After a prolific 2010 that continues with the "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology" box set out this week, the family-run Experience Hendrix label has a more modest, but no less impactful blueprint for the next couple of years.
"This year has been very special because it marked the 40th anniversary of (Hendrix's) passing," Janie Hendrix, the rock icon's sister and Experience Hendrix president and CEO, tells Billboard.com. The company started with the March release of the rarities set "Valleys of Neptune" and continues with "West Coast Seattle Boy," which features four discs of unreleased material and alternate takes, including a full disc of pre-Experience tracks recorded with Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, Don Covay and others.
The box also includes the documentary "Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child," narrated by Bootsy Collins. Deluxe editions of "Jimi Hendrix Experience: BBC Sessions," "Jimi Hendrix: Blues" and "Live at Woodstock" and the holiday EP "Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year," are coming out the same day as well. Next year will bring a documentary about Hendrix's 1969 concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, "homecoming" shows of a sort since he launched the Experience in England.
"It's kind of a day in the life of Jimi, how we put it together," Hendrix says of the project, which has been two years in the making. "There were about four cameras that followed Jimi and the guys around in Europe and filmed the two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as them coming off trains, planes and automobiles, signing autographs, Jimi backstage getting ready, in his apartment doing little apartment jams with his friends and then later playing the Speakeasy. It's not an actor playing Jimi; it's Jimi, and he really does forget the cameras are rolling and you see those sides of him, the stage and the sweetness with different girlfriends -- there's several that are in the film -- and how he was around friends and how he was really into listening to the (tape of) the night before's performance."
Hendrix says she hopes to release the Albert Hall documentary theatrically and possibly as a pay-per-view TV offering in addition to DVD. There will also be a companion soundtrack album of live performances from the show. Meanwhile, what would have been Jimi Hendrix's 70th birthday in 2012 will be commemorated by a film of his performance at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, culled from recently unearthed "pristine" footage from the show.
Experience Hendrix is also working with Stephen Stills on a collection of recordings he made with Hendrix, but Janie Hendrix says the company is letting Stills take the lead on that project. "That's really his project," she says. "We worked with Stephen in pulling the tapes that had Jimi and Stephen on them. Rumor has it that he's back to working on them, but that's really going to be (Stills') project. He's putting that out, but we're doing what we can to help."
The Experience Hendrix Tour 2010 is in the midst of its second leg, with Steve Vai, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Living Colour, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Ernie Isley, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and more joining longtime Hendrix friend and latter-day bassist Billy Cox. The tour wraps up Nov. 20 in Indianapolis.