The hey-joe jimi hendrix faq (part 1) Extracts from hey-joe mail up to 15-Feb-95

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- 19 Apr 93]
I read an article in the paper yesterday that said the Al Hendrix is suing to

get the rights back to Jimi's music. The AP story is probably longer. This

article said he was suing Leo Brandon and "other defendants--the several

companies that hold the rights to Hendrix products."

A judge "froze" any "substantial assets" of Brandon. The article also said

the judge "blocked several corporations from selling or transferring Jimi

Hendrix master tapes." The trial is set for June.
I've been hoping that with the sale of the rights to Hendrix's music, we'd

see some genuinely new releases. The remastered CDs were nice, but nothing

new. However, I've always thought Hendrix's father probably was screwed

(just as Noel and Mitch probably were). If it means he will get something

more, I'm willing to wait.
[Bill B - 10 Jan 94]
As Bill says, Al is suing his old lawyers to try and regain control of the

Hendrix catalog, which his lawyers had sold off. Al claims he wasn't really

aware of what was going on, and didn't approve of the sales. The lawyers (the

Brandons, etc) counter it was no secret, he signed papers, etc, and that they

served Al well, making him a wealthy man despite starting with little estate

The article doesn't discuss the legal battle much as it was just started

(papers filed) and of course Al's new lawyers advised him not to discuss the

case. The article thus follows Al to Jimi's grave to place flowers (there's a

photo of this), and the estrangement of Al and son Leon (Jimi's brother).

Leon is a described as a bit of a wheeler-dealer...anything to make a buck

from the Hendrix name, etc. Not much meat to the article, but it was kind of

interesting....shows how everyone is scrambling after more money.

[Mr. Scott Hannon - 11 Jan 94]


|From: The West Australian - Friday, March 11, 1994:




|A Swedish man, who says he is the son of Jimi Hendrix, is suing for part of

|the late rocker's estate. James Sunquist, 25, filed the lawsuit this week in

|Los Angeles Superior Court against James "Al" Hendrix, the rocker's father.

|The Hendrix legacy is reported to be worth tens of millions of dollars and

|rights to it are fragmented among several record and publishing companies.

|The lawsuit alleges that Al Hendrix and his lawyers concealed Sunquist's

|right to a share of the estate of Jimi Hendrix, who electrified Woodstock in

|1969 with songs such as All Along The Watchtower. Sunquist claims to be the

|offspring of a 1969 union between Jimi Hendrix and Eva Sundquist while

|Hendrix was on tour in Stockholm. A Swedish court in 1975 upheld his claim,

|he said.

| -----

|An interesting point was the way they said that Jimi played All Along The

|Watchtower at Woodstock, which he didn't! I supposed we can't expect them to

|get everything right though :)


|[Greg O'Beirne - 15 Mar 94]


|This crossed my desk today at work. I thought you all might be interested.



|James Hendrix, etc.


|James A. Hendrix, et al


|Complaint for fraud, concealment, declaratory judgment, imposition of

|constructive trust and accounting.


|Plaintiff James Hendrix aka Jimi Hendrix, Jr. aka James Henrik Daniel

|Sundquist hereby complains and alleges as follows:




|Plaintiff James Hendrix aka Jimi Hendrix, Jr. aka James Henrik Daniel

|Sundquist("plaintiff" "Jimi Jr.") is, and at all relevant times was, a

|citizen of Sweden, presently maintaining a residence in Los Angeles,

|California. Plaintiff is the child and offspring of the renowned guitarist,

|singer and composer, James Marshall Hendrix aka Jimi Hendrix, now deceased

|("Jimi Hendrix" or "Jimi Sr."....)


|Plaintiff is the Son of Jimi Hendrix


|In or around 1968, while on tour in Stockholm, Sweden with his band, the Jimi

|Hendrix Experience, Jimi Hendrix met Eva Sundquist, a Swedish woman, while

|riding a local tram. A friendship developed between them and they continued

|to communicate with each other after Jimi Hendrix left Stockholm.


