The Animals played the Monterey Pop Festival. I recently had a conversation with Jim Yester of The Association. We had a fantastic talk about his experience there. What were your memories of that event and your performance? What was running through your head when you witnessed Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar?
Eric Burdon: I thought that the Monterey Pop Festival was one of the most enlightening and enjoyable weekends of my life. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time with Jimi. In fact, we took the same plane over the Atlantic and through New York with Brian Jones. We partied all the way to the West Coast and we partied when we got there. I did see Jimi’s set. In fact, we were all waiting for it to come to the stage because it was Jimi’s first performance in the U.S. for a long time and with the Experience line-up. I spent time with young kids telling them to make sure that they got a good seat to see him because they wouldn’t be disappointed. I was standing right beside the stage when the gasoline was poured over the white Fender. I knew what was going to happen, but it’s a completely different experience when you can feel the heat on your face.
You played at the Newport Pop Festival in 1969 alongside Hendrix. This year, as in every year, more material of his is being released and the conversation continues over his place in rock-n-roll. What are your thoughts on him?
EB: That was a really bad festival. It was not a Monterey or Woodstock, which it was supposed to be. Jimi was not comfortable and he messed up. Actually, the next day he went back to play again for free, just because he wanted to say he had done his best. It took me a long time to realize that the first time I met Jimi, I didn’t even know that we were in the same room. It was backstage at the Paramount Theatre in New York. Jimi was playing guitar for Little Richard. Little Richard was flipping out backstage because he had gone into overtime for his set, which cut into The Animals time. There was this young black kid running around trying to cool him down and I didn’t realize that it was actually Jimi Hendrix. Later, we spent time together in London. He would quite often come over to my apartment and listen to classical music. I wouldn’t say that we were “close”, but we did enjoy some down time away from the madness and I treasure those times we had together. I thought he was a very strange, but beautiful guy.
Source : therfw.com