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Thread: Pat O'Day: Seattle DJ / Promoter - Interview 2011

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    Pat O'Day: Seattle DJ / Promoter - Interview 2011

    Interview with Pat O'Day: Jimi Hendrix returns to Seattle in 1968 as a star

    Pat O'Day Interview Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk7RoHTiiqE#t=361

    December 5, 2011, Bellevue, Washington - Pat O’Day was Seattle’s most legendary broadcaster and concert promoter of rock-n-roll’s hey-day—that great era known as the ‘60s. He is well known here for his time at KJR 950 and as the announcer for the hydroplane races at Seafair. His 2002 book, It Was All Just Rock and Roll, shared his incredible associations with the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and more, including his unsavory run-ins with the Mafia.

    Pat O'Day addresses the crowd at Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue, Wa. about the statue of him with Jimi Hendrix

    Recently I had the opportunity to interview Pat about Jimi Hendrix during a VIP event at Gunnar-Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue, Washington where he was the guest of honor. A small model of a bronze statue of him shaking Hendrix’s hand was being unveiled, sculpted by his son Jerry O’Day.

    Hendrix's return to Garfield High was nearly a disaster

    During our interview, Pat talked about his special memories of Hendrix, primarily during his return to Seattle in 1968. Pat handled all of Jimi’s concerts through his company Concerts West; and when Jimi phoned Pat prior to his Seattle Arena concert (February 12, 1968) to say he’d like to return to his Alma Mater Garfield High School and play for the kids, Pat made it happen. But when the time came, Pat had to endure the aftermath of drunken partying that the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell) had been up to the night before, and the appearance almost didn’t happen.

    That wasn’t all—the thing that stunned Pat the most was Jimi’s sudden case of stage fright as he addressed the students. This was the school that had expelled him a decade earlier, and now returning as a superstar, the old feelings of rejection returned. He faced the auditorium full of wide-eyed students--and was rendered nearly mute; and a question from a cheerleader sent him running from the stage with an incoherent reply. Pat explains in our interview how he tried to save the appearance from being a total disaster.

    It was at this meeting at Garfield High School that the infamous photo of O’Day and Hendrix shaking hands was taken by the Seattle Times; this is the photo that the new statue is based on.

    Jimi reminds Pat of the very first time they met - Spanish Castle magic

    Around this time Jimi asked Pat, “Do you remember the first time we met?” Pat remembered their first meeting at “the lawyer’s office in New York;” Jimi smiled and took Pat way back to 1961 at the Spanish Castle in Seattle. The Spanish Castle was a dance venue and popular hangout in Seattle back in the day, featuring many popular bands of the time. Hendrix, then still known as “Jimmy”, made his stage debut as a burgeoning guitarist in a fascinating and clever manner.

    Pat said, “In those days, bands would blow their amps all the time. This kid came up to me and said he had extra Gibson amps in his car. If the band blew their amps, he would let us borrow his amp, if we would let him play at the back of the stage.” Hendrix said “I know all the licks…” Pat would give “Jimmy” his first chance to be on stage.

    Watch our You Tube interview (left) and see Pat’s expression as he describes his sudden realization that “that kid” was now the great Jimi Hendrix.

    Pat has the utmost respect for Jimi, saying, “Jimi Hendrix was wonderful, so talented, humble, friendly, kind, generous, unselfish, impeccably honest, Jimi Hendrix was a 10 on the scale of 10 when it comes to human beings.”

    As to honoring Hendrix’s legacy in Seattle with memorials, and how this statue will help, he said, “Anything we can do to keep his memory alive is important, because what he did with his instrument will endure, and I think that the EMP and the statues…will continue to link his brilliance, and the impression and the impact he made, and Jimi Hendrix the individual--will keep the two together forever more.”

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    Re: Pat O'Day: Seattle DJ / Promoter - Interview 2011

    THE SEATTLE TIMES - SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 2018-08-30 By John C. Hughes


    IF EVERY PICTURE tells a story, this one from Feb. 13, 1968, should be in a time capsule as evidence the times were changing. The 30ish guy in the tailored sport coat, black slacks and tassel loafers, his reddish-brown hair carefully brushed back, Philly-style, is Pat O’Day, the legendary Seattle disc jockey and concert promoter.

