Soft Machine Upstage Jimi Hendrix

Room Full of Mirrors (Slight Return)

This is an e-mail I sent to author Charles Cross in 2006 while reading his Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix:

"This is an interesting book. I picked it up to learn more about Jimi's relationship with Miles Davis, of which there are differing accounts of what actually transpired. In Miles' own autobiography, he never mentions the three-way deal with Jimi and Tony Williams, but only tells how they were due to get together on a project immediately after the Isle of Wight. Of course, I believe Miles may have conveniently omitted the business of wanting $50K from Mike Jeffrey before moving ahead with the Miles-Jimi-Tony project mentioned in your book.

"The Jimi at Cobo Arena (Detroit) concert, sponsored by radio station 'Paul Is Dead' WKNR, apparently took place in November of '68. I had seen the Experience at Detroit's Masonic Auditorium, with Soft Machine (also managed by Jeffrey), nine months prior. Jimi was having one of his off nights, was in a foul mood, and there was no encore, as I recall. I was extremely disappointed in his performance that evening.

"On the other hand, Soft Machine absolutely blew me away, between their music and fabulous light show. In letting "Uncle Russ" Gibb know how much I enjoyed that group during one of my regular calls to him while he was on the air, he invited me down to Keener in Dearborn [MI] to pick up an advance copy of their debut album on a 7" tape reel. This I did, with that story being chronicled at the above-referenced URL [and as an earlier blog entry].

"I haven't yet read the final chapters and the story of Monika Danneman. If you subscribe to Eric Burdon's theory laid out in his memoir, she was a psycho who dosed Jimi with extremely powerful German painkillers in an effort to keep him in her nest. Burdon also had issues with Mike Jeffrey regarding his mob ties, both in the U.S. and U.K."

[Interestingly, I recently learned that Andy Summers, guitarist with the Police, had been both a one-time member of Eric Burdon's New Animals and Soft Machine. Alas, he had been sent packing from Soft Machine before their Hendrix support tour got underway, so I've never had the opportunity to hear him play live.]