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Buddy Miles Lends Credence to Tales of Hendrix Experience

May 25, 1999|MIKE BOEHM

"And you'll never hear surf music again," Jimi Hendrix intones in a pipe-dream voice before the dissonant climax of his great 1967 rock 'n' roll tone poem, "Third Stone From the Sun."

Dick Dale has maintained, somewhat dubiously, that Hendrix was talking about Dale's own disappearance from the scene after the mid-1960s, rather than, as would seem clear enough, the obliteration of humanity contemplated by an alien power who admires Earth's natural habitat but deplores its most advanced inhabitants.

"Jimi, I'm still here--wish you were here," Dale half-whispers as if in answer, introducing a tribute-paying instrumental cover of "Third Stone" from his most recent album, "Calling Up Spirits" (1996).

As Dale tells it, he met Hendrix when the legend-to-be was backing Little Richard at a small club in Pasadena; Hendrix then came to some of Dale's shows in Orange County, and Dale huddled with him to demonstrate his guitar-playing technique, one left-hander to another.

Dale recalls this happening in the late 1950s; however, David Henderson's biography, "'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky/The Life of Jimi Hendrix" places the guitarist in Little Richard's band in 1963.

Did Dale really directly influence Hendrix, as he claims to have done? Or is he taking some fanciful liberties, as he does with his interpretation of the "Third Stone" lyric?

Buddy Miles, who was Hendrix's housemate and accompanist in the Band of Gypsys during the late '60s, says that is indeed the case.

"He used to talk about Dick Dale all the time," Miles said last week from a hotel in Virginia; the influence was apparent, Miles said, "in some of the things we used to do [together] before the Band of Gypsys."

Miles confirmed that, during a recent jam with Dale when they shared a bill in Oregon, he told the crowd that Hendrix talked about getting "some of his best [stuff]" from Dale.

Said Dale: "I got chills up and down my arms" when Miles told that story. "This is the first time somebody of authority said something" to support his claim about influencing Hendrix.

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