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Thread: The estate, music rights, and money

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    The estate, music rights, and money

    a very elucidating Newsweek article:


    Jimi, Rest In Peace



    by Jeff GilesJanuary 16, 1995





    Al Hendrix is crying over little Jimi. It's a drizzling day in a Seattle suburb. The late guitarist's father, 74, is sitting at home on a ratty sofa, cradling a Persian cat. He says lawyers and corporations conned him out of his son's estate. He says he spent his working life as a gardener, making $4,000 a year. He says he's had a stroke and three rounds of open-heart surgery. "I want Jimi's music back," he murmurs. "It belongs to me." Many would argue that point. But Hendrix cuts a poignant figure -- somebody ought to put this guy on a witness stand.
    Somebody will. In June, Hendrix will go to court to try to win back the rights to his son's legacy -- a legacy said to be worth about $100 million. It will be an uphill battle. And, even if Hendrix prevails, the war will not be over. James Sundquist, 25, recognized by the Swedish Supreme Court as the guitarist's son, has filed suits to be recognized here as Jimi's rightful heir and to claim damages. What a mess -- and there's one more intriguing character. Paul Allen, a cofounder of MicroSoft and a Hendrix fanatic who's planning a museum for his idol in Seattle, has been bankrolling Al Hendrix's suit, spending some $5 million thus far. "He felt that Al was being screwed," says Hendrix's lawyer, O. Yale Lewis. "He wanted to help." Allen declined to be interviewed for this article, but he has said he first heard Hendrix in high school and thought, "Wow, this is pretty amazing." And it was. Hendrix did things with -- and to -- a guitar that hadn't been done before. His playing was flamboyant and exploratory. He played with his teeth. He lit his guitar on fire. And, of course, he showed up at Woodstock and did what he did to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
    Allen has impeccable credentials as a fan, but his motives may not be entirely selfless. Although he previously denied he had a financial interest in the Jimi Hendrix estate, his attorney has acknowledged to Newsweek that the businessman is now negotiating a deal with Al Hendrix. If Hendrix signs the deal -- and if he wins his suit -- Allen's nonprofit museum will be off to an extraordinary start. The museum has sought exclusive rights to exhibit Jimi Hendrix's name and likeness, create and sell merchandise, mount interactive displays, and open a theme restaurant. It has sought these rights for 100 years for free. Hendrix could refuse to sign such a deal, but it remains to be seen if Allen will continue to foot his bills.
    Jimi Hendrix died in London in September 1970, overdosing on sleeping pills and choking on vomit. He did not leave a will. Presumed to be the rightful heir, Al Hendrix began selling off various pieces of his son's estate. Hendrix sold rights to Jimi's record catalog to a Panamanian tax shelter called PMSA in 1974, and the rights to his son's likeness wound up at a company called ARM in 1983. (The rights have since changed hands many times.) Hendrix now disowns those deals. He's named his former lawyer Leo Branton Jr. in the lawsuit and accused him of a conflict of interest. "Al does not remember signing those documents," Lewis insists. "Leo would just tell him what to sign. He didn't have any comprehension of what they meant."
    Branton, who once represented Angela Davis, is outraged by these accusations. At his office in Los Angeles, the 73-year-old attorney launches into a high-decibel tirade, pausing only long enough to take a call from his old friend Rosa Parks. Branton produces many signed documents containing passages the lawyer believes are quite clear: "Hendrix hereby sells and conveys to PMSA all his right, title, and interest," etc. Hendrix may live in a modest house, but Branton says he has received $4 million from PMSA and ARM. Lewis says Hendrix has taken home only $2 million or so.
    Some believe Al Hendrix is simply kicking himself for having sold off his son's legacy too early. At the time of the first deals, the '60s were definitively over and there was little reason to believe thatHendrix's music would rise again. The marketplace was already awash in his albums -- live recordings, basement tapes, reissues -- and none were selling. But then, after Al Hendrix signed the papers he doesn't remember signing, Warner Brothers hired record producer Alan Douglas to oversee the Jimi Hendrix catalog. Douglas pulled some of the posthumous junk off the market. He hired musicians to add backing tracks to unreleased master tapes, creating controversial "new" music. And he released everything carefully. A new generation heard Hendrix songs like "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady" and "The Wind Cries Mary." Have you ever been Experienced?
    Twelve years after his death, Jimi Hendrix won a Grammy for lifetime achievement -- better late than never -- and old and new fans bought 3 million of his albums. More than a million Hendrix records were sold last year; Elvis did only slightly better. MCA bought the rights to the Jimi Hendrix catalog for a staggering $75 million in 1993. Al Hendrix's lawsuit was born in April of that year. Douglas, an aging hippie who stills wears Nehru jackets, is also named in the suit, and he's flabbergasted that his accusers have surfaced so late. "Where have they been all these f---ing years?" he says. "If Al believed he owned this stuff, where the f--- was he?"
    Yet no one really blames this lawsuit on Al Hendrix, who looks kindly and feeble in his stained track suit and seems caught up in something larger than himself. Lewis and Allen get less sympathy from the defendants.. "Yale sees this as the case of a lifetime," says Branton. "He's never been bankrolled by a billionaire! Al isn't behind this lawsuit. [Yale] and Paul Allen are the real culprits." Kirk Hallam is an attorney for the companies that sold the music rights to MCA -- companies also named in the suit. "Allen needs the rights for his museum," he says, "and he's financing the lawsuit to get them." Allen's lawyers insist that this is a charitable venture, and that the legal fees will exceed the value of any rights to come the museum's way.
    Meanwhile, there's the question of James Sundquist, or "Jimi Jr.," as he calls himself. Al Hendrix has reportedly met Jimi Jr. and sent him postcards and a little money, but Lewis won't let him discuss it. We do know Jimi Jr.'s mother spent the night with the star after a concert in Stockholm in 1969, and raised her son on welfare. Still, in a phone interview from Sweden, the soft-spoken Jimi Jr. insists his motivation isn't financial. "Of course no one turns down money," he says. "But the important thing is that I want to be my father's son. I don't want to be denied."
    Jimi Jr. sounds convincing. So does Al Hendrix when he says, "Jimi always said, "Dad, I'm going to be famous.' I said, "Well, hurry up. I'm tired of working'." It may take the courts years to sort out this ugly business -- to figure who's who and who deserves what. Last year, Jimi Jr.'s U.S. attorney threatened to exhume the guitarist's remains to obtain a DNA sample that would establish paternity. It was a grim proposition, but at least we'd have known if Jimi Hendrix was spinning in his grave.




