Posts Tagged ‘Live in Maui’

The trippy story of how Jimi Hendrix ended up playing a concert in front of a few hundred spectators at a windy cow farm next to a Hawaiian volcano features a cast of characters that could come from a Thomas Pynchon novel. There’s Chuck Wein, aka The Wizard, a Leary-lite Harvard graduate who dated Edie Sedgwick and made films with Andy Warhol before dropping into the hippie world. There’s Michael Jeffery, Hendrix’s manager, a shady operator with a line in tall stories about his career in the British Army. And there’s Hendrix, who found himself committed to making a soundtrack for Wein and Jeffery’s Hawaii-set psychedelic sci-fi movie, “Rainbow Bridge”, and somehow ended up playing one of the last shows – performing with the Cox-Mitchell axis – on the tiny island of Maui.

Rainbow Bridge started as a celebration of Hawaii’s surfing subculture, but soon mutated into an experimental, unscripted Warhol-esque film inspired by hippie life, Wein’s impenetrable personal philosophy and Jack Nicholson’s stoned campfire monologue from Easy Rider. It’s the success of the latter that seemed to appeal to Jeffery, who thought a Hendrix score would turn a counterculture flick into a serious commercial offering. The promise of that soundtrack persuaded Warners to fund the film, and Hendrix was on board as he needed the money to complete Electric Lady Studio.

Hendrix made a cameo in the film as an assassin but his biggest contribution was to perform an outdoor concert that was filmed. The gig was as unconventional as the film. “It was a colour/vibratory sound experience,” says Rainbow Bridge art director Melinda Merryweather. “The electricity went off, people swear they saw a spaceship go by, somebody fell of a tower.” The audience were asked to sit in astrological order and delivered a mass Buddhist chant as Hendrix took the stage. A gale was blowing and the small audience sat on the floor as if they were at a village fête. It must have been one of the most unusual set-ups Hendrix had ever faced but he seemed to thrive in the atmosphere – Cox described it as one of the best the trio did.

The set included new songs like “Dolly Dagger”, “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”, “Ezy Rider” and “Freedom” alongside established classics. Seventeen minutes of scratchy footage – with drums overdubbed by Mitchell – appeared on the posthumous Rainbow Bridge film, eventually released along with a Hendrix LP of the same name that had nothing recorded in Maui. Much more restored footage features in this fun documentary, while the forthcoming “Live In Maui” triple contains all that was salvageable from the two 50-minute sets.

Directed by John McDermott, Music, Money, Madness – Jimi Hendrix Experience Live In Maui attempts to unpick this wild tale with the help of a tremendous batch of interviewees. Billy Cox and Eddie Kramer are on hand from camp Hendrix, there’s cast and crew from Rainbow Bridge, a few still bewildered Warner Bros execs plus archive interviews with Mitch Mitchell and Chuck Wein.

Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings have a brand-new collection that celebrates The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s near-mythic performances on Maui, Hawaii in 1970. “Live In Maui” brings together audio and video with a new feature-length documentary called Music, Money, Madness: Jimi Hendrix In Maui. The collection will be available in 2-CD/Blu-ray and 3-LP/Blu-ray configurations, all due on November 20th.   Director John McDermott’s new documentary film chronicles the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s visit to Maui and the story of the Rainbow Bridge film by incorporating period footage with new interviews with Chuck Wein, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, and others key figures.  It’s presented in both editions of Experience Hendrix/Legacy’s release on Blu-ray, and the discs will also feature all of the existing 16mm colour footage from the two afternoon sets captured on July 30th, 1970 mixed in stereo and 5.1 surround.  The accompanying 2-CD set features Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Mitch Mitchell’s restored Maui sets, newly mixed by Eddie Kramer and mastered by Bernie Grundman.

Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings have announced a brand-new collection that celebrates The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s near-mythic performances on Maui, Hawaii in 1970. Live In Maui brings together audio and video with a new feature-length documentary called Music, Money, Madness: Jimi Hendrix In Maui. The collection will be available in 2-CD/Blu-ray and 3-LP/Blu-ray configurations, all due on November 20th.

Hendrix’s performances on Maui in 1970 caught him at another pivotal point in his too-short career. Following the success of Electric Ladyland, he alternated between playing arenas and festivals with his revamped Experience alongside bandmates Billy Cox (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums), and overseeing the creation of his state-of-the-art Greenwich Village studio, Electric Lady Studios. In need of additional financing to complete building the studio, manager Michael Jeffery convinced Warner Bros. to advance Hendrix $500,000.00. The studio would also finance a film to be shot in Maui: Rainbow Bridge. Warner would then receive the soundtrack rights to the exclusive Hendrix music in the movie.

The impressionistic film, directed by Chuck Wein, would explore themes of enlightenment, with the titular rainbow bridge connecting the enlightened and unenlightened worlds. It wasn’t much of a concert movie, though, as only 17 minutes of footage were included from the free show Hendrix held on a Maui cattle ranch on July 30th, 1970 (one day before a Honolulu arena performance). Even those weren’t “pure” as Mitch Mitchell had to re-record his parts at the recently-opened Electric Lady to make the footage useable. Sadly, Jimi Hendrix was gone before the film was ever completed. He died in London on September 18th, 1970. Upon the film’s release in 1971, fans were confused by it as well as the meticulously overdubbed soundtrack album which premiered Hendrix studio material but didn’t actually include any music from the film or the two Maui sets.

Director John McDermott’s new documentary film chronicles the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s visit to Maui and the story of the film by incorporating period footage with new interviews with Chuck Wein, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, and others key figures. It’s presented in both editions of Experience Hendrix/Legacy’s release on Blu-ray, and the discs will also feature all of the existing 16mm colour footage from the two afternoon sets captured on July 30th, 1970 mixed in stereo and 5.1 surround.

The accompanying 2-CD set features Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Mitch Mitchell’s restored Maui sets, newly mixed by Eddie Kramer and mastered by Bernie Grundman. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” has been released as a preview single for the box. “Jimi loved adventure and there was certainly no shortage of it during his time in Hawaii, a place he also loved,” comments Janie Hendrix in the press release. “The back story of Rainbow Bridge and these recordings paint a picture of Jimi’s uncanny ability to turn the bizarre into something amazing! We’re excited about this release because it gives the world a closer look at Jimi’s genius.”

“Live in Maui” due on November 20th.