We were sitting at the local great burrito place when the house music starting going through what must have been a Jimi Hendrix CD. My son started laughing as “Purple Haze” came on — what he and his pals call the “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” song.
Well, have I ever told you about the time I met Jimi Hendrix? I asked. That got his attention and the attention of my wife who is sure that she’s heard all of my stories by now.
It was in 1967. A couple of us wanted to go meet girls. We couldn’t meet girls by walking in those days. So instead we walked over to our friend Lee’s house. His parents owned a GTO which they would occassionally let him drive. A GTO was a great car which facilitated the meeting of girls.
There was a catch though. Lee’s younger sister, Ginger, wanted to go to the Red Carpet Inn — a smallish what we would now call a boutique hotel — where it was pretty well unkept secret the Monkees were staying before their big concert. Ginger and a friend wanted to see Monkees and to scream when they saw them.
We drove to the Red Carpet and saw even from a distance that there were many versions of Ginger already there. They didn’t need the sight of a Monkee to get them screaming. They screamed over anyone with hair on their head. Or at no one at all.
We pulled in and let Ginger and her friend out. And we began to wander around. My friend Norman and I got separated from the rest.
Norm and I ended up talking with the laundry crew. Some slow talking African-Americans who were surrounded by carts of sheets and towels.
“You boys wanna go to the Monkee floor?” one asked.
We looked at each other. “Sure, how do we do that?”
“Just get on this freight elevator and go to the top with me.”
We did. And soon we were on the Monkee floor, but we didn’t see Monkees — yet.
“Maybe they’re over by the pool,” said our guide.
We went over to the roof top pool.
Who we saw there were obviously not Monkees.
There was a lanky black man with the most massive display of hair I’d ever seen sprawled on one of the chairs. He was wearing a colorful speedo bathing suit.
Not far from him was his mirror image. A very very pale man with what could only be described as a Scot-fro. A red hair version of an Afro. Also in a speedo and also very thin.
“Whacha doing here,” asked the darker of the two.
“We’re looking for Monkees,” I said.
“Ain’t no F**king Monkees round this pool.”
With that we left and quickly back down the freight elevator.
We heard that there was a strange opening band for the Monkees that night. No one knew what to make of them.
About a week or two later, we heard of some wild music happening at Monterey. And a new band started getting a lot of air play. The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
This is what Wikipedia says about that time:
The Monkees also helped bring America’s attention to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, who they took on as an opening act during their Summer 1967 concert tour. Hendrix quit the tour after only a few shows. Reports circulated at the time that he had been removed after complaints from the conservative women’s group Daughters of the American Revolution. This was later proved false, and it has since been revealed that the story was concocted for publicity purposes by Hendrix’s camp; it has also been suggested that Hendrix’s management deliberately picked an unsuitable tour to create public controversy. There is no doubt that Hendrix and his group were frustrated at appearing before audiences largely populated by youngsters, who had no interest or appreciation of their brand of musical innovation. During the performance of “Foxy Lady,” though the crowd appeared to be singing along with Hendrix, they were in fact impatiently singing “Foxy Davy”.