FEATURE HENDRIX EXHIBITION
Jimi Hendrix was not just an inspiration to musicians worldwide — his appearance and onstage presence were
a godsend to photographers and artists too. As the most comprehensive exhibition of Hendrix images opens in Glasgow, Alastair Mabbott talks to the controversial ALAN DOUGLAS, who has supervised the Hendrix legacy since the guitarist’s death.
ou know. Jimi has a very young audience and a very new audience. They did an analysis last year. a market research report. and it showed that over ()0 per cent of his audience is under 2] years old.‘
Unlikely as that may sound. the man who’s telling me should know. Alan Douglas. veteran jazz producer (‘I got into it by accident. like most people. but I can‘t remember now exactly what the accident was‘). oversaw the maestro’s jams with jazzers such as John McLaughlin. produced Band Of Gypsies. was responsible for the posthumous albums Crash Landing and Midnight Lightnin' and now acts as curator to the Hendrix legend. ‘The estate doesn’t exist any more.’ he says. ‘lt’s long been dissolved. There are private owners of Jimi Hendrix assets and I work for them. essentially. supervising all of the activities.‘ In addition to the above. he also has around 25 concert movies in his catalogue. by artists ranging from Muddy Waters to The Rolling Stones.
Right now. he‘s in Britain to talk about the exhibition of Hendrix photos and artwork that’s opening this month. devised by rock photographer Adrian Boot. The Glasgow exhibition is. in fact. only one of six identical set-ups which have been touring Europe since last October. True to the form of one who has control over the Hendrix catalogue. Douglas sees them as ‘a support system for Jimi’s records‘ — to the extent that a new ‘best of’ compilation. The Ultimate Experience. was released the month the exhibition first opened in London, with artwork that duplicated its poster.
But then Douglas‘s attitude towards
the legacy has always been controversial: his first act after
Hendrix‘s death was to plough through the miles of tape ofjam sessions and rough songs. erasing the other players and adding contributions by session musicians. His next move is likely to ruffle a few feathers too. A new
10 The List 18 June—l July I993
version of Are You Experienced is planned. puffed up to seventeen tracks and repackaged with a new. ‘colourised’ Gered Mankowitz photograph.
‘lt‘s time to contemporise the music in the marketing sense.’ he continues. referring back to that 60 per cent of under-21s. ‘to package it in a way that attracts the young audience that he has.‘
Douglas says that this exhibition is the first significant collection of Hendrix visuals that has been publicly displayed. It includes _ -. .-‘ not only on- and off-stage . photos by some of the era‘s most notable snappers — including Dezo Hoffman and Jim Marshall — but concert posters and computer- created images from current talents like lan Wright. Richard Baker and Bruno Tilley. Part of Douglas’s drive to ‘contemporise”?
‘Those were people who knew we were doing the exhibition and wanted to make a contribution. We have lots of those in the show now. The show keeps evolving because artists who were inspired by Jimi Hendrix continue to create new pieces.‘
Many ()Os icons continue to exert that kind of fascination on artists: Jim Morrison. John Lennon. Dylan . . . but Alan Douglas has never heard any rock star before or since who has gripped his imagination like Hendrix.
‘No.’ he replies. flatly. ‘That’s why I still work with Jimi Hendrix’s music. I don’t think there’s been anybody yet who’s been able to advance the music beyond where he took it.’
Not that this by any means depresses him:
‘No. I’m patient. The man will come one day and I hope I‘m here to hear him.’ C] The Jimi Hendrix Exhibition runs front 26 June until 8 August at The Arches. Glasgow.