Steve Winwood, Me (David), and Jim Capaldi

One of the interesting perks that has resulted from my lifelong pursuit as a Rock Historian and Hendrix collector is that occasionally I get to meet one of my Rock n' Roll heroes.

The seeds for the following interview were planted when I first met Steve Winwood almost ten years ago. Steve had married a lady from Nashville and also purchased a home here. I have always been a big fan, but Steve's association with Jimi as well as Jimi's respect and admiration of Steve was something that all Hendrix fans were well aware of.

We originally met at Steve's first ever Nashville concert at the city's famed Opry House. I greeted him backstage and gave him a tape of out-takes from the Electric Ladyland sessions for "Voodoo Chile" as well as a couple of photos of him and Jimi together. He really seemed to appreciate the material and was very cordial as we chatted briefly backstage before the show.

Flash forward three years to the release of Steve's autobiography "Roll With It" (Perigee Books 1989) where he mentioned me not by name but our meeting and the material I had given him. I fired off a letter to him recalling our meeting and told him of my collection and that I'd love to meet him and show him some of my memorabilia.

Unbelievably, he called, and said he would love to view my collection and would it be alright if he brought Jim Capaldi along who was in town for a visit!

You can imagine the answer to that one, and to make a long story short, I got to spend the better part of an afternoon in my own living room talking one on one with two legends in Rock Music. I ask you, how cool could that be? We looked at footage of them that they had never seen, including the appearance of the late Chris Wood of Traffic with Jimi at the Royal Albert Hall in February 1969.

As it was a first meeting at my house with them, I didn't want to impose on them by sticking a microphone in their faces  and saying," Let's do an interview!" That memorable afternoon came and went and I wondered ever after how I would ever get those two in the same room again.

Flash forward to the present. I have stayed in touch with Steve (we talk a couple of times a year) and made arrangements to get together and listen to some bootleg Traffic material that is floating around in collector's circles. As luck would have it, Jim Capaldi was in town, so my dream scenario had presented itself again.

I met them at Steve's Nashville home on September 18, 1995, the 25th aniversary of Hendrix' death. I played for them the opening of a Hendrix concert bootleg which has recently surfaced  recorded in Dallas Texas on August 3,1968. What is unique about this show is that Jimi opens with the only known version (studio or otherwise) of Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy." As we sat in the music room of Steve's home surrounded by various music industry awards, I watched their faces as the music unfolded.

Capaldi said, "Greaaat!" Steve smiled and nodded during the solo remarking, "He's playing my guitar licks."

This was the moment I had  hoped for and I asked them if they would reminisce  about Jimi for the readers of  Straight Ahead.

To my delight, they agreed. In a year when more than one publication had made similar requests, we at Straight Ahead feel honored that Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi have given this exclusive to us. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that either man has spoken at length about Jimi in print.


~ David Pearcy ~

Steve Plays My
Son's Guitar

Hall of Fame
Induction 3-15-04

Jim Capaldi
1944 - 2005

Steve Teaches My Son
"Dear Mr. Fantasy"

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