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Andre 3000 gets into the groove for Jimi Hendrix biopic


Andre 3000 looks every bit the voodoo child in character as Jimi Hendrix. The rap star plays the rock icon in the upcoming Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side, and there is certainly more than a passing resemblance between the two. But something’s missing.

That’ll be Jimi Hendrix’s songs, which don’t actually appear in the film, because Hendrix’s estate didn’t give clearance. Or another – rather less plausible – side to the story being peddled by director John Ridley and the producers is that they didn’t even ask for permission, because they had no intention of using any Jimi Hendrix songs in their movie about Jimi Hendrix.

Sure, of course you didn’t. What we have instead is a score provided by Andre 3000 imitating Jimi Hendrix performing covers of songs by the Beatles, Muddy Waters and other popular musicians. If that sounds like a hodge-podge, it may well be. But given Andre 3000’s ability to pull musical rabbits out of hats, it’s a move that could work. At least on the level that people are less familiar with Hendrix’s early covers than they are with his own material, it will give Andre scope to perform the songs without imitating exactly, providing mood and emotion rather than an impression, which is often what happens when actors try to imitate musicians in films about their lives.

The movie is set before Hendrix became a star, when he was just starting out as a session musician and making a name for himself in London. The shots which have emerged from the set show Andre, whose real name is Andre Benjamin, looking dapper and dandy in full 1960s regalia. The songs Andre covers as Jimi for the movie’s soundtrack include Wild Thing, Hound Dog and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Hendrix famously covered at a London club while the Beatles were in attendance.

For lovers of Andre 3000, Jimi Hendrix, and great music in general, it sure sounds like an interesting movie.

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