|In January 1969, Jimi Hendrix returned to Stockhom with his band to perform

|in concert. Jimi Hendrix had previously told Eva Sundquist that he intended

|to return to Stockholm in January 1969 and she anxiously awaited his return.

|Upon his arrival, she sent him flowers, met with him backstage after his

|concert performance, and met him again at his hotel.


|On January 9 and 10, 1969, Jimi Hendrix engaged in sexual intercourse with

|Eva Sundquist at the Carlton Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Nine months later,

|on October 5, 1969, plaintiff Jimi Jr. was born to Eva Sundquist and Jimi

|Hendrix in Stockholm, Sweden, bearing a striking resemblance to his father.


|Eva Sundquist immediately advised Jimi Hendrix of her pregnancy and

|subsequently of the birth of Jimi Jr. Jimi Hendrix told Eva Sundquist that he

|expected to return to Stockholm in 1970 and he looked forward to seeing his

|son at that time. When Jimi Hendrix returned to Stockhom in early in 1970, he

|met Eva Sundquist backstage after his concert performance, and mistakenly

|believed that another fair-skinned black child also backstage was his son,

|stating, "This must be my son."....


|In a contested paternity proceeding commenced in Sweden Eva Sundquist

|following Jimi Hendrix's death, the trial court on December 18. 1975, in a

|decision subsequently upheld by the Swedish Court of Appeal and the Supreme

|Court of Sweden, affirmatively held and established plaintiff Jimi Jr. to be

|the natural born child and offspring of Jimi Hendrix.....


|(Jimi Jr. is now suing basically to get a piece of the pie Al Hendrix, Jimi's

|father, allegedly kept from him)


|Wonder if the kid plays left-handed?


|[ - Jun 94]


|Here is the text of the article published in the Sydney Morning Herald (July

|19th, 1994) regarding Jimi Hendrix's son's claims on his father's estate. It

|was written by Alix Sharkey, and the caption at the end of the article

|suggests it was published in The Guardian (England) recently:




|[After a bizarre childhood, the son of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix may finally

|inherit a share of a fortune worth more than $100 million.]


| When he walked through the door, it was like seeing a ghost. He had his

|father's features the high broad cheekbones, the bee-stung lips, the shock of

|frizzy black hair. His unnatural height and the way he moved, as he walked

|behind a low wall in the hotel lobby, made it look as if he was hovering

|above the floor. A question flickered across my mind. He looked so pretty -

|could this be him? Or was this some half-sister, as yet unheard of? For what

|seemed like forever I stood gawping as this androgynous creature approached

|our table. Finally, he offered me a long, bony hand.

| "Hi, I'm Jimi." "Yes, I know." It was obvious. He looked just like him

|except he was far more effeminate than I had expected. He had an awkward

|pigeon-toed kind of elegance. When he spoke, the soft lisp, the lilt and sigh

|in his voice, immediately evoked his father's diction, familiar from vintage

|TV clips and live recordings. The physical and behavioural similarities are

|uncanny, according to Alan Douglas, Hendrix's record producer and one of his

|closest friends during the last 18 months of his life.

| "Yeah, he's Jimi's son," says Douglas. "There's no question about it. I

|loved Jimi Hendrix; he was like my little brother. And when I saw that young

|man it was just...very emotional. I didn't expect it. I mean, he walks like

|him, he talks like him. The only difference is how tall he is. But he has

|Jimi's behaviour, his demeanour, exactly." Such father-son resemblance is

|usually a source of gratification, but not for Jimi Hendrix junior. He has

|endured all the psychological problems that come with the territory - the

|constant comparisons, the self-doubt, the sense of loss - while enjoying none

|of the benefits. Despite the fact that his genetic lineage is strikingly

|self-evident, and two court rulings confirmed his parentage, Jimi Hendrix

|junior, the sole son and heir, has never seen a penny of the vast wealth

|generated by his late father's recordings.

| Now, aged 24, he has started legal proceedings to recover his inheritance.

