Post 95: Research in Seattle
Christian Lloyd writes his latest post about his travels whilst researching Hendrix’s life at Brook Street:
For a book whose focus is the period Jimi and Kathy lived in Mayfair, my research has taken me to some far flung spots. Last month I was in Morocco, tenaciously following the Saharan trail of Jimi’s holiday there in 1969…..All right, actually I was on holiday and failed to find anything much when I traced what we know of Jimi’s nine days in Morocco, except this figure in a shop:
More recently, I returned to Seattle to revisit Experience Music Project (EMP), the excellent and socially-engaged museum which covers Hendrix’s life and work (among other topics such as Grunge, Indie Gaming, and Science Fiction). Jacob McMurray, the Senior Curator at EMP, kindly allowed me to examine some artefacts from their collection to see if they shed any light on the flat period. I was able to check Jimi’s address/phone book from 1969 which reveals, for instance, that an English musician he stayed in touch with was one “Geo Harrison”, whose address is given as the Apple Headquarters on Savile Row, just round the corner from Brook Street. Sly Stone and Steve Cropper are notable American musicians whose numbers also appear in the book, indicating links to both Jimi’s prefame period (he once doorstepped Cropper at Stax studios) and a future direction he was dabbling in (he was due to jam with Sly the night he died).
My examination of Jimi’s wildly varied record collection from the flat shows how open he was to learning from other musicians (or perhaps how carefully he checked up on the competition). He owned, for example, both the Hollies’ and Joan Baez’s Dylan covers albums. Other LPs in the collection have association value: Jimi’s Ravi Shankar album was given to him by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Predictably, the discs with the most battered covers and spindle scratches are the seven or eight Dylan albums Jimi and Kathy played to bits. More will be revealed when the book comes out next year….
I feel very fortunate to be able to do this archival work, and EMP’s support of our project speaks to their ethos of cooperation and education as they work to pass on Jimi’s music to new generations.