Did Jimi Hendrix actually burn a guitar at the Miami Pop Festival?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Alanko, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Yes, it was during a song. No, the guitar was not consumed in flame. I remember him having trouble with the stunt. We weren't by the stage so I can't go into detail about damage or type of guitar. This was not all that remarkable at the time ... even some local bands in South Florida would do the lighter fluid bit, often on cymbals. Usually the lighter fluid would just burn off and that was that. Bands like the Who would use stunt instruments when destruction was "in" -- I can verify from personal experience, but that's another story to be found on this forum. Maybe he gave Zappa one of those. Zappa was most definitely there. Anyway, go with your sources if you prefer ... what can I say, I was there and that's how I remember it. Also recall him humping the amps.

    I read a biography of Hendrix that said he didn't even appear at all at Miami Pop due to the rain and spent the day jamming with John Lee Hooker. Ah, the mists of time ...
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  2. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    Excellent comparison! The Strat #2 does seem to have a spaghetti logo, so it's probably not the same guitar that was auctioned in 2008. It's hard to say for sure though. Next the that, the scratches on the upper horn should be visible on the guitar since the burn marks didn't reach that high it seems:

    [​IMG]


    Well your story certainly sparked the interest in me to find whether anyone else remembers him burning a guitar that day. There being two sunburst Strats with Jimi on stage, I can definitely see one of them being set on fire. However, I am puzzled as to why people are remembering different things. It is perhaps just the mists of time.

    John Lee Hooker played on Sunday, I believe? The same day it rained. I can see how the author could confuse the stories.
     
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  3. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque
    John Lee Hooker played right after Hendrix. The announcer was desperately trying to get people to stay for his set, as everyone was streaming out after the Hendrix night set. We stayed. It was just Hooker and his guitar and a little amp. And a hundred or so left in the audience. I like Hendrix, but Hooker was far better that night. That was the first time I heard a bluesman live.

    Not sure what happened or was supposed to happen the next day, pretty sure it was rained out, but I think we can all agree that Hendrix played the first Miami Pop, contrary to one of his (main) biographers.

    (I emailed the author, who did a good job all told, and he said he would fix the error if they did another edition. I'm not naming names as I don't want to discourage anyone from reading the book.)
     
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  4. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Hey, I'm pretty pumped, I think I have solved part of the mystery! Check this out:

    [​IMG]

    So it looks like Gerry Stickells had kept that old Strat that Jimi had used at the Star Club (and probably burned at the Astoria less than 2 weeks later).
    It was obviously still in the equipment crate at Miami and was given to Frank Zappa.
     
  5. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    I've got nothing to contribute to this thread except to say that it's entertaining rabbit holes like this that make SHF as much fun as it is. :righton:
     
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  6. mdr30

    mdr30 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Really is, the knowledge of the contributors. Hendrix and Zappa both did some nice things in Sweden where I'm residing.
     
  7. parman

    parman inside lookin' out

    Location:
    In The Mitten
    Interesting story, is everyone gone that was involved personally at that time??
     
  8. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    That's pretty crazy! Seeing these I went on and compared some photos of the back of the body, and one scratch in particular seems to match quite well.

    I'm always reluctant to say anything's for sure, but the scales have been tipped heavily in favor of the Zappa Strat being the Astoria Strat. I didn't expect this at all to be honest.
    [​IMG]
    Now to figure out how it got to Howard Parker from Tito Burns.

    Also, only now am I learning that Gerry Stickells was probably in charge of the lighter fluid, since he was Jimi's tech and he's mentioned by Keith Altham who sat with the band backstage that night. I don't see any mention of Tony Garland (the guy who sold the Strat in 2008). Quote below is from a book titled "The History of the NME", with screenshot taken from books.google.com.

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, it seems that they had a couple of experimental runs in the dressing room, meaning that a few more guitars probably ended up being burned that night. This only complicates stuff of course, since as far as we know, Zappa Strat could easily be one on which they experimented, as is the case with the Strat from the 2008 auction. Source: 1967-03-31 The Astoria, London, England
     
  9. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Good work with the back of the Strat photos Dan! More proof.
    Even if they might have done some test burning with the lighter fluid backstage at the Astoria, it's very doubtful that they would have let a guitar get severely burnt and I doubt that they would have a third Strat around that they slightly burned and kept aside.If the Strat did suffer a little scorching during the test, then that Strat would have been the one that they chose to sacrifice during the show. It also makes sense that they would use their most damaged guitar - the tatty Star Club Strat - as the sacrificial guitar!
     
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  10. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    Yes, that seems more likely. On a second thought, I do doubt that they had couple of different guitars to experiment on, so the experiments were probably not too extensive. And that battered Strat certainly makes for a perfect candidate.

    I'm now most curious how the guitar got from London to Miami, more than a year later, and why was it carried on road to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  11. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Hey PsychGuy, was what you saw in the afternoon or at night when it was dark?
     
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