Stephen Stills interview (tapes!)
Apparently your manager never passed on a message to you that Jimi Hendrix was asking you to be bass player in his Experience. Is this true?
CSN got to England and I just went, ďIím staying! I donít have a girlfriend back home. Iím gonna stay here and just muck about. Itíll work out.Ē Over the course of the next few weeks I ran into Jimi and I had my assistant with me who was from New Orleans, and he just gravitated to us. He was just dying for an American face. So we became chums.
He would come over and get out of the clubs and take a few minutes to recover from whatever people had been shoving down his throat and have some coffee and then we would sit and talk music and talk playing and talk philosophy for hours, and in the process he began to show me certain things about playing lead guitar.
Iíd say, ďBut Jimi, look at your thumb. Your thumb is as long as my hand! How can I get [it] over there?Ē So the story - I did not find this out for years - it was in [Mitch] Mitchellís book - weíd talked about doing something, you know? I had a commitment and he had a commitment and we were gonna get together, but there was a time there in between when I was back in California and had an accident and broken the little bones in my left hand. So Iím in a cast and calling into the office every day. And apparently, according to Mitchell, at that time, Jimiís office was desperately trying to find me, and David Geffen just stalled them endlessly. ďI donít know where he is. Iíll pass on the message.Ē And so Jimi did something else. I would have gladly put down the guitar and played bass for him.
So whatís this story about you recently finding tapes of an album that you made with Jimi?
We have discovered these tracks. There werenít as many as we would have liked. We listened to them... It was [recorded] very late.
Thereís three reels of somebody trying to think of something to do and it lasting about six bars and then... (Laughs) Oh my God, it would have been nice if somebody would have struck up something, but everyone was waiting for someone else to start! But there are two or three things that weíve managed to put together and Iíve finally come to an arrangement with the [Hendrix] estate.
Thereís one thing that we did - I did a mumbly vocal - and I finally just - the day before yesterday - found the original lyrics, which are pretty damn good. So if I can get back to that same tone of voice Iíll put that on and weíll get that out.
Wow. That would be amazing to hear.
Yeah. We had to do some corrections and I ended up replacing my own part. That night I played bass and Jimi was there but I wasnít very good. So I did it in one take and it sounds fine; it sounds like I was there.
Thatís what weíve got and weíre hoping that we can get this thing put to bed at the earliest opportunity. He did play on one of my songs; that one and the coherent one were going to be the start of our album, and then - circumstances being what they were - he said, ďYou go ahead and put that out and weíll get back to it.Ē Then we said our goodbyes and I think thatís the last time I talked to him.
so, the tapes are now with EH . . .
"Specially when your only friend talks, looks, sees and feels like you, and you do the same just like him." Jimi Hendrix - My Friend