In the summer of 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience, on their first cross-country concert tour of America, opened for the Monkees. They played only eight of the 29 dates:
- July 8th 1967: Jacksonville, Florida
- July 9th, 10th 1967: Miami, Florida
- July 11th, 12th 1967: Charlotte, North Carolina
- July 14th, 15th, 16th 1967: Forest Hills, Queens, New York
The Monkees were a knock-off of the early Beatles made for American television. Despite their questionable talent millions of 11- to 15-year-old girls in America loved them, in particular Davy Jones, frontman and heart-throb. They were the best-selling band in America at the time.
Jimi Hendrix hated them:
Oh God, I hate them! Dishwater. I really hate somebody like that make it so big. You can’t knock anybody for making it, but people like the Monkees?
His manager had a different opinion: opening for the Monkees would put Hendrix in front of hundreds of thousands of American record-buyers. Despite three hit songs in Britain he was little known in America. He needed something to follow up his success in June at the Monterey Pop Festival in California.
The Monkees loved the idea. They were huge fans: “some of the best music I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Mike Nesmith. Mickey Dolenz said:
The Monkees was very theatrical in my eyes and so was the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It would make the perfect union.
It did not go well:
Jimi would amble out onto the stage, fire up the amps, and break into “Purple Haze”, and the kids in the audience would instantly drown him out with “We want Daavy!” God, was it embarrassing.
When Hendrix tried to get 20,000 girls to sing along with “Foxy Lady” they would say “Davy!” instead of “Foxy”.
so passionate, so concentrated and so intense that anyone with halfway decent manners had to look away. And that was the way the act began, not ended. By the time it was over he had lapped and nuzzled his guitar with his lips and tongue, caressed it with his inner thighs, jabbed at it with a series of powerful pelvic thrusts.
As a joke she said the Daughters of the American Revolution got him fired for being “too erotic”. In fact on the eighth night Hendrix gave the audience the finger and stormed off stage. And that was it.
One woman who saw the show in Charlotte when she was 11 remembers it this way:
I have no recollections of anyone screaming for the Monkees to come on stage. All I remember is everyone screaming, standing on chairs, jumping up and down, waving their arms in the air, and being entranced by Jimi Hendrix on that stage. The music was like nothing I had ever heard and the crowd was in a fever when he was on stage. The last thing I remember about the evening was him setting his guitar on fire.