Jimi Hendrix’s Final Interview on September 11, 1970: Listen to the Complete Audio

There’s not much left to say about Jimi Hendrix’s last days. The end­less stream of com­men­tary sur­round­ing his life and death threat­ens to bury the man and his music in music-press fetishiza­tion, urban leg­end, and fawn­ing mythol­o­gy. When I’m able to total­ly tune out the hype, Hendrix’s pol­ished work stands the time-test, and some of the more raw releases—the bootlegs and demos that appear every few years—at least doc­u­ment musi­cal roads not tak­en and pre­serve moments of stun­ning genius, if not ful­ly-real­ized com­po­si­tions.

And Hendrix’s intrigu­ing persona—revealed in casu­al inter­views and conversations—still cap­ti­vates, with his off­hand lyri­cism and frac­tal imag­i­na­tion, qual­i­ties on full dis­play in his final press inter­view, to NME’s Kei­th Altham, on Sep­tem­ber 11, 1970, just sev­en days before the artist’s death. (Lis­ten to the YouTube audio above, or Sound­cloud below.) Hen­drix is breezy, con­tem­pla­tive, a lit­tle eva­sive, reveal­ing his own sense of being between things, not sure where he’s head­ed next. As all those late-Hen­drix bootlegs and demos tes­ti­fy, he could have done any­thing and made it work with the right band and a bit more time…

But enough what-ifs. Nobody’s bet­ter on Hen­drix than Hen­drix, so lis­ten to the inter­view. You can find a full tran­script and much more Hen­drix-on-Hen­drix and music-press chat­ter in a recent (and quite inex­pen­sive) Kin­dle pub­li­ca­tion called Jimi Hen­drix: Inter­views and Reviews 1967–71. Ulti­mate Clas­sic Rock calls the final inter­view the “most inter­est­ing thing about the book from a his­tor­i­cal stand­point,” and this may be true.

Final­ly, if you don’t make it all the way to the end of the audio, Hen­drix leaves on this vivid and quite fun­ny note:

ALTHAM: Do you feel per­son­al­ly that you have enough mon­ey to live com­fort­ably with­out nec­es­sar­i­ly mak­ing more as a sort of pro­fes­sion­al enter­tain­er?

HENDRIX: Ah, I don’t think so, not the way I’d like to live, because like I want to get up in the morn­ing and just roll over in my bed into an indoor swim­ming pool and then swim to the break­fast table, come up for air and get maybe a drink of orange juice or some­thing like that. Then just flop over from the chair into the swim­ming pool, swim into the bath­room and go on and shave and what­ev­er.

ALTHAM: You don’t want to live just com­fort­ably, you wan­na live lux­u­ri­ous­ly?

HENDRIX: No! Is that lux­u­ri­ous? I was think­ing about a tent, maybe, [laughs] over­hang­ing … over­hang­ing this … a moun­tain stream! [laugh­ter].

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’ Per­formed on a Gayageum, a Tra­di­tion­al Kore­an Instru­ment

In 1969 Telegram, Jimi Hen­drix Invites Paul McCart­ney to Join a Super Group with Miles Davis

Pre­vi­ous­ly Unre­leased Jimi Hen­drix Record­ing, “Some­where,” with Bud­dy Miles and Stephen Stills

See Jimi Hendrix’s First TV Appear­ance, and His Last as a Back­ing Musi­cian (1965)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness.

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