Liner Notes: Pamela Des Barres on Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady”

Liner Notes: Pamela Des Barres on Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady”

The steamy L.A. heat was thick with promise during the heady so-called Summer of Love — and on the day that I got an exciting call from a young photographer I’d met at a recent love-in.

Yes, there really were trippy hippie gatherings in our local parks, stemming from the first Human Be In, which had taken place in San Francisco — a magical scene I wandered through like I’d found my cosmic tribe. I considered myself a Flower Child, often sporting daisies and roses entwined through my blondish mop, swaddled in itty bitty mini dresses made of lace tablecloths, radiating peace-and-love, love-and-peace with every barefoot step.

I’d been followed around the love-in by the curly-haired photog, snapping away as I passed out homemade cupcakes to the cute long-haired boys, danced in front of the Doors, and swung around the park as part of a human daisy-chain. His name was Allen Daviau and he wanted to snap some pics of me and asked for my number. But of course!

When I answered the phone a few days later, Allen wondered if I’d like to dance in a “short film” with a new band from England, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. I’m sure you can imagine how I responded. “Absolutely! You bet! But of course!”

I’d never heard of the band before, but if they were British, my groupie curiosity was piqued. The G-word hadn’t come into existence yet, but would soon insert itself into the language like a mixed blessing. (It just means someone who enjoyed spending quality time with GROUPS.) I was a fan of music and musicians at 17, so I pulled on my mini-fied blue velvet vintage frock, and showed up at the tattered Hollywood Hills mansion, anticipating a fascinating afternoon.

As I walked through the door into the massive circular room, I could hear soaring sounds I’d never heard before, thundering from a shimmering guitar held by a vividly decked out gentleman with hair that stood out all over his head like electricity. Alongside him were two more freaky fellows that screamed BRITISH.

Allen greeted me happily, led me over to the band and introduced us. Jimi, Mitch and Noel. Mr. Hendrix raised his eyebrows, looking me up and down with a knowing in his eyes I’d not yet come across, and said, “What’re YOU doing later?”

I suppose I giggled and blushed, but was too stunned to retain that particular memory as Allen asked me to climb atop a tall column and wriggle around while the band played their upcoming single, “Foxey Lady.” I did as I was told, relaxing a bit as I love to dance like I love to breathe.

The song played over and over and over again until it infiltrated my entire being. “You know you’re a cute little heartbreaker….Foxey… You know you’re a sweet little lovemaker…Foxey…”

And what was he doing with that guitar? TO that guitar? Yes, I was certainly hearing sounds I’d never heard before. My head, heart, body and mind had been scorched, shaken and stirred, and by the end of the day, I knew I was hearing sounds that had never even been made before.

We actually frolicked through three videos (short films back then) that day, which turned into blissful nighttime, and when all was said and played, I was holding hands with the bass player, Noel Redding. We became an item, and dallied for a couple of years, so I got to be right in front of the stage, sometimes ON the stage, while Jimi tore up the universe, scaring the likes of Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend into becoming better, braver musicians.

I’ve found myself in some pretty spectacular situations, but the day I got to play the Foxey Lady with the Jimi Hendrix Experience takes the world’s tastiest cake. Jimi’s guitar was born and came alive in his hands.

A couple of times I swear I could hear its heart beating.

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