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THE VOODOO (The Curse of Jimi Hendrix)

THE VOODOO

(The Curse of Jimi Hendrix)

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For the past to many years to count I have been involved (mostly behind the scenes) in this crazy and really F**Ked up world called Jimi Hendrix.  I never thought starting a simple coffee company would yield such addiction, but something happens to people when they get “The VOODOO” A curse very few people escape.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace” Jimi Hendrix

Back in 2003, I bought a home on Camano Island WA, and every summer they had traveling art shows where you go from one home to the next and see some fantastic local artists and hopefully buy something so they can eat for the remainder of the year. I was helping one of those starving artists and had a couple of women stop by, but instead of talking about the artwork they noticed my company van (Black Dot Coffee) and a collection of guitars and asked: “Do you know any Jimi Hendrix Music?” A little, (the fact is I had never owned an album of Jimi Hendrix) “Do you know Leon Hendrix?” I said yeah back in the day, (I have also owned a recording studio for 15 years and a session musician) I think he had some drug issues when I met him. They began to tell me his drug days were over and that it might be a cool idea to talk coffee.

hendrixcoffeeHendrix Coffee

A few weeks later I met Leon Hendrix in a bar above his rehearsal room in Fremont, WA and we talked about creating a coffee line. I had no issues with Leon as so many claim to have, he wasn’t over the top, he never said “I need a million dollars” or “Do you know who I am, or who my brother was” nothing like what I always hear from people, nothing, and as I look back it was quite refreshing and pleasant.

But I would soon find the issue is not with Leon, but all the people who cling to him, or in my opinion the name Jimi Hendrix.

If I was in charge, If I ran the estate, If I was his brother and if I had a dime for every time I have heard this speech I would have more cash than Paul Allen, and by the way, I’ll get to him later. This is where the VOODOO set’s in. Delusions of grandeur dreams of big money or in some cases easy money as people think by having the name Jimi Hendrix on a product will make it sell, my response, “You have no idea”.  But seems word travels fast in that circle and I was soon inundated with calls from everyone claiming they owned Leon, the right’s to Jimi or “I needed them to show me the way”. My response then and to this day is I don’t have the VOODOO like you do.

About a month later I met with Pete Sycof (one of the few people I have meet without THE VOODOO) and Leon to go over the coffee contract for Hendrix Brothers Coffee we signed and I started working. Hendrix Coffee was a success and beginning to do very well until the letter from Janie.

Janie Hendrix

The curse runs like a dual edge sword with her, on one hand, I think she is doing her best to run the estate but at the same time can’t get out from under the VOODOO of Jimi. I truly believe that Jimi wanted people to hear his music without boundaries and free. Jimi was like that, he was free, free to play and free in giving, the main reason they Killed him. Jimi was never good with money because it was never about the money and for this reason, the more people try to make money from his name the bigger the VOODOO and deadlier the curse becomes. Janie will end up like all of them all, broke or insane, well I think she is insane already so you get my drift.

But unknown to me at the time, I did the Coffee deal with Leon he was also in the middle of a Vodka deal gone wrong with a man named Craig Dieffenbach.

Craig a man with a story and a history, had already lost a few million trying to help Leon with an inheritance lawsuit, they lost.. This would not be the first or the last time the word “Lost” would be in Craig’s life, he is a VOODOO child.

Craig Dieffenbach

The German, He can sell sand in the desert, and out of all of them, he actually tried to make a real company. But THE VOODOO was strong with this one. Talk about a control freak, none bigger. During the creation of the Hendrix Coffee line I had a few talks with Craig and his current lawsuit with Janie (they were suing each other over Trademarks) When Janie sent me a letter in regards to my Trademark application for Hendrix Coffee, I felt it best just to have a talk without a bunch of worthless lawyers in the mix. Craig tried to sell me on his so-called high priced best in the business law firm, I denied and had my meeting alone.  Unknown to Craig and all the others I will soon name, I had already had a meeting with Bob Hendrix VP of the Estate, Faith Hendrix, and Henry Brown and was told I would never be sued.

I had a meeting with Janie and the crew about a month later to talk coffee and try to find a way to get the family back together. During this meeting, I talked to Bob about what was going on with the Vodka deal saw the stacks of paper filling a spare room called the “WAR room” See this, this is the Craig pile. Craig has no chance of winning this one. I asked Bob if he thought they would ever get the money if they won he said he didn’t think so, But it’s not his fight so much as it was Janie trying to control all things, Hendrix. She’s a VOODOO child after all.