    http://www.newsweek.com/1995/01/15/j...-in-peace.html

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Interesting that you should put that up because I was contacted recently by Lawrence Miller of Purple Haze Records. He is preparing his appeal to the Royal Court in London over this very question.

    Mr. Miller has been doing some research and has apparently amassed documents to prove his claim to the rights to Jimi's music. To put it briefly, Yameta and the rights to Jimi's music was owned 100 % by John Miller (the Jeffrey "Estate" has absolutely no legal rights). Also, the rights to the Hendrix Estate belong, by law, to his daughter TAMIKA LAURICE JAMES HENDRIX.
    This means that Leo Branton, Al Hendrix and now Janie Hendrix have no rights to the music OR the estate!!

    Mr. Miller told me that he is also in the process of writing a book to make all of this clear to everyone once and for all. Purple Haze Records are also preparing new releases, starting this November.
    In the meantime, he sent me this document which goes into some detail over the question of the rights:

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=WXESH01B

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Thanks James.
    First the book. Is this to support his claims? I think he should be saying this in court. I'll take no sides here, we'll see what the outcome is as I have no chance of fully understanding the legal ins and outs.
    Second the upcoming releases. Can't say I'm looking forward to them and will try to avoid buying them. This should be easy as I guess it's material we already own, over and over again.

    From my own point of view. I really care little who owns the RIGHTS TO JIMI HENDRIX (What a stupid thing this is, go on read it again!). Wwhy should it? If it's not or the other creaming me of my hard earned :-) Or at least attempting to !!

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenders Fingers View Post
    Thanks James.
    First the book. Is this to support his claims? I think he should be saying this in court.
    I think it will be coming to court before the book comes out. It looks like he has a strong case as he says that he has all the necessary documents to back everything up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenders Fingers View Post
    Second the upcoming releases. Can't say I'm looking forward to them and will try to avoid buying them. This should be easy as I guess it's material we already own, over and over again.
    I'll put details up when I get them.

