EXCLUSIVE: Jimi Hendrix has become an ICM Partners client. The agency has signed Experience Hendrix LLC, the family-owned enterprise that controls the songs and rights of the legendary late guitar player. The agency’s first order of business: to amplify its client’s efforts to produce a feature film chronicling Hendrix’s life story. The film will be the very first to be authorized by and have the full cooperation of Experience Hendrix — and believe me, many actors and film companies will covet that opportunity. The company was founded by the guitarist’s father James “Al” Hendrix and now is helmed by Janie Hendrix, President and CEO and the sister of the guitar great, who died in 1970 after recording just four albums that were enough to make him arguably the greatest rocker to plug a guitar into an amp.
I’ve written numerous times over the years about attempts by the likes of Eddie Murphy and Will Smith to play Hendrix, and most recently Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull, who financed the rock docu It Might Get Loud, commissioned Max Borenstein to write a script, and he and producer Billy Gerber had Anthony Mackie ready to string up the Fender Stratocaster and Paul Greengrass ready to direct him. They dropped the effort when the estate refused to authorize the film and license rights to Hendrix’s signature tunes. OutKast’s Andre 3000 also sparked to playing Hendrix, and when the estate didn’t waver, he and Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley made All Is By My Side anyway. The film, about Hendrix’s formative years, does not feature any songs controlled by the estate. It’s playing at SXSW.
Now the estate is ready to rock and roll on a movie. Songs that will be part of the package include “Foxey Lady,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Purple Haze,” “Voodoo Chile,” “Crosstown Traffic” and scores of other Hendrix signature songs. Very involved will be Janie Hendrix, who is currently handling the annual all-star Experience Hendrix tribute concert tour that this year includes Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Zakk Wylde, Bootsy Collins, Dweezil Zappa, Los Lobos and Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.
“We’re delighted to be associated with ICM Partners on this project that’s been a long time coming,” Janie Hendrix said. “Our concern has always been that any biography of Jimi that employs his music be held to the very highest standard of cinematic excellence. His musical legacy deserves no less. Our partners at ICM are ideal insofar as they completely understand that the use of his music in such a film is a monumental responsibility that will resonate through generations to come as Jimi’s artistry has since the 1960s.”