 

leon praying

Kiss the Sky (Photo by Camille Nordgren)

After seeing the cards the house had vs the cards Craig had, I asked Bob would they settle on a deal.. My offer to them was to have Craig pay the Estate 1.3 Million, sells out the remaining product (a value of about 2.5million) and then rebrand the line calling it Purple Haze or something, and from this I would have Leon be a part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience live shows, share the coffee, tea and water lines and just begin to mend things up for the sake of the name Jimi Hendrix…

 

I made a call to Craig and offered a settlement his response was “No thanks, we are going to win” then the next day got a threatening call from the lawyers saying I was interfering in their case and would be sued. Ok, but you’re going to lose your client far more than 1.3 million, and they did, Feb 18, 2009, was forced to pay Experience Hendrix 3.2 Million.

Bob Hendrix and Experience Hendrix wanted this coffee deal to work and bring something back that could unite the family in some way, create something positive and with Craig having the VOODOO we needed to find another way.

About a week later Leon, Bob, Henry Brown and myself met for lunch on Lake Union, this would be the last time Leon and Bob would ever see each other, Bob passed away Feb 19th, 2012. During this meeting I was asked to manage Leon and that Janie would do a deal if she did not have to worry about Leon and deal with me directly.  So I signed Leon under a management contract a few weeks later.

Within this time Craig had caught wind of the coffee deal with Janie and stepped in claiming he could protect them under his legal strength (this was prior to them losing the Vodka case) So Leon gave Craig 10% of his personal company that contracted with me on the coffee. I think within the hour Craig was on the phone telling me he owned the coffee company and calling himself the CEO. My response was, So tell me, Craig, I own the company, you have only 10% of the company I have a contract with (Meaning Leon Hendrix LLC) and from all but 10% you know assume you own 100% of both companies and think you can boss me around, what the hell are you smoking? A pure VOODOO child in reprise…

David Craddick (Facedown Dave)

Facedown Dave, they called him, seems he had a drinking problem and from the women that shared the home in Vegas found him face down in the pool a few times.  You would think this might be a sign of things to come, right? Dave was another piece to this world of Hendrix as I call it and another victim of the VOODOO.  Dave had been working among other things a new album with Leon and producer Greg Hampton, unfortunately, Dave knows nothing about the music biz and his almost sick obsession to have everything perfect made sure nothing could ever be finished.

Like Craig, Dave is a likeable guy but it’s one of those “I’ve got this big deal in the works so I can’t work on smaller thing’s” and a week later, “I need money so I can’t put out the Album”, a week later, “I’ve got a big deal in the works” another week goe’s by “I don’t have the money to release the TV pilot of (Life with Hendrix)” a week later “I have a big money deal coming that will let me do this PROPERLY” a day later “I need money” ok, you get what I am saying? this is the VOODOO.. Yes, Dave had many great ideas and concepts but the inability to get out of his own way… The VOODOO took everything from him, my only hope is that he releases something to show his labor.

Andrew Pitsicalis

I have had a few ongoing issues with this VOODOO love child. I met Andrew at Planet Hollywood  Vegas at an art show, already knee deep in the VOODOO he was trying to sell some of Jimi Hendrix original artwork found by a roadie who worked with Jimi back in the day. He owned a company called “Rockin Artwork” and in my opinion was some of the worst artwork I have ever seen, just another person trying to put the name Jimi Hendrix on a product thinking they will make millions, not going to happen.

Prior to the event in Vegas Leon had signed a deal with Mike Grell to help write a book about the life of two brothers, but instead, Andrew sidelined his deal and had Leon write the book “Jimi Hendrix, A brother’s story” by some guy that used to write tech book’s. I thought it lacked depth and anything new, it did “ok” in sales. I lost my 20% and since Mike was a stand-up guy just said “Best of luck”.

HendrixWithLeon

Around the time Leon’s book came out, I was knee deep in a divorce and lawsuit dealing with another VOODOO child of fame, Phil Harris from Deadliest Catch who had hired a crew of lawyers to not only help my then wife to file divorce but to also try and take my coffee company Deadliest Catch, Black Dot Coffee and the rights to Jimi Hendrix Coffee, all out of greed and the thought of money and bigger fame. So with all this, I had no time for Andrews VOODOO BS…

 

Gary Karlson AKA Sir Johan

About a year later I was minding my own business in my new coffee shop and the phone rings. “I’m trying to reach the manager of Goldy McJohn” (Founding member of Steppenwolf) I told the guy, I don’t manage him I manage Leon Hendrix. I wish I had a VOODOO alert siren because this would be the biggest VOODOO infested child of them all.

