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Les Paul tells "the story" of Jimi Hendrix!


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FD: The story of how you met Jimi Hendrix is also interesting....

LP: Yes, in 1965, after I retired from playing, I wanted to get into discovering and producing new artists. A lot of them were out there waiting to be discovered. I found Jose Feliciano, The Young Rascals,Mama Cass [Elliot, the late lead singer of The Mamas and the Papas]. I introduced them to the record companies, stumbled across them before they hit. Like Jimi Hendrix. He was trying to get a job up there onRoute 46 (in New Jersey), and I happened to run into him. He was around in 1962. I was driving down Route 46, on my way to Columbia Records,and I stopped in this bar. There were four or five joints on Route 46that I always hung out at. When I went in, there was Jimi Hendrix, and he's up there all by himself auditioning for a job. I walked out to mycar—my son was there— and I said, let's go to Columbia, come back, and listen to this guy. I didn't realize he was auditioning—I thought he was working! When I came back from New York, I said to the bartender,"What happened to that guy who was up there playing that guitar?"Thebartender said, "We threw him out! He was so loud, and he was yelling and singing, and we just got rid of him!"

Well I looked in every joint that I could find in Jersey for that guy, not knowing his name, only knowing he was a big guy who played left-handed, and was a wild man with big bushy hair! And nobody knew him. It wasn't until Phase Four asked me to come out of retirement, and I did, for Walt McGuire, that I found Hendrix. McGuire asked me if I would make one more album, and I said OK. So I asked him, "Find me about five players that are hot right now, and let me hear their albums," So he threw the albums at me, and they landed on the floor, and facing up at me was a picture of the guy I was looking for! On the cover was Jimi Hendrix! SoI told my manager to go find this guitar player, and he told me, "The guy you're looking for died in a fire smoking a cigarette. You can quit looking for him!" So I did. After some time I called my manager and said, "You know the guythat died in the fire? Well his name is Jimi Hendrix and he's a big smash over in England!"

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