Chas Chandler’s Plan To Make Jimi Hendrix The Next Eric Clapton

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Dave Robinson recently spoke to David Nayer for an interview and claimed that the Animals bassist and manager Chas Chandler wanted Jimi Hendrix to be the next Eric Clapton.

In 1966, Chas Chandler pursued a career as an artist manager and record producer after the Animals underwent lineup changes. When he was touring with the band for the last time, the musician saw Jimi Hendrix playing in Cafe Wha?. Impressed by his talent after listening to his rendition of ‘Hey Joe,’ Chandler asked Hendrix to come to Britain with him.

On September 24, 1966, the duo came to London, and Chandler signed the guitarist to a management and production contract. He recruited Noel Redding and Mitch Michell for a band to highlight the guitarist’s talent, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Moreover, Chandler suggested that Hendrix change his first name’s spelling to Jimi.

Chandler brought Hendrix to the London Polytechnic on October 1, 1966, where Cream would perform. At that show, Hendrix and Eric Clapton met. During Cream’s set, Jimi Hendrix hopped into the stage and performed a dazzling version of Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Killing Floor.’ Considering all that, Chandler was a key figure in Hendrix’ becoming a legendary guitarist.

Dave Robinson, who had managed the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Animals, recently spoke in an interview with David Nayer. He stated that the Animals bassist knew the audience wanted to see the guitar player then, so he knew Hendrix would rise to prominence if he performed with Eric Clapton.

According to Robinson, Chandler envisioned how Jimi would become popular quickly. He stated that the Animals icon hired Redding due to his curly hair and asked Mitchell to get his hair permed for him to look part of the Experience. Moreover, Robinson argued Chandler knew Jimi would be a guitar icon when he saw him perform ‘Hey Joe’ that day.

During the conversation, Dave Robinson said the following:

“Chandler knew from the in-crowd in London, the Jeff Beck, the Pete Townshend, the Eric Clapton kind of level where they jammed together and all that obscure carry on at that time. People went to see the guitar player. So, he knew if he could get Jimi onstage with a few of these guys, he knew Jimi’s ability with the guitar was so extraordinary, so un-British.

His plan was, ‘Okay, If I can get Jimi on with Eric, Eric will do me a favor.’ And he had a vision of how Jimi could do it, how he could get him going quickly. For example, they hired Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. Noel because he had curly hair. Although he was a guitar player, he could play the bass. And Mitch also was told to go out and get his hair permed so he would look part of the Experience.”

He then continued:

“They hired them one day, and Jerry Stickles, who became the tour manager, and an incredible touring manager in America in the next five years. He got the job because he had a van. So, Jimi grew from that. And Chaz had seen Jimi do ‘Hey Joe.’ That was the one song he spotted in the little 15-minute set that he saw Jimi. And he was all, ‘Well, that’s a hit. I can make that a hit.’ That’s how Jimi came to be.”

You can listen to the rest of the interview below.