ANDY SUMMERS ON JIMI HENDRIX

ANDY SUMMERS ON JIMI HENDRIX

Andy Summers has enjoyed a long and varied musical career beginning in the `60s with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, Dantalion's Chariot, Soft Machine and Eric Burdon And The Animals. In the early `70s Andy studied classical guitar at the University Of California then returned to the UK where he played with Kevin Coyne and then Kevin Ayers. Andy found fame and fortune in the late `70s and early `80s with the Police who sold over 75 million albums worldwide. Since the Police split up in the mid `80s, Andy has balanced his creative talents between music, painting and photography. His latest release is a solo album entitled `Synaesthesia' (1995).

Whilst playing in Zoot Money's Big Roll Band Andy was thought to have jammed with Jimi Hendrix during his first day in London, Saturday 24 September 1966, at Zoot Money's house, 11 Gunterstone Road, Fulham.

UniVibes: Did you jam with Jimi Hendrix on his first day in London?
Andy Summers: Not on his first day - actually, no. I used to see him around `cause I was very connected with all the people at the time. I actually jammed with him once in Los Angeles in some studio [T.T.G.], somewhere in Hollywood. Actually, I played lead and he played bass, can you believe! It was weird.

UV: What do you remember about it?
AS: Well, I know what I was doing at the time - I was driving around Hollywood with somebody, hanging around... Like the lout that I was at the time! And I walked into this studio. We knew Jimi was there - I was friends with him and Mitch and Noel. I walked into the control room and he was just... It was quite impressive - he was just leaning against the glass window, he was on the other side, with a cigarette in his mouth and he was just kind of leaning up very laconically, just shredding on his guitar... Pretty amazing! Yeah, I remember the image quite vividly. Anyway, I came in and we sat around for a while then we played for a bit. Noel wasn't there actually - it was Mitch and Jimi.

UV: What did you jam on, can you remember?
AS: Oh, I can't remember! Probably played the blues I would imagine.

UV: There's a story that on his first day in London he went over to Zoot Money's basement.
AS: Right.

UV: And supposedly you were there...
AS: Well, we lived together, yeah.

UV: And then you had a jam along with...
AS: No, I don't think that's true, actually. He was around and he did come over sometimes. I was friends with Chas Chandler who had sort of `discovered' him and brought him over. I remember him calling me and telling me he's got this amazing guy. The first time I actually saw him was... I went down to a place called, I think it was Blaises in the Cromwell Road. It was a club that we all used to go to and I walked in and there he was onstage playing with Brian Auger [possibly Tuesday 29 September 1966]. At the time, of course, it was amazing. He had a white Strat and as I walked in he had it in his mouth and he had a huge afro and he had on a sort of buckskin jacket with fringes that were to the floor, I mean... Yeah, it was intense and it was really great. It kind of turned all the guitarists in London upside down at the time. Yeah, I remember when it all started up.

UV: Have you got any other anecdotes about Jimi at all?
AS: About Jimi? Umm, I dunno... I was involved with a lot of people that were with him, particularly Chas and Mike Jeffery. And then I was in a band called Soft Machine and we had the same manager. So, you know, I saw him in London. I remember going up and sitting in his bedroom with him and sitting on the bed while he played the guitar. And we were all out in LA and then they were all in the house here and I went to that house and then I was in the studio... It was just like we were all around at the same time - we're going back a while now but... You know, I had a girlfriend at the time who was best friends with this girl that he was going out with and... I dunno, it was all just... We were right in the middle of it all and he was one of the figures in this scene at the time.


This interview was originally published in `UniVibes' issue 22, May 1996. UniVibes 1996 - reprinted by permission of UniVibes, International Jimi Hendrix Magazine, Coppeen, Enniskeane, County Cork, Republic Of Ireland