Jimi in Newcastle

 

Jimi came to England in September 1966. He moved into Chas Chandlers flat at Hyde Park Towers in London. When Chas and Jimi were in our region for shows they sometimes stayed at Chas's Mother's flat at 35 Second Avenue in Heaton.

 

  
              Chas Chandlers Mother's flat in Heaton (the downstairs flat in the picture).

 

Dave Sproat from the Junco Partners remembers meeting Jimi Hendrix in the Quay Club (this used to be on the bottom of Dean Street opposite the Crown Pasada). He said "we met him  courtesy of Terry McVey who brought him down to the Quay Club when we were playing and was good enough to introduce him to us. He was very polite I remember. "   (Terry McVey was the road manager for the Animals).  This could refer to 10th March 1967 as the Jimi Hendrix Experience was playing at the Club A Go Go that night and the Junco Partners were playing at the Quay Club too. Jimi could have popped along between sets while the equipment was being moved from the "Young Set" to the "Jazz Lounge".


Advertisement from the Evening Chronicle 10th March 1967.

Chas Chandler said "Jimi and I were staying at my mother's house in Newcastle. As we were sitting there talking, I decided to walk down to the phone box, because my mother had not put one in yet, to ring London and see how things were going. Hey Joe had leapt to Number 7 in the charts, and I knew we were really on our way." 

Kathy Etchingham said in her book "Through Gypsy Eyes" .......  “On one occasion Chas did come with us, when we were playing near his home town. ‘To save money,’ he said, ‘We’ll skip the hotel and stay with my mum and dad.’ He took us to a tiny, back-to-back tenement house which didn’t even have running water. ‘You guys can’t sleep together here Kathy,’ he warned me. ‘You and Lotta will have to share and I’ll go in with Jimi.’ I think Lotta must have imagined I was going to rape her because she climbed into bed with all her clothes on, although, of course it might just have been because of the cold. Chas made us sternly vow never to tell anyone that he had slept with Jimi Hendrix. ‘Of course not,’ we promised.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played at Kirk Levington near Middlesbrough on the 15th January 1967. This was their first show in the north east. After the show the whole band headed up to Newcastle and spent the night at Chas Chandlers flat (his mother's flat) in Heaton. Noel Reading said in a letter to Caesar Glebbeck in November 1988 that they had "stayed up all night drinking". Thankyou to Caesar Glebbeck for this information.

Noel Redding says in his book "Are You Experienced" that after their gig at the Imperial Hotel in Darlington on 2nd February 1967 they headed up to Newcastle to attend a party with the Moody Blues at the Club A Go Go. The Moody Blues had been playing at the nearby club La Dolce Vita.  The act at the Club A Gogo that night was Alexis Korner.  John Wood (drummer with local band the Junco Partners) was also at the Club A Gogo that night and remembers Hendrix being there “I saw him once relaxing in the Club A’Gogo in Newcastle. The DJ was trying to get him to play with Alexis Korner who was on stage but he said he was shattered and couldn’t play."

  
Advertisements in the Evening Chronicle 2nd February 1967.


Page from the Evening Chronicle 2nd February 1967.

Ian Currie remembers Jimi turning up at a party at his home in Jesmond on 2nd February 1967, presumably after the Alexis Korner show at the Club A Gogo. Ian's mother and sister Sonia both worked at La Dolce Vita and often brought friends and celebrities back to their flat at 72 Fern Avenue after work. Ian was twelve at the time. These are his words from the "North East Music History" blog.....

"I would often use the excuse of not being able to sleep to get up and see what was happening. One such occasion, in February 1967 I believe, I was woken up to hear loud partying going on. I was very interested in music myself, and had been bought my first electric guitar, a Futurama 3 and a Vox Domino amplifier the previous year. Although I hadn’t realised it at the time, this guitar was not particularly easy to play. I investigated the commotion in the living room, full of people laughing and drinking. Sitting in an armchair was Jimi Hendrix who I immediately recognised from the TV! I was very impressed, but a bit overwhelmed, as was he, with the party-goers ‘thrusting’ my Futurama guitar at him requesting, “Play something Jimi, play something.” He was attempting to oblige but although the instrument may have somewhat resembled a Fender Strat, this guitar certainly was NOT that! I have to admit that I was slightly disgruntled to see my prize possession being used without my permission. Bloody cheek!

Jimi seemed very quiet, with a calm aura about him. He was dressed in military attire, but I’m not sure if it was just the jacket or military trousers as well. I went to the bedroom to dig out the latest gadget I’d bought that weekend at the joke shop. It was a particularly nasty joke that consisted of a grey plastic playing card box, with a card glued on the cover with a raunchy looking lady on it, but inside was a coil and battery, which when the trick pack was opened, delivered a nasty shock. I hated it! I returned to the living room to give Jimi a look at it. And duly electrocuted him! He seemed to take the joke quite well, but I can’t believe now that I actually did it! I think the trick then went on to do the rounds at the party. On reflection, did this occurrence influence the title of his 1968 album, ‘Electric Ladyland’?

I heard an additional tale about this night, which is that in my sister’s room upstairs - the front attic, The Moody Blues and a few others had locked themselves in, and were smoking a particular substance. Apparently, and I believe this to be true, Jimi was knocking to be let in and The Moody Blues and several other people were laughing away at the fact they weren’t letting him in!"


 

The Busking Rumour
 

An article in the Evening Chronicle in March 2007 suggested that during one of his visits to Newcastle Jimi may have gone busking on Chillingham Road in Heaton.  Chillingham road is not far from Chas' mothers flat on Second Avenue. This article started a rumour which has been repeated several times since then in the Evening Chronicle and has spread  to various websites and even cropped up in books and on local radio. This rumour is completely false!  Jimi was a rising star in January 1967 and his schedule was hectic. He was far too busy to take time out for busking and certainly did not need to do so for the money as the only times he was in the region were when  he was being paid to play a show at a local venue.

The rumour was started by Norman Baker a local man man who enjoyed a joke and who had said it in jest to a journalist at the Evening Chronicle.  It was then published and the rumour spread from there. Norman sadly passed away in 2014 but I am sure he would have enjoyed many a chuckle to himself when his tale kept cropping up in the media.   Although the story is false it does make a fun bit of local folklore.

 

 

 

Further Reading
 

The article about Jimi's Newcastle beginnings and the start of the busking rumour in the Evening Chronicle  here

The article that mentions Jimi coming to Newcastle in January 1967 and also talks about the City Hall gig in December 1967 can be found here

You can read an (almost) complete itinerary with day by day photos from Jimis arrival in the UK in 1966 through to the end of 1967 on Ben Valkoffs excellent site here
 

www.hendrixnortheast.co.uk