Hendrix - Drug Use and Violence

Drug Use and Violence

Widely associated with the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Hendrix had never taken psychedelic drugs until the night he met Linda Keith, but had smoked cannabis. Hendrix also used amphetamines, especially during tours. Friends and bandmates reported that Hendrix would sometimes become angry and violent when he drank too much alcohol. Though illicit drugs alone did not seem to produce a significant negative effect on him, when he mixed them with alcohol, he would often become incendiary. Hendrix friend, Herbie Worthington, explains: "You wouldn't expect somebody with that kind of love to be that violent ... He just couldn't drink ... he simply turned into a bastard."

A girlfriend of Hendrix's, Carmen Borrero, required stitches after he hit her above her eye with a vodka bottle during a drunken, jealous rage. Drugs and alcohol played a role in Hendrix's 1968 rampage that badly damaged a Stockholm hotel room, which led to him injuring his right hand and to his arrest and eventual fine. After the burglary of his house in Benedict Canyon, California, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he punched his friend Paul Caruso and accused him of the theft. Hendrix then chased Caruso away from the residence while throwing stones at him.

On May 3, 1969, while checking through Canadian customs at Toronto Pearson International Airport, authorities arrested Hendrix for drug possession after finding a small amount of heroin and hashish in his luggage. After being released on a CAN$10,000 cash bail the same day, only four hours before his show was scheduled to begin, the Experience performed at Maple Leaf Gardens that night. The courts required Hendrix to appear before a judge at a later date. In his trial defense Hendrix claimed that a fan had slipped the drugs into his bag without his knowledge; he was acquitted of the charges.

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