Mark Farner Recalls How Using Drugs Ruined Jimi Hendrix’s Performance

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Former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner recently appeared on Artists On Record and recalled when Jimi Hendrix couldn’t perform properly due to his excessive drug use.

It is a known fact that Jimi Hendrix was a heavy drinker, and he also regularly used various drugs like marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and more during his lifetime. Especially excessive drinking or mixing alcohol with drugs had a destructive effect on him. His addiction even ended up with his arrest during a one-week tour of Europe in 1968. He received a hefty fine after the court appearance.

The following two years were even more challenging for Hendrix. He was involved in a few other incidents under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, the guitarist passed away on September 18, 1970, when he was only 27. He asphyxiated on his vomit after taking too many sleeping pills. It was reported as accidental death, but many conspiracy theories revolve around his tragic passing.

During a new interview, Mark Farner, who had a chance to meet Hendrix when they were both headliners at New York Pop Festival in 1970, recalled how using drugs ruined Hendrix’s performance. The guitarist was already under the influence when he went on stage. Farner remembers that he even received help to pick up his guitar, but then he missed the guitar neck. Then, a kid came to the stage and helped him hold the guitar neck. However, Jimi couldn’t play well even if he tried. For Farner, Hendrix was entirely lost at that moment.

Mark Farner recalls how using drugs negatively affected Jimi Hendrix’s performance:

“I had my packing blanket up on top of the equipment truck, and I had my spot all set for when Jimi went on stage; I was going to be right there stage level and watch him perform. Guys go down, and they take that hundred dollar bill, and they whiff up those snowdrifts on the desk, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, man. Holy sh*t.’ Anyway, I got up on the truck, and the stuff that I snorted had not really hit me real good, evidently, but I was really in a good mood to watch Jimi, and I was stage level.

He walks out on the stage, and he’s got a guitar. They put it on him. He walks up; they put his guitar. He’s reaching out for his guitar, and he’s missing the guitar neck by a good foot. I’m going, ‘Oh, no.’ This started to have a mental effect on me. I went, ‘Oh no,’ and that stuff that I snorted was helping that effect.

This blond-haired kid with no shoes and socks, no shirts, bell-bottoms that he walked the excess length off of these ragged ass bell-bottoms and he comes up behind Jimi, grabs Jimi’s wrist, and he grabs the guitar neck, and he puts them together right there. Jimi looks over his shoulder at the guy and says, ‘Oh my God, thank you.’ And then he tried to play, but he only tried. His bass player and drummer were playing the song that they were supposed to be playing, and Jimi couldn’t find his ass with both hands, man. He was so far gone.”

You can watch the entire conversation below.