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Thanks James :-)

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Thanks
    The case seems rather weak based on this text. The courtroom activities continue, all in loving memory of Jimi Hendrix.

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Man. Jimi sure wouldn't dig any of this fighting over money scene.

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    And what about Leon and Jimi's Swedish son?

    Here is something like a sequel to the previous article:

    Leon Hendrix wants a bigger share of estate

    Brother of famed guitarist Jimi says he was denied his rightful inheritance and will sue
    Friday, August 16, 2002
    Last updated 8/20/02 1:26:00 PM PT
    By GENE STOUT
    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER POP MUSIC CRITIC
    The younger brother of Seattle guitar legend Jimi Hendrix expected more than just a souvenir gold record from the estate of their father, Al Hendrix.
    But that's all Leon Hendrix says he got after his father's death in April at age 82.
    Hendrix, 54, filed a lawsuit today against the Hendrix estate, claiming he was denied a rightful inheritance.
    "It's my legacy and heritage," said Hendrix, a struggling artist and musician who has lived in his late brother's shadow for decades.
    Jimi Hendrix, born and reared in Seattle, took the electric guitar to a new level, producing sounds so radical that accomplished guitarists of the '60s watched his performances with wonder and disbelief. Hendrix died in 1970 in his London flat at age 27 at the height of his career. Today, he is revered for his daring and innovation by several generations of fans.
    Leon Hendrix's suit contests his father's will and living trust, which Al Hendrix signed in February 1998, and claims interference by Janie Hendrix, Al's adopted daughter. The suit alleges the will and living trust were invalid because Al signed them under Janie's undue influence.
    Since Al's death in April, Janie -- who lives in the Seattle area and is married to Sheldon Reynolds of Earth, Wind & Fire -- has assumed control of Seattle-based Experience Hendrix LLC and the vast Hendrix estate, worth about $150 million to $240 million.
    "We believe that had Al been in full possession of his faculties and full possession of all facts that he would not have disinherited Leon, as he appeared to do," said Lance Losey, the lead attorney representing Leon Hendrix.
    "The bottom line is that we believe this will is more the will of Janie than it is the will of Al."
    Attorneys for the Hendrix estate and Experience Hendrix declined comment on the lawsuit prior to its filing today. Janie Hendrix didn't return phone calls.
    Experience Hendrix was created in 1995 after Al Hendrix regained full control of the music, name and likeness of Jimi Hendrix after a nasty two-year court battle.
    Soon after, Al Hendrix and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen talked about creating a Jimi Hendrix museum, but the two had a falling out and Allen went ahead with plans for an expanded interactive museum, the Experience Music Project, which includes a gallery featuring one of the largest collections of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.
    Meanwhile, Experience Hendrix has turned out memorabilia and numerous high-quality reissues of Jimi's music. According to Forbes magazine's list of "top-earning dead celebrities," Jimi Hendrix generates about $8 million annually.
    Experience Hendrix will oversee a Jimi Hendrix tribute album, due this fall from MCA Records. Among the acts that have signed on to the project are George Clinton, Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind & Fire. The tribute album will coincide with what would have been Jimi's 60th birthday Nov. 27.
    In a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Janie Hendrix said the Hendrix family was fortunate to have regained the rights to Jimi's music in 1995: "We're one of the few families that were able to do that, and we've been assisting other families in helping them get rights to their families' music back."
    But Leon Hendrix said he -- as well as other blood relatives, including Leon's children and grandchildren and perhaps Jimi Hendrix "love children" Tamika Carpenter and James Sundquist (a Swedish national who changed his name to Jimi Hendrix Jr.) -- are not sharing in that legacy.
    After the family regained the rights to Jimi's music, Leon said his father assured him that he would be taken care of, but said he was squeezed out by Janie's increasing control of the estate.
    "Janie doesn't want to make the real Hendrixes valid," Leon said. "That's why we don't work (at Experience Hendrix). I know I get e-mail there, but I don't know what they're tellin' people about where I'm at."
    Leon's said his sole bequest from his father's estate was a gold record of Janie's choosing.
