Sensationally - and, let's face it, a little late in the day - a former roadie has claimed Jimi's manager did away with him to make a $2,000,000 insurance claim and pilfer all the royalties. In his new book entitled Confessions Of A Rock Roadie
, James ‘Tappy' Wright, a long-term Hendrix
crew member, recounts the story of Jimi's manager, Michael Jeffery
, making a drunken but detailed confession.
Wright claims that Jeffery, having decided Hendrix
was worth more to him dead than alive, roped in some ‘friends' and went round to the flat where Jimi was staying. In a scene reminiscent of a plethora of a gangster movies, Jeffery described shoving a handful of pills into Jimi's mouth, followed by a few bottles of red wine to wash it down. ‘That son of a bitch was going to leave me,' the manager supposedly raged. ‘If I lost him, I'd lose everything.'
As Wright is flogging a book and has kept quiet all these years his utterings are easy to dismiss, but then Jeffrey was always considered a very shady figure. It's known that he signed the Animals with insurance money when his club in Newcastle suspiciously burned down; upper-class and well-connected, he was adept at pulling strings in high places and some even believed him to be a spy (he spoke four languages, including Russian). When he died in a plane crash in 1973 many, including Noel Redding
, thought he'd somehow faked his death and legged it with the rest of the Hendrix
cash. His remains were never identified, but some of his luggage was found. A compelling conspiracy story that could run and run, or a load of old nonsense: you decide.