see for yourself." We got Jimi's room number and I knocked on the door. Jimi: Oh my god, how did you get here? 'Well, I flew!' Oh, but I thought you could never [make it] ... this is not Copenhagen. 'No, this is not Copenhagen but it's a very small country." Well, come on in...'
It was a crowded affair in Jimi's room with reporters (Anne Bjorndal, Helle Hellmann, and Sven Wezelenburg) and photographers (Eric Jepsen and Eric Friis). Kirsten: 'Jimi just talked way out in space, it was crazy. I couldn't bear to listen to it after a while, it was really hazy. I had had enough of it and told Jimi, 'I'm going down to Mitch and Karen. ' Jimi told me that I should sit down but then he turned around and said, No, no, you must just go. He was changing his mind all the time, so I just sat down.'
Anne Bjorndal interviewed Jimi for Morgenposten (6 September 1970): "Long before the concert he talked about cancelling because it was simply not fair to the audience... Upon seeing the harbour of Arhus, he said, Oh, a harbour, this is the drag about being on tour constantly, we never get a chance to see the places we play, but it is all part of the machinery ... my guitar is my medium and I want everybody to get into it. I want to turn the world on. Music and sound waves are cosmic, when they vibrate from one side to the other. I am not sure I will live to be twenty-eight years old. I mean, the moment I feel I have got nothing more to give musically, I will not be around on this planet any more, unless I have a wife and children. Otherwise I have got nothing to live for.. I love reading Fairy Tales, H.C. Andersen and Winnie the Pooh. Fairy tales are full of fantasy and like music, they appeal to your sense of imagination... I never play a song the same way twice..."
Sven Wezelenburg was there for BT (published on 3 September): "Jimi Hendrix has recorded 150 songs but thinks that only 15 can be used for his next LP... I prefer to give concerts in Europe, where people listen to the music and not just freak out. But l always play the best l can. Hendrix talks a lot about his music, about mystical, supernatural things. About the audience. About peace. About war. About his musicians. We feel good together. Mitch Mitchell is an artist on his drums. Jimi calls himself an idiot because he has signed along-term contract with the record company Capitol. That's why he released the Band Of Gypsys LP. Apart from all this he talks very hazy. He talks non-stop. I hate to perform outdoors at night as I can't see the audience ... LSD is naked ... I'm just a man like everybody else, eg. Alexander the Great or Napoleon..."
Continues Kirsten: 'After the press had left we were alone and I asked Jimi, "What on earth is the matter with you?,' because I could see that something was wrong. He said that he didn't think I would [be able to] come, he was so sorry, and he was so confused, and so forth. After that, Jimi left the room for a while. The telephone rang; it was somebody from the [Rolling] Stones. They had heard that Jimi had become ill. I said that I had just arrived and Jimi was a little bit weird but not ill. I was asked to give Jimi regards from Mick Jagger and the others. After Jimi came back to his room it was time to go to the 'Vejlby-Risskov Hallen' for his concert.
"We went by car and during the ride Jimi was acting very weird. I couldn't get anything out of him [about what had happened earlier]. We arrived at the "Vejlby-Risskov Hallen" andwent into the dressing room. No comfort. A gymnasium, you know. He was messing around and threw people in and threw people out. I was also thrown in and out again. I had to help him get his clothes on and then his guitar had to be tuned and people in the audience were stamping their feet already. I don't recall how long it took but it was like forever. Then he finally came out onstage. I watched from the side of the stage and thought that this would never end well..."
Support group Blue Sun, from Copenhagen, started the concert at 7 o'clock. After their set, lasting about an hour, there was a pause. A very long pause. By 9 o'clock, Hendrix still wasn't onstage. The three thousand people inside the hall were getting restless and started whistling, booing, and stamping their feet. Nobody cared to tell the audience the reason for the long delay. Bo Jacobsen, who played in Blue Sun, remembers, "We didn't see Hendrix backstage; he'd locked himself up with some really beautiful girls and Jimi only came out when he had to go on stage. I sat and talked with Mitch. He seemed to be under the influence of certain chemicals, but he was extremely nice to everyone... When Jimi entered the stage (Welcome to the Electric Circus) he showed the peace symboI...I saw the show in the back, far away from the stage, but still the sound was absolutely deafening; he had his twelve [sic] Marshall amplifiers and the volume level must have been at ten. I remember he broke a string, and he put a new one on without even pausing."
It was obvious from the moment Jimi came on stage that something was seriously wrong. Tobias Wienberg Jagd's father saw the concert: 'My dad told me that everyone wonderedwhat trick Jimi was doing as he was bending over and picking something up from the floor all the time when he came on stage. Suddenly my father noticed that Jimi was actually dropping his plectrum all the time." Jimi, Mitch, and Billy played "Freedom' and "Message To Love/Hey Baby (The Land Of The New Rising Sun)." After just twenty-four minutes Jimi couldn't play any longer. While Mitch gave a drum solo, Jimi went back into his dressing room. Kirsten: "He hung over my shoulder all the way out to the dressing room. Total chaos there. Everybody was in panic. Jimi had totally collapsed. And then we had to go out to the taxi through a crowd, and people were standing and staring." Just before leaving the hall, Jimi told reporter Poul Blak in the dressing room: I'm sick, I can't [play] any more! Of course, I want no money for this concert and I promise to come back here and play a free concert.
Thue Ditlevsen of Arhus Studenterjazz (the local promoter) announced from the stage that the rest of Jimi's concert was cancelled. Thomas Roll Larsen: 'When we were told that the show was cancelled and the tickets were to be refunded, some friends of mine rushed for the rubbish bins, well knowing that many had thrown the tickets in them after they had entered the hall - they got a lot of money by that."
