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Hendrix and the Spook review - a search for clarity in murky waters | reviews, news & interviews

Hendrix and the Spook review - a search for clarity in murky waters

Hendrix and the Spook review - a search for clarity in murky waters

A detailed account of events surrounding a famous death that leaves you none the wiser

Anthony Aquarius is unconvincing as Jimi Hendrix

September 18th is the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death, an appropriate moment to release Hendrix and the Spook, a documentary exploring the vexed question: was it murder, suicide or a tragic accident?

Trying to unravel this conundrum, director Tim Conrad sifts through the evidence, speculates about the crucial unknowns and, rather unconvincingly, creates possible end game scenarios. But groping around in such murky waters only stirs up a lot of mud and the death of the world’s greatest guitarist remains stubbornly obscure.

The post-mortem found that Hendrix drowned in his own vomit while sedated by sleeping pills and the inquest concluded that his death was suspicious. Yet in place of a proper investigation, the police preferred to believe Monika Dannemann’s account of the fateful last night she spent with Hendrix, despite glaring inconsistencies in the statements she made to them and the coroner. 

Her story continued to change almost every time she recounted it and, alarmed by the discrepancies, Kathy Etchingham – the girlfriend who lobbied for a blue plaque at the Mayfair home she once shared with Hendrix – decided to investigate. Little by little, she uncovered many of the startling facts revealed in this film. 

She tracked down the ambulance men who took Hendrix to hospital and their description of what they found contradicts Dannemann’s testimony in every detail. Then from the pathologists we learn that Hendrix died at about 5 am, seven hours sooner than officially stated. His lungs contained large quantities of red wine and the lack of alcohol in his bloodstream suggested the wine had been poured directly into his lungs rather than drunk previously.

But if Hendrix was murdered, who is the culprit ? Possible candidates include the FBI, who were keeping a file on him, his agent Mike Jeffery, who was to gain millions from his death and Dannemann, who instead of calling an ambulance, rang Eric Burden at the crack of dawn; he then came over to help clear the place of illicit drugs.

It’s a gripping story, yet it soon turns to tedium as potential motives are endlessly explored and more and more depressing details dredged up. Hendrix fans be warned; the film is not a celebration of his phenomenal skill and charisma, but a dismal tale of exploitation, exhaustion, drug dependency and decline.

A must for anyone harbouring fantasies of rock stardom, Hendrix and the Spook will cure you of all your illusions.

  • Hendrix and the Spook is in cinemas from Sept 19


He was a gifted guitar player,that's all.Guitar players are not important.He was poorly educated,came from a broken family,and surrounded by hedonists and God knows what didn't help either.This film,although good-intentioned serves no purpose at all in my opinion.

Hendrix was more than a gifted guitar player. Like all human beings, he was indeed important. As a guitarist, he was tremendously important. He alone inspired legions of kids to want to do something with their lives & pick up & play guitar in pursuit of artistic self-expression. He was an innovator several times over: innovating not only guitar as a multi-voiced instrument of great complexity, but as a sound engineer & producer, creating the 1st multi-track studio of it's kind which today still exists & thrives as a Sonic Temple, Electric Lady Land. He was also an innovator in modern touring as it is known today. Hendrix was the 1st to play venues of the size he played since he was the worldwide live performance box office draw. The logistical methods used to accommodate the demand for Jimi were directly developed because of him & have been used by everyone since, from musicians to politicians. Jimi was an innovator in the use of multi-track recording, approach to guitar voicing & lyrical approach & content which were not seen before him. To flippantly issue forth unwarranted & unasked for commentary designed to minimize him as an artist & human being is reckless & disrespectful, also myopic in not just Hendrix himself but to the era which engendered him. There were those who indeed saw Hendrix as wroth more dead than alive, had motive, means & opportunity to murder him & bury the murder as nothing more than yet another "uneducated hedonist from a broken family". This film serves a very valuable purpose & that is to shed light on the vicious cold-blooded premeditated murder of a pop culture icon who was in the way of several people & establishments. The doctors present stated very clearly that Hendrix's death was not self-induced, but the act of suspicious events that involved other parties. Everyone's story about his death from Danneman & Budren to Jeffery is wildly contrived & different from what actually happened & constant;y changed over half a century. Their stories are fabricated & self-motivated, but not truthful. What happened to Hendrix was cold-blooded murder by a greedy gambling addicted former MI5 agent who laundered mafia money in off-shore islands, Jeffery. Less than a quarter of a year after Hendrix's murder, his real girlfriend was pushed from the top floor of a building in New York to silence her. Less than 5 years after Hendrix's murder, the perpetrator himself, Jeffery's plane blew up in mid-air to silence him. To say that this film selves no purpose & to write any human being off as unimportant due to the circumstances of their own life, then to throw words like "hedonism" around as if they are insults, is itself also a criminal act & cultural treason.

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