|At stake are the Hendrix assets, and royalties from the entire back catalogue,

|including unreleased and incomplete material, with an estimated value in the

|region of $US75 million ($A102 million). The contest is likely to be lengthy

|and bitter, and will involve two corporate juggernauts, Microsoft and

|Matsushita both determined to acquire the distribution and marketing rights.

|Caught in the middle are Jimi jnr, his mother, and the man who has

|continually stood between him and his birthright: James A. Hendrix, his


| Jimi Hendrix junior was born James Henrik Daniel Sundquist in Stockholm on

|October 5, 1969. His mother, a graduate in Nordic languages called Eva

|Sundquist refused to give his father's name on the birth certificate. She

|told Swedish child-care authorities that he was a famous American, but

|nothing more. On September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix asphyxiated after taking an

|overdose of sleeping pills in London. It was only after Hendrix's death that

|Eva claimed the child was his. She later told a British court that she "did

|not want to subject Jimi Hendrix to the inconvenience that the determination

|of paternity would have entailed". If so, her courtesy has proved costly.

| When Jimi Hendrix died, aged 27, he left behind his own considerable legend,

|a revolutionary guitar technique that still defies codification and copyists,

|a small personal fortune, a messy personal life and a complex tangle of

|business affairs. Lawyers began a probate of the estate, establishing the

|status and value of assets, so that they could be fairly distributed.

|Hendrix's father, James A. Hendrix, known as Al laid claim to the estate as

|the closest surviving relative. But first, all outstanding claims had to be


| At this point, according to Alan Douglas, who has handled the distribution

|and marketing of the Hendrix back catalogue since 1983, Eva Sundquist wrote

|repeatedly to Al Hendrix, asking that he acknowledge her son - his grandson -

|so that he could benefit from a share in the assets. Al Hendrix, through his

|lawyer, Leo Branton, refused. Eva, who was bringing up James on welfare

|payments, got legal aid and took the matter to court. Al Hendrix contested

|the suit.

| In December 1975, on the basis of blood group, obstetric and circumstantial

|evidence, the court ruled in her favour. Al Hendrix appealed; the case was

|referred to the Swedish Supreme Court.

| Eva's testimony makes poignant reading. She first saw Hendrix in May 1967:

|they exchanged glances as she alighted from a streetcar and he boarded it. A

|few days later they met again, in the same part of Stockholm. Hendrix was on

|his first European tour; she "had no idea who he was". Later she found out,

|and sent him a rose and a love letter before watching him perform. She says

|he dedicated the concert to her.

| Eva, a student in her late teens, developed a crush on the guitarist. But

|it seems unlikely that Hendrix, rapidly becoming one of the world's biggest-

|selling and highest-paid rock artists, gave her much thought. Her letters

|went unanswered, though she claimed, rather pathetically, that "he mentioned

|her name and related information in radio programs". Whatever, despite a

|brief meeting in 1968, it was not until January 10, 1969, that they first

|spent the night together in a Stockholm hotel. A month later, Eva learned she

|was pregnant.

| In August 1977, the Supreme Court upheld her claim on behalf of her son,

|and denied Al Hendrix leave to appeal. Since she will not talk to the press,

|it is unclear why Eva Sundquist never pressed the Swedish judgment in the US.

|But it seems she was convinced that the American courts would not accept it.

|Al Hendrix claimed in court that the estate was insolvent, so presumably she

|thought there was no money left to fight for, anyway.

| Alan Douglas says the saga of her son's birthright has ruined her health.

|"She's been destroyed by it, totally destroyed. It made her ill, and she has

|never recovered from the whole thing." Certainly, she seems to have developed

|an unhealthy obsession with the guitarist after his death, which she

|projected onto her son.

| Asked when he first learned about his father, Jimi jnr sighs wearily.

