WHEN YOU PUT TOGETHER A SONG, DOESit just come to you, or is it a process where you sit down with your guitar?
The music I might hear, I can’t get on the guitar. It’s a thing of just laying around daydreaming or something. You’re hearing all this music, and you just can’t get it on the guitar. As a matter of fact, if you pick up your guitar and just try to play, it spoils the whole thing. I can’t play the guitar that well to get all this music together, so I just lay around.
For your own musical kicks, where’s the best place to play?
I like after-hour jams at a small club. Then you get another feeling. You get off in another way with all those people there. You get another feeling, and you mix it in with something else that you get. It’s not the spotlights—it’s just the people.
How are those two experiences different?
I get more of a dreamy thing from the audience. It’s more of a thing that you go up into. You get into such a pitch sometimes that you forget about the audience, but you also forget about all the paranoia— that thing where you’re saying, “Oh, gosh, I’m onstage—what am I going to do now?” Then you go into this other thing, and it turns out to be almost like a play in certain ways.
Which musicians do you go out of your way to hear?
Nina Simone and Mountain. I dig them.
Do you dig parodies like the Masked Marauders or the English radio program, The Goon Show?
I never heard it. I heard about it. The Fugs—they’re good. I’ve heard they don’t have The Goon Show over here. They’re the funniest things I’ve ever heard— besides Pinkie Lee. Remember Pinkie Lee? They were like a classic of a whole lot of Pinkie Lees put together, and just flip them out together.
You were a Pinkie Lee fan?
I used to be. I used to wear white socks.
Have movie people tried to lure you into films by saying you’d be a hell of a gunslinger or an astronaut?
An astronaut! No, well, you know— I’m trying to get the guitar together really.
Ever think about getting other guitar players into your trip?
Oh, yeah. I heard Duane Eddy came into town this morning [laughs]. He was groovy.
Have you played with people like Roland Kirk?
Oh yeah, I had a jam with him at Ronnie Scott’s in London, and I really got off. It was great. It was really great. I was so scared! It’s really funny—I mean Roland, that cat gets all those sounds. I might just hit one note, and it might be interfering, but we got along great, I thought. He told me I should have turned it up.
Have you jammed with Larry Coryell, Sonny Sharrock, and people like that?
Larry and I had like swift jams down at The Scene, but I haven’t had a chance to really play with him. I sort of miss that. Who’s the other guy? I think I’ve heard some of his things.
Sonny Sharrock? He’s all over the guitar. Sometimes, it sounds like it’s not too orderly.
Sounds like someone we know, huh [laughs]?
[Excerpted from a 1970 John Burks interview with Jimi Hendrix that was published in Guitar Player's Hendrix Special, 1975]