A new documentary entitled Music, Money, Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui will chronicle The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s storied visit to Maui in July 1970 and how they became ensnared with the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge movie produced by their controversial manager Michael Jeffery. The film is due for a November 20th release alongside an accompanying live album recorded at the famed July 30th, 1970 performance, Live In Maui, in variety of formats. Pre-order your copy here.
Rainbow Bridge, for those unfamiliar, was a 1971 independent film produced by Hendrix’s then-manager Michael Jeffery that attempted to follow in the same vein as highly successful 1969 counterculture film Easy Rider. The film, which focuses on a New York model that travels to Hawaii, was filmed with non-professional actors and no script. Per Hendrix biographer Steven Roby, Wein and art director Melinda Mayweather “invited outrageous people to portray themselves in Rainbow Bridge. They included dope smugglers, priests and nuns, acidheads, gays, groupies, environmentalists, and a group who claimed to be from Venus.”
When he found out the film was floundering, Jeffery brought in The Jimi Hendrix Experience to perform a concert to be included in the film on the side of the Haleakala volcano. Although Hendrix performed two full, fifty-minute sets for the taping, technical issues led to only 17 minutes of film being deemed usable for Rainbow Bridge. Even in those 17 usable minutes, the drum track was not properly recorded, so drummer Mitch Mitchell later overdubbed his parts at Electric Lady Studios in New York.
While Rainbow Bridge was released along with an official soundtrack, none of the audio from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s concert in Maui was included. Hendrix died before the film was released in theaters, and the Maui show marked his final taped live performance in the U.S. before his passing.
Rainbow Bridge was initially released in 1971 to universally negative reviews. In 2003 biography, Jimi Hendrix: Musician, author Keith Shadwick called the film “so drug-addled, pseudo-mystical and stuffed with narcissistic, self-important onscreen hippies that the only hope of saving it indeed was to put Hendrix on celluloid.”
Directed by John McDermott and produced by Janie Hendrix, George Scott, and McDermott, Music, Money Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui incorporates never-before-released original 16mm film footage and new interviews with firsthand participants such as Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Warner Bros executives, and several Rainbow Bridge cast members, as well as its director, Chuck Wein.
The Blu-ray edition will include the full documentary film plus all the footage from the two afternoon performances captured on July 30th, 1970 mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Also included in the package will be Live In Maui, the two-CD set featuring Hendrix, Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell at the height of their playing powers, newly restored and mixed by longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer.
“Jimi loved adventure and there was certainly no shortage of it during his time in Hawaii, a place he also loved,” said Janie Hendrix, the CEO of Experience Hendrix, in a press release. “The back story of Rainbow Bridge and these recordings paint a picture of Jimi’s uncanny ability to turn the bizarre into something amazing! We’re excited about this release because it gives the world a closer look at Jimi’s genius.”
As the Jimi Hendrix Facebook page notes in its announcement of Music, Money Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui, the accounts of these interviewees tell “the definitive story about one of the most controversial independent films ever made.”
Watch the official trailer for Music, Money, Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui below:
Music, Money, Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui – Official Trailer
[Video: Jimi Hendrix]
[H/T Rolling Stone]