Name : Saul Davies of James
Band : The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Venue : Isle of Wight Festival, 1970
“I had hippy parents who took me to the Isle of Wight when I was five, and bloody good it was too! I remember waking up in the middle of the night, my parents screaming at me “Shut up, it’s Hendrix” I think we were probably a long way away from him. I think everyone was. I don’t think they had PAs in those days, did they?
We went in a Land Rover, and I remember getting my finger stuck in the window. A little stopper had come out and I stuck my finger in the hole. Some hippies had to give us some cold chips, which my mother rubbed all over me to get my finger out of this hole. And I got my parents busted. They were passing pills to someone. The police saw this happen and went up to them and asked ‘Did you pass pills to that person?’ They were denying it and I said ‘He did’ and they got carted off!
What happened to me? I’m not telling you. But it was 1970 and we lived in a virtual commune at the time. There were lots of surrogate mothers and fathers around. Anyway, they didn’t get into serious shit. Not sure what it was they had, but it obviously wasn’t too offensive or appalling.
I hadn’t seen so many people in one place before, and not since. It was just overwhelming. I can remember bits of Hendrix, the bloke with the flute – Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull – and bits of The Who. It was an amazing line-up and great fun as a kid to be at something like that, getting covered in mud and doing all the things that I’ll be doing at festivals this summer.
I found out years later that our manager, Peter Rudge, was actually on stage standing behind Hendrix’s amps. He was up there as a young, svelte thing holding onto the back of Hendrix’s amps and stopping them falling over. He’d taken The Who there; he was their tour manager or something. He was almost a hero in his own right, even in those days.
I can remember what I was wearing, and I remember that it all became floor cloths afterwards. My salmon pink flares with satin stars that my mother had sewn into them. Bitch! She was determined to make hippies out of us! I think it worked for a bit, but by the time we got to 1973, we were all disillusioned.
We play a lot of festivals now, and it’s really easy to just become the ligger backstage, closeted in your little, relatively warm, safe, not-so-muddy environment. But we do enjoy playing the big festivals because we can get out there and do the simple things that punters do – just watch bands and not get hassled.”