Coming Of Age, Or When Coming Is No Longer Enough
Back in New York, one night I went to a friend’s party, a perfectly fine get-together but nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until Jimi Hendrix walked in. I’d heard he had a place in the Village not far from the Albert Hotel. Of course, I was very interested to meet him. When I overheard him mention Tim Leary to someone, it created an opportunity to join the conversation. He was warmly receptive and easy to talk to. I couldn’t help but share how I followed Tim to Montreal and just missed being a part of possibly the greatest music video of all time. I soon found myself in Jimi’s company again—it seemed we had a few friends in common. On more than one occasion we’d pass each other a joint or hash pipe, which led to in-depth conversations, or at least we thought so in our stoned state. I was, in those days, a musician, a guitar player, and Jimi enjoyed my stories about jam sessions in the basement of the Albert.
Many musicians hung out at a cellar club up at 46th Street and Eighth Avenue called “Steve Paul’s Scene.” Speaking of jams, how about this legendary combo: Hendrix and BB King on guitars, with Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums, and John Lennon singing! Was I there? Of course not! It was a night I decided to crash and stay home.
One night at the “Scene”, I was in the men’s room checking myself out in the mirror. Along with my wigged-out, layered, Sergeant Pepper haircut and my blue velvet, Edwardian, double-breasted jacket with crepe ruffle shirt, bell-bottoms, and sneakers, I wore a rather funny look on my face. Why do I say that? And why do I so vividly recall in such detail? I was just getting off on some acid and zoning in the mirror. Hell, I remember what the air smelled like, even its texture.
Another patron stepped in. He took one look at me and knew.
“Hey, man. You’re trippin’!” It was Jimi. “I want some!”
“Let me see if my friend is still carrying. Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
I checked with my friend back at the bar. He had one more hit and gave it to me. I happily reported back to Jimi, handing him the tab. It brought a smile to his face. He popped it into his mouth and invited me to join his party, which consisted of this DDG (Drop Dead Gorgeous) blonde he’d been going around with and a male friend.
At Jimi’s table, they ordered drinks, except for Jimi and me. We were “on the wagon.” Before long, I started feeling the acid in a very big way. I thought my body was melting. I could see Jimi wasn’t far behind.
He leaned over and confided, “I gotta get out of here.”
He put some money on the table and, to the bewilderment of his friends, hurried out the exit. He hit the street before me, as I held back to wait for the others. By the time I got outside, Jimi was speeding off in a cab, leaving even Ms. DDG behind.
I managed an awkward “Nice meeting you” to her and her friend and went back in. I could tell there was something different about this acid, and asked my friend about it. It was called STP, a rare, stronger form of LSD that boasted an extended peak time.
I decided to go home, back to the comfort of the knowing individuals at the Albert. Thank God for the Albert, I thought. I went up on the roof, as the song goes, to try to catch my breath. I ended up spending much of the night up there, tripping my brains out, with the moonlit sky above and the lamp-lit Manhattan streets below.
THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK CALLED "I JUST HAPPENED TO BE THERE," WHICH MY AGENT IS ABOUT TO SHOP. THE REST OF THIS STORY ABOUT JIMI WILL BE POSTED THIS WEDNESDAY SEPT 2nd