When the entertainment media started reporting that a Jimi Hendrix biopic was in the works, I got super excited. I’m a huge fan of Hendrix. I’m also a fan of the biopic genre of film. This Andre Benjamin guy (stage name “Andre 3000″) from the hip-hop group OutKast, has been cast as Jimi. I don’t know much about Andre, but from what I’ve read he has great passion for the role and is very dedicated to the project. But now the film has hit a significant speed bump. It seems that the Hendrix Estate is refusing to support the film and will not grant licensing rights for use of Hendrix’s recordings. In other words, the film will have no authentic Hendrix music – not his voice, not his guitar. The filmmakers will have to rely on covers. For an artist as original and distinctive as Jimi Hendrix, that could affect the quality of the film. I mean, who is going to replicate the guitar parts? Can they hire Jimmy Page to do it? And any song written by Hendrix himself cannot be used, cover or not. That means, for example, no Voodoo Child, and no Purple Haze. Pretty disappointing.
I’m not sure what to make of all this. If the Hendrix Estate feels they have been denied a voice in the film’s production, then I suppose that’s a legitimate objection. On the other hand, the Hendrix Estate has a well-known history of being difficult to deal with. But unless the film’s producers are planning a defamatory portrayal of Hendrix, which they’re not, I don’t see what the problem could be. Oh well. We’ll see what happens.
For Music Monday, here is one of my favorite Hendrix recordings. This is Little Wing . . . “butterflies and zebras and moonbeams . . .”