    "The record Janie chose for Leon is of a recent compilation album, probably the one album that had the least historical or sentimental value to it," Losey said.
    "Leon sees that as just another slap in the face."
    Leon Hendrix's case is being bankrolled by his business manager, Craig Dieffenbach, a local real-estate developer and founder of SeattleOnline.com, which he sold in the late '90s.
    Last fall, Dieffenbach put up the money to save Jimi Hendrix's childhood home, which Al Hendrix bought in 1953 and sold in 1956. The house is now awaiting restoration at a new site on South Jackson Street.
    Leon Hendrix's Web site -- www.leonhendrix.com -- includes photos of him and Jimi as well as the two brothers with parents Al and Lucille. There's also a family photo of the four of them with adopted sister Janie. Visitors to the site can buy a copy of Leon's "Seattle Rain" CD featuring such songs as "Thru These Veins," "Voodoo River" and "I Put a Spell on You," written by producer Greg Hampton.
    Leon Hendrix, who for years suffered from drug addiction and other problems, didn't begin pursuing a music career seriously until the mid-'90s, when he took guitar lessons and resumed writing music.
    "I submitted my music to Janie through my dad and my dad loved it," he said. "My dad couldn't believe that I'd finally turned my life around and started playing music.
    "But how can you play after Jimi? It took me 50 years to figure it out."
    Last weekend, Leon teamed up with Seattle's Randy Hansen, a world-renowned Jimi Hendrix tribute artist, for a show at the Experience Music Project.
    "I'm thinking a lot about my music now. I'm on a path. I've got music in my head," Leon said.
    "When I'm playing and I say, 'Jimi, help me,' he makes me reach. What he tells me is, 'If the note don't fit, bend it.' And that's what I do. I can hit a flat note, but it won't be a flat note when I'm done."
    Leon said Jimi's talent and fame were an obstacle to his own achievements. "I was overwhelmed. People would say, 'Do something like Jimi did.' And then my dad was saying, 'No, you're just trying to do it because Jimi was your brother.'
    "But as a kid, I was denied those opportunities to reach out to my creative side, so I became a bad kid. I've been on drugs and all kinds of stuff, but I've cleaned up. I'm inspired now. I've got a new life. And even though they didn't put me in the will, I still feel good. Because Jimi's with me.
    "Janie's got the fame, but I've got the flame."
    The case isn't likely to go to trial for at least a year. If Leon is successful, the court likely would throw out the will and living trust, Losey said. The estate might then be divided according to an earlier will, if one exists, or according to the laws of intestacy.
    "The estate would pass to the children of Al," Losey said. "And so if Janie and Leon are the only children, then they would each receive half.
    "But there's also a share for Jimi if Jimi has any descendents who can establish their right to it, in which case the estate might be divided in thirds, and any children of Jimi's would share his third."
    (Editor's note: The original version of this story misidentified the author of the song "I Put a Spell on You.")

    P-I pop music critic Gene Stout can be reached at 206-448-8383 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-448-8383 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or genestout@seattlepi.com




    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/82920_hendrix16.shtml

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenders Fingers View Post
    Thanks James.
    First the book. Is this to support his claims? I think he should be saying this in court. I'll take no sides here, we'll see what the outcome is as I have no chance of fully understanding the legal ins and outs.
    Second the upcoming releases. Can't say I'm looking forward to them and will try to avoid buying them. This should be easy as I guess it's material we already own, over and over again.

    From my own point of view. I really care little who owns the RIGHTS TO JIMI HENDRIX (What a stupid thing this is, go on read it again!). Wwhy should it? If it's not or the other creaming me of my hard earned :-) Or at least attempting to !!
    KD: Interesting documents. The plot thickens now with the death of
    John Hillman.

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    Re: The estate, music rights, and money

    I don't think Jimi would be surprised..it was all a mess financialy etc before he died.


    Urm found this about James Sundquist or Nicole?..bear in mind it is the Daily Mail. But not sure what to say really...its from 1994 so must be common knowledge.

    http://findarticles.com/p/news-artic.../ai_n36660259/
    Last edited by Pali Gap; 09-21-10 at 04:03 PM.

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