Jimi Hendrix Website #6743


Hartford 1968 BACK
Henry McNulty interviewed the Experience at the Bushnell Memorial Hall, Hartford, Connecticut USA on 24 August 1968. During July 2003 I was priveledged to be able to exchange e-mails with Henry. He didn't tape the interview or the concert, instead he made notes during the interview which unfortunately are now lost. What does remain are photographs that he took during the backstage interview, he was kind enough to let me publish 3 of them here.

Henry: "I worked for the Hartford Courant, Connecticut's biggest newspaper, for more than 25 years. When I started, I was just 22 years old. In 1968, the Hartford Courant had no tradition of interviewing or reviewing rock stars, or any type of pop music stars, so my doing so was really a departure for the newspaper. (I'm not sure, but it could have been the first locally-written interview of a rock star the newspaper had ever printed.) The editor insisted that any story be intelligible to adults as well as to young people, which is why there's a lot of what seems to be needless explanation.

Before I interviewed Jimi Hendrix, I was told that he didn't like reporters, so I was very polite and careful in approaching him. To my surprise and pleasure, he turned out to be pleasant, a real gentleman. He didn't say that any of my questions were stupid (although probably some of them were!), and he and the band willingly posed for pictures. He was careful to ask that I include Noel and Mitch in the interview too, saying that he didn't want it just to be about himself. All in all, he seemed to be an intelligent and modest person. And the concert was great.

The only thing I regret is that I didn't ask for his autograph!"

Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Connecticut USA

Click the thumbnails to view Henry's photographs. The scans open in a new window and are exactly as send to me by Henry, no "Photoshopping" has been applied. The woman to Jimi's right is Jeanette Jacobs who seems to have been travelling with the Experience as she can also been seen in photos taken backstage at the previous day's gig in New York City.

The resulting article was first published in Hartford Courant, 26 August 1968, what follows is the article as re-printed in the "Eyewitness 1968" -book.

Jimi Hendrix 'needs' the experience
by Henry B. McNulty

Jimi Hendrix is so insistent that his group has the word "Experience" tacked on the end that he wrote his own introduction at the Bushnell Saturday night. "If they just say 'Jimi Hendrix,' then somebody might think it's just me all alone." he said. But this was clearly not his main reason for insisting on dictating the introduction. Jimi has great respect for Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, the other members of the Experience, and he hates to see them left out of anything. He requested that they be present and he left a comfortable chair to pose with them for pictures.

So different
But despite all Jimi's efforts, he is so different from Noel and Mitch that it is difficult to think of them as one unit. Jimi is an American Negro. Noel and Mitch are British Caucasians. Jimi speaks thoughtfully and quietly, hardly ever smiling, while Noel and Mitch are loquacious and chummy. On stage, Jimi plays a loud, commanding lead while Noel and Mitch fill in the needed background. "It doesn't really bother me if people say 'Jimi Hendrix' when they mean all of us." Mitch said. "But sometimes it does get a little irritating. I mean, everyone is a separate person." Mitch used to play with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. "When the blue flame began to flicker , I left," he explains. Mitch and Noel were seated on a couch in one of the Bushnell's dressing rooms. They sat between two young girls. Noel talked about the Small Faces, an english group who have released only one record in the United States. "They're really great ... far above most routine stuff," he said.

No classification
Both Mitch and Noel refused to classify the Experience's music. "I hate it when they call us one thing or another... how do they know what we do? Besides, we change a little bit every time we play," said Mitch. "Turned-on Psychoplasmic Vibrations," said Noel. "that sort of thing leaves me cold. Why bother classifying?" While Noel and Mitch ate chicken with the two girls, Jimi Hendrix sat in a chair smoking and chatting. He was dressed in a flowing black shirt with drooping cuffs and black bell-bottomed trousers with a silver design on one side. Jimi spoke in a voice barely louder than a whisper. He spoke earnestly, especially about his music. "Any kind of an audience is the right kind so long as they can listen. [...] I do the best I can even if they don't care. But a really good audience - one that listens and understands - turns me on." Jimi said he listens to all types of music. He declined to state any preference for artists, though he said he has enjoyed organist E. Power Biggs playing Bach. Then he began talking with a young man about music. They discussed guitars, amplifiers and special devices such as wah-wah and fuzz tone. Fuzz tone and wah-wah are connected to the amplifier. The performer turns them on and off with foot pedals.

Wah wah wah
Both names are self-explanatory. Fuzz tone blurs the music and wah-wah makes each guitar note sound as if it was saying "wah wah wah." "Those things used to be crutches, but not any more," Jimi said. "Now they're useful tools." If they are tools, Jimi is a master artisan. On stage, he is as quiet and careful as in an interview session. Until the end of the performance, he doesn't wave his guitar in the air and play it behind his back. At the end, he does. Seven-eighths of the time he is on stage, Jimi stands virtually still, his eyes closed, his mouth slightly open. At a particularily moving moment, he will grimace slightly, but the wild histrionics don't appear until the last numbers. Then Jimi plays the guitar with his teeth, behind his back, under his legs and held at arm's length. He smashes an amplifier (behind which a stagehand makes sure nothing tips over) and tosses the guitar over the amps. The curtain comes down.

Smashed amp
Jimi lit up a cigarette and drank Coke. He cautiously fingered the smashed amp to see how much damage was done. He peered over the amp at the stage hand, who was picking up the guitar. "What happened?" he asked. "Not much," said the hand. "Mmmm... that's why I threw it into the curtain and not on the floor," Jimi said. Mitch Mitchell headed immediately for the dressing room while Noel Redding stood backstage talking to members of The Eire Apparent, an Irish group sponsored by Hendrix, who travel with the Experience. Then Jimi finished his Coke and gently floated offstage, leaving almost 3,000 fans "experienced."

A big thank you to Henry McNulty, Doug Bell & Ben Valkhoff.


  Last update 30 july 2004 - webmaster@earlyhendrix.com