Jimi Hendrix Offed by Manager?

(Jimi Hendrix at The Winterland; both are gone now.)

Jimi Hendrix belongs in the triumvirate of Sixties axe men, along with Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton. His death in Britain, along with Janis Joplin’s in Southern California more than two weeks later, devastated and upset many young fans and observers. We high school students–I was a junior then–heard about both deaths from our assistant principal in an announcement over the campus radio during class time–that’s how important the news was. Never mind that Jimi’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner during the Woodstock concert was banned from our student radio airwaves. He was gone, and we would never see him or his like again.

Over the years, as I have grown older than Hendrix when he died, I have heard some weird and wild conspiracy theories about his death. The CIA whacked him at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover, or for their own reasons. Eric Burdon of the Animals and later War helped bump him off with girlfriend of only a few days Monika Dannemann, who was jealous of him and his women, respectively. The Mafia, the hidden, but ubiquitous entertainment power, was pissed at him and got rid of him because Hendrix built Electric Lady Studios in New York without a by-your-leave.

Now comes another theory posed by a former roadie, James “Tappy” Wright. Wright claims, in a new book, Rock Roadie: Backstage and Confidential with Hendrix, Elvis, The Animals, Tina, that it was former manager Michael Jeffrey, who in a drunken rage, confessed that it was he who offed the famed musician because Jeffrey was afraid that Hendrix was about to get rid of him.

Concerned about losing money if Hendrix replaced him, Tappy claims Jeffrey decided he would make out better financially with Hendrix dead, because he had a $2 million life insurance policy on Hendrix’s life.

“I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I’d lose everything,” quoting Jeffrey in Tappy’s book.

Tappy attributes further quotes to Jeffery confessing to the murder of Hendrix: ‘I was in London the night of Jimi’s death and together with some old friends …we went round to Monika’s hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth …then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe.

Neither Jeffrey or Monika Dannemann are around to refute these claims. Jeffrey died in a plane crash in 1973. Dannemann committed suicide in 1996, after giving several strange versions of what happened over the years. Yet undigested red wine was indeed found in Hendrix’s system during the autopsy. In fact, it was so much red wine, that surgeon John Bannister, the surgeon who attended Hendrix, said he was convinced the rock star had drowned in red wine, despite having very little alcohol in his bloodstream. And Jeffrey was no saint, accused by the Hendrix family and by members of The Animals of cheating them and stashing their royalties into his own offshore accounts.

It’s an interesting thesis, yet I wonder why this guy, Tappy Wright, waited nearly 40 years to tell this story. Why can he talk now, instead of straight after the purported murder, when all the principals were alive? Did Jeffrey threaten him? Was he paid off, and now the money has run out? Was the murder covered up by someone higher and more powerful? The few American blogs or columnists that have picked this up this story are either laughing that a roadie would be privy to this kind of information, or wondering whether money is at the bottom of why Wright is speaking up. It only makes Jimi’s loss, and all the attendant what ifs, even more painful to contemplate. We may never know the truth unless we get some unfiltered answers.

~ by blksista on June 5, 2009.

10 Responses to “Jimi Hendrix Offed by Manager?”

  1. Cordell,
    Where are you? I have been searching for you. e-mail me at jc_nazareth@hotmail.com. Dot from New Orleans. Miss Clem’s grans daughter.


  2. Thank You Adam;feel free to email me if you are interested in this story.


  3. If anyone has contact with Mr Wright please contact me regarding the possibility of an interview for radio broadcast…


  4. There were problems from the very start with only Monika @the inquest.Officer Ian Smith never called for testimony even though he was at the site and saw no one matching her description.Mr Suaua and Mr Jones never called at the inquest–they were the attendants for the ambulance involved.The British inquest was totally inept.One word from any of the principals would have devastated Monika’s testimony and began possibly one of the most devastating trials/lawsuits in entertainment history.For nearly 40 years her testimony has been the only story allowed on Jimi’s death.Can you imagine what would have happenend if Officer Smith or Mr Jones or Mr Suaua were allowed to speak that morning?Let’s face it Jimi’s death is The 911 of Rock–the destruction of it’s most powerful edifice–nothing that exists now would exist(sonically)were it not for pivotal events.There is no statute of limitations on murder.The libel laws in the UK are very strict.There’s more to come.Alittle investigating is all that’s necessary and some of us will be doing more than just watching..


  5. I will pass your message on to him immediately.


  6. Thank you for clarifying all this, Adam. If you are conversant at all with Tappy Wright, thank him from me.


  7. One further quote from James ‘Tappy’ Wright:
    “Noel Redding said publicly that “Jimi’s death was very kind to Mike Jeffrey” – and he certainly came into a lot of money after Jimi’s death. He paid off his back taxes, his debts, gave Al Hendrix $250,000 for Jimi’s share of the Electric Lady studios in New York, bought himself a house in Woodstock, invested a fortune in clubs in Majorca. Where did this come from?”


  8. The comment below is posted on behalf of James ‘Tappy’ Wright author of Rock Roadie – the answers are his words. Check with Borkowski PR in the UK for confirmation.

    “I knew what Mike Jeffrey had done and I kept quiet for all this time because I was terrified. It wasn’t just me and him involved – the Mafia were part of this and Mike owed them money. He was paying out $30,000 a month to pay back the money he’d borrowed – I know this because I drove Bob Levine out to New Jersey to borrow it for him. I was one of his closest employees. If I hadn’t kept quiet, you’d have been reading about me in the obituaries. All this happened in 1973, not 1971 as has been reported, just months before Mike died in a plane crash.

    “I waited to tell the truth because I was scared and there were people still alive who were involved. Some of them could still be alive today. I started to write the book ten years ago because Rod Weinberg told me I had a moral obligation to get the truth out there – he was right, but it would have been suicide not to wait. After talking to Rod I realised that it was my duty to set the record straight. That’s why I started writing the book ten years ago.

    “Mike Jeffrey had Jimi killed because he needed the money. Jimi’s girlfriend Devon tried to take him away from Mike and she died – I believe she was thrown off the roof of the Chelsea Hotel. I don’t think she just fell. If I’d said anything before now, that could have been me.

    “This is not about some broke roadie cashing in on a story. I’m comfortably off. It’s about a moral obligation. Of course I’d like the book to sell, but it’s not about the money. It’s about getting the truth out there. I was Mike Jeffrey’s longest serving employee, right from before The Animals were even called that – there’s no story about Hendrix without the Animals. What happened to Jimi Hendrix is not the only story in the book, but it was important to tell it.

    “I remember all these things happening. I started writing the books ten years ago and I have thought long and hard about getting every memory down. I never took drugs during the 60s – except once, when Eric Burdon spiked me with acid. Girls, yes I slept with a lot of girls. But I never deliberately took drugs. So my memory is damned good and what gaps there were I filled in by talking to all the people who were involved and thinking back on what happened. You look at all the Hendrix books that have come out in the last 40 years and it’s all the same regurgitated shit. I knew the right people to ask and with their help I have remembered most of it.

    “I’ve also been asked to think about the past a lot since those days. The papers in the North East of England come to me regularly for anecdotes when people like Elvis and Ike Turner die – all the people I met and worked with. I have kept the memories alive over the years.”


  9. […] Original post by blksista […]


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