Not known for his inflated ego, Jimi Hendrix, paratrooper turned guitarist extraordinaire, preferred keeping it real, and always enjoyed coming down to earth.
Thank God they put me in a decent hotel this time,” Jimi said.
He was emptying ashtrays and brushing away crumbs from the tables in his suite at the Drake Hotel.
He looked at me sideways, smiling, as he continued to bend over the tables, straightening up after his guests.
I had just walked in a few moments ago and my eyes were adjusting to the people in the room.
And then I realized what Jimi meant.
Over in a corner sitting on the floor in a bright custom tailored orange suit was George Harrison. Standing next to him was Ringo Star.
Albert Goldman, the writer, Linda Eastman, photographer and future wife of Paul McCartney, and many other people filled the suite.
Earlier I had dinner at P.J. Clarks with my ex-husband, Steve. At the end of dinner I called Mike, and he tried to make me go home instead of meeting him at Jimi’s hotel. This seemed strange to me and I balked. He relented.
I realized when I noticed George and Ringo why Mike didn’t want me there.
Since his marriage to Gillian had coincided with the scene in England, involving the rise of the Beatles, Mike might have wanted to keep up appearances in front of ‘the lads’ and their manager.
Mike was there, holding court, while Jimi was playing the courteous host.
Albert Goldman and I were having a conversation about art and music. At one point I said, ‘Jimi is the first person to combine mind music and body music.’
The next day, he quoted me in a newspaper, but just referred to me as ‘someone who said…’. I would have appreciated his using my name, but at least he credited someone else with the thought. Not like Mike, who passed my observations along as if they were his own.
It was also that night that Albert said to me that I drew the way Jimi played the guitar. And I think Linda took some pictures of Jimi that night, where he looked like a baby bird, with all his ribs showing.
When George and Ringo left with their entourage, they said goodbye to Mike who was sitting right next to me. He didn’t introduce me. I wasn’t surprised, or insulted.
I had finished my portrait of Jimi by then and some internal compass was starting to turn me in a different direction.