Ritchie Blackmore on Jeff Beck & Jimi Hendrix: “I always thought of Jimi Hendrix as ‘the wild man of Borneo,’ and there he is, fixing his hair in the mirror”

full in bloom: In April, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was a guest DJ on SiriusXM’s Guitar Greats.

Ritchie Blackmore on Jimi Hendrix via SiriuxXM’s Guitar Greats:

Ritchie Blackmore:

When Jimi Hendrix came to England, Jeff Beck came up to me and said, ‘Ritchie, we’ve got to do something about this guy,’ and I said, ‘Who are you talking about?’ He said: ‘Jimi Hendrix. He’s killing everybody over here. He’s upsetting everybody.’ I’m like, ‘Well Jeff, if you can’t do it, nobody else is going to do it’ because I always thought of Jeff as being the best rock player.

I followed Hendrix because I thought the way he used riffs in a riff, it had magical moments. Brilliant guitar player and he also looked like he was from the moon. Really, in a way, he didn’t have to play the guitar because he looked so strange and different to the typical English musician, and it worked. Unfortunately, it only worked for three years, but he certainly set the world alight.

I only met him once. It was in the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, and I was going into the toilet and he was playing with his hair or something. I always thought of Jimi Hendrix as ‘the wild man of Borneo,’ and there he is, fixing his hair in the mirror. That was the only time I met him and we kind of nodded to each other and that was it. So I never really got to know him, yet he certainly set the world on fire.

Jeff Beck on Jimi Hendrix via Classic Rock:

Jeff Beck:

When I saw Jimi we knew he was going to be trouble. And by ‘we’ I mean me and Eric [Clapton], because Jimmy [Page] wasn’t in the frame at that point. I saw him at one of his earliest performances in Britain, and it was quite devastating. He did all the dirty tricks – setting fire to his guitar, doing swoops up and down his neck, all the great showmanship to put the final nail in our coffin. I had the same temperament as Hendrix in terms of ‘I’ll kill you’, but he did in such a good package with beautiful songs.

Reporters got the number of my flat the day he died. I was suicidal at the time, because my girlfriend had dumped me. And to have to the deal with a call saying “Jimi Hendrix is dead. How do you feel about that?” At first I thought it was a bloody hoax, but as the day wore on I realized it was tragically true.