    Pat was the king of Seattle Top 40 radio from 3 to 6 weekdays in the Sixties. The jingle he wrote for his station is nostalgic catnip to hundreds of thousands of aging Puget Sound baby boomers. They can intone it on cue: “KJR Seattle, Channel 95!”

    Jimi Hendrix should need no introduction. The Garfield High School dropout is on the brink of international stardom. He’s arriving at his alma mater for a special pep assembly on the morning after a sold-out homecoming concert at Seattle Center Arena.

    Optically, O’Day and Hendrix are as incongruous a pair as Dick Clark and Little Richard (or Ryan Seacrest and Ozzy Osbourne). Jimi, who is 25, looks like a gypsy troubadour in moccasins and British peacoat, his electric hair stuffed into a jaunty Western hat banded with purple ribbon and silver hoops. His slightly bent left knee, downcast eyes and shy smile betray his what-am-I-doing-here nervousness, exacerbated by a raging hangover. He’d partied hard most of the night.

    But, hey, man: Pat O’Day was going to introduce him. Jimi’s song “Spanish Castle Magic” was an homage to O’Day’s prime concert venue in the 1960s — an old roadhouse with faux turrets midway between Seattle and Tacoma. A combo called the Rocking Kings, with 17-year-old Jimi on a $49.95 Sears Roebuck guitar, opened for another band at the Castle in 1960.

    “Look at him,” O’Day says, studying the photo half a century later. “He’s so cool. But when it came time to talk to a bunch of teenagers in the gym at his old school, he was absolutely petrified. … The Garfield student body was then predominantly black kids from the Central District, but Jimi’s music wasn’t exactly Motown. A lot of the kids didn’t really know who he was. I grabbed the microphone and said, ‘Standing before you today is a man who may soon surpass the Beatles in popularity!’ Most of the kids applauded and cheered the idea a black musician from their school could displace an all-white British band. When I asked if anyone wanted to ask Jimi a question, one kid asked how long he had been gone. ‘About 2,000 years,’ Jimi quipped. Then a cheerleader with purple and white pompoms — the school’s colors — asked him, ‘Mr. Hendrix, how do you write a song?’ Jimi mumbled something about ‘Purple and white, fight, fight!’ and said he always liked to hear the school bell. ‘Right now, I have a plane to catch, so I’m going to say goodbye, go out the door, get into my limousine and go to the airport. And when I get out the door, the assembly will be over, and the bell will ring. And when I hear that bell ring, I’ll be able to write a song. Thank you very much.’ He waved goodbye with a sheepish smile and walked out the door without receiving an honorary diploma. The principal, Frank Fidler, shot me a look that said, ‘Pat, you owe me one!’ ”

    Jimi had left the building but not the stage.

    “Every local band wanted to play the Castle,” O’Day says, his sea-blue eyes brightening at the memory. “When Jimi returned home in 1968, he asked me if I remembered the wired kid who was a fixture at the Castle, always hoping he’d be asked to sit in as a side man with other groups. ‘That was me, Pat!’ he said. I was flabbergasted. To me, Jimi was a jewel — just the sweetest guy you could imagine. We would sit and talk about hydroplanes and how he’d like to see the Woodland Park Zoo expanded. At heart, he was just a Seattle kid.”

    FAST FORWARD to 1970. “Bridge over Troubled Water,” fittingly, topped the charts as Nixon widened the war and the credibility gap became a crevasse. The Ohio National Guard mowed down four Kent State students during an anti-war protest, the Beatles broke up and Jimi Hendrix was dead at 27 of an accidental barbiturate overdose.

    “Jimi’s dad, Al Hendrix, asked me to fly to London and find out what was happening,” O’Day remembers. “Tom Hulet, a Garfield High guy, was one of my partners at the time. We discovered the body was still at the morgue and nobody was doing anything. I had a letter from Jimi’s dad, so they allowed us to claim the body. We bought a coffin and brought him home. It was one of the saddest duties of my life. What a tragedy. In my view, he’s the greatest rock guitarist ever — a transcendent genius.”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific...ol-for-school/

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    Re: Pat O'Day: Seattle DJ / Promoter - Interview 2011

    PAT O'DAY PROFILE - Ring, Ring, Goes The Bell

    https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/legac...ay-profile.pdf

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