by James TappyWright / Review by Will Brennan
Jimi Hendrix’ one time road manager, James “Tappy” Wright, has written a book, out now, called “Rock Roadie,” in which, amidst stoires about Elvis, Eric Burdon of the Animals and Tina Turner, he drops the bomb that Hendrix’ manager at the time, Michael Jeffrey, murdered the rock guitar legend. According to Wright, Jeffrey was heavily in debt and had taken a two million dollar insurance policy out on Hendrix. Wright claims that Jeffrey confessed to him - “I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me.”
Large amounts of red wine were found in Hendrix’ stomach and lungs, and this coincides with Wright's story of Jeffrey’s confession, in which he allegedly admitted that he and accomplices forced wine down a drugged Hendrix’ throat, effectively drowning him. John Bannister, one of the medical team who attended to Hendrix at the hospital, said that Hendrix’ blood alcohol levels were low, though his stomach and lungs were full of wine. This points to the theory of wine being forced down his throat, causing his death before it could be absorbed by the body.
The two key figures in Hendrix’ death, manager Michael Jeffrey and Monika Dannemann, a woman who spent Hendrix’ last night with him in the hotel room, are both dead. Upon Hendrix' death Jeffrey did indeed profit from his insurance policy, cleared his debt, took over Hendrix' Electric Ladyland Studios and as manager, was receiving large amounts of money from Hendrix' recordings. The benefit, however, was short lived - Jeffrey died in a plane crash in 1973. Monika Danneman committed suicide in 1996. Danneman’s testimony surrounding Hendrix’ death at the time was inconsistent, which for years had drawn suspicion to her.
One is forced to wonder why Wright didn't bring such testimony to light at the time of Hendrix' death. Despite circumstantial evidence, given that James Wright’s claims cannot be definitively confirmed, unless new evidence comes to light, the facts surrounding rock’s greatest guitarist will likely remain, sadly, buried.