Exclusive Video: Shuggie Otis Remembers Meeting Jimi Hendrix
Psychedelic soul man Shuggie Otis was once thought of as the heir apparent to Jimi Hendrix, and in a new interview, he recalls meeting the surprisingly introverted guitar hero at an in-store autograph signing in Los Angeles -- where he had to force the reluctant guitarist to shake his hand.
Otis is widely regarded for his guitar work on sessions with his father -- Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame R&B pioneer Johnny Otis -- as well as Al Kooper, Etta James, Charles Brown, Frank Zappa, Chico Hamilton, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Mos Def and many more. His song 'Strawberry Letter 23' was a No. 5 pop hit for the Brothers Johnson in 1977, and his third album, 1974's 'Inspiration Information,' is widely regarded as a masterpiece, with cuts from the record subsequently sampled on pop hits including OutKast's 'Ms. Jackson,' Beyoncé's 'Gift From Virgo,' Digable Planets' 'For Corners' and more.
In the clip above, Otis recalls meeting his own favorite guitar player -- Hendrix -- whom he had seen three times in concert. "He was signing autographs at this record store, and so me and my brother-in-law went down there," he reminisces. "He was real quiet; he didn't speak to anyone. So I went up to him and I said, 'Hey, I just wanted to say hi, man.' He kinda looked at me like this," Otis says, affecting a befuddled look while laughing.
"I had to grab his hand to shake it; his hand was just kinda angling out there," the guitarist adds. "But he was nice to me. That was really a highlight. I got to meet one of my idols."
After Hendrix passed away, Otis says, "A lot of people were kinda looking at me to come after and be the next guitar star. And I kinda shied away from that. That's why I didn't do a whole lot of guitar on 'Inspiration Information.'"
As it happened, Otis mostly retired from public life for decades after that album, appearing on sessions but not releasing any new music of his own for nearly four decades. On April 16 he will release a fully-restored version of 'Inspiration Information,' which has long been out of print. He personally oversaw the audio restoration of the album, which will include four previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1971.
The new release will also feature a second disc, 'Wings of Love,' which will mark the first-ever public release of 14 live and studio tracks the musician recorded between 1975 and 2000.
Not only does this release mark the first new music from Otis since 1974, it will be accompanied by a string of tour dates that will serve as the continuation of the Shuggie Otis Rite Tour, which kicked off in November of 2012.
Shuggie Otis Rite Tour 2013 Dates:
3/28-3/29 - Byron Bay, Australia - Bluesfest
3/31 - Tokyo, Japan - Billboard Live Tokyo (Early show)
3/31 - Tokyo, Japan - Billboard Live Tokyo (Late show)
4/1 - Tokyo, Japan - Billboard Live Tokyo (Early show)
4/1 - Tokyo, Japan - Billboard Live Tokyo (Late show)
4/14 - Toronto, Ont. - Phoenix Concert Theatre
4/17 - Chicago, Ill. - Lincoln Hall
4/18 - New York, NY - BB King's Blues Club and Grill
4/21 - Washington, DC - The Howard Theatre
4/23-4/24 - Seattle, Wash. - The Triple Door
4/26 - San Francisco, Calif. - Mezzanine