GollumGary is so caught up  on Hendrix that I am sure that within just a few hours of this being uploaded to my blog he will contact me, yelling and screaming, threatening to have the Hells Angels at my door, suing me or hiring a hitman (I know where you live, was his last message to me) I could fill a book about this one but I will only focus on the last straw on this proverbial camel.

Gary, who calls himself Sir Johan and the President and CEO of a dozen companies including The Jimi Hendrix Family Foundation, by the way, could never seem to show proof that it was even a registered company other than a website, was stringing some guys along to do a Jimi Hendrix E-juice deal for the Vape industry. All fine, Leon was interested, I had told him that a letter of intent would need to be drafted, have a meeting then if all goes well put together a contract and move from there.

12274626_10156330836000038_5229244716016051509_nI meet with the Vape guys at Sam Mellace home outside of Abbotsford CA, You see Sir Johan would never invite you to his home and for good reason. Other than telling people he was a knight and to be fair he did know Sir James Barlow, was also telling people he lived in a huge mansion in West Vancouver CA, the truth was he was living in a shack in Abbotsford. Nothing wrong with that, I had always known he was full of it, but a likable guy and willing to try and find deals. I know in life we all can’t do all things and we need people with personality traits willing to make some calls and entertain people. But that’s as far as it will go, but for Gary, he had the VOODOO bad and thought he was Jimi or he should run everything. Remember if I had a dime, well Gary alone would have made me a millionaire.

180PurpleHazeThings went downhill fast with this venture and trying “not” to be one of many he screwed up I had to step in. After reviewing a contract Gary had sent to the Vape guys without my knowledge or Leon’s, I said enough is enough I’m out of this Hendrix world, I tore up my contract with Leon and walked away.

Later the Vapes guys contacted me and we did do a deal but it went through Leon and I would stand by as a 1/3 owner with no more headache, or though I thought. No, they signed a deal with VOODOO Andrew who said just like Craig “I will help you not get sued by Janie” Same old story same old song and dance my friend. This venture lasted all but a month, have the owner of the Vape line fighting with Andrew and when you have two VOODOO children fighting all I can tell you is nothing good happens.

I tried to save it, tried to find balance with all parties but when you have a disease like the VOODOO you never escape it.

The last victim of the VOODOO who leads me to even write this has to be the most insane of them all if that is even possible. I won’t even mention his name. I had a friend contact me about a man who says he has unreleased music of Jimi Hendrix, ok. So we set up a meeting, I needed to first hear it, then work away to deal with logistics of the whole thing if it was actually the work of Jimi Hendrix. I meet with this guy, who carries an old briefcase with about seven CD’s in it, he would not let the studio owner play the CD in a CD player but demanded we listen through a boombox from the 80’s.

Think this is strange?   The guy thinks he is the reincarnation of Jimi, so safe to say another one to the coffers of VOODOO, but you might want to chain this one up.

The VOODOO of Jimi Hendrix has taken many like former managers, agents, record companies and basically anyone who has tried to make a dime off his name.

 

leon_arms_out-1071x725

Let the music set you free (Photo by Camile Nordgren)

Leon has always been called lazy, he doesn’t care, like I have said many say “If I was the brother of Jimi, I would” but they don’t realize Leon is the smart one. Yes if he ran the Hendrix Estate he might have just given away everything but I really feel that is what Jimi would have wanted. Don’t get me wrong Jimi would have taken care of his family but not to extremes.

 

One thing about Leon is he understands better than anyone  God gave this world his brother and God will provide all needs to his family because of that gift. So the more you let go the greater the blessing.

So if you are the next group thinking you’re going to make millions from the Jimi Hendrix name, think again, it might just destroy you.

The VOODOO is like unto the “Lord of the Rings” taking it will lead you down a dark path and there are only but a few who can take the needed journey to the mountain to cast it into the fire..

I have held the ring loosely, I know the power it can create but the power to destroy is far greater, I would hope that someday Leon or someone in the family can do what is needed and throw it in the fire.

The list of name could go one for many more pages.

Let the music free your soul

 

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One comment on “THE VOODOO (The Curse of Jimi Hendrix)

  1. Pingback: The Curse of Jimi Hendrix THE VOODOO (part two) | the artist one

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