Kirsten Nefer: "When we got back to 'Hotel Atlantic' and entered his room, a female reporter was already sitting there! It was really strange to come into a hotel room and find somebody sitting there ... and, don't forget, Jimi was ill." A short time later another female reporter showed up. Kirsten: "They started to talk [and smoke a few joints], telling Jimi a horriblestory about a guy who was run over by a car, somewhere...' After a while one of the two reporters went home. Continues Kirsten: "I was tired; it was about two or three in the morning, so after a while I had had enough of it all and said, 'Listen my friend, I simply don't want to sit and listen to this. I'm going downstairs and get another room.' Then she left. By that time the effect of the sleeping pills was beginning to wear down. He began to talk about it all. He was so sorry about how he was before and he said, "We must talk, we must talk." "But Jimi, I'm so tired.' We must talk... We talked to seven oreight in the morning before we finally got acouple of hours of sleep...'
Jimi's failure to perform shocked those present. Reported local newspaper Aarhuus Stiftstidende the following morning: 'Hendrix, who feared that the suspended concert would cause trouble, asked to be let out through the back door... A security guy said, "When we heard that the concert was over after a few songs, we were convinced that the hall would be totally destroyed.' Hundreds of bottles, standing around in the hall, were left where they were. Not a single chair was turned over. Three thousand young persons accepted the situation and quietly left the 'Vejlby-Risskov Hallen.' Jimi Hendrix could not play and knew it himself. Even world famous people can be sick. It was obvious to everyone who had eyes to see that Hendrix wasn't feeling okay...'Hendrix is simply too tired and you can't say much about that,' his road manager Gerry Stickells says. His programme is demanding. The question is, should such an exhausting tour be offered to Jimi Hendrix, who is known to give everything he has at every show?'
3 September 1970. Kirsten Nefer: "It was fantastic when we woke up in the morning; it was incredible. He was so happy and completely different. He was tired but he was happy. I remember we walked over the tarmac to this tiny airplane, we fooled around, and I sang him one of Donovan's songs, 'Wear YourLove Like Heaven," and it was so uplifting. Inside the little plane he was holding my hand all the time...'
While Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, and Karen Davis flew in a private plane to London for the day (Mitch went to see his new-bom daughter), Jimi and Kirsten landed in Copenhagen at 11.00 hours and went to"SAS Globetrotter Hotel" [close to the airport]. Outside Jimi's room workers were doing repairs and making a lot of noise, so Jimi couldn't rest. Kirsten recalls: "I said to Jimi, "This is no good. We are going to my mother's house. ' We took a cab to Frederiksberg [part of Copenhagen] to find nobody was home yet but the key was under the doormat, which made Jimi laugh. My mother [Bodil] had a room which was one big bed from wall to wall and I told him that he could sleep in there. Then my brother came home, said "hi" to Jimi, went out and bought some soup which we ate. Then Jimi went to bed.
'My mother came home at around 5 o'clock and cooked spaghetti. I woke Jimi up and told him that dinner was ready and that the whole family was there. Oh my God, I can't face that. "They are human beings, so of course you can face them. It's my family, come on!" Then he went in: Hi! My name is Jimi. "Hi! Have a seat!'. And Jimi sat there and said, I don't believe it. My God, this is a family. Do you know, this is the flrst time I've been in a family. They are so nice... We were eating, talking, and so on. Suddenly people [Lars Ruchand Klaus Moller] from Se og Hor were at the door. Earlier that day they had telephoned me and asked if they could come and take some pictures. I told Jimi that it was a gossip paper and that they wanted to come over and take some pictures and I asked him what I should tell them and he said, Oh let them come. They were told to come at half past seven but of course they came too early and right in the middle of us all eating dinner. Back in those days my mother was a bicycle enthusiast and her bicycle was parked in the living room because it was a very expensive one. Jimi was fascinated by that and said, I want a picture in front of this bike because it's not normal that people have their bike standing in their living room! So, they got their pictures, left, and we partied on.
"We got to the "K.B. Hallen" by cab and and Jimi started to get nervous. As soon as we got down to the venue in the cab, all of his confidence was gone, suddenly. He didn't want to play, so I said, "That's no good. This is my country, you've let them down yesterday, and you're not gonna do that tonight. This is Copenhagen!' But he couldn't play, he said. When we got to the back entrance of the "K.B. Hallen" I knocked on the door, a man came out and my brother says, "We are here with Jimi Hendrix." 'Yeah sure,' he said, and slammed the door. We knocked on the door again and the same thing happened. I had had enough of this. I walked over to Jimi and told him to stick his head inside. Finally we were let in.
"Gerry Stickells came towards us and Jimi told him, This is my family and you better get them the best seats and take good care of them. We went up to the dressing room, a tiny little thing. Some time later Karen and Mitch arrived with Billy. And then the confusion started again with Jimi saying, Everybody out except for Karen and Kirsten, and he threw everybody out and locked the door. " At one moment Jimi was repeating his Arhus statement - I am not sure I will live to be twenty-eight years old... Kirsten: 'Then we sat there. I don't know for how long, but it was a very long time. As I heard the footstamping I told Jimi, "You better get dressed,' but he wouldn't. Next thing he took his acoustic guitar, sat down, and played. I've never heard anything like it. It was divine. That was what he wanted, just to sit there and play. At the same time we heard the stamping by the audience coming through the floor. People were banging at the door; they wanted to get in but Jimi didn't open up... 'You have to go on,' I said, but he said he wouldn't. I told him to get his clothes on and he replied that he couldn't, so I opened the suitcase and his clothes came out. "Now, do you like this?" After all that I said, 'Now it's time to go out there,' but he refused. 'You have to play, you just can't refuse." Then finally he said, Okay, but I'll play for you and your family. Then he walked onstage and gave the best concert he had played in a very long time - just ask anyone who was there."