Jimi's Rainbow: Live, From The Asteroid Belt

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The Alcyone Releasing Company was set up to distribute the Antahkarana Production, and over the last 18 months Rainbow Bridge has had spot showings in 15 cities. Reaction has been unusual. In Los Angeles 300 members of the Laguna Mystic Arts Brothers showed up for a screening and cheered and danced through the movie until the end when the cast visits a woman who has been in contact with the Space Brothers. She advises the cast to quit using LSD. The Laguna Arts Brothers jeered and staged a walkout. The next night they picketed the film as being anti-psychedelic drugs, but came in to watch the first 100 minutes, cheered and danced, then walked out again during the last ten. And in Houston, a lightning storm blacked out only the theater at which it was showing.

Now it's playing weekend midnight shows on New York's Upper East Side to mixed responses. (A number of people are miffed by the fact that Hendrix's image doesn't appear on the screen until the second hour.) And the Wizard is in New York, letting himself become unstuck to float back and recall Jimi Hendrix' involvement with Rainbow Bridge and the Space Brothers.

* * *

"Even before Jimi came out to Maui, if you looked at his bookshelf it was Secret Places of the Lion, Spacemen in the Ancient East, Secrets of the Andes, an underlined copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Or look at his early lyrics, like 'Bellybutton Window' where he says,

'I'm looking out my bellybutton
And all I see are frowns,
I guess people don't want me
Well I'm going back to the Spirit
in 200 days,
Give or take a few
And I'm gonna rest up a little
longer before I come down the
chute again,
Because they're still talking about
me from the last time'

Well, that's the most profound statement about incarnation in rock that I've seen.

"When you sat down with him, you didn't have to say, 'Hey, are you into this or that?' His favorite way of communicating was to have you empty your subconscious of astral thought at him. If he thought he could get you into it, he would say to you – 'Hey, have you ever been on a spaceship' – or – 'Hey you must be from Pluto.' Jimi had seen a number of ships. They had a sighting at Woodstock.

"He saw himself as a Gypsy in the Egyptian sense. Pyramidology. As a gypsy prince. He wanted to remove himself from the parochial racial attitudes and stuff like that. He wanted to get behind spiritual black social events, but there were a lot of people hitting on him. Trying to use that. And maybe where they were coming from wasn't such a groovy place. But remember Jimi said, 'I've been around this planet for a couple of thousand years. Maybe that's why I'm so concerned.'

"When we were getting ready to shoot the scene with Jimi and Hartley and me, the I.A. Union crew was set up for six hours before we got there. And everytime we would start up there Jimi would say, 'Let me get my guitar' and I would say, 'No, man, you said you wanted to do this without your guitar.' We went through every kind of why-are-we-here riff until finally Jimi and Hartley get into an argument and I say. 'Listen the crew's been up there for eight hours. We have to do this now.' So Jimi says, 'Well OK, you do it then.' So Hartley and I went upstairs ourselves, because we felt there was something crucial about it. We were really down, but we started the camera rolling, and Jimi comes walking down the aisle with a bottle of rose wine in his hand.

"I asked Jimi if he had been doing any astral traveling and he said, 'Yes, I went down to the Oasis of Souls. There's a lot of wrath going on there but not much emotion. And next thing I know I'm on a battlefield in Vietnam helping up a Viet Cong soldier, but it's not a body, it's another vibe, another soul. It's crystal clear, bright as day. And then I'm back at the Oasis of Souls, and they turn the page and I'm down the side of the page with all the sankes and all the night social workers with knapsacks on their backs yelling, "Curb service, curb service, get your dollar bills, curb service," and then the third eye was right in the middle of the pyramid, and then next thing I know I'm walking across the desert, all alone on my way home – but then I see Cleopatra.'

"'Actually,' he said, 'then I was Cleopatra. Cleopatra was there demanding fetishes of me. "Give me this or that or I'll kick your ass." And then I say, "Hey, Cleo, let's get together. You're a woman, and I'm a man." She was there with her raven hair, lying there, and I said, "Let's get together and buy a meal on the side of Vesuvius and raise grapes," and I choked on the wine.'

"And you know," continued the Wizard, "that's like Dionysus, choking on the wine. That's exactly what happened to Jimi five weeks later. He choked on wine. Somebody put acid in some wine and when he was trying to come down from it and, uh, lying on his back on his bed he started to vomit and choked on his own vomit.

"The day after Jimi died, I was lying on Huntington Beach and all the kids had transistors and all his music was being played on the radio. And I heard Jimi's voice saying, 'Hey, that's my music, they're still playing my music.' And I tried to communicate to him in my thoughts. 'Yeah, they're still playing your music, it's just that you're not in the physical anymore.' A lot of people who die do not know that they are dead, and hang around the scene of the accident or whatever." Said the Wizard.

This is a story from the October 26th, 1972 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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