Janie Hendrix, who runs Jimi Hendrix's estate, refused to give permission for any of his material to be used for the movie "All Is by My Side." So producer Danny Bramson signed up a band consisting of guitarist Waddy Wachtel, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Kenny Aronoff to record original music alongside new versions of covers Hendrix performed in his lifetime.
Bramson tells Billboard: "I was never preoccupied with getting the iconic material. I felt strongly in trying to go for an interpretation of Hendrix and the musical environment that surrounded him, and mirrored his sense of finding himself as a guitarist."
The movie features Outkast star Andre "3000" Benjamin in the starring role - and Bramson says the hip-hop artist worked hard to master left-handed guitar playing in order to bring authenticity to his performance.
"We bet the house on our one and only choice: Andre," the producer notes. "The idea of anyone playing Hendrix, let alone a right-handed guitarist, was one of the greatest challenges of the project. I found a really patient teacher and put together a regimen for Andre. He sat in a small studio six hours a day.
"His guitarmanship had to carry the idea of grace and fluidity. We didn't want to have the camera cropped on his face and not the guitar. He kept working in a rehearsal room throughout the production."
Among the many high points for Bramson is the part of the story when the Beatles released "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" on a Thursday, and Hendrix performed it before Paul McCartney and George Harrison three days later.
He reports: "I believe it's the first license the Beatles have granted to Sgt. Pepper. I felt it was always the greatest rock story never told."
"All Is by My Side" receives its US premiere this week. It’s expected to be released in the UK in the late summer.