The very wild tour of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd

Jimi Hendrix-Pink Floyd

Nowadays, it’s uncommon to find package tours featuring multiple well-known performers. The 1960s saw widespread adoption of the idea. At the height of the counterculture and the psychedelic rock revolution, 1967 produced some of the most captivating music of the decade. It was a 21-date tour of Britain that began in November of that year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Pink Floyd headlined, with support from Amen Corner, Eire Apparent, The Move, The Nice, and The Outer Limits.

There would be a ton of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem and history would be made on the tour thanks to a miraculous alignment of the stars. Seen at sold-out venues like Royal Albert Hall, Chatham, and Kent’s Town Hall, the era’s most exciting acts were united. Seasoned promoters Tito Burns and Harold Davison orchestrated the events.

A celebration of the time’s spirit, BBC Radio One DJ Pete Drummond introduced the bands each night, often infuriating the audience. However, at the conclusion of the tour, he and the musicians were making fun of the crowd. Drummond entered the stage with a list of incendiary jokes scrawled on his arms. The DJ claims that one evening, Jimi Hendrix even joined in with the crowd and said to him to “fuck off!” in jest.

Naturally, such a concentrated volume of traditional rock stars created chaos. The manager of the least prominent band, The Outer Limits, threatened to break Roger Waters’ legs. Knife-throwing stunts and Hendrix hurling his Flying V at a stack of amps added to the pandemonium. In addition, the sweet aroma of marijuana permeated the air virtually all the time, contributing to the generally carefree vibe of the tour.

However, on a darker note, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett began exhibiting symptoms of serious mental illness during this time. This made his departure from the band inevitable. Barrett had grown more withdrawn and untrustworthy, and his wild antics were even starting to negatively impact the group’s standing. The band dismissed him in 1968, a move that proved to be crucial to their success in many ways.

Trevor Burton of The Move recalled that “Syd had left the universe” in Louder Sound. “You know, ‘Put a mark on stage for him to stand’. “Stay put!” He went on, “He used to have Henry McCullough do parts for him. “While Syd was staring off into the distance, he would be standing on the side of the stage doing his parts.”

Indeed, for Pink Floyd as a whole, it was an odd period. On the tour, they traveled in a different bus than the other musicians and were said to be social outcasts who seldom interacted with other people. The quartet frequently traveled separately to shows, reflecting their own peculiar dynamic.

Jimi Hendrix, of course, added a great deal to the festivities. Despite his constant tuning issues, he possessed such incredible elemental talent that he would frequently dazzle his bandmates. During their performances, drummer Chas Chandler and bassist Noel Redding were often impressed. In Newcastle, furious that his Flying V was out of tune, he threw it into his stack of Marshall amps. Allan Jones, the saxophonist for Amen Corner, said that the audience went “ballistic” after hearing it.

The Move also influenced the overall tenor of the touring package. They had a friendly rivalry with Jimi Hendrix’s band. Facing a predicament similar to Pink Floyd, bassist “Ace” Kefford suffered severe depression from heavy LSD use.

While The Experience had three top ten hits to The Move’s four, their commercial rivalry eventually led to bizarre, Monty Python-like events. Noel Redding reminisced, “I rode a bicycle across the stage and I remember The Move playing once.” “We detonated stink bombs in Bev Bevan’s bass drum pedal once more.”

The Nice’s keyboard wizard Keith Emerson would catch people’s attention by hurling knives at speakers. This gave a hint as to the kind of weirdness he would get up to in the years to come. Roadie for Jimi Hendrix and future Motörhead frontman Lemmy helped elevate his gimmick to a terrifyingly tangible new level. Unusual for the start of the tour, the American guitarist from The Nice had stolen the musician from “Ace of Spades.”

When Emerson first began using knives, Lemmy told me to “use a real one, if you’re going to use knives,” and he gave me a Hitler Youth dagger. That is what he remembered about him, Emerson would later remark.

Emerson also related a dangerous incident he had with Jimi Hendrix and his knife-throwing act. One night, as he threw the weapons between two speakers, the American guitarist materialized in between them. Brandishing a video camera, the “Purple Haze” legend filmed Emerson, beckoning him to throw a steel ball at him. Unfortunately, The Nice Member couldn’t afford this provocation. Emerson didn’t want to go down as the guy who killed a 1960s star.

























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