|"Maybe about age six, something like that. My mother talked about it a lot,

|almost all the time. She showed me records, played tapes, showed me pictures,

|everything. I started to get tired of my father at an early age, because I

|heard about him all the time. She kept going on about him...In the end,

|instead of talking it over with her, I turned inwards, into myself. I said,

|'Don't tell me any more, I don't want to know about my father'."

| For as long as he can remember, Jimi jnr has felt the oppressive weight of

|his father's legend. Often the circumstances were so bizarre that they might

|strike one as farcical were the situation not so desperately sad. He recalls

|how, as a small boy, both his mother and his uncle gave him toy guitars on

|his birthday. "They wanted me to be like my father. Especially my mother. She

|wanted me to be exactly like him. It was a strange feeling, because the thing

|I wanted to get rid of at home, I also met at school. Everyone kept asking

|about my father, talking about him."

| Jimi jnr was bullied constantly at school because of his father, because of

|his height, and because of his blackness. "It was difficult to face the fact

|that God, my father is up there, I'm here, and my mother keeps on talking

|about my father, and everyone at school is bothering me, and - who am I?'"

|Life as Jimi Hendrix's son must have seemed at times like a living hell.

| He eventually left home and moved in with his grandmother. The change of

|environment has allowed him room to grow, to relax. Until recently, he had no

|ambitions and wanted nothing so much as to be left alone. Most of his time,

|since he left school at 15 has been spent on welfare. He never goes out, he

|says, although he used to enjoy dancing in nightclubs. So how does he spend

|his days? "Oh, shopping, cooking, or listening to music." These days, says

|Jimi jnr, he is proud of his father. He likes his father's music, but it's

|not his favourite kind, he prefers dance music. Recently he appeared wearing

|a feather boa, wrap-around shades and psychedelic-print flares, on a pop

|video for the English group Beautiful People, whose recently released dance

|album, "If '60s Were '9Os", is built around dozens of (licensed) Hendrix

|samples. He and the band's founder member, Duncan Kane have become friends;

|there is a possibility that he may appear on one of the band's recordings.

|"You get the feeling," says Kane, "that Jimi jnr is just starting to express

|himself, and explore his world."

| Meeting Jimi Hendrix jnr for the first time, I was struck by his other-

|worldly presence. But hearing him describe his tortuous childhood, what I

|noticed most was the absence of anger. He tells his tale with a weary

|fatalism, and at times with undisguised sadness.

| So what about the money? When Al Hendrix inherited the assets in the early

|'70s, their value was negligible: freak music was no longer fashionable and

|the estate had a lot of liabilities: claims by the other Jimi Hendrix

|Experience musicians, and the paternity suit by Eva. Having settled (or in

|Jimi jnr's case, dismissed) these, Al Hendrix directed his lawyer, Leo

|Branton to sell the assets, ie, the rights to the Hendrix back catalogue.

|Branton arranged their sale to a Panamanian company called Presentaciones

|Musicales, which he then began to represent. Apparently, he informed Al

|Hendrix of his intention to do this at the time. Presentaciones Musicales

|sold the rights on. The publishing, marketing and distribution rights are now

|split between three companies - Bclla Godiva, the publishing company,

|Interlit, which operates the assets outside America, and Elber, which

|handles them within the US. All three are represented by Alan Douglas's

|company, Are You Experienced?, which oversees production, distribution,

|packaging and everything else concerning the Hendrix assets. Leo Branton, who

|handled the initial sale of the assets for Al Hendrix, is now the lawyer for

|the three companies that own the assets. Last year, he opened negotiations

|with several companies to license these rights. Among the bidders was Paul

|Allen, one of the richest men in America and co-founder of software giant

|Microsoft. But, after consultation with Alan Douglas, Branton sold the rights

|instead to Matsushita, the huge Japanese electronics corporation. The Hendrix

|assets are now worth considerably more than they were in the '70s.

| Shortly after news of Matsushita deal emerged year, Al Hendrix filed a

|against Leo Branton, claiming the original sale was invalid since Branton had

|had a conflict of interest. Alan Douglas believes Al Hendrix has no case.

