Jimi Hendrix fans are in for a treat this fall with a new American Masters special airing on PBS. The New York Times reported that the two-hour documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin,' will be released on DVD on November 5th -- the day of its TV premiere -- along with the new concert CD culled from Hendrix's two concert appearances on May 18th, 1968 as part of the Miami Pop Festival. The two new releases cap off the yeallong commemoration of what would've been Hendrix's 70th birthday. Back in March, the guitarist's latest vault release, People, Hell And Angels, debuted at Number Two on the Billboard 200 album charts.
Noted director Bob Smeaton, who's best known for his work on The Beatles Anthology series, is a longtime veteran of Hendrix film and video projects. He told The Times that distilling Hendrix's work into an all-new two-hour package was a trying exercise: "The biggest challenge was that having done a number of Hendrix projects in the past, I had to find a way of getting everything I wanted into the film without having it run six hours, and without having it turn into the same film I did in the past. You've got to hit certain points: when he came to London, when he played Monterey, certain albums, Woodstock, building his recording studio. But you also want to get a different take. And that's the hardest thing -- trying to stay fresh."
One of Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley's greatest rock moments was the day he got to be Hendrix's roadie on July 17th 1970: "I roadied for Jimi Hendrix, believe it or not, at his last concert at New York's Randall's Island a couple of months prior to his death. I snuck in backstage and they put me to work. I'm setting up Mitch Mitchell's drums, I mean it was bizarre. Back in those days they didn't have laminates and stick-on passes, it was just free love and free everything. I had hair down to here and yellow hot-pants on and a snakeskin star so obviously they thought I was in one of the bands. So I just walked backstage and looked at the guy and he just let me walk backstage. And when they realized I wasn't in a band they just put me to work."