×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Jimi Hendrix Biopic Experience: Perpetual Haze

'All Is By My Side' treads careful path on rights issues, real-life personalities

The road to mounting a Jimi Hendrix biopic has been long and winding, frequently stalled by the roadblock that stood in the way — Experience Hendrix LLC, the estate’s tightly controlled rights and marketing organization, whose CEO is Janie Hendrix, the adopted daughter of Hendrix’s late father — without whose cooperation no Hendrix-penned music can be used in a film.

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

“All Is By My Side,” shot last summer in Ireland and current in post, is doing exactly that. With Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) starring as Hendrix, Hayley Atwell as his live-in London love Kathy Etchingham and Imogen Poots as Linda Keith, the film focuses on Hendrix’s pre-stardom period in swinging London. The biopic has not received permission from the Hendrix estate to use any of  his music, and some of the guitarist’s associates are fuming that they were left out of the loop.

With the help of music supervisor Danny Bramson, who is also a producer, the film is using its cover as an origins story to feature music not written by Hendrix but rather songs by artists including the Beatles, Muddy Waters and Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”), which Benjamin has recorded for the soundtrack.

You won’t be hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” in this film, and the woman for whom that song was written, Etchingham, is not pleased by the prospect of the film’s release or about how she is portrayed in it. She said she was not consulted about the storyline.

Etchingham said she contacted the filmmakers and offered help but did not get a reply. “I later read in the Independent that Hayley Atwell was playing my character and that I would be portrayed as a ‘wild child’ who swore in every line. I felt that it would not be an accurate portrayal.”

The article she cites describes Atwell’s account of the movie, in which she commented on playing Etchingham as a working-class Mancunian who was a “chain-smoking wild child” with a “tempestuous relationship with Jimi.”

Etchingham’s reaction: “Firstly, I am not from Manchester. I am actually Irish … my father’s family were prosperous Irish landowners and owned property in Dublin and Wexford. They could not be described as working-class. I am not prone to swear all the time. I was not a ‘wild child’ like other ‘rock chicks.’ My friends used to tell me how sensible I was.

“I don’t know where the screenwriter got this misinformation from. I’m sure a good film could be done about his London days, but it would probably be better in collaboration with people who actually knew Jimi personally, like me and Roger Mayer, Madeline Bell, etc.”

Mayer, the former British Navy engineer and close Hendrix personal friend who has been credited with co-creating the guitarist’s signature sound, noted that scenes in the film seem to depict Hendrix as a domestic abuser. “It seems these naughty filmmakers haven’t researched anything properly,” he said.

It has been 43 years since Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27. To date, only documentaries, such as 1973’s “Jimi Hendrix,” which features the real personalities and live performances of the people in Hendrix’s life, including his father, Al Hendrix, Mick Jagger, bassist Billy Cox and Eric Clapton, have been produced.

Laurence Fishburne was close to mounting a biopic in 1993 based on the David Henderson biography, “‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky” with himself in the title role. But since he could not use Hendrix’s music, the pic never got made. Since then, prospective projects featuring Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and even Prince have failed to cohere.

The most recent project to have tried and failed was a Legendary Pictures effort in 2011 with director Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) attached. But because the estate would not give Legendary topper Thomas Tull its blessing to use Hendrix songs such as “Foxy Lady,” “Voodoo Child” and “Purple Haze,” Tull opted not to proceed.

Janie Hendrix had this to say at the time: “When we do the Jimi Hendrix feature film bio, we will be involved and in control from the beginning.”

Representatives from Experience Hendrix did not respond to requests for comment.

More Music

  • Dimitri Vegas

    Dimitri Vegas Talks 'Rambo V: Last Blood' Role, Working With Sylvester Stallone

    Dimitri Thivaios, better known as dance music’s Dimitri Vegas, is taking his skills beyond the DJ booth, picking up a major film role in the forthcoming “Rambo V: Last Blood.” The Belgium-born Thivaios, who headlines massive EDM festivals like Tomorrowland with his brother Michael (they perform under the banner Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike), has [...]

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

  • Madonna Eurovision Song Contest, Tel Aviv,

    Madonna at Eurovision in Tel Aviv: 'Never Underestimate the Power of Music'

    Madonna took the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on Saturday night (May 18). The appearance comes ahead of the release of her forthcoming album “Madame X,” due out on June 14. Following performances from Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel and 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, who sang her latest single “Nana Banana,” [...]

  • WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 16:

    On the Scene at Pollstar's Impact 50 Party With Agents for Billy Joel, Ed Sheeran, More

    Oak View Group co-founders Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff were among the luminaries on hand to mark Pollstar’s inaugural Impact 50 list recognizing the executives shaping the present and future of the live concert industry. Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino was named “Most Impactful” on the list. The event was held on May 16 high [...]

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 17:

    Concert Review: Janet Jackson Dances Back in Top Form at Vegas Residency Opening

    Here is something you’d place a bet on after seeing Janet Jackson’s new Las Vegas residency: She has been putting in a lot of hours on the treadmill. Not that we get to see how well-toned she is or isn’t, since she’s practically overdressed for the occasion, compared to the other superstar divas who come [...]

  • 'Parallel Love: A Band Called Luxury'

    Film Review: 'Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury'

    There’s an interesting story — or a couple of them — itching to get out of “Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury,” a documentary about a struggling ‘90s indie-rock group from the South that soldiered on before and after three of its members became Orthodox priests. Who could resist the story of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content