In July 1967, Jimi Hendrix went on tour in America as support to The Monkees. Booed off stage at every show he played, the guitarist lasted less than two weeks on the road with the pop band, quitting after just eight shows. "I think they’re replacing me with Mickey Mouse!” Hendrix subsequently told the NME.
The reception which The Jimi Hendix Experience received every night was mortifying for the headline act, who were fans of the Seattle born guitarist and his band.
In a new [paywalled] interview with The Telegraph, drummer Mickey Dolenz recalls, “Jimi and the guys would be out there, performing with all this amazing, theatrical virtuosity, y’know? Playing Purple Haze, Foxey Lady, guitar behind his neck, playing with his teeth. But the kids in the audience were just screaming: ‘WE WANT MONKEES! WE WANT MONKEES!’ night after night. It must have been incredibly frustrating for Jimi.”
It was Dolenz who was Hendrix's biggest champion in The Monkees. His recollections of exactly when he first heard the guitarist vary - in 1988, Dolenz recalled John Lennon playing him and Eric Clapton a Hendrix cassette during dinner in a London restaurant, while in his interview with The Telegraph the drummer remembers seeing Hendrix play Cafe Wha? in New York: “he was amazing" - but he thought that the guitarist's "showbiz" live act might make him a suitable warm-up act for The Monkees. He would soon come to regret this decision.
On July 17, Chas Chandler requested that Hendrix leave the tour, and to spare everyone's embarrassment, a story was concocted to explain why. Melody Maker duly reported that “The Daughters of the American Revolution decided his act was too erotic for the seven to twelve year-old audiences attracted by the Monkees.”
Hendrix would later famously dismiss The Monkees as “dishwater”, but Dolenz tells The Telegraph that he never heard Hendrix, who he recalls as “shy, quiet, street smart but naive about business”, voice any complaints about their music.
In an article on Hendrix's website, tour promoter Dick Clark is quoted as saying, “without a doubt there was an attraction to Hendrix. He was hot!” People who were musically knowledgeable and musically sophisticated were into it. But that was definitely not The Monkees audience.”