46 years ago this week, the Jimi Hendrix
Experience made their debut with four shows in France starting with a gig at the Novelty in Evreux on October 13, 1966. Hendrix had already made an impression with the in-crowd in New York thanks to several stage splintering appearances at various Greenwich Village clubs where Jimi scared the daylights out of Robbie Robertson, John Hammond Jr., Michael Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and every other scene-maker.
Then, Animals bassist Chas Chandler scooped up Hendrix, brought him to London, bought him some duds, introduced him to guitarist and bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, and got them rehearsing. Evreux is where it all began. “It was on this first gig that we saw the whole other person, completely different from anything I’d seen before,” Mitch Mitchell recalled in his autobiography, Inside the Experience
. “I knew he played really tasty guitar, but I didn’t know about the showmanship that went with it. It was like, Whoosh! This man is really out-front!” That's one way to put it.
Here’s our own Les Paul recounting how he met Jimi. And check out the great photo of Jimi, Noel, and Mitch (courtesy of the Express Hulton Archive, Getty Images) at the airport with their trusty cassette player and an Epiphone acoustic (possibly an Epiphone Cortez and looking very close to a modern Epiphone EL-00