Why Jimi Hendrix Never Started Band With Arthur Brown
Veteran British eccentric Arthur Brown revealed that Jimi Hendrix wanted to start a band with him in 1969, but that he declined for two main reasons.
Brown -- who's regarded as a pioneer of prog rock, shock rock and heavy metal -- said he first met Hendrix after the Who’s Pete Townshend had signed both artists to his Track Records label. They then went on to tour and appear on TV together.
“In 1969, we hung around a place called the Scene, a legendary club in New York, where all the musicians went to jam,” Brown recently told Classic Rock. “When Jimi went there, he liked to play bass – and he was a very good bass player. And he didn’t like to sing. I remember one occasion playing with him and John Lee Hooker. It was a dream come true.”
He recalled one time Hendrix "proposed that we put a band together, with me, my keyboard player Vincent Crane and the Experience. In the background, he wanted tapes of Wagner and a number of big visual screens. It would be a mixture of classical, rock, jazz and R&B. But there were two things that prevented that. One was that, shortly after we came up with the idea, Vincent went into a mental home. And although I loved Jimi, I wanted to go in my own direction. So I missed out on it.”
He described Hendrix as a “very humble” person who “also felt responsible for his audience.” "If anyone started going on about how great he was, he’d just say, 'I’m just a song-and-dance man. Don’t fuck with me,’” he recalled.
But he said the guitarist occasionally had another side. “Jimi was also a paratrooper, a soldier – that isn’t all gentleness," he explained. "Once, in New York, I spent the night with one of his girlfriends, and when she got back home, Jimi locked her in a cupboard. He had his moments. On his personal side, you had to know him quite well, and there were issues there."