Hendrix at Home

Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

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Handel & Hendrix in London
25 Brook Street
London W1K 4HB

T: 020 7495 1685
E: email Handel & Hendrix in London

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5 comments on “Contact

  1. Jim Blagg
    14 May 2014

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I’m looking into and reading a book my brother, Jackie, purchased a while back. He gave it to me to see if I would have any luck in my network of friends or internet research that could offer him advice. We believe the book was issued to Mr. Hendrix while at Fort Ord possibly while receiving medical care. I know he continued to use dental benefits and possible follow ups on his ankle after his discharge in Kentucky and upon returning to CA. We know about the album “War Heroes” and know he was a protestor of the Vietnam War and are wondering if this book help inspire his lyrical writings on those songs/albums. We are hoping to authenticate it. Any help or leads are most appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Jim Blagg

    Here is info on his time at Fort Ord:

    Military Service
    Hendrix in the US Army, 1961
    Before Hendrix was 19 years old, law enforcement authorities had twice caught him riding in stolen cars. When given a choice between spending time in prison or joining the Army, he chose the latter and enlisted on May 31, 1961.[38] After completing eight weeks of basic training at Fort Ord, California, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.[39] He arrived there on November 8, and soon afterward he wrote to his father: “There’s nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school … you get hell. They work you to death, fussing and fighting.”[40] In his next letter home, Hendrix, who had left his guitar at his girlfriend Betty Jean Morgan’s house in Seattle, asked his father to send it to him as soon as possible, stating: “I really need it now.”[40] His father obliged and sent the red Silvertone Danelectro on which Hendrix had hand-painted the words “Betty Jean”, to Fort Ord.[41] His apparent obsession with the instrument contributed to his neglect of his duties, which led to verbal taunting and physical abuse from his peers, who at least once hid the guitar from him until he had begged for its return.[42]

    In November 1961, fellow serviceman Billy Cox walked past an army club and heard Hendrix playing guitar.[43] Intrigued by the proficient playing, which he described as a combination of “John Lee Hooker and Beethoven”, Cox borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed.[44] Within a few weeks, they began performing at base clubs on the weekends with other musicians in a loosely organized band called the Casuals.[45]

    Hendrix completed his paratrooper training in just over eight months, and Major General C.W.G. Rich awarded him the prestigious Screaming Eagles patch on January 11, 1962.[40] By February, his personal conduct had begun to draw criticism from his superiors. They labeled him an unqualified marksman and often caught him napping while on duty and failing to report for bed checks.[46] On May 24, Hendrix’s platoon sergeant, James C. Spears filed a report in which he stated: “He has no interest whatsoever in the Army … It is my opinion that Private Hendrix will never come up to the standards required of a soldier. I feel that the military service will benefit if he is discharged as soon as possible.”[47] On June 29, 1962, Captain Gilbert Batchman granted Hendrix an honorable discharge on the basis of unsuitability.[48] Hendrix later spoke of his dislike of the army and falsely stated that he had received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump.[49][nb 8]

    • Sarah Bardwell
      15 May 2014

      Thanks for your comment and question. Unfortunately I can’t help you with this and suspect that in our research process that we will not turn up anything that useful as we are really only looking at his time in the UK, specicfically in London and this flat. It might be best to try and connect with someone at the EMP in Seattle who may have more information to share.

  2. John Wallace
    14 February 2015

    This whole situation is wonderfully strange, and I love that a permanent exhibit is now being built. But I can’t help but wonder what the staff of the Handel museum must have thought over the years when Hendrix fans came to visit. Did any of them view the Hendrix connection and/or Hendrix’s fans with disdain or even anger? Did did they all view such incidents with humor or bemusement?

    • John Wallace
      14 February 2015

      Correction, “Did any of them view the Hendrix connection and/or Hendrix’s fans with disdain or even outright anger? Did they ever view such incidents with humor or bemusement? Or were they merely annoyed?”

    • Sarah Bardwell
      16 February 2015

      Thanks so much for your comment. Well the Handel House Museum has only been open for 14 years itself and whilst steeped in history isn’t bogged down too much by institutional memory of “this is the way it is always done” and thinking this “newcomer” isn’t important or interesting. In fact knowing how much Hendrix interest the place generates the staff team has always hoped and been at the forefront of trying to make this change. So I think I can fairly safely speak for the current staff team and previous staff members when I say we are not disdainful or angry, bemused or annoyed. But very happy and excited that in about a year’s time will be able to properly welcome Hendrix visitors.

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Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

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