|"When Leo Branton sold the assets Al Hendrix was a very happy man. He had

|turned them into cash and dispensed with all his liabilities. At that point,

|Leo began representing the people he sold the assets to...But he made it

|known to Al Hendrix that he was going to represent these people, in the

|contract Al Hendrix signed." The lawsuit filed by Al Hendrix against Leo

|Branton alerted Jimi jnr and his representative to the potential value of the


| On March 8, lawyers for Jimi jnr filed two lawsuits in Los Angeles. The

|first seeks a determination that the Swedish paternity ruling is valid, and

|that he is therefore entitled to copyright renewals for all compositions by

|Jimi Hendrix. The second alleges that Al Hendrix and his representatives

|engaged in fraud to deprive Jimi jnr of his rightful legacy and seeks the

|assets of the former estate and a full accounting from those presently

|asserting ownership. The first case is due to start in September.

| Jimi jnr has been instructed by his lawyers not to discuss the case. I

|asked him how he felt about finally getting the money. "Maybe I'll get it,

|maybe not. I don't care too much about it. I don't want to. I have lived this

|long without it, so..." But isn't he angry that he has been cheated? He

|pauses to consider. "I think," he says hesitantly, "I think I deserve it."


|[Peter Lynden

- 16 Aug 94]


|According to the LA Times today Al Hendrix now is able to market his son's

|likeness for posters & shirts or whatever and gets the money except for the

|marketing of record releases. They also said that the case to decide who

|'owns' the right's to Jimi's music is set for June. I wonder who

|is going to win that one.


|[Robert - 13 Aug 94]


|Here is the full text to the Washington Post article (7-Jan-95) concerning

|the alleged Jimi Jr. lawsuit:


| "...A California judge this week threw out a 25-year-old Swedish man's

| lawsuit in which he claimed that he is the rightful heir of legendary

| guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and therefore entitled to millions of dollars in

| song copyright fees and royalties. James Sundquist, aka Jimi Hendrix Jr.,

| had been recognized by Swedish courts as the son of Hendrix by a Swedish

| groupie."


| -Compiled from staff and wire reports by Mary Alma Welch


|[Kevin Bond - 17 Jan 95]



|Don't know what's wrong with the guy. He obviously has some understanding of

|the Jimi recordings that is beyond us mere mortals. In interviews, he talks

|about the recordings as if they were fragile, to be handled with care and

|love, ie "i don't want to just release anything" or "too much" etc etc but

|then when he does release something he does such a terrible job, IMHO.


|[Ajay Khanna - 20 Apr 94]


|I think Hendrix fans are generally too harsh on Alan's not that I

|think he's great, but rather that I don't think he's a villian. His job is to

|make money for those folks who own the rights to Jimi's recordings by

|*preparing commercially viable albums for release*. This means he is going to

|judge Jimi's recordings as fit/unfit for release. (Yeah, his judgement is

|sometimes a bit suspect IMO, but...)


|The concern is simply that an album that is viewed by the record buying

|public (not Hendrix fans) as "weak" will not sell, and is unlikely to attract

|new people to Jimi's music or encourage record company support for more

|Hendrix album projects. A weak album (like _Loose Ends_, _Midnight Lightning_

|or _9 To The Universe_) unleased on the public is likely to hurt future sales;

|if you're not already a fan, you're unlikely to be won over by a weak album.

|If a weak album is a first purchase, it is likely to also to be a last



|Where I think Alan D has failed in the past is in releasing weak albums.

|_Lifelines_ was mind-bogglingly stupid. However, so far the MCA plan looks

|promising. There is one reasonable "best of" CD, the 3 Experience albums

|redone with better packaging, and this new _Blues_ album. I'm not too

|thrilled with the idea of releasing Jimi's show at Woodstock this summer, but

|I'm sure it will sell OK. The plan to redo _The Cry of Love_ and _Rainbow

|Bridge_ as _First Rays..._ next year also seems reasonable.


|[Mr. Scott Hannon

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